Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Space forbids us to say anything more, and this part of the “Secret Doctrine” has to be closed. The forty-nine Stanzas and the few fragments from the Commentaries just given are all that can be published in these volumes. These, with some still older records — to which none but the highest Initiates have access — and a whole library of comments, glossaries, and explanations, form the synopsis of Man’s genesis.
It is from the Commentaries that we have hitherto quoted and tried to explain the hidden meaning of some of the allegories, thus showing the true views of esoteric antiquity upon geology, anthropology, and even ethnology. We will endeavour in the Part which follows, to establish a still closer metaphysical connection between the earliest races and their Creators, the divine men from other worlds; accompanying the statements proffered with the most important demonstrations of the same in esoteric Astronomy and Symbolism.
In Volume III. of this work (the said volume and the IVth being almost ready) a brief history of all the great adepts known to the ancients and the moderns in their chronological order will be given, as also a bird’s eye view of the Mysteries, their birth, growth, decay, and final death — in Europe. This could not find room in the present work. Volume IV. will be almost entirely devoted to Occult teachings.
The duration of the periods that separate, in space and time, the Fourth from the Fifth Race — in the historical* or even the legendary beginnings of the latter — is too tremendous for us to offer, even to a Theosophist, any more detailed accounts of them. During the course of the post-diluvian ages — marked at certain periodical epochs by the most terrible cataclysms — too many races and nations were born, and have disappeared almost without leaving a trace, for any one to offer any description of the slightest value concerning them. Whether the Masters of Wisdom have a consecutive and full history of our race from its incipient stage down to the present times; whether they possess the uninterrupted record of man since he became the complete physical being, and became thereby the king of the animals and master on this earth — is not for the writer to say. Most probably they have,
* The word “historical” is used, because, although historians have dwarfed almost absurdly the dates that separate certain events from our modern day, nevertheless, once that they are known and accepted, they belong to history. Thus the Trojan War is an historical event; and though even less than 1,000 years B.C. is the date assigned to it, yet in truth it is nearer 6,000 than 5,000 years B.C.
and such is our own personal conviction. But if so, this knowledge is only for the highest Initiates, who do not take their students into their confidence. The writer can, therefore, give but what she has herself been taught, and no more.
But even this will appear to the profane reader rather as a weird, fantastic dream, than as a possible reality.
This is only natural and as it should be, since for years such was the impression made upon the humble writer of these pages herself. Born and bred in European, matter-of-fact and presumably civilized countries, she assimilated the foregoing with the utmost difficulty. But there are proofs of a certain character which become irrefutable and are undeniable in the long run, to every earnest and unprejudiced mind. For a series of years such were offered to her, and now she has the full certitude that our present globe and its human races must have been born, grown and developed in this, and in no other way.
But this is the personal view of the writer; and her orthodoxy cannot be expected to have any more weight than any other “doxy,” in the eyes of those to whom every fresh theory is heterodox until otherwise proved. Therefore are we Occultists fully prepared for such questions as these: “How does one know that the writer has not invented the whole scheme? And supposing she has not, how can one tell that the whole of the foregoing, as given in the Stanzas, is not the product of the imagination of the ancients? How could they have preserved the records of such an immense, such an incredible antiquity?”
The answer that the history of this world since its formation and to its end “is written in the stars,” i.e., is recorded in the Zodiac and the Universal Symbolism whose keys are in the keeping of the Initiates, will hardly satisfy the doubters. The antiquity of the Zodiac in Egypt is much doubted, and it is denied point-blank with regard to India. “Your conclusions are often excellent, but your premises are always doubtful,” the writer was once told by a profane friend. To this, the answer came that it was one point, at least, gained on the scientific syllogisms. For, with the exception of a few problems from the domain of purely physical science, both the premises and conclusions of the men of Science are as hypothetical as they are almost invariably erroneous. And if they do not so appear to the profane, the reason is simply this: the said profane is very little aware, taking as he does his scientific data on faith, that both premises and conclusions are generally the product of the same brains, which, however learned, are not infallible; a truism demonstrated daily by the shifting and re-shifting of scientific theories and speculations.
