For years really I have felt I ought to speak about a difficult matter of doctrine, to try to correct at least a few simple errors which some of our very best students have fallen into, I fear; I am not sure, but I have the impression that this is the case It is with regard to the planetary chains, a very technical teaching, but a beautiful teaching, and most suggestive when properly understood, a teaching having a distinct moral value on human life because of the inferences that the student draws from this doctrine of the planetary chains.
Of course there are planetary chains of which we have no physical cognisance whatsoever, because their lowest or fourth globe — following H. P. B.'s septenary enumeration — their fourth respective globes are either above or below our plane of the solar universe. Therefore being outside of the sphere which our eyes can encompass, we do not see these other globes. Nevertheless these higher or lower planetary chains exist. So much for that point.
When the planetary-chain teaching was first given out by H. P. B, shortly before and at the time of and after the printing of her great work The Secret Doctrine, those students who thought they understood the teaching concerning the planetary chains, imagined that the other globes of a planetary chain, such as our own Earth Planetary Chain, were but different phases of each chain's fourth-plane globe, as for instance of our Globe Earth, our Globe D for our Chain — different levels of consciousness, as it were, of our Globe D, reaching from the grossest or our physical plane up to the spiritual. So strongly did this idea sink into the minds of students of those days, and such vogue did it get, that very unwittingly and utterly wrongly, students spoke of the other globes of our Planetary Chain, or of any other planetary chain, as being the principles of our Globe Earth or of some other fourth-plane globe, with respect to its chain, like Venus or Saturn or Mars or Jupiter. This is all wrong. The reason for such mistake was the very striking and close analogy that exists between the globes of a planetary chain and certain aspects of the septenary human constitution little spoken of in those days, but in our day much more clearly understood, to wit, the monads in the human septenary constitution.
For many years over-emphasis has been given to this idea that I have just spoken of, that the other globes of our planetary chain were so to speak the principles of our Globe D, and for that reason I have taken especial pains to change that current of thought; until about a year ago I became suddenly conscious that the swing of thought had gone far too much, far too far, in the other direction; and that our members had lost sight of the very striking and close analogy between the monads in the human constitution and the globes of a planetary chain, and were beginning to look upon the globes of our planetary chain, or of any planetary chain, as almost unrelated individuals, unrelated globes, or at least held together only by delicate and subtil karmic bonds of destiny — a thought which is true enough, but not nearly close enough, or accurate enough.
If you can synthesize these two points of view, the older and this latter, fuse them into a new and more comprehensive conception, you probably will have the real facts. Let me try to illustrate: The monads in the human constitution — and I will use the septenary form that H. P. B. gave to us as it is somewhat easier than the duodenary — may be reckoned thus: the divine, the spiritual, the intellectual, the psychical, the animal, the astral-vital, and the vital-physical; for even the vital-physical human body, temporary and imperfect as it is, is nevertheless the expression of a monad working on this plane, whose seat (since your western minds always want very definite brain-mind locations), whose seat is in the human heart. The heart is likewise the seat of the spiritual monad working through this lower.
The globes of a planetary chain correspond almost term for term to these monads in the human constitution; and as you know, the human constitution being unitary, one, the principles and monads being in coadunition but not in consubstantiality, so likewise we may speak of the globes of a planetary chain as being in coadunition but not in consubstantiality. Yet these other globes are not the other six principles of our Earth. They are fellow-globes, a septenate, of which our Earth is one. But a septenary unitary fact comes in what I have just told you; that the globes correspond in that chain to what the monads are in the human constitution, because each globe is itself the expression of what we may call a globe-monad.
Furthermore, just as the principles in the human constitution are as given from the very first, atman, buddhi, and so forth, down the scale, so the same cosmic principles, paramatman, maha-buddhi, mahat, etc., are the principles of a planetary chain. Thus you see right there there is the same distinction between globes and the principles of a chain, and the monads and the principles of the human constitution, item for item. Furthermore, just as there is in man a hierarch of his constitution, just exactly so in a planetary chain there is a hierarch of the entire planetary chain, the hierarch for all the seven or twelve globes of that chain, our chain as an example. And this hierarch, who really is a kind of person or individual god for the chain, our chain, is the highest spiritual planetary of our chain, or planetary spirit.
