Copyright © 2011 by Theosophical University Press
In several preceding chapters an attempt has been made to draw aside to some extent the veil which for ages has more or less closely curtained the teachings of the Esoteric Tradition as regards the fascinating subject of evolutionary unfolding: to wit, the gradual and secular unwrapping or rolling forth in manifestation of attributes, qualities, and powers lying latent in the invisible essence of every entity or being progressing on its upward way through the ranges of cosmic life, and consequently through the hierarchies of the worlds visible and invisible.
Magnificently simple as the esoteric teaching about evolution is, it is nonetheless in its profounder ranges extremely difficult adequately to grasp, because it involves the fundamental, essential, and inseparable oneness of the root of every evolving entity with the life-web of the universe itself. This last teaching alone is so unfamiliar and novel that it takes no short time-period of assimilation before its import can properly be seized.
An attempt, therefore, will be made in the present chapter to throw at least a little more light on the nature of the evolution of sentient and so-called nonsentient beings, and especially to clarify the very recondite branch involving the evolutionary appearance of primordial man and the origination of the animal phyla or stocks from Man.
It would be a hopeless task to attempt to make any reconciliation of modern-day scientific evolutionary hypotheses with the teachings of the Esoteric Tradition. Although biological science has advanced since the days when H. P. Blavatsky wrote The Secret Doctrine, it is still too early to find common bases of thought between modern biology and the ancient wisdom, and to erect upon it the structure of fact and theory which would be satisfactory both to the biologist and the esotericist. Moreover, it is inconvenient in plain words to explain the processes of the physical reproduction of creatures as such processes occurred in far past geologic times, because these processes are now in large part utterly unknown on earth, at least in the human kingdom — indeed, probably also in any of the other animate phyla.
Although there still remain in the human body the vestiges of organs that were active in former stages of evolutionary development, nevertheless, these survivals of organs or organic functions are not yet accepted in scientific theory as proclaiming what they otherwise clearly and silently prove — biological records of what the human race at one time passed through. Some of these nonfunctional remnants would seem to show clearly that the human race at one time was androgynous or hermaphroditic in form and function, that is, in biological reproductive type. Nor even were this fact of a former androgynous condition of the human race admitted, would it carry the prehistory of the human race fully back to its primal origins. In other words, human hermaphroditism was but a intermediate state between the first originating protoplasts and humanity of the present-day human beings.
How did the animals originate from man? In the first place, it is not the teaching that in the present fourth round, this great life-cycle on our globe, all the animal-stocks originated from man. Only the mammalia did so in this fourth round, i.e. the beasts with breasts (mammae) and with a vertebrate skeleton and reproductive functions, which from the beginning up to the present day have undergone the same cyclical changes in structure and function that occurred in the evolution of the human race. All the other animal-stocks, especially the lower orders, are evolutionary holdovers in this present fourth round from the great evolving animal-stocks that were in their heyday of evolution in the third round on this earth. In other words, all the animate entities in the widely differing evolutional stages beneath the human and the other nonhuman mammalia are with us today as holdovers from the third round, but they are largely specialized in this present fourth round.
There were large numbers of stocks of beings which in long past times had their evolutional heyday on this globe earth, and even during this fourth round, but which now have completely vanished from the scene, leaving only their fossil records or remnants behind. The great reptiles are an instance in point, despite the fact that many of the reptiles which have lasted through the ages are holdovers which, for one reason or another, managed to survive through the different geologic eras till the present. These sishtas, or remnants, or seeds of life of these holdovers from the third round were, in the majority of cases, already on our globe earth at the beginning of the fourth round, before the first root-race of "men" put in its appearance on this globe in this fourth round.
They were "men" only by courtesy, being the original protoplastic sketches of the true man or mankind that was to follow in far later ages. They are called "men" simply to identify them as having been in their own evolutionary time-period the originants of what later became mankind. Nor is this first root-race to be considered in any wise as being animals, or the primordial supposititious beast-stock from which mankind of today derived in evolutional series, to which present mankind should trace back its direct evolutional ancestry. They were not beasts, whether mammalian or non-mammalian, but were the astral prototypes existing in different great families or orders, from which present mankind has descended in lineal and uninterrupted life-stream.
This first root-race and the early part of the second root-race of protoplastic "mankind" were astral men; they were not truly human as we now understand the term, because they were mindless. The Sons of Mind, the Manasaputras, had not yet incarnated in them and thus had not yet infilled them, even in small degree, with the divine flame of self-conscious intelligence and thought. Thus they were likewise unmoral beings — not immoral, because the moral instinct had not yet awakened within them. They were as unconscious in this respect as are the beasts. If these beings were unmoral they could no more do "immoral" acts than they could self-consciously perform noble moral acts. They were under the virtually infallible although unrecognized guidance and directing power of spiritual instinct, which kept them both from moral and physical injury, much as the plants today are neither moral nor immoral, but are guided with almost infallible prescience by the generalized spiritual and intuitional instinct working in and through them. These beings of the first and second root-races of mankind were mentally very much like little children, because mind per se does not manifest its sublime powers in the child in its earliest years.