However it may be, the records of the temples, Zodiacal and traditional, as well as the ideographic records of the East, as read by the
adepts of the Sacred Science and Vidya, are not a whit more doubtful than the so-called ancient history of the European nations, now edited, corrected, and amplified by half a century of archaeological discoveries, and the very problematical readings of the Assyrian tiles, cuneiform fragments, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. So are our data based upon the same readings, in addition to an almost inexhaustible number of Secret works of which Europe knows nothing — plus the perfect knowledge by the Initiates of the symbolism of every word so recorded. Some of these records belong to an immense antiquity. Every archaeologist and palaeontologist is acquainted with the ideographic productions of certain semi-savage tribes, who from time immemorial have aimed at rendering their thoughts symbolically. This is the earliest mode of recording events and ideas. And how old this knowledge is in the human race may be inferred from some signs, evidently ideographic, found on hatchets of the Palaeolithic period. The red Indian tribes of America, only a few years ago comparatively speaking, petitioned the President of the United States to grant them possession of four small lakes, the petition being written on the tiny surface of a piece of a fabric, which is covered with barely a dozen representations of animals and birds. (See Lubbock.) The American savages have a number of such different kinds of writing, but not one of our Scientists is yet familiar, or even knows of the early hieroglyphic cypher, still preserved in some Fraternities, and named in Occultism the Senzar. Moreover, all those who have decided to regard such modes of writing — e.g., the ideographs of the Red Indians, and even the Chinese characters — as “attempts of the early races of mankind to express their untutored thoughts,” will decidedly object to our statement, that writing was invented by the Atlanteans, and not at all by the Phoenicians. Indeed, such a claim as that writing was known to mankind many hundreds of millenniums ago, in the face of the philologists who have decreed that writing was unknown in the days of, and to Panini, in India, as also to the Greeks in the time of Homer, will be met by general disapprobation, if not with silent scorn. All denial and ridicule notwithstanding, the Occultists will maintain the claim, and simply for this reason: from Bacon down to our modern Royal Society, we have a too long period, full of the most ludicrous mistakes made by Science, to warrant our believing in modern scientific assumptions rather than in the denials of our Teachers. Writing, our scientists say, was unknown to Panini; and this sage nevertheless composed a grammar which contains 3,996 rules, and is the most perfect of all the grammars that were ever made! Panini is made out to have lived barely a few centuries B.C., by the most liberal; and the rocks in Iran and Central Asia (whence the philologists and historians
show us the ancestors of the same Panini, the Brahmins, coming into India) are covered with writing, two and three thousand years old (12,000, according to some fearless palaeontologists).
Writing was an ars incognita in the days of Hesiod and Homer, agreeably to Grote, and unknown to the Greeks so late as 770 B.C.; and the Phoenicians who had invented it, and knew writing as far back as 1500 B.C., at the earliest,* were living among the Greeks, and elbowing them, all the time! All these scientific and contradictory conclusions disappeared, however, into thin air, when Schliemann discovered (a) the site of ancient Troy, whose actual existence had been so long regarded as a fable; and (b), excavated on that site earthenware vessels with inscriptions in characters unknown to the palaeontologists and the all-denying Sanskritists. Who will now deny Troy, or these Archaic inscriptions? As Professor Virchow witnesses: — “I was myself an eye-witness of two such discoveries, and helped to gather the articles together. The slanderers have long since been silenced, who were not ashamed to charge the discoverer with an imposture.”† Nor were truthful women spared any more than truthful men. Du Chaillu, Gordon-Cumming, Madame Merian,‡ Bruce, and a host of others were charged with lying.
Madame Merian — says the author of “Mythical Monsters,” who gives this information in the Introduction — was accused of deliberate falsehood in reference to her description of a bird-eating spider nearly two hundred years ago. But now-a-days reliable observers have confirmed it in regard to South America, India, and elsewhere. Audubon was accused by botanists of having invented the yellow water-lily, which he figured in his Birds of the South under the name of Nymphaea lutea, and after having lain under the imputation for years, was confirmed at last by the discovery of the long-lost flower in Florida in 1876 (Pop. Sci. Monthly, No. 60, April 1877). And, as Audubon was called a liar for this, and for his Holiaetus Washingtonii,§ so Victor Hugo was ridiculed for . . . . his marvellous word-painting of the devil-fish, and his description of a man becoming its helpless victim. “The thing was derided as an impossibility; yet within a few years were discovered, on the shores of Newfoundland, cuttle fish with arms extending to thirty feet in length, and capable of dragging a good-sized
* It is an historical fact that Sanchoniathon compiled and wrote in Phoenician characters — from annals and State documents in the archives of the older Phoenician cities — the full record of their religion in 1250 B.C.
† Prof. Virchow, in Appendix 1 to Schliemann’s Ilios. Murray, 1880.
