Studies in Occult Philosophy by G. de Purucker
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Transactions of the Headquarters Lodge

On Cagliostro
The Six Great Schools of the Ancients
The Root-Race and its Sub-Divisions


On Cagliostro

I have listened with intense interest to this your most unusual study on Cagliostro, and I should not have thought it at all incumbent upon me to say a word, had not the idea passed suddenly through my head that two things might indeed be said, both of a helpful and perhaps of a prudential character. The latter, therefore, I will advert to very briefly as the first thing that I have to say to you.

I think it a dangerous matter to stress the fact at any time, in anything that goes out to the public — or rather to stress the idea — that the Teachers of Wisdom and of Compassion and of Peace send forth their Messengers to meddle in the political turmoils of any age, or to be involved in directing fevered human passions of disagreement into channels even possibly leading to human bloodshed, or to the rending of ties of human affection and love, thus leading to the misery of broken hearts. The Teachers guide humanity spiritually and intellectually; they instill lessons of mercy and of pity; and, even as regards the very highest of the Teachers of Wisdom and Compassion and Peace — and these last highest because they are such utterly impersonal servants of the Law — I know that the Masters are not instigators of strife or of human trouble; and the greatest of these of whom I speak, should indeed they ever act as agents of karmic destiny, do so with the sole objective of ameliorating conditions in human life, and because it is their sublime duty to restore peace and harmony and brotherly love. Should such Exalted Individuals ever concern themselves with the political turmoils of any age, they do so only as Peace-makers.

Now, these are words which I have chosen carefully. I do not wish to be understood as meaning that the Teachers stand apart cold-bloodedly, and indifferently see things running to ruin; that is not the idea. The inference which I ask you to draw from what I say I believe to be the fact, is this: they do not instigate human quarrels, nor stimulate human passions, nor, on the other hand, direct the affairs of the world as dii ex machina — as exterior gods pulling the wires of action of human beings, their dancing marionettes. They do not.

There is a great danger in having this mistaken idea that I allude to, because as our Society grows and increases in importance and in its influence over the hearts and minds of men, we must be able to show that our record has been clean from the beginning, so that at no time in the future can an opponent point an accusing finger at any action done or at any remark made in the past by any Theosophist, and say: "Look! Out of their own records they condemn themselves to be political meddlers!" The Society is absolutely non-political, because soaring high above the stormy arena of human political passions; as an organization we have no concern with politics and never will have, although as individuals our members hold such political opinions as seem right and proper to them as honest men.

Turning now to the second idea that occurred to me, my dear Brothers: I am very doubtful as to how much I should say on this point. I speak with extreme reserve. I ask you to use your own imagination and your own intellect, and to allow your own heart to answer, when I say that there is a mystery connected with the individual called Giuseppe Balsamo and the individual known to the world generally as Cagliostro. It is upon the document issued from the Vatican containing the story of the so-called trial and condemnation of Cagliostro that most later students and historians of the checkered and wonderful career of that remarkable man assume that Cagliostro and Giuseppe Balsamo were one individual.

I can only say that there is a strange mystery involved in the story of these two: Balsamo and Cagliostro. How strange is the statement, if true, that both had the name Pellegrini, which means Pilgrims! How strange is it that Giuseppe Balsamo is the Italian form of the name Joseph Balm, suggesting a healing influence; and that 'Balsamo,' whether rightly or wrongly, can be traced to a compound Semitic word which means 'Lord of the Sun' — 'Son of the Sun'; while the Hebrew name Joseph signifies 'increase' or 'multiplication.' How strange it is that Cagliostro's first teacher was called Althotas, a curious word containing the Arabic definite article 'the,' suffixed with a common Greek ending 'as,' and containing the Egyptian word Thoth, who was the Greek Hermes — the Initiator! How strange it is that Cagliostro was called an 'orphan,' the 'unhappy child of Nature'! Every initiate in one sense is just that; every initiate is an 'orphan' without father, without mother, because mystically speaking every initiate is self-born. How strange it is that other names under which Cagliostro is stated to have lived at various times have in each instance a singular esoteric signification! Study these names. They are very interesting.

Perhaps I might go one shade of thought farther: to every Cagliostro who appears there is always a Balsamo. Closely accompanying and indeed inseparable from every Messenger there is his 'Shadow.' With every Christ appears a Judas. And as regards what you, my Brothers, have so admirably set forth this evening concerning the reason, as given by our beloved H. P. Blavatsky, of Cagliostro's 'failure,' let me point this out: that Cagliostro's failure was not one of merely vulgar human passion, nor was it one of vulgar human ambition, as ordinary men understand these terms. When Julian the Apostate — called 'apostate' because he refused to be an apostate from the ancient religion of his forefathers — led his army against Shapur, King of Persia, he did so well knowing that he was acting against the esoteric Law; and yet in one sense he could not do otherwise, for his individual karman compelled him to the act. I tell you that there are at times more tragedies in the life of a Messenger than you could easily understand, for a Messenger is sworn to obedience in both directions — obedience to the general law of his karman from which he may not turn aside a single step, and obedience equally strict to the Law of those who sent him forth. There are in such cases problems to solve sometimes which break the heart, but which nevertheless must be solved.

