The actual evidence for the existence in prehistoric and former geologic times, of now sunken continental land-massifs, is simply enormous. Items of proof have been brought together by very clever researchers and writers, not Theosophists alone, but eminent scientists and other investigators; and all in an attempt to solve the mystery: How on earth did the flora and fauna of the land-massifs, as they now exist, ever pass from one to the other over hundreds, maybe thousands, of leagues of rolling, stormy ocean?
An attempt was made during long years to explain the presence of similar and identic flora by means of migrating birds. Birds eat seeds and drop them, and perchance by the time the birds drop the seeds another land is reached, and the seeds take root. Or perhaps things float on the waves of the ocean, and after weeks and months, it may be years, are thrown up on some sandy coast and there take root! But common sense prevailed after a while. It was soon seen that these labored efforts at explaining the similarity if not identity of the vegetation and animals in widely separate continents, required something firmer and more concrete than speculative evidence of that type.
So it was the scientists themselves who, long preceding us Theosophists, began to ponder the existence or the possibility of formerly existing lands where now the oceans roll their stormy waves in the Atlantic and in the Pacific and elsewhere. It was certain scientists who collected data to prove that something like that must have existed during some former period in geologic history, in order to account for these things; and when geology and its discoveries brought further proofs of the existence in these widely separated continents, of flora and fauna in the Old World similar to if not identic with types in the New World, and discovered these in the Eocene, the Miocene, and Pliocene deposits, they said to themselves: Surely there must have been land-connections between the Old World and the New, somewhen, somewhere. Those facts remain still unexplained.
Scientists themselves are already granting, and have granted for fifty or sixty years, the existence in former geologic times, of a great continental land-massif in the Pacific Ocean. Sclater sixty or more years ago called it Lemuria, from a little monkey-like animal called Lemur. Later a similar continental land-massif was imagined and called by some scientists Gondwana-land, if you please, to explain puzzles in distribution of flora and fauna in the Pacific and elsewhere that without these supposed land-connections could not be explained. And they have not yet been explained.
The reluctance of the scientists to accept the evidence of their own eyes is remarkable. They themselves brought the question forward, brought the proper answer forward, and in the case of the Atlantic continental land-massif, it is still, as they say, possible, even probable, but not proved. I don't know why. They have accepted it for the case of the vast Pacific Ocean lying to the west of us here, but not for the other ocean as yet; and yet the proofs are there.
Now then, I think one of the reasons for the reluctance of so many thousands to accept what must be the case, arises in an erroneous idea of what these former geologic land-massifs were. They seem to have got the idea that Atlantis, an immense stretch of land, exactly similar in type to our own present system of ocean and land, all sank in a night; and out of the then existing oceans came the new land, which is now ours. This is an absurdity. It is one of the commonest facts known to all even today, that land is slowly sinking, or rapidly sinking, all over the world; and that other lands not only are with slowness, but with equal regularity, rising. And this process of submergence and emergence through long and short geologic periods is just what took place first in Lemuria and ages and ages later in Atlantis. It took hundreds of thousands of years for the main portions of the great Atlantis-system of continents, big islands, small islands, and seas, even notably to change places — the land sinking, the oceans overwhelming the lands which sank, and other new lands rising to take their places. This has continued through all geologic time, is continuing now, and will continue into the future. Yet there have been cases where islands even fairly large have sunken or risen rapidly, even in our short human view — cataclysms, as in the case of Plato's Poseidonis, an actual event of European pre-history as we now know history, which sank in a day and a night, some eleven or twelve thousand years ago, after fearful earthquakes and tidal waves. Poseidonis was an island the size of Ireland or less, which lay a good distance in the ocean off what is now the Straits of Gibraltar. But that was one of the last island-remnants of the great Atlantic continent, just a headland, as it were, which remained until it finally also sank.
Similarly so with Lemuria, the home, as we Theosophists say, of our Third Root-Race. It was not just one big land. It was a system of continents, great islands, small islands, oceans and seas, just as we have them now. As a matter of fact, there are some remnants of Lemuria still remaining above the waters of the oceans, and also of Atlantis. Talk about scientific proof! Why, the call for such land-connection is so tremendous that it is not for proof of such existence we should ask, but for proof that it has not existed. That is a perfectly justifiable and even a strong argument. I repeat it: even today, and during the Eocene and Miocene and Pliocene ages, the flora and the fauna were and are still so similar in so many respects in widely separated localities or lands, that some land-connexion at some time as among these separated lands is imperatively called for. The only alternate thing to say is that in those now far past geologic ages there must have existed an immensely civilized, powerful body of races of men, who, with mechanical devices equal to, or greater and finer than ours, could transplant the vegetable life and the animal life from continent to continent in proportion with their own migrations and colonizations, and that comes to the same thing.