‡ Gosse writes of the latter: “She is set down a thorough heretic, not at all to be believed, a manufacturer of unsound natural history, an inventor of false facts in science.” (“Romance of Natural History,” p. 227.)
§ Dr. Cover writes: “That famous bird of Washington was a myth; either Audubon was mistaken, or else, as some do not hesitate to affirm, he lied about it.”
boat beneath the surface; and their action has been reproduced for centuries past . . . . by Japanese artists.” (“Mythical Monsters,” p. 11 Introd.).
And if Troy was denied, and regarded as a myth; the existence of Herculaneum and Pompeii declared a fiction; the travels of Marco Polo laughed at and called as absurd a fable as one of Baron Munchausen’s tales, why should the writer of “Isis Unveiled” and of the “Secret Doctrine” be any better treated? Mr. Charles Gould, the author of the above-cited volume quotes in his excellent work a few lines from Macmillan (1860), which are as true as life, and too much to the point not to be reproduced: “When a naturalist, either by visiting such spots of earth as are still out of the way, or by his good fortune, finds a very queer plant or animal, he is forthwith accused of inventing his game. . . . . . As soon as the creature is found to sin against preconception, the great (mis ?) guiding Spirit, a priori by name, who furnishes philosophers with their omniscience pro re nata, whispers that no such thing can be, and forthwith there is a charge of hoax. The heavens themselves have been charged with hoaxes. When Leverrier and Adams predicted a planet by calculation, it was gravely asserted in some quarters that the planet which had been calculated was not the planet but another which had clandestinely and improperly got into the neighbourhood of the true body. The disposition to suspect hoax is stronger than the disposition to hoax. Who was it that first announced that the classical writings of Greece and Rome were one huge hoax perpetrated by the monks in what the announcer would be as little or less inclined than Dr. Maitland to call the dark ages?” (p. 13).
Thus let it be. No disbeliever who takes the “Secret Doctrine” for a “hoax” is forced or even asked to credit our statements. These have already been proclaimed to be such by certain very clever American journalists before even the work went to press.*
Nor, is it after all, necessary that any one should believe in the Occult Sciences and the old teachings, before one knows anything or even
* So far back as July, 1888, at a time when the MSS. of this work had not yet left my writing table, and the Secret Doctrine was utterly unknown to the world, it was already being denounced as a product of my brain and no more. These are the flattering terms in which the Evening Telegraph (of America) referred to this still unpublished work in its issue of June 30, 1888: “Among the fascinating books for July reading is Mme. Blavatsky’s new book on Theosophy . . . (!) the Secret Doctrine. . . . But because she can soar back into the Brahmin ignorance . . . (! ?) . . . is no proof that everything she says is true.” And once the prejudiced verdict given on the mistaken notion that my book was out, and that the reviewer had read it, neither of which was or could be the case, now that it is really out the critic will have to support his first statement, whether correct or otherwise, and thus get out of it, probably by a more slashing criticism than ever.
believes in his own soul. No great truth was ever accepted a priori, and generally a century or two passed before it began to glimmer in the human consciousness as a possible verity, except in such cases as the positive discovery of the thing claimed as a fact. The truths of to-day are the falsehoods and errors of yesterday, and vice versa. It is only in the XXth century that portions, if not the whole, of the present work will be vindicated.
It is no fact going against our statements, therefore, even if Sir John Evans does affirm that writing was unknown in the stone age. For it may have been unknown during that period in the Fifth Aryan race, and have been perfectly known to the Atlanteans of the Fourth, in the palmy days of their highest civilization. The cycles of the rise and fall of the nations and races are there to account for it.