Be, therefore, charitable in your judgment of that great and unhappy man, Cagliostro!


The Six Great Schools of the Ancients

There are six 'Darsanas' or Schools recognized as being correct exponents of Hindu philosophical thought, and all these six Darsanas — a Sanskrit word literally meaning 'Visions' — may be divided into three pairs. The six Darsanas or Visions or Schools are respectively, the Nyaya founded by Gautama; the Vaiseshika founded by Kanada; the Sankhya founded by Kapila; the Yoga founded by Patanjali; and the Less and the Greater Vedanta founded by Vyasa; and of the Vedanta, the most important school of the Greater, the Adwaita, was due to the teaching of the Hindu Avatara Sankaracharya. This, the Adwaita-Vedanta, is probably the most widely diffused philosophical School in India at the present time.

Now these six Darsanas, called in Sanskrit the Shad-darsanas to the Occident contain, all of them, truth, and indeed esoteric truth in no small degree; but again to the Occultist each one is but a single 'Vision' or 'Branch' of the all-unifying Master-School, which whether recognized or not — is the Esoteric Philosophy, which thus is the Mother of them and of the other six may be correctly understood and properly elucidated.

These six 'Visions' or Schools may be divided into three pairs, each couple being paired because of similarity in systemic formulation and philosophical outlook; so that the six great systems of Hindu philosophy are thus logically reducible to three, corresponding to the Arambha, the Parinama, and the Vivarta, respectively. These pairs are as follows: (a) the Nyaya and Vaishika, which one may perhaps briefly call the Atomic School, corresponding again with the Arambha; (b) the Sankhya and Yoga, which because of their characteristic philosophical principles and system may be called the school of philosophy dealing with emanational evolution combined with practice in aspiration and self-training. This second pair corresponds with the Parinama; (c) the Less and the Greater Vedanta, which especially the Greater Vedanta, may be called the Idealistic School of Hindu religio-philosophy, and correspond with the Vivarta-vada.

From still another standpoint the above-mentioned philosophical pairs may respectively be compared with the three operations of the human spirit and mind which are known in the Occident under the names of Science, Philosophy, Religion — not of course any one sectarian religious faith, but Religion per se. The Arambha is to be classified with the scientific outlook; the Parinama with the philosophical vision; and the third pair, classified with Vivarta, is comparable with the religious manner of visioning truth.

All these three couples, as stated above, are, each one, considered to be more or less imperfect from the standpoint of the Esoteric Philosophy, because each is incomplete. The Esoteric Philosophy unifies all three couples (or all six Darsanas) into one grand comprehensive System — the Esoteric Philosophy itself — which contains and explains the substance of all.

To explain further: the Arambha is that view of the Universe and of the origins of things, which, qualified as being scientific, envisions the Universe as proceeding forth as a 'new' production of already pre-existent Cosmic Intelligence and pre-existent 'points' of individuality or what the Esoteric Philosophy would term 'Monads' as being a more correct term than 'atoms.' Although such newly produced Universe, from this viewpoint, is recognised as being the karmic resultant or consequence of a preceding Universe, the former 'self' of the present, nevertheless emphasis in this line of thought is laid upon beginnings, upon the Universe as a 'new' production, very much as even Occidental science construes the Universe to be.

The Parinama, while having many points of contact with the Arambha point of view, nevertheless lays emphasis upon the fact of the coming forth of the Universe into being, with all it contains, as a production by powers and entities and substances 'unrolling from within,' and thus bringing the Universe into existence by a species of emanational or evolutional conversion or unfolding.

The Vivarta-system, finally, penetrates still more deeply into the womb of the Cosmic Mystery and fixes its attention upon the unending duration of the Divine Essence, which it considers as producing 'appearances' of itself through modifications of itself, or portions thereof, brought about by emanational evolution from within, these modifications or 'portions' being the Cosmic Mahamaya — or Cosmic Illusion. The technical name for these 'appearances' is nama-rupa, a Sanskrit compound literally meaning: 'name-form,' otherwise understood as nama equaling 'idea' or 'ideas' or 'concepts,' and rupa equaling 'objectivization' or 'images' or 'forms' in which these ideas manifest themselves. Hence it is that in the Vivarta-system the entire objective Universe, visible and invisible, is considered to be illusory because merely a collective modification, or series of modifications, of the productive Divine Essence, which last always remains Itself, yet produces 'appearances' of itself, or shows forth itself by way of ideas or concepts and through objectivization by unfolding procession, i.e., emanational evolution.

