The Theosophical Forum – September 1943


The matter which I am going to speak to you about tonight I approach with the utmost reluctance. It is thorny and difficult and is so entangled with other teachings that I almost despair of giving even a relatively clear picture of it. I despair, I say, of doing so without betraying the Mysteries more than I have any right to. For the full understanding of what I am this evening going to try to lay before you very simply, as far as I dare, the whole, the last word, is given only to those who have passed their Third Degree. Get that clear.

No wonder H. P. B. passed over it with scarcely more than a mere pointing of the finger. These are matters dealing with the Rounds and Races, and the globes of the planetary chain, and they may seem to you to be very simple and easy, matters which anybody has a right to know. But in fact it is all very difficult. Anybody has a right to know who has proved that right. Any human being who has made himself worthy has a right. But it is not for me, in the position I hold, to judge anybody.

So this evening I will go as far as I dare go. There is a great deal that I shall not even point to; so don't think that what I am going to say tonight covers the whole question. It does not. I will merely try to give you a brief picture, some few hints. That is the best I can do.

Rounds / Races

Now we have here a diagram which should be helpful for our discussion this evening. It is one that I imagined out myself. But remember that diagrams, though helpful, can also be very misleading. They give hints which the mind itself thereafter should pursue; but they are not pictures of what they represent; they are not photographs, they are not paintings. The usual diagram of the seven principles, as given by H. P. B., is merely intended to show that the most high and the most glorious is Atman (at the top of the diagram); and that the principles then "descend" in a decreasing scale of importance, power, and worth. It is not intended to convey the idea that the principles are one on top of another like the layers of a cake. And the only value that this present diagram has is to give the elements or principles in the order of their involved evolution from beginning to end; and to show that the fourth is the critical element or tattwa, the one at which the downward arc stops and the upward begins. That is practically the only value of this diagram, but it is very important to get that one idea clear.

Do you know the diagram of the seven globes as H. P. B. gives them in The Secret Doctrine'? You can consider that that diagram also represents the cosmic elements or tattwas on the four rupa planes of the cosmos; and just as there are two globes represented on the highest rupa plane, two globes on the next counting downwards, two on the next, and one on the lowest, so in like manner may the tattwas be arranged, as you see in the present diagram. Nature is all builded on one plan. And because this is so we can see, as this diagram shows, that any one of the planes of nature, or any one of the elements of nature, which includes the elements of man, whether it be high, as we say, or intermediate, or low, itself consists of seven subordinate or sub-planes.

Roughly the tattwas here enumerated have the following meanings: Adi-tattwa is the primordial or first tattwa; anupapadaka: that which is born from its own essence; akasa might be called "space'; vayu-tattwa, according to the elements of the ancients was called "wind" or "spirit." You may be interested to know that the Latin word "spiritus," our word "spirit," originally meant "wind" among the ancients, and in Greece anemos was "wind," but it originally meant "spirit" also. Tejas-tattwa, the fifth cosmic element, means "fire," the brilliant, the glowing, the burning, the dazzling fire. Apas means "water'; prithivi means "earth." But mind you, these lower four cosmic elements are not the air that we breathe, nor the fire that cooks our food, nor the water that we drink and bathe in, nor the earth upon which we walk. It is the relatively spiritual elements of the universe that are given these names.

Now in this diagram I have attempted, in the enlargement of No. 4, which could equally have been an enlargement of any one of these cosmic tattwas, to correlate them with the human principles; for instance adi-tattwa with atman, man's essential self, the root of all his being, and the source and root of the other six principles. Anupapadaka-tattwa corresponds with buddhi; akasa-tattwa with manas or mind; vayu-tattwa with kama; tejas-tattwa with prana; apas-tattwa with linga-sarira; and prithivi-tattwa with sthula-sarira. Its great value is to show, both in the cosmos and in man, the importance of four as the turning-point, where the bottom is reached and things go swinging up again. As for instance here in these globes: both globes and life-waves begin at the top and gradually sink downwards, so that after round one comes round two, then round three; and then round four which is the very lowest, kama. And then the opposite process begins. When kama has been evolved in the life-waves, you get a balance between spirit and matter. Why is it that from this globe D, during the fourth round where we are now, there should have begun in the fourth root-race the beginning of the rise of the luminous arc? Because spirit and matter are then practically balanced, and for millions of years after that balance had been reached between spirit and matter, spirit continuously evolving forth more and more began to grow a little stronger, and there was a rise, very slow but progressive and continuous. During the Atlantean root-race, the fourth, the one that preceded ours, the bottom point of evolution was reached. Spirit then balanced matter, and from that moment all things which previously had been slowly sinking into matter, stopped, the balance had been reached, equilibrium; and from then onwards things are rising; so that we in our fifth race, as we are, are just a little higher than were the Atlanteans, for we are 9 million years to the good, towards the spiritualizing effect. The pull of spirit is stronger and will grow constantly stronger as our fifth root-race gives place to the sixth, and that to the seventh, and even more so when our life-wave leaves this earth, globe D, and begins to ascend the arc to globes E, F, and G.