The first root-race was astral. It was also more astral or ethereal than the earth upon which it lived. As the ages passed, this first root-race slowly grew more material in structure, i.e. the astral slowly thickened, became more concreted. The second root-race, which in point of fact was merely the first root-race become more concrete and material, was likewise distinctly semi-astral, a gelatinous, filamentoid race, physically speaking. Both the first root-race and the second had neither bones, nor organs, nor hair, nor a true skin. It might be pointed out that even the grossly material shark of today has no true bones. Its firmer parts are cartilaginous, and so was largely the internal structure of the last part of the second root-race.
In physical substance the second root-race were somewhat like jellyfish. They were human by courtesy because they had not yet developed the main and striking characteristics and attributes of the human stock: the psychical, mental and spiritual faculties working in combination through tenuous and invisible sheathes, which again combine to express themselves through a physical body.
They were "shells" in the sense that they were not yet self-consciously infilled with the spiritual-intellectual dhyani-chohanic essences and powers, just as a little child from its birth is a human "shell" in the above sense, until the slowly incarnating dhyani-chohanic essence, or the psychomental fluid of its incarnating ego, begins to manifest itself.
The first root-race propagated itself by fission or by division, that is to say, by a portion of the parent breaking off, such portion growing to be like its parent, very much after the fashion that living cells today follow. A living cell is a gelatinous, semi-astral, entity. The word "gelatinous" is fairly descriptive of that intermediate stage between solid flesh and the ethereal yet quasi-visible tenuity of the lower astral. Flesh is in fact thickened or condensed astral — the thickest or densest astral and the most tenuous physical matter being virtually the same. The two realms, the lower astral and the ethereal-physical, here merge into each other; and there is absolutely no division-line between them.
The first root-race in the earliest portions of its evolutional unfolding might be called huge astral cells or "pudding-bags" — a humorous but graphically descriptive term given by H. P. Blavatsky. These cells reproduced their kind, and were infilled with the astral essence of the lowest of the dhyani-chohanic fluids. During the evolutionary career of the first root-race, these cells underwent minor changes of shape and size, reminiscent of the amoeba, and gradually became more like the astral type around which they were slowly crystallizing through the ages. Thus when the second root-race appeared on the scene, this new racial stock — an evolutionary continuation in time of the first root-race — already had begun to show a distinct although imperfect outline in form of what was in ages later during the ending of the third root-race to become bodies of human shape, possessing human characteristics, although even these being still imperfect when compared with the human physical frame of today.
Nature repeats herself everywhere. Just as in the case of a human being: its first physical appearance is a microscopic cell or egg slowly passing through the repetitive stages of the evolutionary course which the race has traversed in the past, until having finished its various modifications of intrauterine development, the embryo now become human is born as a child, and from birth onwards begins to manifest progressively the inner psychical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual faculties which make man truly man. Here we have a close repetitive picture of the stages of evolutionary development passed through in successive order by the first, second, third, and fourth root-races — our present human stock, in all its various varieties, being called the fifth root-race.
The second root-race propagated itself by gemmation or "budding." Instead of a portion of the parent dividing off, as in the first root-race, the process in the second root-race was as follows: a small part of the body, a bud, separated or dropped off from the main trunk, and thereafter began to develop into a being like the parent. About the middle period of the life-cycle of this second root-race, these buds grew more numerous and became what zoologists would probably call human spores or seeds, or what H. P. Blavatsky called "vital sweat." Thus many of these buds at certain seasons, after the parent-entity had become mature, would leave the parent-body as do the spores or seeds of plants today. These seeds were then taken care of by nature, similar to the manner in which the seeds of the plants are cared for today. Millions might perish, but other millions would successfully grow into beings alike unto the bodies of the parents which gave them birth.
Then, after several millions of years, the third root-race evolved from the second root-race. The jelly-like substance of the second root-race had now become what one might call tender flesh composed of cells, beginning to cover bones, and to acquire skin and hair, and containing either rudimentary or fairly well-developed physical organs. The method of reproduction of this more advanced race was hermaphroditic or androgynous, that is to say, the two sexes existed in every individual of this early and middle third root-race. In other words, for the greater part of the time through which the third root-race lasted, the hermaphroditic or androgynous condition was that of a double functioning of organs appropriate for hermaphroditic reproduction, somewhat as it may still be seen in certain lower representatives of the animal kingdom and among certain plants. During the last portion of the third root-race, however, this double function or hermaphroditic condition slowly modified itself into a state of things in which in each individual the particular characteristics of one or of the other sex became predominant, this in turn finally resulting in the birth from the womb of individuals of distinct unisexual or one-sex type.
The psychomagnetic activities within those "human" individuals of this far-distant geologic past produced a fertile germ which was cast off from the body as an egg, somewhat resembling the process that takes place in birds and certain reptiles today. Just so was it with the early androgynous, egg-bearing, third root-race of some twenty million years ago or more. The egg was matured, and in those days it took a year or more before the "human" egg was broken and the young issued forth.
