The Theosophical Forum – January 1936



What were the first men like, and how did they come to earth? (From Amsterdam, Holland)

J. H. Fussell — The question is not clear in respect to the meaning attached to 'earth,' either as to 'Globe' or 'Round.' We however take the question to mean, What were the first men like on this Globe D, and how did they come to our Globe D in this Fourth Round?

In The Secret Doctrine, II, 180, H. P. Blavatsky, speaking of man at the beginning of the Fourth Round on Globe D, states that for reasons given by her, "his frame should be of the most tenuous matter that is compatible with objectivity" (see also op. cit., I, 183, last paragraph).

To answer the question more specifically: The first men on Globe D in this Fourth Round were astral forms, having more or less the present human shape but less refined, and somewhat ape-like in appearance, although they were men, not apes (Op. cit., II, 57, 185, 688). The apes sprang from men in the manner described by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, and, because the apes have had a retarded evolution physically, the apes today resemble their Lemurian and Atlantean progenitors or sires, but only as caricatures, because of the stronger beast-strain in them from the other side of their ancestry.

"How did they — the first men — come to earth," i. e., to Globe D in this Fourth Round? (a) As a life-stream or life-wave from Globe C of the Earth-chain (after an interglobal nirvana) via the circulations of this planetary chain. Obviously there must be pathways or channels by and along which the various life-streams pass from globe to globe, for the Universe is an orderly Universe, hence every part of it is orderly, not helter-skelter, (b) The human life-wave was drawn from Globe C to Globe D 'magnetically,' attracted hither because of previous experience on Globe D. This was in order that the Monads composing the human life-wave might continue their evolution on this Globe from the stage previously attained here during the Third Round, with the added experience gained on Globes E, F, and G of the Third Round and on Globes A, B, and C of this Fourth Round.

Obviously, however, the human life-wave did not come hither from Globe C in any material, physical, or even astral form, but as 'human monads' through and by way of a laya-center.

From another aspect, the first men on Globe D in this Fourth Round were the human Sishtas who had remained on this globe when the human life-wave passed from it to Globe E in the Third Round. It was they who, waiting for the oncoming human life-wave in the Fourth Round, became the first Teachers and Guides of our Fourth Round Humanity on this globe.

The human life-wave reached our Globe D, coming from Globe C as monads, in very much the same manner as the human Monad today reincarnates on Earth. The Sishtas provided the first bodies of our present humanity which became more and more prolific as the pressure of the incoming life-wave became steadily greater.


According to human history numerous civilizations have arisen, reached their zenith, and disappeared. Now, in view of the present continued depression, and the great moral degradation: from the viewpoint of Theosophy, can this civilization survive? — F. B.

G. B. — This question can hardly be answered by a simple affirmative, or negative. To which civilization does the querent refer, Eastern or Western, Northern or Southern? Or again, to which continent? One can but answer in generalities. In the first place, what is the standard that one has set for judging whether a civilization has reached its zenith? Is it spread of empire, strength of army and navy, in short, material wealth and power? That seems to be the standard taken by the querent — a view all too prevalent in the West. For if a man achieves affluence he is regarded as being in the forefront of 'civilization'; if he fails to do so he may even take his life in despair — as the newspapers only too often relate.

Indeed, another standard should be set, and we believe it was voiced by the prophet of old in saying, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." So then, the flower of civilization is in evidence when the leaders of a nation have 'vision,' when the arts and sciences flourish, when great souls are coming into the race and stimulating activity in these fields. Thus then, so long as the people have this 'vision,' civilization will flourish — but when it has receded, woe to the nation!

It may be pointed out, furthermore, that the depression is hardly a 'cause' for the downfall of civilization; it is rather an effect of causes previously set in motion. Yet if it be the means of arousing the people to a greater spirit of brotherhood and a broader and farther-reaching vision, it may truly be said to be a blessing rather than a curse.

In accordance with cyclic law, races are born, have their youth, reach their zenith and then wane: such is the law of Nature and may be studied in every known field of manifestation. But whether or not any sub-race will 'survive' during a period of quiescence depends upon the efforts of the members of that race.

Let us therefore labor, brother, you and me, to bring Vision to the people, and if mayhap ten virtuous men be found 'in Gomorrah' the 'city' will not perish!

A. C. — In other words, Can civilization be saved? One might ask, How much of it is worth saving? You cannot save the essentially transitory and perishable. All that has survival-value will be saved.

The Masters of Wisdom have called this a "transition age." Why not control emotions, fears, and pessimisms, and stand free and watch the transition? The depression and many other evils are but incidental to a changing order — the 'New order of the Ages,' Novus ordo seclorum, as the Great Seal of the U. S. A. says.

In the transitory period there is a life-and-death struggle taking place between the two forces of good and evil, the rising tide and the ebbing or descending one. No one can remain indifferent. It is a matter of supreme importance which side we take. Either we join the forces of Light and spiritual progress, or those of darkness and moral degeneracy. Our choice determines our future.

A transition age is inevitably an age of confusion and those who are the builders of a great, a mighty, and a beautiful future, and whose work takes all their time, attention, and energy, are optimists and are not depressed by depressions.

Our Teachers, the Masters, have laid the foundations on the bed-rock of eternal realities, of eternal Truth. The plans are well made and the process of construction is well begun. Let us get to work and help. It is a great enterprise — this building of the civilization of the future. All of the past and of the present which has survival-value will be saved and will fall naturally into place. These are the spiritual qualities: clean living and high thinking. These are the Dharma of the future, for Dharma means right religion, right science, right philosophy, and the essential moral order and rightful duty of each man.

The nature of this present cyclic transition is expressed in the Bhagavad-Gita, chapter iv, where Krishna, who represents the Logos or solar spiritual energy which now is infilling the world like the coming of spring, says:

I produce myself among creatures . . . whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked and the establishment of righteousness.