Remember that every globe of a chain has its own minor hierarchy of planetaries. You may call them Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, if you like. I am now using the typically Theosophical term, planetaries. But these combined planetaries of the chain simply make the families of the planetaries of the chain, the highest of such planetary being the hierarch of the hierarchy, the king. Furthermore, every such planetary considered as an individual, in some past cosmic age has been a man, or a being corresponding to a man; that is, the monad now a planetary, now blossomed out, evolved forth, into being a planetary, then was passing through the stage where spirit and matter meet, conjoin, and produce man, the midway stage. We in our turn, all of us, if we make the grade, shall some day be planetaries. Furthermore, note that in the human constitution, all the monads of a man's constitution are inseparably linked, which does not mean closely linked, but inseparably (which means cannot be separated, that is torn apart from each other to become strangers unto each other), are inseparably linked for a galactic manvantara; after which evolution will have so parted them through increasing individualization that although they will still be karmically linked, they will no longer be condensed as it were into a relatively closely knit unit, as they are now in a man.
Precisely the same rule holds for a planetary chain; and remember that all that I am saying tonight is but brushing the outskirts, sketching an outline, of much deeper and important teaching that does not belong here.
All the globes of our planetary chain had a common origin, were born together so to speak, just as the monads in a man's constitution have a common origin and were born together so to speak. When they were thus born in past cosmic time they were much more closely in union, united, than now they are, evolution of each globe through the ages bringing about a stronger individualization of each globe, and for this reason we speak of these as being in coadunition; so that as the ages pass, they will have the tendency to separate, still remaining connected by spiritual and magnetic and all other kinds of bonds. The separation, as stated, comes through constantly increasing individualization. But as each globe becomes more strongly individualized, the constellation as it were of globes in a chain separates farther apart. Thus a child born in a family finds the time come some day when it leaves the family and enters the world to carve its own way, or to follow in the footsteps of the father, no longer as a child but as an individual, as a man "on his own," to use the slang expression.
Furthermore, every globe in a planetary chain, ours for instance, has its own septenary constitution. The Master in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, outlines what these principles are for our Earth-Globe, but the Master there gives only the septenate for the physical globe. You remember, every principle in a constitution is itself septenary, so that there is even an atman of the physical so to speak. Therefore, every globe not only has its own septenary principles, each principle a septenate itself; but you see this means that every globe therefore is a fully equipped entity with divinity at its heart and manifesting in a gross physical vehicle, veil, frame, body, exactly as a man does. You know that even an atom in your body is a septenary entity. Its heart is divinity. Why should not a globe of a chain be exactly the same? It is. At the present time the globes of a planetary chain, ours for instance, are sufficiently conjoined or coadunated so that they move through space more or less together as a constellation, as it were; so that while they are not inside of each other, the more ethereal inside the more material — that is not so — while they are scattered about in space, but closely together; nevertheless they form a constellation as it were, if you take the twelve of them, or even the seven; and they pursue the same orbit about the sun that the earth does, not because the earth follows this orbit — it is only one of seven or twelve — but it happens to be the orbit that these seven, these twelve, all follow; so that when we move about the sun, we do so, and all the other globes do so, more or less as a constellation, each globe moving and rotating. Follow your thought now: so that actually every globe from this standpoint can be called a planet. It is in itself not only a septenary entity, but if you were on Globe E for instance, or F or G or A or B or C, you would not see the other globes around you. To you it would be an earth, following its orbit around the sun, as does each of the other globes. Therefore the globes from this standpoint can truly be called planets.
What has been said with regard to our earth applies equally well to all the other planetary chains, visible or invisible, of our Solar System. And there are scores of planetary chains. Our modern science knows of only a few planets — I think the total number at present is nine, including Pluto, and about these I have not the time nor is it the place to go into here.
I am debating now in my mind, and also trying to find words in which to speak of something else. These things are not easy to speak of. The teaching is difficult indeed, because it is so utterly apart from anything that our brain-mind knows. What I have said about planetary chains applies equally well to the Solar Chain, or indeed to any stellar chain, the chain of any star. Furthermore, remember that every planetary chain is headed by its hierarch, which is the chiefest planetary spirit of that chain, the highest; and therefore that planetary spirit is for its chain what we in the West I suppose would call a "personal god." Now this teaching is a very ancient one, and in its popularization a very exoteric one. It has been known since immemorial time, and was the basis of what the ancients called astrolatry or star-worship. They did not worship the physical globe, they worshiped the life, the light, the intellect, the manifestation of order and beauty and harmony, for which the planet was the symbol and expression. They worshiped, in other words, the regent of the planetary chain. And furthermore, just as a chain has its own chief planetary or hierarch, so every globe has its own subordinate smaller hierarchy of planetaries with its hierarch or chief minor planetary, our Earth as an example; only these are globe-planetaries — at least those on our Earth are. Nevertheless, they are higher than we men, spiritually and intellectually.