When we know that land is sinking and land is rising, and has been throughout geologic time, as proven by the geologic record, and that it is going on secularly, progressively, through the millennia, actually through millions of years, what is the answer? Prove to me that Atlantis did not exist. Why, one could talk for a day and a night simply about the almost innumerable data that have been collected by scholars of all kinds along this line. Books, scores of them, have been written on just these themes.
Now then, my other thought is this: The Atlanteans were a great body of races, just as we are today, a great body of races, with different colored skin, different kind of hair, different past histories from ours, but all human or semi-human. Some of them were good. But most of them, when judged by abstract standards of right and wrong, were evil — even more so than we are. And we cannot throw stones! Heaven knows, we are bad enough. But we are an improvement upon our Atlantean progenitors. For there, although there were millions, throughout the millions of years that Atlantis endured, who worshiped the Divine and the Spirit in preference to matter and selfish power, the majority in those days were worshipers of brute power, of strength, of matter, of influence for the self. Selfishness was the dominant keynote in the Atlantean race, just as it is even yet in ours; but in ours we have reached the point where we no longer glorify it, but recognize it and are ashamed of it. It shows that spirituality is entering, although slowly, into our consciousness; and even among crooks, honor and right and reason and justice are the key-words with which to charm the hearts and minds. With the Atlanteans it was power and strength, stuff, substance, wealth. But not so with all. There were millions and millions who in their hearts worshiped the Divine and Right and Justice, and these were the Elect, and from these Elect were formed the Mystery-Schools which have endured to this day, out of which Schools have come all the great religions and philosophies and sciences of human history, for the saving of men from worse things, for the helping of men, for the raising of men, for the softening and refining of men, and therefore of civilization.
Just as the Theosophical Society today came therefrom, so in past ages came the Theosophical Societies of other times, our own lineage. There they originated in far distant Atlantis: those who loved right and honor and justice and truth and reason and pity, more than strength and power and selfish privilege. They were what we call the Sons of the Divine, the Sons of God; and they gathered together, collected together, and formed the first Mystery-Schools in which the Spirit of Truth was worshiped, revered and taught, instead of the spirit of power and dark self-interest. Just think how these thoughts sway human minds. Look even at our world today, and see how a thought of selfish profit or advantage, an egoism, can lead men astray. We have the old Atlantean spirit back amongst us, even yet, and this was what was meant by H. P. Blavatsky in saying that the karman of Atlantis still weighs heavily on us, on our souls, on our minds. We are still under its influence, but we are struggling out of it, out of its embrace.
In this connection a final word: There are certain groups today who in speaking of our blessed god-wisdom, Theosophy, say, "Oh, yes, that is very fine, that is the Eastern Tradition. We follow the Western Tradition." Is it conceivable that any one can so ill apprehend Theosophy as to speak of it in that way? The platform of the Theosophical Society, associate Fellowship in the Theosophical Society, is open to all of whatever race, Eastern or Western, Northern or Southern. Wherever the spirit of man has spoken, enlightened by the god within, there is something fine and good; and one professing it, teaching it, living it, and believing it, no matter what the Tradition is, is entitled to association in the Theosophical Society. But speaking of the Theosophical Society as this Tradition of the East, is the most preposterous nonsense, for it is the parent of them all. It is neither eastern nor western, northern nor southern, it includes them all, for from it, they, all, have come forth. Theosophy is the source of them. It recognizes its children in these various guises. Therefore I call it the Great Reconciler, the Great Harmonizer, the Comforter, the spiritual parent.
How true it is that we even today yearn for truth with all our hearts and souls, and that the mark of a great man, or a great thinker, is service and learning. Do you know that the proudest — what may I say? — not boast — but the proudest thing that we Theosophists can say, is that we are learners, students of our god-wisdom, learning from each other in good fellowship, charitable to each other, seeing good in what the other has to present, looking only for candor, honesty, purity, decency of mind and heart. Let us never lose this. It is our safety, our protection, yes, and our open sesame into human hearts. Let the Atlantean spirit die. Let it molder into the dead bones of the past. Hatred, dislike, enmity, unreason, injustice, are all its products. Smallness and pettiness of mind, are its children.