The later third root-race gave birth to the beginnings of the fourth or unisexual root-race. By this time the androgynous race had long aeons before passed away, the sexes had "separated," and children were born from the womb. In the beginning, when the sexes first began to "separate" such a being might have been considered to be very unusual, a "sport" of nature, but finally these "sports" found themselves to be in the majority, and the present method of reproduction became the rule.
Long before the appearance of the second root-race, evolution was in full swing — evolution as evolution (speaking now from the matter-side) contrasted with involution. It continued its work of unfolding the matter-side of beings, i.e. developing and specializing their bodies, both in organs and in organic functions, until the turning-point was reached of this present fourth round. This turning point occurred at the middle of the fourth root-race, called the Atlantean race because the focus of the brilliant civilizations which then flowered over a continental system covering the earth was centered where now stretches the Atlantic Ocean.
On the downward arc of descent into matter, the monads or "souls" evolve or unroll forth matter and involve or inroll spirit; but when the turning-point is reached, the reverse process automatically ensues, spirit evolving its transcending powers, which matter pari passu involves its own characteristics. The result of this wonderful process of nature thus gives us a picture of spiritual beings gradually clothing themselves in the garments of material substance, otherwise "bodies"; and on the upward arc, gradually through the evolution of spirit, etherealizing these bodies slowly to become vestments of "light" toward the end of the chain-manvantara.
When evolution as evolution stopped its work, then involution began — the reverse process; and thereupon the "door into the human kingdom" closed. This great natural fact of biological history meant not only that no longer could entities inferior to man enter the human kingdom, but that no longer could new phyla, new racial stocks, be produced from the then existing seeds of life, for the reason that the processes of originating new families, orders, and classes, had come to an end. Evolution, or the differentiation of the one into the many, had ceased; its impulses had faded out for this fourth round. While more specializations of what already existed continued, in some cases even to extreme degrees, no new orders of distinct animal or vegetable entities could henceforth appear for the remainder of the round of this planetary chain.
Involution was from this turning-point the manner of nature's universal working on this globe earth; and involution means the infolding of matter and the coincident evolution or coming into manifestation through the vehicles already materially evolved of hitherto latent spiritual, intellectual, and psychical functions, processes, and senses. Evolution of material forms is the unfolding of the potencies latent in matter, and the infolding or involution of spiritual qualities; this involution thus providing a treasury or repertory of faculties and functions which became progressively more recessive as the evolution or the unfolding of bodies proceeded. At the turning-point above mentioned there occurred the last fading out of the evolutionary process of differentiation in matter, and thereupon the involutionary process began. On the downward arc or shadowy arc, matter unfolds or evolves itself in myriad forms, and spirit infolds or involves itself. When the ascending arc or luminous arc is begun, involution begins, which means the involving of matter and the unfolding or evolution of spirit and its faculties and power. The two processes interwork.
The generation and birth and growth of the child may be cited as an example. From conception until the turning-point of adult life, it is the body which develops faculty and power, while the spiritual, intellectual, and psychical faculties are more or less recessive or involved. From the midpoint of life, say early middle-age, the reverse procedure takes place. The body becomes less active, less important for the purposes of life; and pari passu, the evolution of the spiritual and intellectual and psychical faculties occurs.
The animate stocks which had not reached the human stage at the great turning-point could thereafter no longer evolve upwards on the rising arc, and must in consequence wait their turn for their natural evolutionary development until the next great planetary manvantara or round. While it is true that during the next or fifth chain-round, the animate stocks below man, which means the beasts, will again appear on the earth and continue their evolutionary course, repeating what happens during this fourth round but in conditions and circumstances which the fifth round will bring forth; nevertheless, because the entire planetary chain itself is now in the process of involution, the barrier into the human kingdom will become ever more difficult to pass, so that the lower animate stocks beneath the human, dating even from the turning-point in this present fourth round, will all show a tendency to die out and disappear from the evolutionary life-stream.
The turn of the kingdoms below the human will come in the next imbodiment of the entire planetary chain; and then the kingdoms inferior to the human will find the fields of life ready for them for their own respective evolutionary expansion in power and faculty, with the added compensation of becoming human beings on a chain imbodied on planes superior to what exists at present.
The single exception to the animate stocks below man is the anthropoid apes, and possibly the cynocephalus [e.g. Flying Lemurs, Baboons]; the reason being that they had a strain of genuine human blood in them before the turning-point was reached. These apes are destined to become human beings of a low grade in the next or fifth chain-round, millions and millions of years hence.
Now then, how did the mammalia originate from the human stock? Before the lords of mind, the manasaputras, who were evolved spiritual beings of an intellectual type, had begun their first approaches to imbodiment in the then mindless humanity — which happened in the last part of the second and fully in the middle part of the third root-race during this present fourth round — the then evolving second root-race was mindless, as was indeed the first. It did not possess the psychical and physical instincts and barriers that now control the human consciousness and therefore act and react upon the physical bodies — this natural psychical barrier or inhibition preventing the miscegenation of a higher with a much lower stock.
