The following questions concerning ancient civilizations have been sent to me, and I find the best way to answer them is through the pages of THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM.
Question: in a preface written to Dr Alexander Wilder's series of articles on the Egyptian Dynasties, published in the old Universal Brotherhood Path, occurs the statement that "Egypt is older than India, and America older than either." This preface is signed by Katherine Tingley.
This statement cannot be reconciled, it would seem, with the many statements made by H.P.B., both in The Secret Doctrine and in Isis Unveiled, to the effect that India is older than Egypt and that Egypt owed her civilization to India. For example the following:
"Egypt herself had, in those unknown ages when Menes reigned, received her laws, her social institutions, her arts, and her sciences from pre-Vedic India." — Isis Unveiled, I, 589
"Egypt owes her civilization, her civil institutions, and her arts, to India." — Op. cit., II, 431
"Egypt owes her civilization, commonwealth, and arts — especially the art of building, to pre-Vedic India." — Op. cit., II, 435
Isis Unveiled has several other similar statements, and The Secret Doctrine, II, 417, reads "India and Egypt were two kindred nations, and the Eastern Ethiopians (Egyptians) have come from India, as is now pretty well proved, it is hoped, in Isis Unveiled, II, 569-70 "
I have heard a statement that certain Atlantean stocks, foreseeing the coming catastrophe, when Atlantis began to sink, migrated to new lands, and these lands became the Americas, became Africa, became parts of Asia, and that in time they lost all memory of their homeland and became the stocks of the ancient Americans, the Mayas, the Incas of Peru, and also the archaic Egyptians, and the very earliest Aryans.
Question: Can you throw some light upon the contradictions? Is it possible that Dr Wilder wrote that preface himself, as he wrote the preface to Isis Unveiled, which preface admittedly contains errors?
G. de P. — No, no. The statement therein is from Katherine Tingley and is quite true. America was, strictly speaking, the fifth continent to appear about the time of the sinking of the mainland of the Atlantic continental system. But for ages and ages after the first part of the original Americas had risen above the waters of the ocean, semi-continents, quasi-continents, great islands, of the Atlantean system still endured. And not so very long, geologically speaking, after the Americas had arisen above the waters — not then having their exact present configuration — the first roots of what later became Egypt, "the Gift of the River Nile," appeared; a little later than that, the larger part of what is now called upper Asia.
There is no contradiction at all between the statements, and I have often wondered why a contradiction should apparently be sought for where none exists. Is it not possible to understand that two statements can mean the same thing, but are made because viewing the same thing from two different angles? It is perfectly true that America is older than Egypt, and that Egypt is older than what is now called India.
What is now India was first colonized from the north, but almost contemporaneously from the south: from what was in ancient times, aeons agone, called Lanka, of which now vanished land, what was the northernmost highland is today called Ceylon. Lanka was one of the quasi-continents that I have just spoken of — I mean the ancient Lanka of the wide-flowing Atlantean system. The peoples inhabiting the ancient Lanka, of which Ceylon is the northernmost tip or prolongation, were mythologically spoken of by the Greeks as the "eastern Aethiopians" — not meaning negroes, but Easterners, who were called "Aethiopians" on account of the dark color of their skin — as if the skin had been greatly sunburned.
Thus then, the original part of India had likewise received settlers from the south, coming from the remnant of the ancient Atlantean Lanka, inhabited, if you will remember, by Ravana, the foe of Rama, and by Ravana's armies of "monkeys" and "half-men." The common Sanskrit name for the inhabitants of ancient Lanka was Rakshasas.
Now, preceding the time when the Asiatic Atlantean Lanka was in the hey-day of its prosperity, there existed in what is now called the region of the Atlantic Ocean, a great and extensive and highly civilized range of land which was the continental back-bone throughout the ages of Atlantis. When this Atlantic Atlantean continent finally broke up and disappeared, leaving behind it large and small islands — which last condition existed after the original Asiatic Lanka had also broken up and disappeared — emigrants from these remaining islands of the Atlantic traveled eastward and settled on new land which had been rising out of the ocean to the eastward of these remnants of the Atlantean continent, and these new lands later consolidated — these new islands — and became what is now the district of the Abyssinian highlands and lands somewhat to the north of these.
As time passed, these Atlantean emigrants who had settled upon these new lands to the eastward, followed northwards the continual northward rising of new land — the extension of their shores northwards into the Atlantic Ocean; and this was the earliest Atlantean root-stock of what in later ages became the archaic or primitive Egyptians. Remember that the Egypt of history is the "Gift of the River Nile." The Nile flows northwards, and through the ages it has brought down enormous accumulations of sediment in its waters and has deposited these continually on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean into which the Nile flowed, so that little by little through the ages this shore-deposit of the Nile extended ever more and more into the waters of the Atlantic, as the river kept bringing down, through the passing millennia, ever more and more detritus and earthly material, carried northwards in its waters and derived from the mountains of the hinterland, the back country, Abyssinia, and what is now Nubia and the other countries there. Thus the entire Nile Delta, as the Greeks called it: in other words the Egypt of history, and as it is today, is literally the Gift of the River Nile.
This original Delta was settled anew by further colonists of a later age from the last remnant of Atlantis, which Plato called "Poseidonis," which existed some eleven or twelve thousand years before his time; for Poseidonis then still existed in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Pillars of Hercules; and this Poseidonis at about that time was a large island more or less of the size of Ireland today. These Poseidonians were they who settled anew on the Egypt of the Delta and built the great Pyramid some seventy or eighty thousand years ago. You see, therefore, that these Egyptians of the second important immigration were a much later Atlantean immigration than were the first that I have told you about. Furthermore, the Poseidonians had already become more or less mixed in blood with the Aryans — the new race which had already for several ages been coming down from the plateau of Asia, where, as Atlantean stocks, they had found refuge from the continental agony of Atlantis.