I might add here that while human flesh is fourth round stuff, because we are in our fifth root-race during this fourth round, human flesh is somewhat more spiritual than the flesh of beasts is. When we shall have reached our sixth root-race on globe D, human flesh will be still tenderer, because more refined, more etherealized. When we reach the last race of this globe D during this round, the seventh race, human flesh will be still finer. It will be almost translucent, but not quite. It will be cloudy. And as the life-wave rises along the ascending arc, when they reach globe G, the bodies of the inhabitants of globe G will be bodies which will be self-luminous, and by the end of that round they will be bodies of light. From now on, all the globes and all the life-waves which up to the present have shown a tendency to sink into matter, now having reached their balance, will hereafter show a tendency to become more ethereal. The very earth we live on, as the ages pass, will show a tendency to etherealize itself, spiritualize itself; and I may point out that the discoveries in radioactivity, such as that of uranium, and certain other heavy chemical elements so-called, are merely examples of the steady disintegration of the grossest chemical elements known, the heaviest. They would naturally be the first to etherealize.

Now then, how do the human principles, as given here, come into evolutionary activity during the course of their rounds around the seven globes? This is very complicated, simply because there are so many things to think of. We are now, let us suppose for purposes of exposition, at the very beginning of the first round. None of these globes is yet formed. There is just an astral nebula. But the globes are just forming, because of the work of the three elemental kingdoms. We will call globe A the beginning of the manifestation of atman; we will take our human life-wave as an instance of all the other nine life-waves. But what part of atman, which itself is sevenfold (I have tried to show it on the diagram) is manifesting during the beginning of the first round on globe A? It is the sthula-sarira of atman. But here comes in something else. In the atman, the atman-atman comes on quickly, the buddhi-atman comes on quickly, so with all of them down till the bottom is reached, because of the pull of matter, the sinking tendency that I spoke of. So all the sub-principles of atman are gone through, the higher six are very rapidly descended through until we reach the bottom of atman, the body of atman, the sthula-sarira; and that is the first principle of the human life-wave on globe A.

When this has been done, in other words when the seven root-races have been run through globe A, the sthula-sarira of atman remains here; but the surplus of life from atman overflows downwards into globe B, or rather the surplus of lives, because this surplus of lives are the outer life-waves.

What happens on globe B? On globe B all the atman principles are run through till it comes down here to the sthula-sarira of buddhi. In other words all the seven root-races are run through there, and the sthula-sarira, the last and most evolved on this first round, remains; and the surplus of lives from B passes down to C. The same process takes places there, and the surplus of lives passes down to D, and so on through all the globes. We will use seven globes. That is the first round. We may call it, if you please, the atman round. But atman is not fully developed. This is just the first round, and the lowest part of the atman.

What happens during the second round? We will call it the buddhi-round, when buddhi is evolved forth or emanated. The life-wave on globe A specializes, and it runs through all, till it stops at the linga-sarira; and as this is its main point during the second round in globe A, the surplus of life very quickly passes through the previously developed atman-sthula-sarira, gives the buddhi touch to it, and passes down to it, through the second round, to the linga-sarira of buddhi, and then goes on. Next, the surplus of life passes down to globe C, and the linga principle of the buddhi is developed in the life-wave, finishing its evolution in C; and the same thing happens, the surplus of lives passes down to D, and then upwards.

So thus far we have evolved the atman principle during the first round, the buddhi principle very imperfectly during the second round, and from below upwards. The first round brought forth the sthula-sarira of atman; the second round brought forth the linga-sarira of buddhi; the third round will bring forth the prana of manas in exactly the same way. The fourth round will bring forth the kama of kama. The fifth round, next one, will bring forth the manas of prana. Mark you, all through the globes. The sixth round will bring forth the buddhi of the linga-sarira in all the globes and the life-waves; and the seventh round — and isn't this remarkable? — will bring forth the atman of the sthula-sarira.