The bodies of this mindless second root-race were the vehicles of the life-atoms of all kinds of evolving entities seeking manifestation, because in that early geologic period of time, all the stocks from the "human" down to the protozoa were under the natural urge to evolve ever newer corporeal forms. All the entities on the planet were still running down the arc of descent or shadowy arc, and unfolding and therefore differentiating through evolution. All the stocks had a powerful inner urge to unfold what lay latent within them, exactly as the acorn is urged from inherent life-impulses to grow after germination, and thus to evolve the oak already lying invisible latent within it.
The consequence of this evolutionary urge of all beings was that the spores, the drops of "vital sweat" of the later second root-race and of the early third, were in large part guests in the "human" bodies of these two races, drawn to those bodies by karmic psychomagnetic attraction, and thus helping to build them — exactly as the cells of man's body today are animal-cells, guests in man's body and aiding in its building and coherence, for man is their host and uses them in his own physical vehicle.
Now these cells or life-germs, using the bodies of the second root-race as their hosts, were cast off in a then perfectly normal way, and grew, each cell, according to its own svabhava, which means according to the essential urging characteristic or individuality which is the life-center within each such cell. Even today, if the psychical barrier did not now exist with such vigor of operation, a vast number of the supposedly human spores or seeds cast off would grow and become the starting-points in certain cases of new phyla, although in all cases of status inferior to the human. These cells thus cast off from the protoplastic human bodies of these early races, in many cases became the starting-points of new stocks of creatures which in their originating cells had passed through the human body in germ, and were cast off therefrom, exactly as germs or life-atoms pass through our bodies today.
Every seed, every spore, is the body of an evolving entity, of a psychical life-atom. Every life-atom has everything in it essentially that a man or a god has; but no life-atom can express on any one plane, which means on any one globe of a planetary chain, more than its then-existent evolved capacities permit it to express. Every vital cell, every reproductive germ, therefore, contains within itself the potentiality not only of the divinity latent within it, but also numerous lower quasi-psychical life-impulses, which, could they only find expression, would produce an inferior creature.
The reasons therefore why such cells or reproductive germs in man today do not evolve forth into new phyla or animate stocks beneath man are the two set forth. First: evolution, as a process of unfolding new bodies and starting new stocks, has permanently ceased for the remainder of this round. The evolutionary urge has faded out, and involution as taken its place. Second: the psychical barriers and inhibitions work powerfully against such organizations of new animate stocks. The influence of the human psychical fluid in man's constitution at the present time is so powerful in its effect on the germinal cells or life-atoms which help to build man's bodies, that these cells or germs have become passive thereto, and actually inactive so far as the ability to evolve forth from themselves the beginnings of new animate stocks. The door into the human kingdom having closed is naught but this tremendous psychical barrier. The human life-fluid or psychic essence is dominant, whereas the hosts of germinal cells or psychical life-atoms through which the human psychic fluid works have become recessive both as individuals and as naturally divided into hosts.
If we could project ourselves back into the time and into the physical laws which governed the procedures of evolution when the second root-race lived, we should find things happening which would appear exceedingly strange to us with our crystallized notions of how "things should be." A man would find that the vital or reproductive germs from his body — "sweating," to use H. P. Blavatsky's term — if falling from that portion of his organism where the reproductive plasm has become seated and perfected, would reproduce a second human, even as at present; but if this "vital sweat," these spores of vital psychic-astral fluid, fell from some other portion of his body, they would not grow into human beings, but would, in millions of instances if the environment were favorable, grow into beings of curiously differing characteristics who would be the beginnings of new phyla, new animate stocks.
Every vital cell or reproductive germ is in itself a storehouse of unexpressed types; and if there be no natural inhibition or psychical barrier to its expression, the type having the strongest urge for manifestation would be the one to emerge as dominant, and grow into a representative entity which would be the beginning of a new stock of creatures. This no longer occurs because of the strong psychical-vital human force which controls every such reproductive germ, inhibiting the manifestation of all inferior types, which thus become recessive and in consequence non-self-expressing, and whose function at present is merely to aid in forming and holding in vital coherence the physical body as a whole.
This does not mean that the Esoteric Tradition teaches the unity of genesis of the human race from a single individual or from two individuals somewhat after the Hebrew-Christian mythos of the romantic event which took place in the "Garden of Eden." On the contrary, it teaches a distinct polygeny, meaning that an indefinitely large number of such reproductive spores fell from the bodies of the early humanity contemporaneously, and as these psychovital reproductive spores themselves belong to classes or families, it becomes obvious that thus would appear the beginning of new stocks of creatures, individual, of course, born from another parent or possibly from the same parent. Furthermore, as these psychovital reproductive spores or germs were themselves members of widely various classes, a single "human" individual body could thus have cast off from itself or "sweated" out offsprings of lower evolutionary kinds at different times. These protoplastic "humans" naturally gave birth to "children" like themselves. If the life-germ which fell or was "sweated" out came from a portion of the parent-body which already had become set apart for "human" reproduction, the "human" spores falling from this part grew into "human" beings like their parents. The Esoteric Tradition does not teach a monogenesis of any of the stocks which were thus originally "born" and "filled the earth." Polygeny was the rule throughout, in all cases in those very early ages.
