I have found that some themes we have been studying are still somewhat obscure in the minds of many here, and elsewhere. I doubt not The particular themes I have in mind are evolution, the imbodying of the monads, and what we humans were on the moon-chain, what the animals were, etc. In the first place I am sure that many students of Theosophy have often asked themselves the following question: Given Nature and her laws and the different classes of the families of monads, could these monads by passing through the lower kingdoms of Nature, unaided, without help from above, gradually through learning, through experience, through evolution, rise higher from kingdom to kingdom, so that the mineral would become the vegetable, and later a beast, the beast a man, the man a god? — following the well-known statement in the Kabbala.
Now without mincing words my answer is Yes. It is possible, and in fact would happen if that were the way Nature worked. But she does not work that way, and I will explain why. Furthermore, such slow, slow, slow evolution through the kingdoms of Nature of the monads upwards would take an incredibly long time. Instead of, for instance, the monad of an elemental becoming a man in six or seven imbodiments of our chain, which is something like 60 billions of years, the monads unaided would take six or seven solar manvantaras merely to pass from one kingdom to the next higher. In other words, theoretically the monads can rise without help from the kingdom above into those higher kingdoms if they take time enough for the process. But it would take a quasi-eternity to do it; but the important thing is that Nature is not working that way. Her law is that all lives for all, which means that every entity, wittingly or unwitting, helps every other entity. It means that every superior kingdom is not only a guide to the kingdom next below itself, but an enormous attraction upwards to itself upon the lower kingdom.
Thus to illustrate: Take the human kingdom: It is the goal of the beast-kingdom, and mark you, in Theosophy we place humans in a kingdom separate from the animals. In the same way the vegetables aspire upwards towards the animal kingdom, and the animal kingdom draws them up. So it is with all kingdoms. But in addition to these things, there is an interchange of — how may I phrase it? — an interchange of help between every two contingent kingdoms: as for instance between the human and the animal, between the dhyan-chohanic and the human, between the second and first dhyan-chohanic, and between the third and the second. In other words what we call in our own human case the descent of the manasaputras and their lighting of the fires of mind in the then mindless humanity, takes place mutatis mutandis, which means with the necessary changes of circumstances and kingdom, between every two adjacent kingdoms. So just as the lower dhyan-chohanic kingdom, the lower manasaputras, inflamed our own minds to become awakened unto thinking for themselves — what we call the descent of the manasaputras — so does the human kingdom inflame the very latent intelligence of the animals. And the animals in their turn are, as it were, manasaputric beings to the kingdom below, by an interchange of life-atoms and by the conjoining bonds of the two kingdoms, where there are creatures who may at one time be called low animals or very high plants.
Now with those points established, let us examine two questions. 1. What were we humans now in this Earth-chain, what were we on the Moon-chain, the parent of this Earth-chain? Remember the moon is just a dead chain, from which all life has fled, except what we may call the life of a corpse, a chemical and quasi-physiological activity of the molecules. What were we present humans on the Moon-chain? We were the animal monads in the moon-men, in the humanity of the moon, or what, if you wish, we could call the animal moon-men, just as here on earth we speak of ourselves as thinking humans and animal humans, referring to different parts of our constitution — facts which you all know. When I say we, I mean we of the higher class of human beings.
Question 2. What were the low class of human beings on earth today, and the lowest class of human beings, the savages today — which according to the anthropologists can scarcely count to more than 10, that is can scarcely have a clear idea of what more than 10 things mean, such as the Veddahs of Ceylon and the Andaman Islanders and some peoples in the South Seas and some of the tribes in Africa, etc., etc. — what were these lower men on the Moon-chain? They were the moon-animals. Then you will immediately say: "Then we are a whole kingdom higher than these others of the human family." No. You have the explanation at the ends of your fingers. The animals of the Moon-chain before the moon's Seventh or last Round took place, according to the process which I have just tried to illustrate a few moments ago, so to speak were manasaputrized by the moon-men, the moon-humanity. So that before those animals reached the moon's Seventh Round, they had thus been enlightened and raised to the human status, but a low human status.
So these lower human beings among us today, those in whom the spark of mind now burns not too brightly, were once animals on the moon, then were manasaputrized into humanity before the moon's Seventh Round ended. Thus then, when these monads at the end of the Seventh moon-round, after the long pralaya, came to our earth, they came already as humanized entities, as humans.
Now what on the Moon-chain were our present animals? They were the lowest animals on the moon, the very lowest, those which had not emanated from out of themselves the powers to allow themselves to be manasaputrized; just as on earth we have insects and flying things and creeping things and the lower forms of life of various kinds; because the animal kingdom contains many classes, from its highest representatives the apes, running through all the grades of the quadrupeds, through the birds and fishes down to the insects, etc.