The above may seem to be rather high metaphysics, but it seems needful to imbody there facts for the benefit of those whose minds ask for scientific or philosophic or religious particularizations and comparisons.


The Root-Race and its Sub-divisions

I would like to answer this evening a very interesting question I have received. It reads:

"This has to do with sub-races, and branch sub-races. The precessional cycle of 25,920 is the length of a whole National Race. You say that a Family Race is seven times the length of a National Race, which would be seven times 25,920. Now in The Theosophical Forum of November 15, 1932, pages 82-3, you say 'we are actually in the fifth sub-race of the European family-race, but on a much larger cycle we are also nearing the middle point of the Primary or Major Fourth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race. In other words, of this Primary or Major Fourth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race, we are a small minor branchlet, which is the fifth of its own septenary cycle. . . .' Could you please explain further?"

The reason for this statement quoted is that I called the European Race a National Race according to the scheme I gave in Fundamentals. But here, because I was writing quickly and not consulting my former words, I am caught by saying that the European Race formed a Family Race. The answer to that is very simple. I used the word 'Family Race' not technically, but merely to show that the entire family of the European peoples formed a racial family. If you want to speak technically, those European peoples together formed a National Race, as I will explain in a moment.

The National Race is one Precessional Cycle — 25,920 years. The average man lives 72 years. Now, these are statements of averages. Every child knows that every human being does not live for 72 years. Many live much less, and many live much more. My own opinion of the actual average life of the human being today is 15 or 20 years, when we take into consideration the unnumbered millions of human beings who die before they even reach childhood; millions who are carried away in wars; millions who die from accident, or, if they reach maturity die prematurely from accident or some horrible disease. If you take every single case of death, and all the number of the human race as two billions on the earth today, and perform a mathematical computation, I believe you will find that what we call the average life expectancy of the average human being is not much more than fifteen years, maybe twenty. It just shows the perfectly awful numbers of human beings who die early, cut off or killed in railway wrecks, in steamship wrecks, in wars, in diseases of little children.

But here we give the life of the individual man as 72 years; then comes the Tribal Generation, then the Tribal Race, then the National Race, then the Family Race; and each one, after the individual man, is seven times longer than the one preceding it.

Now then: What examples have we of a National Race, which by any calculation according to the figures here is the length of 25,920, one astronomical cycle? A National Race is well exemplified by all the races of Europe today. The word 'national' here does not mean the same thing that our ordinary word nation means when we say the nation of the French or the nation of the English, of the Italians or Swedes. As I use it here, what I would call a National Race comprises all our present European nations, Poles, Germans, French, Swiss, Russians, Greeks, Bulgars, Czechs, English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Swedes, all Scandinavians in short, Belgians, Netherlanders, Portuguese and Spanish: all of them, taken all together, that is what we call one National Race. Its life-period is about one Precessional Cycle, nearly 26,000 years. And I may add just here that its life-period is a little more than one third done. About 9000 years of it have elapsed, distinct from the preceding National Race, using the term as we are using it here.

Another example of a National Race is the peoples of the New World, of the north and south continents of the so-called redskins, the Aztecs, the Incas, and all of them: they together have points of unity, of blood, links of language, forming what I call a National Race.

In another sense, but still in the same sense to a certain degree, we might likewise exemplify a National Race by all of what are popularly called Mongolians. Many of the peoples called Mongolians are not Mongolians. But there is something in that popular idea, for these are peoples with blood kinships, and to a certain extent linguistic kinships. Therefore they, collected together, form a National Race.

Now I would call a Family Race what the old ethnography of my father's day called the different species of mankind. A Family Race I would exemplify by speaking of the so-called Caucasians. Thus the Hindus belong with us Europeans (because the Americas have been settled by European races), to the Caucasian branch of the human family, and therefore form what I call a Family Race; but the Hindus do not belong in our European National Race.

Another example of a Family Race would be the Mongolians taken on a larger scale. In that case we would include the Chinese, the Manchus, the Japanese, the Lolos, the Tibetans, the Burmese, the Siamese, probably the Malayans: they all together form a great Family Group which is distinctly different from the Caucasian group, as I have used that term.

And still a third type of Family Race or Family stock will be the heavily colored peoples of Africa, as distinct among themselves as Europeans are; speaking different tongues many cannot understand. It is the same in Europe, in our own National Race. But here I am not referring to a National Race, but to a species of mankind, what I would call a Family Race: Caucasian, so-called Mongolian — if you like to choose that very imperfect word — Africans.