If told that there have been cases before now of forged pseudographs being palmed off on the credulous, and that our work may be classed with Jacolliot’s “Bible in India” (in which, by the way, there are more truths among its errors than are found in the works of orthodox and recognized Orientalists) — the charge and comparison will dismay us very little. We bide our time. Even the famous “Ezour-Veda” of the last century, considered by Voltaire “the most precious gift from the East to the West,” and by Max Muller “about the silliest book that can be read,” is not altogether without facts and truths in it. The cases when the a priori negations of specialists became justified by subsequent corroborations form but an insignificant percentage of those that were fully vindicated by subsequent discoveries, and confirmed to the great dismay of the learned objectors. “Ezour Veda,” was a very small bone of contention compared with the triumph of Sir William Jones, Anquetil de Perron, and others in the matter of Sanskrit and its literature. Such facts are recorded by Professor Max Muller himself, who, speaking of the discomfiture of Dugald Stewart and Co. in connection with this, states that “if the facts about Sanskrit were true, Dugald Stewart was too wise not to see that the conclusions drawn from them were inevitable. He therefore denied the reality of such a language as Sanskrit altogether, and wrote his famous essay to prove that Sanskrit had been put together after the model of Greek and Latin, by those arch-forgers and liars, the Brahmans, and that the whole of Sanskrit literature was an imposition” (Science of Language, p. 168). The writer is quite willing and feels proud to keep company with these Brahmans, and other historical “liars,” in the opinion of our modern Dugald Stewarts. She has lived too long, and her experience has been too varied and personal, for her not to know at least something of human nature. “When you doubt, abstain,” says the wise Zoroaster,
whose prudent aphorism is found corroborated in every case by daily life and experience. Yet, like St. John the Baptist, this sage of the past Ages is found preaching in the desert, in company with a more modern philosopher, namely Bacon, who offers the same priceless bit of practical Wisdom. “In contemplation,” he says (in any question of Knowledge, we add), “if a man begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
With this piece of advice from the father of English Philosophy to the representatives of British scepticism we ought to close the debate, but our theosophical readers are entitled to a final piece of Occult information.
Enough was said to show that evolution in general, events, mankind, and everything else in Nature proceed in cycles. We have spoken of seven Races, five of which have nearly completed their earthly career, and have claimed that every Root-Race, with its sub-races and innumerable family divisions and tribes, was entirely distinct from its preceding and succeeding race. This will be objected to, on the authority of uniform experience in the question of Anthropology, and Ethnology. Man was — save in colour and type, and perhaps a difference in facial peculiarities and cranial capacity — ever the same under every climate and in every part of the world, say the Naturalists: ay, even in stature. This, while maintaining that man descends from the same unknown ancestor as the ape, a claim that is logically impossible without an infinite variation of stature and form, from his first evolution into a biped. The very logical persons who maintain both propositions are welcome to their paradoxical views. Once more we address only those who, doubting the general derivation of myths from “the contemplation of the visible workings of external nature” . . . . think it, “less hard to believe that these wonderful stories of gods and demi-gods, of giants and dwarfs, of dragons and monsters of all descriptions, are transformations, than to believe them to be inventions.” It is only such “transformations” in physical nature, as much as in the memory and conceptions of our present mankind, that the Secret Doctrine teaches. It confronts the purely speculative hypotheses of modern Science, based upon the experience and exact observations of barely a few centuries, with the unbroken tradition and records of its Sanctuaries; and brushing away that tissue of cobweb-like theories, spun in the darkness that covers a period of hardly a few millenniums back, and which Europeans call their “History,” the Old Science says to us: Listen, now, to my version of the memoirs of Humanity.
The human Races are born one from the other, grow, develop, become
old, and die. Their sub-races and nations follow the same rule. If your all-denying modern science and so-called philosophy do not contest that the human family is composed of a variety of well-defined types and races, it is only because the fact is undeniable; no one would say that there was no external difference between an Englishman, an African negro, and a Japanese or Chinaman. On the other hand it is formally denied by most naturalists that mixed human races, i.e., the seeds for entirely new races, are any longer formed in our days. But this last is maintained on good grounds by de Quatrefages and some others.
Nevertheless our general proposition will not be accepted. It will be said that whatever forms man has passed through in the long pre-historic Past there are no more changes for him (save certain variations, as at present) in the future. Hence that our Sixth and Seventh Root Races are fictions.
To this it is again answered: How do you know? Your experience is limited to a few thousand years, to less than a day in the whole age of Humanity and to the present types of the actual continents and isles of our Fifth Race. How can you tell what will or will not be? Meanwhile, such is the prophecy of the Secret Books and their no uncertain statements.
Since the beginning of the Atlantean Race many million years have passed, yet we find the last of the Atlanteans, still mixed up with the Aryan element, 11,000 years ago. This shows the enormous overlapping of one race over the race which succeeds it, though in character and external type the elder loses its characteristics, and assumes the new features of the younger race. This is proved in all the formations of mixed human races. Now, Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our very eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be formed, and that it is in America that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced.