Similarly now, instead of looking backwards let us look forwards. We humans, that is we higher humans, in the next chain-imbodiment will be the lowest dhyan-chohanic kingdom there. The animal human parts of us, what we call the animal man or the animal monad, will at the end of the Seventh Round on our present chain have become fully humanized or man. And we, what we call ourselves now, will then have become dhyan-chohanized or the lowest class of Dhyan-Chohans. We shall then have Dhyan-Chohans working through humans who themselves again have animal monads. The lower humans on our earth today, at the end of the Seventh Round will form the average or higher men on the next chain. And our present animal monads will then have become humanized and will form the highest type. In other words, no animal can become a man until it has been manasaputrized.
Remember I am not talking of bodies now. I am talking of true evolution, the inner forces and powers which distinguish a thinking man from the relatively unthinking animal. That has not anything to do with bodies. I am talking of monads, of the real man, of the real beasts, of the inner being. And our highest animals at the end of our Seventh Round, provided that they make the grade upward by the last three Rounds, will be humans when this Earth-chain comes to its end and dies. Similarly for other kingdoms in nature at the end of the Seventh Round, if its representatives have succeeded in making the grade upwards, each such kingdom will have gone up a step higher. Those that make the grade among the animals will have become men. The men who make the grade amongst us will become Dhyan-Chohans.
Now then, who were the Dhyan-Chohans who manasaputrized the moon-beings of the Third Root-Race? Our own human ancestors. They were the average or higher men of the moon, moon-men, now to become Dhyan-Chohans, called manasaputras, sons of mind, i. e., Dhyanins, because their function is, so far as we are concerned, to awaken thought, to awaken mind in us. The beast, for instance, has as much latent mind as any man has, but it has not been manasaputrized, awakened, stimulated, lifted, brought into self-conscious activity.
Take the case of a little child, a human child. Why doesn't it think as we do? Why doesn't it write books, why doesn't it speak on Theosophy? Why doesn't it study science? Because it is too young. Of course. But the real answer is because its mind has not yet been emanated from within itself. The parents of the child act as the manasaputras to a certain extent. They teach it, they watch. Little by little the child begins to observe, to take note of things, begins to think, its faculties develop, and before you realize it, the child begins to say nice things, and you are proud of your offspring. What has happened? Simply that its mind has begun to open, to function. But if that child in childhood were carried to a desert island and lived there alone, provided it could live, provided it survived, it would not learn speech. Its mind moves very slowly; it would take note of what is going on around, but it would be in a worse state than a grown savage like the Andaman Islander. It would be little more than a semi-thinking human animal, because its mind would not yet have awakened, opened, developed, emanated, evolved.
For instance, when we see a child grown into a thinking man, we don't say that is a haphazard work of thinking Nature, fortuitous, chance. We say: there is law behind there, something called mind has evolved out of that entity. Something already in there has simply flowered out. In other words evolution or emanation is simply growth. Those three words are practically interchangeable: growth, emanation, evolution: because growth, as a plant from a seed, consists in the unfolding or flowing forth of what that seed contained.
Now H. P. B. in her wonderful work, The Secret Doctrine, divides the monads into 7, and I think even 10 classes. As a matter of fact there are 12. These 7 or 10 or 12 monadic classes in another place she divides into 3 families, 3 divisions. The first and highest are all those monads above the human. An intermediate family or division is the human and all connected with the human — and remember how many varieties of human and sub-human beings there are. The third and lowest class are all the entities below the very lowest entity which by any stretch of fact could be called human, such as the beasts and the vegetables and the minerals and the elementals. She points out that of these 3 divisions the highest are not only the forerunners in coming over from the moon who guided the elementals in the building of our new Earth-chain, but also were the instructors and guides of the next class, or division rather, which came following after. We were this next class which came following after; and they and we thereupon became the guides, the helpers, the instructors, of the lowest class which followed after us, just exactly as we see in Nature among us today.