This means that at the end of the seventh round, take our human life-wave as an example, all the individuals of the human life-wave will be fully developed seven-principled beings, every one of the principles fully developed for our manvantara, our chain during this Day of Brahma.

Why was it that during the third root-race the manasaputras at first refused to imbody and give mind to the undeveloped humans of that time? Because the vehicles were not ready. There were no proper mental vehicles to contain them, to contain the mind of the manasaputras. I wonder if you are any the wiser!

So now the evolution begins with atman and ends with atman. The developmental process is from the bottom going up one stage or sub-stage with each round; so that while we begin with atman, having no proper vehicle to work through in the first round, we reach the seventh round with all the human principles fully developed, and even the body exists in its atman state.

Round one develops the lowest part of atman on all the globes, you have the lowest part right down the scale, what in modern science would be called the elements, the chemical part. Remember it began with atman — spirit. The next round we might call the buddhi round, and that develops the next from the bottom of all of them. Then the third round you might call the manasic round, just as it was in the third root-race on our globe that mind came to man.

When all the seven rounds have been run, when every principle of man has been fully developed in him, he is a god, he has the spirit working in him, the buddhi working in him, he has the mind working in him, he has the desire — and desire in the ascending arc becomes what we call aspiration, desire upwards instead of desire downwards. He has the prana spiritualized to become an actual individualized force in him. For instance, a seventh round man can then call upon his prana if he wants to, to shoot out a bolt of electricity by his will, if he wanted to work a little magic, crush a rock or disintegrate a tree, because his prana then is fully developed and under the power of his mind and his will. Likewise the linga-sarira will no longer be a rather shadowy, half-developed, inchoate body of man that now it is, but it will be a marvelous instrument, attuned to the harmonies of nature, individualized, man himself. It will be like a sounding-board catching every vibration; and his body will be a body of light, actually glittering just like the light of the sun. Why is it that the sun has the body it has? What we see is the sthula-sarira or body, it is a body of light. A man will be that way during the seventh round, a shining globe, and what his inner principles will be of course are beyond description!

And now let me recapitulate the main ideas I have given you. The key-thought is this: there are two lines of evolution, the spiritual and the material, beginning respectively with the summit of the atman and with the elementals, the lowest of the material; and as the rounds progress these two lines approach each other, the former working downward and the latter working upward; they pass each other so to speak in the fourth round, and at the end of the seventh round in a sense their positions are reversed; that is to say that at the end of the seventh round the atmic part is in the highest part of the material or prithivi, having run all down the sevenfold scale; and the material part has reached up as high as it can go into the atmic part of the material again; and this produces fully evolved vehicles. Here is the key-note to the whole process of evolution through the rounds: the evolving of fit vehicles to express the spiritual and intellectual faculties, monads.

Remember also, that the first round is the outlining round, striking the pathways according to past karman for all the succeeding rounds. The very first entities that appear on the scene to build up the globes are the high entities (which I vaguely call the atman in my explanation) from the past incarnation of the chain, commingling immediately with the elementals; and thus we have the highest beginning at the top of the atman, and the elementals beginning at the bottom of the sthula or prithivi, and then, as stated above, through the remaining six rounds they work towards each other, pass each other, if we want to make a picture in our minds, in the fourth round, and then each line continues upwards or downwards respectively as far as each can go.

This means, therefore, that the monads or spiritual entities will have incarnated, or rather imbodied, themselves fully at the end of the seventh round, producing god-men or equivalent beings in the other kingdoms, and the vehicles or sheaths or bodies will have through the seven rounds raised themselves up or evolved or developed as high as they can go to be fit vehicles for these now fully imbodied monads.

Another point: If we take the vehicles for a moment and consider them alone: the fourth round brings out the desire-principle, with both its upper and its lower aspects. Then in the fifth round the vehicles are raised to the manasic plane on their respective positions in the scale of life; in the sixth round the vehicles evolve capacity to transmit buddhi; they become buddhic; and in the seventh or last round, the vehicles have gone upwards as far as they can in delicacy and unfolding power, and are then ready to carry the atmic ray.

But this is only as regards the vehicles on the several planes of man's constitution. As regards the spiritual entities or rays: they lean down to meet the upward rising vehicles all through the rounds, and thus, although they are always transcendent, in other words themselves always on their own planes, because of leaning down they seem to descend, as it were, and approach their rising vehicles until the junction is made in the fourth round, when, taking the human kingdom, man really becomes truly man, child of spirit and child of prithivi or earth — halfway up and halfway down, so to speak. — Address to the Headquarters Lodge, Point Loma, California, April 14, 1940.

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