Beginning with the last part of the second root-race and continuing up to the central part of the third root-race, all these animals that came forth from the then human bodies, many of them the far-distant "parents" of the beast-stocks which now are on earth, were mammals. Why? Because they were the highest kinds of evolving beast-monads, although inferior to the evolving human monads, and which naturally drifted by psychomagnetic attraction to the kingdom next above themselves — the human kingdom, which already at that time was foreshadowing the mammalian type.
But did not the animals, like the human stock, have an inner urge to evolve along their own lines, once their originating individuals had appeared? Yes, certainly. All the kingdoms of nature below the human kingdom psychically yearn upwards to become human; and during their aeons-long evolutionary pilgrimage, the monads evolving in the beast-bodies cast off beast-body after beast-body, gradually rising along the ladder of life until the human kingdom is reached, at which point they enter into the lowest class of human vehicles, not as beast-monads, but as human monads, albeit of the lowest type.
The beast-monads are essentially not different from monads of any other kind. The difference between monad and monad is solely in the evolutionary stage reached by any monad because of its having brought forth from itself some of its inner spiritual-psychic essence or fluid. We speak of the "mineral monad," "vegetable monad," "animal monad," "human monad," "god-monad," etc., only by way of description. All these different classes of monads are sprung from the same primordial cosmic spirit and therefore each one has infolded within itself all the capacities and attributes that all others have, albeit of different standings or stages in the evolutionary ladder of life. Thus the beast today is not a man because it has not as yet unfolded from within its own essence those characteristics or qualities which we call human; but some day it will, and then it will be a human monad and will take unto itself a human body.
According to the Esoteric Tradition, it is some 320,000,000 years since sedimentation began on this globe in this fourth round, nor does this long lapse of time fully include the evolution of the three kingdoms of the elementals which preceded the mineral activities beginning such sedimentation. Of course the four root-races which preceded ours did not require all these 320,000,000 years for their evolution, because the first root-race appeared on this globe in the fourth round long after the mineral-activity had begun; long after the vegetable kingdom had come; and even after the animal kingdom had awaked from its obscuration — except the higher division of the animal kingdom, the mammalia, which in this fourth round followed man.
When the first (or distinctly astral) root-race appeared on this globe, there were then present on it many groups of the vegetable kingdom which were the sishtas or remnants of the vegetable kingdom as it was in the preceding or third round; and also there were a number of groups of different animals below the "mammalian." There was, in fact, an amazing welter of protozoa, crustacea and fishes, and a very few reptiles and birds, but no mammals. The first mammals appeared as unimportant "sports" in the very last part of the second root-race or during the first third of the third root-race.
In connection with the serial appearance of the different kingdoms, so far as man and the animal kingdom are concerned, the animals — but not the mammalia — preceded man in their appearance on this globe D on the downward arc. That is to say, they fell into matter more rapidly than did the human kingdom because being of a more material type the attraction of the material globe D was stronger upon them than upon the human monads.
Furthermore, the separation of the sexes occurred among the animals before it took place in the human family. Thus it was that not only did the huge beasts of various kinds of that early geologic period clothe themselves with gross physical vestures before the astral man did the same, but they likewise separated into male and female from the preceding androgynous state before the human stock followed the example set by what were then its forerunners — the beasts.
At the beginning of the ascending arc, the position of forerunners became reversed; for, the climb toward spirit having begun, the spiritual attractions consequently acted most strongly on the most spiritually developed stock of that time; so that man, from the beginning of this ascent, slowly took the place which he now holds as the leader and forerunner of all the kingdoms behind him, all of which unconsciously aspire to the human stage.
With respect to geologic time-periods, mankind "separated" into opposite sexes about eighteen million years ago during the third root-race, in what geologists in H. P. Blavatsky's time called the late Triassic or early Jurassic of the Secondary Age. When H. P. Blavatsky spoke of "Jurassic," etc., and stated that man existed at such-and-such periods, using the geologic terms then in vogue, she was using the short calculation then current, which could fit in, in a general way, with the age of "separated" humanity ("Vaivasvata's humanity") as given in the esoteric records — some 18,600,000 years. But H. P. Blavatsky was well aware of the possibility of enlargement in time for the geologic eras by geologists, when she wrote as follows in The Secret Doctrine:
It may make our position plainer if we state at once that we use Sir C. Lyell's nomenclature for the ages and periods, and that when we talk of the Secondary and Tertiary age, of the Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene periods — this is simply to make our facts more comprehensible. Since these ages and periods have not yet been allowed fixed and determined durations, . . . Esoteric teachings may remain quite indifferent to whether man is shown to appear in the Secondary or the Tertiary age. — 2:693
As the Tertiary has now been extended far beyond the few million years accepted in 1888, the "Vaivasvata-humanity" would be included in its more recent epochs, provided of course that the modern geologic time-estimate be accepted.