Thus you see, "to come back to our sheep" as the French say, we must not look upon a planetary chain as an indissoluble single body or globe, of which what we call the other globes are merely finer planes. In other words, the other globes are not merely finer planes of our own Globe-Earth that we know. Our own globe that we know is only one of seven or twelve, and in some ways the least important of all, because the lowest. Nor should we again on the other hand look upon the planetary chain as composed of a number of globes, whether we reckon on the seven or twelve, which are merely held together in a kind of feeble union, unconnected in origin with each other, which is quite wrong, because they are very closely connected in origin with each other, and they shall be connected thus closely until the end of the Galactic Manvantara; and then when the new Galactic Manvantara opens, they will still be connected, but much less so than at present, obviously, because of what I pointed out a little while ago: that age, evolutionary progress, gives to each globe an increasing increment of individuality. It becomes more independent in spirit, as it were, just as we find among men. It is a very curious paradox that the lowest things are the most closely united, the least individualized, as we see in the unism of the rocks. As we follow the ladder of life upwards, we find that the component parts slowly seem to separate and become more individualized, until we reach men. And here, strangely enough, although it is among men that the sense of disunion is very strong, it is likewise among men that begins to come to birth again, in men's souls, the feeling of their oneness, the ekatwa or ekatd in Sanskrit, their oneness with the Divine. Isn't that a marvelous paradox? Unism at the lowest, but unconscious unism as in the rocks, and in the atoms. Unity in the highest, but self-conscious unity with the Divine.
Try then to understand, to fuse these two thoughts together. The globes of a planetary chain are in coadunition, but not in consubstantiality, which means that they are karmically united as a unitary group at the present time, closely so, but are not consubstantial. That is, the stuff of which the individual globes are builded differs from one to the other.
And now, finally, do not for an instant take the metaphorical symbol used by H. P. B. of the necklace of globes as being a graph, a photograph, as it were, of the actual positions of the globes in space, for that is all wrong. The globes are scattered about the heart of the chain as it were from the central pillar of light, so to speak. And you could write a metaphorical graph of the seven globes, no longer what H. P. Blavatsky on page 92 of her Letters to A. P. Sinnett called a necklace of sausages and protested against it as being a wrong conception; but you could write the way the globes are located towards each other on an ascending line, 12 3 4 5 6 7. That would be just as accurate as the necklace of sausages; but that straight-line graph has not the advantage of suggesting the descent into matter until the bottom is reached and the rise again, which the necklace of globes does. The straight-line way of describing the positions of the globes however has one enormous advantage. It shows that every globe of the seven or twelve is on a different plane; and that no two, despite the graph in The Secret Doctrine, are on exactly the same sub-plane. Those are metaphors, that is, diagrams. They suggest things, and the suggestion you must try to understand; and do not take pictures, those metaphorical suggestions, as photographs of the positions of the globes.
Now it is true, and I have emphasized this point myself, that precisely because the globes are scattered about in space, although each one is on a different plane, there comes a time when they come opposite each other in their evolution. I wonder now if you catch that thought? So that it is possible, for instance, for an observer on Globe E at a certain instant in time to catch a glimpse of Globe C, the reason being that the two globes are for the instant in vibratory synchrony. That instant actually may be a million or tens of millions of years. But the globes are in movement. We are speaking now of super-geologic time; but compared with the life of a planetary chain, it is, relatively speaking, an instant.
It is in exactly the same way, or a very similar way, that H. P. B. tries to describe the outbreak of psychic disturbances in our time, foreseen and foretold by the Masters. Do you remember in some of her earlier writings she points out that the world is entering upon a period when the plane on which we live and the plane on which the kama-rupas of kama-loka mostly are, come close together, the partition becomes thin, and there is an inrush of kama-rupic spooks into our thought-atmosphere, and into our world. It is, as it were, as if two planes came close to each other. I wonder if I make my thought clear. If you get the idea, that is the main thing.