One thing more about the manasaputras, and it will explain what may seem like a contradiction to you if you have read The Secret Doctrine without care. The manasaputras who as a body were the particular awakeners of us from non-thinking human bodies or quasi-animal bodies into thinking human beings, were the lowest class of the Dhyan-Chohans who were average or higher men on the moon, who had attained dhyan-chohanship at the end of the Seventh Round of the moon. But these, while they enlightened us, speaking now in classes, were themselves guided and helped by the two higher dhyan-chohanic classes, a few representatives of which during the early races of this Fourth Round of our globe came amongst men as gods and demi-gods. and guided them; and these are they who are referred to in the exoteric religions of antiquity under such names as Osiris, Isis, Ahura-Mazda, in other words the gods and god-men of the ancient peoples. They were the Dhyan-Chohans, some of them I should say, of the highest and second classes, who even before the manasaputras came and awakened our mind, were already at their work of teaching. Because mark you: even in the first race of Globe A, the first globe of our chain, beginning with the Second Round, there were already men, that is to say thinking, self-conscious, cogitating, feeling, loving human beings. Those were they who have now become what we now call the Mahatmans, the Masters, their highest chelas, lower chelas, and the leaders of men, simply because they are more highly evolved than the rest of us men. They were men. And these few men, relatively speaking, (by few I don't mean 3 or 4; perhaps a million or two, it is just guess work) even in the first race on Globe A, were taught by the Dhyan-Chohans of the highest and Second Race. The latter helped to awaken those earliest men, awaken them as a parent will awaken the mind of her child, helping to do so, teaching and guiding and instructing and lifting up and showing the path, giving ideals, sounding keynotes of truth.
For instance, we humans, looking before us into the future, shall reach the end of the Seventh Round of our chain. We humans then, those of us who shall have made the grade, will develop into Dhyan-Chohans of the third class, the lowest, the kingdom above the human kingdom — call them the angels if you like — angels of the third or lowest grade. The better name is Dhyan-Chohans, because angel in the Christian teachings is a vague term. The Masters and their highest chelas will then have become Dhyan-Chohans of the second or next to the highest dhyan-chohanic class; and every one of the dhyan-chohanic kingdoms will, each in its turn, have moved up a step, a kingdom. Our animals, those who make the grade, will become men of a low type at the end of the Seventh Round. Which animals will these be? The apes, the monkeys, possibly some of the quadrupeds. The beasts below these — I doubt if any of them will reach to the human stage even at the end of the Seventh Round. They are still too crude, too low, unprepared. But they will become men during the next chain, except the very lowest of our animals who will be the higher animals on the next chain.
Another thought in connexion with these ideas. I stated that I was not speaking of bodies when mentioning evolution, and I have not been. I have been speaking of monads, egos, souls, call them what you will, in other words the consciousness-center within an entity, that which makes him what he is as a conscious being, a thinker, a feeler, one with judgment and discrimination, one who feels love, compassion, pity, sympathy, all these lovely human qualities which are truly human as well as humane.
But now, to speak for a moment about bodies: you will find in my book Theosophy and Modern Science, [Man in Evolution] how hard I tried to show that all evolution is from within outwards, that nothing can evolve or unfold into something greater unless it had not only the power and capacity inside to do so, but had already within itself what is going to come forth. If you turn the spigot, the faucet, the water won't run out of it unless there is water there to run out of it; and no man will manifest or bring forth into his life, into his actions, into his thoughts, what he has not awakened within himself. But, while all evolution is therefore from within, while all growth is from within, yet, as the ages slowly go by, even the physical bodies feel the vibration, the impetus, continually impinging upon them, and feel also the quality of those impulses as unfolding or evolution becomes constantly greater; so that even the physical bodies become more refined and slowly change. Yet there seems to be a law in Nature that no strain of physical bodies can endure after a certain period. For some reason, interesting, fascinating, Nature seems to call forth as it were, and says to any physical body-strain — thus far and no farther. It would seem as if that type of structure could not evolve properly, efficiently. Then those bodies slowly die out, and the monads which gave them life, after their rest in the Devachan or Nirvana come back and find new robes or bodies waiting for them of quite another kind.
There you have the process of evolution on a thumb-nail. That is why the enormous reptiles of the Mesozoic day vanished; and as modern biologists and geologists examine the records of the rocks and fossils, you will find them all expressing their amazement that these strains, these families of creatures, seem to die out suddenly. As I remember, one geologist expressed it by saying it looked as if a pestilence had fallen upon them, and in a short time, geologically speaking, they had gone. Science is utterly unable to explain why, except by guesses, some of them very silly, like the one I read some time ago, that the reason the reptiles died out was because they grew so big they could not carry themselves and died of starvation. That to me is the most grotesque theory I have ever heard. Nature doesn't build up a big body if she cannot get food to make up a big body. It was just guess-work. Far more reasonable was the suggestion I read in a geological book that the reason the reptiles died out was because they were smitten by some universal pest which wiped them out, perhaps a new kind of germ, new to these creatures. Maybe!
Isn't it a blessing that these physical bodies do in time die out!