This Krishna-Christos spirit has to work through men, and the Masters and their Messengers are the men. They are the wise master-builders, and they work through and by means of organizations. The Theosophical Society was founded by their Messenger and at their request, for the work in this cycle. In so far as it succeeds, civilization will be saved.

Their Messenger, H. P. Blavatsky, in 'The Esoteric Character of the Gospels,' published in Lucifer, in December, 1887, writes:

But if the voice of the Mysteries has become silent for many ages in the West, if Eleusis, Memphis, Antium, Delphi, and Cresa have long ago been made the tombs of a Science once as colossal in the West as it is yet in the East, there are successors now being prepared for them. We are in 1887 and the nineteenth century is close to its death. The twentieth century has strange developments in store for humanity, and may even be the last of its name.

W. E. S. — As W. Q. Judge says in The Ocean of Theosophy, p. 47, in respect to the intermediate principle of man's constitution — the kama-manasic — as reflecting his present stage of development:

This fourth principle is like the sign Libra in the path of the Sun through the Zodiac; when the Sun (who is the real man) reaches that sign he trembles in the balance. Should he go back the worlds would be destroyed; he goes onward, and the whole human race is lifted up to perfection.

True, as we know too well. Life is a great see-saw between what we might nobly do and what we permit our personal selves to gravitate down to. Kama-manas dominates. The left hand denies what the right asserts; we are torn between our intuitive recognition of truth and our struggling desires for the gilded transitory. We mustn't forget, however, that the lowest point of the manvantaric evolutionary cycle has been passed — passed some few billions of years ago at the half-way mark of the rounds on the Moon-chain; and that more particularly, on our present Earth-chain, since the end of the Atlantean Race a distinct change for the better has taken place, so that today, in the middle-point of our Fifth Root-Race of this Fourth Round, the scales are tipped slightly more toward the spiritual as contrasted with the heavily material. The tide of all Nature is upward. The stress of activity in man's constitution is then more toward the manas-kama-manas, so to say, with a growing tendency to become ever more manasic. But, on the other hand, we must not close our eyes to the ignorance — and the evil arising therefrom — which still floods the world, evidenced in the unbridled longing for the sensuous, the craze for psychism, the emotional appeal of the dance of the shadow-world — part and parcel of Atlantean karman, part and parcel of our humanity today. It stares us in the face. It holds the grip of thousands of lives, overpowering them with almost hopeless despair, from which they stupidly think to save themselves by a still further abandonment of control, an almost wanton embrace of those same empty non-essentials of life, which reflect the shifting, the unreal.

The Theosophist is no pessimist; but he faces the facts of life. The moment is critical. We are indeed in the throes of unrest, of disintegration, of chaotic upheaval. But we believe the danger-point will be passed; and out of it all — if we do our duty — a nobler and better civilization will arise. Those who believe in Theosophy know what an important part Theosophy has to play. Their duty is plain: it is to spread the teachings of the ancient Wisdom-Religion — Theosophy: it is to work to change for the better the hearts and minds of men: to give them courage, to give them hope, to give them light — to work to do this vigorously, steadily, kindly, persistently, unreservedly.


Why is psychism wrong when it is used by great Teachers like Jesus Christ?

E. D. W. — It is not really accurate to say in general terms that psychism is wrong, any more than that dynamite is wrong. Just as we protect the public from handling the latter, which is useful in the hands of a constructor, who even then heavily safeguards its use, so we claim the same for the former. The reason for this is imbodied in the Theosophical teaching of the Seven Principles of Man, through any one of which principles he may express his consciousness. Those which are related to the physical plane of everyday life are easily recognised, as for instance the principle of kama, the emotions and desires, or of manas, the mind. All of us are aware how distinctly different are the two forms of the latter — the one which dwells in the plane of sensations and actions, which is called the lower manas, and the other full of higher thoughts and aspirations which belong to a higher mind. Besides these there are other faculties or principles belonging to man which are not so easy to define because they belong to inner planes of consciousness which have not yet been generally evolved. These we speak of as astral and psychic, and they are as much a part of us as the others. We know that when we allow the mind to dwell entirely on the emotional plane we become a prey to those emotions, and the mind becomes confused; but when our thoughts are in the higher consciousness our emotions become aspirations, full of service and unselfish love for others.

The same rule holds good on all the lower planes of consciousness. What the querent refers to as psychic powers are those which are expressed on the astral plane as psychic phenomena. The astral plane is the picture gallery in which are impressed all our words and acts, even our thoughts. We may train our senses to be open to that plane, but once we do we become victims to everything upon it, because the door if forced open cannot easily be re-shut. Astral vision in itself is not wrong; psychic powers are natural possessions, but the plane of our present development is still so material and personal that forced training or attainment of either astral or psychic faculties would make us mediums at the mercy of the forces of those planes.

Those whom we call the great Teachers of the Race were able to use the higher psychic faculties normally because they had trained themselves through many lives by unselfish service to humanity to attain the Spiritual Will and Spiritual Powers. Yet if you were to study carefully the lives of the great Teachers you would discover that they rarely used psychic phenomena, and then only for helpful service. Jesus, as the story is told, refused to use his psychic powers to prevent his crucifixion, and was taunted with the words: "He saved others; himself he cannot save"; and the same may be said of every spiritual Teacher.

H. P. Blavatsky many times openly deplored the necessity of having to use psychic powers, because they tended to cloud men's minds to their higher spiritual possibilities; but she did so in order to break the molds of materialism which blinded men even to the existence of inner realms of consciousness. When humanity shall have reached to heights beyond the lower planes of mere physical existence, then psychic powers will become a normal, sane heritage, just as physical vision is now.

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