The humanity of the third root-race of some eighteen million years ago was a fully physicalized race, although not as grossly physical as was the fourth root-race of the Atlantean era which followed. The early third, as well as all the second, stretched back even to a longer period, possibly as far back as twenty-five or thirty million years from the present era of the fifth root-race; whereas the first root-race stretched still farther back into the remote mists of geologic time. Preceding even the beginnings of the purely astral or ethereal first root-race, there were between two and three hundred million years of evolutional development belonging to the animal kingdom (but not including the mammals), the vegetable kingdom, the mineral kingdom, and the three elemental kingdoms.
Geologists today are basing their exaggerated time-periods on the discovery of radioactivity in the rocks, which they believe provides a reasonably trustworthy method of calculating the time elapsed since the rocks were formed. This radioactivity, which is the disintegration of certain heavy elements, is supposed to have taken place with no change of speed during all the ages during which these radioactive minerals have lain in the rocks. One reason for rejecting the modern time-periods estimated by this method (on which there is such disagreement that the best textbooks of geology point out that they depend upon yet unproved assumptions), is that the radioactive changes were brought about, and are now continuing, because of the fact that the earth and all on it are now on the ascending or luminous arc, and consequently undergoing the processes of dematerializing, thus bringing about the breaking up or disintegration — which modern physics and chemistry call "radiation" — of the heaviest of the chemical elements.
On the descending or shadowy arc, up to the middle of the Atlantean race, all the chemical elements (which means the body of the earth) were condensing and therefore concreting; and radioactivity as now understood was unknown as a fact in nature. From the turning-point at the middle of the fourth root-race, the earth and all on it has been steadily but slowly etherealizing. Consequently radioactivity will become more and more pronounced, and chemical elements and compounds are becoming, albeit very slowly, less heavy and less concreted. The heaviest now known which are not at present radioactive, will soon, geologically speaking, also become radioactive. Consequently, when the geologists base their presently exaggerated time-periods on what they understand of radioactivity, they should make their beginning only from the midpoint of the Atlantean race, when this radioactivity first began. But because they do not recognize a descending and an ascending arc, they believe that radioactivity began with the first incrustation of our globe.
When was this midpoint of the Atlantean race? As we are almost at the midpoint of our present fifth root-race, it may be said that the midpoint of the fourth or Atlantean race took place between eight and nine million years ago. When radioactivity first began in this remote period, it was but slight, and very slowly increased in extent. Thus it comes about that in the etherealizing process which our earth-globe is now undergoing, the heaviest of the chemical elements and compounds will first become radioactive, radiating their substance away with increasing speed, and will be followed by the next or less heavy and gross, the process continuing until the end of the present fourth round in particular, and with intervals of the reverse process during the downward arcs of the succeeding rounds, proceeding until the seventh round will have reached its climax or end. By that time, the globe and all on it will have returned to the highly ethereal state or condition of matter that prevailed through the first round.
The lower kingdoms tend toward man as their evolutionary goal on this earth, and this because man is far older than they and has blazed the trail which they instinctively follow. He has made and left the astral molds behind him out of which he has grown to greater things. The animal kingdom, trailing along behind, follows the path that man has made and thus copies him, as we humans copy those who have preceded us, the dhyani-chohanic races.
Man preceded the mammalia and also gave birth to their original phyla or stocks, and thereafter each pursued its own rapid evolutionary unfolding from within, breeding true to type, and yet evolving, each one such stock, along its own particular svabhavic or characteristic line. But when the middle point of the fourth root-race was reached, all that the evolutionary impulse working through and behind these various animal stocks could produce was specialization. It was evolution on large and "creative" lines until the door into the human kingdom closed, and thereafter the evolutionary impulses produced specializations, this being evolution in the particular as contrasted with evolution in the general.
The animate stocks beneath the anthropoids cannot go higher for the rest of this round. They will die out before the last or seventh round is reached, because they will not be able to rise along the ascending arc. If there be any evolution for them toward a higher phylum on the scale of life, it will be extremely limited, because all that these animate stocks can do henceforth is to specialize. The elephant, for instance, with its long trunk or proboscis and huge ears, is thus highly specialized, but it will nevertheless always be an elephant as long as the elephant-stock lives during the remainder of the planetary life-cycle.
Two more examples of minor evolution, called specialization, are the bat and the whale. Both are mammals; yet one, the bat, left the earth and became a flying creature with a flight which, in ease, swiftness and silence, is more perfect than the flight of most birds. The other, the whale, left the land and took to the water. These are specializations: evolution in the etymological sense of the unfolding of innate faculty; but they are not, strictly speaking, evolution in the larger and more technical sense of the unfolding of future type-characters. For the remainder of the fourth and fifth rounds, and if they continue in existence as a kingdom until the sixth round, the animals will be specializing in multimyriad ways, but truly evolving no more. The human race, however, will evolve by "involving," paradoxical as it may sound: evolve forth spirit, and involve matter.