Pure Anglo-Saxons hardly three hundred years ago, the Americans of the United States have already become a nation apart, and, owing to a strong admixture of various nationalities and inter-marriage, almost a race sui generis, not only mentally, but also physically. “Every mixed race, when uniform and settled, has been able to play the part of a primary race in fresh crossings,” says de Quatrefages. “Mankind, in its present state, has thus been formed, certainly, for the greatest part, by the successive crossing of a number of races at present undetermined.” (“The Human Species,” p. 274.)
Thus the Americans have become in only three centuries a “primary race,” pro tem., before becoming a race apart, and strongly separated from all other now existing races. They are, in short, the germs of the Sixth sub-race, and in some few hundred years more, will become
most decidedly the pioneers of that race which must succeed to the present European or fifth sub-race, in all its new characteristics. After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race; until, in consequence of cataclysms — the first series of those which must one day destroy Europe, and still later the whole Aryan race (and thus affect both Americas), as also most of the lands directly connected with the confines of our continent and isles — the Sixth Root-Race will have appeared on the stage of our Round. When shall this be? Who knows save the great Masters of Wisdom, perchance, and they are as silent upon the subject as the snow-capped peaks that tower above them. All we know is, that it will silently come into existence; so silently, indeed, that for long millenniums shall its pioneers — the peculiar children who will grow into peculiar men and women — be regarded as anomalous lusus naturae, abnormal oddities physically and mentally. Then, as they increase, and their numbers become with every age greater, one day they will awake to find themselves in a majority. It is the present men who will then begin to be regarded as exceptional mongrels, until these die out in their turn in civilised lands; surviving only in small groups on islands — the mountain peaks of to-day — where they will vegetate, degenerate, and finally die out, perhaps millions of years hence, as the Aztecs have, as the Nyam-Nyam and the dwarfish Moola Koorumba of the Nilghiri Hills are dying. All these are the remnants of once mighty races, the recollection of whose existence has entirely died out of the remembrance of the modern generations, just as we shall vanish from the memory of the Sixth Race Humanity. The Fifth will overlap the Sixth Race for many hundreds of millenniums, changing with it slower than its new successor, still changing in stature, general physique, and mentality, just as the Fourth overlapped our Aryan race, and the Third had overlapped the Atlanteans.
This process of preparation for the Sixth great Race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races (vide supra, the diagram of the Genealogical Tree of the Fifth Race). But the last remnants of the Fifth Continent will not disappear until some time after the birth of the new Race; when another and new dwelling, the sixth continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the new stranger. To it also will emigrate and settle all those who shall be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster. When this shall be — as just said — it is not for the writer to know. Only, as nature no more proceeds by sudden jumps and starts, than man changes suddenly from a child into a mature man, the final cataclysm will be preceded by many smaller submersions and destructions both by wave and volcanic fires. The exultant pulse will beat
high in the heart of the race now in the American zone, but there will be no more Americans when the Sixth Race commences; no more, in fact, than Europeans; for they will have now become a new race, and many new nations. Yet the Fifth will not die, but survive for a while: overlapping the new Race for many hundred thousands of years to come, it will become transformed with it — slower than its new successor — still getting entirely altered in mentality, general physique, and stature. Mankind will not grow again into giant bodies as in the case of the Lemurians and the Atlanteans; because while the evolution of the Fourth race led the latter down to the very bottom of materiality in its physical development, the present Race is on its ascending arc; and the Sixth will be rapidly growing out of its bonds of matter, and even of flesh.
Thus it is the mankind of the New world — one by far the senior of our Old one, a fact men had also forgotten — of Patala (the Antipodes, or the Nether World, as America is called in India), whose mission and Karma it is, to sow the seeds for a forthcoming, grander, and far more glorious Race than any of those we know of at present. The Cycles of Matter will be succeeded by Cycles of Spirituality and a fully developed mind. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts. Humanity is the child of cyclic Destiny, and not one of its Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its co-operative work with nature. Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun, to change, each tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favoured groups — the failures of nature — will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind.
Such is the course of Nature under the sway of Karmic Law: of the ever present and the ever-becoming Nature. For, in the words of a Sage, known only to a few Occultists: — “The Present is the Child of the Past; the Future, the begotten of the Present. And yet, O present moment! Knowest thou not that thou hast no parent, nor canst thou have a child; that thou art ever begetting but thyself? Before thou hast even begun to say ‘I am the progeny of the departed moment, the child of the past,’ thou hast become that past itself. Before thou utterest the last syllable, behold! thou art no more the Present but verily that Future. Thus, are the Past, the Present, and the Future, the ever-living trinity in one — the Mahamaya of the Absolute IS.”