And then, again, still another example of what I mean by a Family Race, collecting several National Races together, would be the original inhabitants of the New World, of the North and South Continents; although these likewise have their National Races; just as the Hindus and Europeans form one complete stock, yet as National Races, the Hindus are here, the Europeans are there.

Then when we come to Tribal Races, we have to pick out of a National Race a still smaller division: I mean one of those smaller races a number of which collect together to form a National Race. Thus of the National Race in Europe, one Tribal Race will be the Slavs, that is, the Russians, and the Poles, the Czechs, the Bulgars, and others. Then again, another Tribal Race would be the Teutons. They would be the Germans, the Scandinavians, the English — and there we enter into a complication which illustrates the difficulty. Practically all the nations of Europe, using the words in a popular sense, have a foundation of Teutonic stock. The English are Teutons; the French take their name from the Franks — a German people. There were the Goths, the Visigoths, and Vandals all helping to settle Spain and Portugal, and the Goths and Visigoths overrunning Italy. So you see how tangled up the thing is. But I call a Tribal Race one of the component members of a National Race. Another Tribal Race is the Celts, such as the Irish, the Welsh, the Scots, and the people of Brittany in France. These are all tribal races. Their average length of duration is about 3,600 years, which means the time from their beginning to their end. They become important in world affairs, and then they die down over a long period of time, just as it takes time for them to rise up.

Then we come to a Tribal Generation, a still smaller division in the Tribal Race, such as the Italian, the English, the Russian, the German, etc., which each in turn holds the leadership, the hegemony, among the nations. Their time is about 500 years; and if you study European history you will see some very interesting things. It takes any one such tribal generation 200 years or more to come up out of obscurity, and perhaps out of oppression, to attain full power and independence, to make their mark as the leader of other peoples around them, and then to die. You have seen it in European history time and time again — Italy, Spain, France, and so forth. They follow each other until the whole circle has been rounded.

Thus, take the whole scale: average man, would live on the average 72 years. (As it is, many men live to be greatly over that. Millions die before they have reached twenty years.) Seven times 72 a Tribal Generation, 500 years; seven times that is 36 hundred years, a Tribal Race. Seven times that is the National Race which is almost the length of the Precessional Cycle of 25,920 years. The Family Race, which I have already described as what the old ethnology called a different species of mankind, lives to be about 180,000 years: a Secondary Sub-Race, about a million and a quarter years; and when we reach what we call a Primary Sub-Race or seven times the latter we have a period of about 8,000,000 years or so for the full life-term of a Root-Race.

And now you see how these races overlap; and that fact is one of the things that makes racial computations so intricate and hard to do and to explain.

However, our European National Race still has some 16,000 years to grow old in. Let us hope it will learn a little more wisdom before its hour strikes. Our Caucasian Family Race is destined to live about 180,000 years. It has many, many tens of thousands of years yet to run, but a good deal of its time cycle has already run.

To return to the more familiar methods of computation: I would like to point this out. We are in the Fourth Round, on this Globe, our Earth. In this Fourth Round on this Globe, we are in our Fifth Root-Race. Of this Fifth Root-Race we have almost reached the central point, or the middle of the great Secondary Sub-Race. We have not yet passed or even reached this central point. I should say this Fourth or central point is the most dangerous of all in that tremendously long cycle.

We are in our Family Race, which is the Caucasian. We are in our National Race, using the phraseology of our time, called the European; we are in the type of souls called the Teutonic; and of our own Fifth Root-Race, we are closing, at the very end of, the Fifth sub-sub-sub-racelet. We are in the Fifth Root-Race, about the middle point of the great Secondary Sub-Race; and of our own National European Race we are just closing or ending the Fifth, which is a racelet, a small race. How long it will last, I can only guess. I have not had time to figure that out. Possibly a few hundred years, and then will begin the Sixth in succession.

My final thought is this: H. P. B. in the S. D. says that the Sixth Race will be born in due course, and she also states that the seeds of the Sixth Root-Race are to be born in the Americas. She also says in another place that in about 25,000 years from now, or one Precessional Cycle, or what I have called one National Race, the people of the United States will begin to have children who will be the forerunners of the Sixth Sub-Race. What she meant was what we would call a National Race. Now you see it is a mistake to take that statement by H. P. B. and because she says in one place that the Americas will be the part of the earth for the appearing of the seeds of the Sixth Root-Race, to say that it is going to be born in the United States 25,000 years from now. It is confusing two different statements from lack of knowledge. It shows us that the European National Race is the Fourth in number, because in the United States will be born the seeds of the next coming race when this one is ended. In the Americas will be the Fifth National Race of our present Family Race. But that is not what we have pointed out as being the Family Race Species of mankind, as for instance the Caucasian, Mongolian, African, original American.


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