The first root-race on this fourth globe in this fourth round was a highly ethereal race of beings, a quasi-fluid or astral race, just beginning to be physicalized in matter. They were likewise translucent — or would be to our fifth race vision. The nearest thing to which one may liken them, perhaps, would be a cloudiness in the air, or a highly heated air-current with its dancing effect on the eye. This does not mean, however, that they were formless in outline. They indeed had a form resembling vaguely the present human shape, but far less fixed than is the gross body of man today. They were transparent because ethereal in texture, and consequently made no fossil-impression on the earth.
At the opening of this fourth round, the fourth globe itself was also more ethereal than it is now; nevertheless as compared with this first race of "human" protoplasts, it was relatively hard and condensed. In other words, the first root-race in its beginning, and indeed throughout its entire course, was more ethereal than the earth was then. Both the earth and the races which inhabited it, consolidated steadily until the middle period of the fourth root-race, when the maximum of condensation was reached, i.e. the extreme degree of physicalization possible during the present chain-manvantara of seven rounds. Since the middle of the fourth root-race, which also was the middle of the fourth round and therefore the middle of the entire chain-manvantara, both the earth and its inhabitants have become somewhat etherealized again. The flesh of the men of the Atlantean race, for instance, was coarser and more solid than is the flesh of man today. Both the earth and its inhabitants will become more and more ethereal until, at the end of the seventh round, aeons upon aeons hence, the earth and its then future humanity will have reached the highly ethereal stage, more or less, that prevailed during the first round.
When the astral first root-race of humanity began to consolidate and thus to become more physical, it of necessity used material already existent on this globe — material which had been cast off and left behind by the forwards-evolving human stock during the preceding or third round. The use of this material by evolving humanity in this fourth round naturally aided the evolution of the life-atoms composing such formerly-used substance, which life-atoms were impregnated with the influence of the higher astral material of the human stock during its evolutionary course in this fourth round.
Man, both as an individual and as a stock, or humanity, is the depository of myriads of as yet unmanifested future great phyla of animate beings, who will in the distant ages yet to come in a new chain-manvantara then flow forth from him as his off-throwings. Just as we are children of the gods, so are the beasts, the mammalians especially, our off-throwings or offsprings. As a matter of fact, all the creatures of the third round, indeed all the beings of the lower kingdoms, were unconsciously thrown off from "mankind." In other words, it was man who threw off at various periods during his long-past aeonic evolution the root-types which later specialized into the vegetable and animal kingdoms. The same thing is true of the mineral kingdom in the first round. All of which is equivalent to saying that Man is the oldest of all the stocks of earth.
The Man here referred to must not be misunderstood to mean the highly-evolved human being that he is now, for the man of the present time is the last word in evolution that the developmental processes of unfolding have as yet brought forth — the highest type attained up to the present. The Man referred to signifies the great family or hierarchy of evolving monads which through those long past periods were individually and collectively passing through all the intermediate stages between their first appearance in the solar system and man as he is today. The man of that far past time is called "Man" only by courtesy, for the innate, latent, locked up powers, capacities, potencies, functions, and organs which make man man as he is today were as yet not unfolded, as yet not unwrapped, and therefore man was merely the "presentment" of what he was to become, and now actually has become.
The second root-race was considerably more condensed and physicalized than the first. The second root-race, especially at its middle part and toward its end, was no longer transparent, being albuminous, somewhat like the white of an egg, having a definite form and the rudimentary beginning of bones and organs, hair and skin. Although consolidating, it was still too ethereal to leave any fossil records on the then earth, which, while itself physicalizing or consolidating, was not doing so as rapidly as was the second root-race itself. Moreover, this whole process of condensation was not that of an astral "meeting" a physical and joining with it, but of astral beings physicalizing or materializing themselves, from astral into physical beings.
At about the beginning of the third root-race, and continuing on to the middle of this race, this process of consolidation or physicalization meant that the bodies of the latest second and early third were changing over from astral into physical substance; and as those early third root-race beings were becoming distinctly physical — indeed now heavily gelatinous — the bones were making their distinct appearance, although as yet soft.
From the middle to the end of the third root-race, this process of condensation of the astral into the physical proceeded apace. At the end of the third root-race, when the androgynes of the middle third had become sexed beings, this latest part of the third root-race was a fully developed and physicalized humanity, with bodies of fairly solid flesh, with organs relatively fully developed and with skin and hair and bones. This process of physicalization continued without interruption to the middle of the fourth root-race, when the reverse process, or etherealization, entered into activity; and although very slight in its beginnings, this etherealization of the earth and all on it has continued slowly ever since, and will proceed henceforth to the end of the seventh round.