Remember, therefore, that these Aryans coming down from the plateau of Asia belonged to the original Atlantean emigration which I have told you of, which went eastwards to the new lands arising out of the waters of the then Far East.
Once more, still later than the time when Poseidonis sank, which was some twelve thousand or more years ago, Egypt was again invaded and settled by emigrants from what is now southern India who came into Egypt by two routes: over the Indian Ocean to Abyssinia and the countries around that range of land, and thence came down the River Nile into Egypt, conquering and settling the country as they went. The other route was a land-route over what is now the Isthmus of Suez. These last immigrants into Egypt from southern India, the Egyptian records refer to as the "Sons of Horus," the Sun-God, coming out of the East.
Thus you see that Egypt had first a primal or primitive immigration of Atlantean stock before the Egypt of history had as yet been made by the River Nile. Then came a second and much later emigration of a mixed Atlantean stock from Poseidonis into Egypt, which mixed stock settled on the Egypt of history, some eighty, ninety, or one hundred thousand or more years ago. Still later again there came the third immigration into the Egypt of history, it may have been eight or nine thousand years ago or more, these immigrants coming from southern India; and it is this last immigration from India — an immigration of Indian stocks from southern India — who were the "eastern Aethiopians" who mixed with the Atlantean Egyptians and thus produced the composite racial stock which known history, recorded history, knows as having produced the dynasties of Egypt.
Thus America was the oldest continent; Egypt in its beginnings was much earlier than India; then came India; but also southern India at a later time sent her civilization, her arts, her mysteries, the teaching of her great mystical schools, to Egypt. These last south Indian immigrants into Egypt were themselves a mixed people partly of early Aryan stock but of a still stronger infusion of the ancient Atlantean inhabitants of the then already sunken and almost forgotten Atlantean Lanka.
This is a long and I fear a rather labored explanation of what is not a contradiction, but possibly a paradox.
Question: Archaeologists have found no remains of developed civilizations earlier than about 7000 years ago — not long before the beginning of Kali-Yuga.
There is positive evidence from tens of thousands of years before that, of a "primitive" mode of living — stone implements, etc., — and negative evidence of the same — the absence of pottery, metals, buildings, etc.
H. P. Blavatsky says the lack of progress during the immense period of the Stone-Ages was due to the heavy Atlantean karman.
Was humanity really brutal and savage as a whole during the Stone-Ages, or are the appearances deceptive, and did a higher civilization exist during the 900,000 years since the destruction of the continent of Atlantis, though lacking the appurtenances we now consider essential to "civilization'?
G. de P. — Brutality and brutishness walk the streets of our cities; and you will see among us many examples of the so-called Stone-Age man of the archaeologists. There are Stone-Age men today, savage and barbarian tribes, using stones; and there are so-called civilized men also today. Consequently, my answer is, regarding civilizations that have existed during the last 900,000 years most emphatically so, certainly so. During the 900,000 years that this querent speaks of, which is by no means all the time since the downfall of the Atlantean civilization, but even within this smaller period of 900,000 years, there have been great civilizations in various parts of the globe, which were born, which flourished, which brought forth the best that they could achieve in the plenitude of their power, and then decayed; and not a wrack of them remains as a witness today. Our fate will be exactly the same; but while these brilliant civilizations flourished in various parts of the world, there were Stone-Age men then, just as there are today.
There are different kinds of waves of civilization which sweep over the earth, such as that which existed during the times of the Greek and the Roman Empires, when all over the world civilization was fairly low when looked at from a standpoint of merely mechanical achievements, and not so high in that respect as our civilizationis at the present time; but from a nobler standpoint, higher than civilization is at present. The essence of civilization is the bringing forth into manifestation in human life of the spiritual and intellectual faculties and powers of men, whether men have automobiles and flying machines, or not.
When a man thinks and produces the fruits of his thought in noble works, in literature, in the mysteries, in religion, in philosophy, in human kindness, there we find a true civilization. It is a civilization of a higher type than one like our own. Yes, there have been many civilizations in the past more brilliant even than our own at present. We have not reached the fullest expression, the highest point, of our present cycle of growth. But that highest point is not far off, and then our turn will come to decay — unless the Theosophical Movement can arouse generally in the hearts of mankind, some greater longing for spiritual things; unless our spiritual movement arouse in the hearts and minds of men — so that it will carry them over the difficulties of the future — a vision, a vision of Truth, and of Reality; and above everything else, unless it can evoke brotherly kindness, brotherly love.
You will find brutes walking the streets of our great cities today, types and examples of those purely imaginary figures, but nevertheless drawn somewhat after such types in our streets, which imaginary figures, the imaginative archaeologists portray as the "dawn-man," or the "paleolithic man" or the "neolithic man," or the "Stone-Age man."
Not so many thousands of years before Greece attained the remarkable brilliance which characterized its civilization during the Periclean Age: not so many thousands of years before that, there flourished a civilization which would put ours to shame, actually a series of civilizations, and they had their habitat and stage in what is now Persia and Western Afghanistan, and in the lands to the north and east of these, lands which are now barren and desert countries. Brilliant civilizations flourished there. There were also civilizations which once covered with a perfect web of cities and towns what are now the Gobi plains — a howling waste of sands and desolation, but which were then dotted with prosperous cities and towns and villages. The land was highly cultivated. Astronomical observatories and chemical laboratories were as common as they are with us. What remains of them? Naught but legends, dreams of the past, a few scattered archaeological remnants, which are supposed by the degenerate inhabitants of the Shamo desert today to be the dwelling-place of spirits or genii. Many parts of the earth were the seats of once brilliant civilizations of which not even a memory remains today.
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