The first root-race was titanic in size; they had form, indeed, but no physical appearance, as we now understand the term. The second race was still titanic in size, but smaller than the first. The third root-race comprised beings who were huge in size as compared with our own pygmy humanity of today; and finally, the grossest and coarsest race of all, the fourth root-race, even more physicalized and dense than we are, was, at least up to the middle-point of their growth, relatively huge creatures, thirty to twelve feet in stature, thus showing the progressive decrease in physical size down to our own fifth root-race humanity of five to six feet. This does not necessarily imply that the succeeding sixth and seventh root-races will continue to grow smaller until the end of the globe-manvantara closes with a pygmy or seventh root-race. At any rate, the important thing to note in this connection is that spiritual and intellectual and psychic faculty and capacity do not of necessity depend upon bulk or magnitude, for bulk in point of fact has little bearing on the matter.
It is difficult adequately to picture to ourselves all the details of the physical structure and functions and organs of these early races, because there is little if anything on earth today to give us exact ideas. This process, but in the small and greatly foreshortened, does take place today in the growth of the human embryo. The embryo begins its existence as a microscopic speck of human protoplasm, a life-germ thinly gelatinous, which gradually hardens as it grows until it becomes a fleshy embryo, and finally is born as a human babe. Behind this consolidation of the astral into the physical, there is the constant evolutionary urge toward growth and developmental unfolding of the human embryo, continuing later in the child, urging and guiding it in its evolution to manhood.
How is it that the earliest root-races have left no geological record in the rocks? They could not do so, because they were too ethereal to make an impression on the then comparatively more condensed earth when their bodies died and were cast off. The first root-race strictly speaking did not "die" at all, but each "generation" melted into its own progeny in the very beginning; and even in the later parts of the first root-race when fission took place, the parent became as it were a sister to its daughter, thus "melting into" the next generation.
Toward the end of the first root-race and during the beginning of the second root-race, when fission gave place to budding, the process was pretty much the same because "death" had not yet come upon the scene, the older generation in almost all cases simply disappearing into its daughter buds, leaving no physical trace or "fossil" behind. Toward the end of the second root-race, however, the bodies had become sufficiently solidified or "individualized" actually to die, so to speak, when their store of vital activity had been exhausted; and in this case, had circumstances been favorable, the relatively solidified bodies of the last second and early third could indeed have left impressions or "fossils."
The bodies of the late third root-race easily could have left fossilized remnants, and there is a possibility that some such fossil remains may ultimately be uncovered; but this is extremely unlikely, having in view the tremendous volcanic, seismic, and cataclysmic events that have occurred secularly and at periodic intervals geologically speaking since the days of the middle and later third root-race. Continents since then have sunken beneath the oceans, and new lands have arisen from beneath the waves in many parts of the globe, and the constant grinding of rocks through volcanic and seismic activities would have tended almost infallibly to break up and ruin any such geologic records of the fossil-remnants that ages ago doubtless existed.
The life-waves follow each other around the planetary chain from globe to globe in serial order, omitting no single globe. It is in this manner that a globe awakens from its obscuration or dormancy, to become anew the scene of the evolutionary cyclical courses of incoming life-waves, each such life-wave comprising its own several or characteristic types or stocks of races, minor races, and family-groups.
The different life-waves which thus succeeded each other throughout all the globes of the planetary chain, are composed of groups of spiritual, intellectual, psychomental, and astral monads, each such group comprising individuals more or less holding the same degree of evolutionary unfolding. The highest classes of these monads we may group under the generalizing term of dhyani-chohans, spiritual beings of the most progressed evolutionary type that belong to our planetary chain; the second general class we may group together under the name of manasaputras, whose predominant characteristic or attribute is intellectual; the third group or class comprise beings of a psychomental character commonly called pitris — a Sanskrit term meaning "fathers"; the lowest of the four general classes we may briefly describe as psycho-vital-astral monads, likewise technically called pitris.
More accurately, there are seven or ten groups or classes of evolving monads pursuing each one its evolutionary journey, distinct from the others, yet all closely interlocked and in a sense interblended. It is these seven (or ten) classes, grouped according to their innate capacities, which form the entirety of the hosts of monads evolving in seven (or ten) hierarchies through the visible and invisible worlds or spheres, these latter in the case of our planetary chain being the seven manifest and the five unmanifest globes of this planetary chain.
Speaking in a more technical manner, of the seven (or ten) classes of monads or pitris — using the word pitris here as a generally descriptive term — the four lower classes of the seven manifest groups are the ones which built the physical and the vital-astral bodies which became in far later ages physical mankind; the three higher classes of these manifest seven supplied man's highest and intermediate principles. These higher and lower classes worked together, and in due course of cycling time, and strictly following lines of karma, built or produced the first, second, third, and fourth root-races. These likewise are the same monadic individuals which compose our own fifth root-race, and will compose the sixth and the seventh root-races.
The chayas or "shadows," mentioned by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, are the astral bodies of the lower pitris (the four lower classes above referred to) and were projected into the physical — which simply means that they solidified or condensed into the physical. Thus the astral-ethereal bodies of these lower pitris finally grew into or, more accurately, finally became the physical bodies, by condensation, of the late second and early third root-races.