"The child is father of the man."
"As if our whole vocation were endless initiation."
As a traveler to some unknown height stays to review the long path upwards he has climbed, so let us contemplate the vast stretches of the human pilgrimage to the gods from our infant humanity on this globe in its incipiency to our present day.
We must remember that such a picture, in our opinion the most important and critical in the journey, is only a portion of the whole, for we are only half way through this globe, one of seven. These seven globes we have already traversed three and one half times, and have yet to travel three and one half times more before we are released from our obligations here, and seek rest, peace and liberation in our eternal home.
Now it is a general principle of our philosophy that each time we circle these globes we leave something to the world and gain something for ourselves; and that at each repetition of the round-journey we have to traverse in recapitulation the details of all we have done in the past, and this as a necessary preparation for the present round-journey. Our particular work in this round was to complete a vehicle or soul ready to receive the blessing and endowment of intellect, self-consciousness and spiritual enlightenment, for without these we cannot graduate as gods — our final destiny. We have to learn to become similar to our Father Monad, who from his own high realm sits and surveys, and in a sense conducts all the various changes in this building of the celestial temple for a god.
The objective of this journey of seven rounds is itself sevenfold:
1. A new set of human entities must be evolved, moving from the state of the beast monad to that of perfect humanhood.
2. A vehicle must be evolved by which human entities already human, may complete their destiny which was left imperfect in our ancestral planet, the moon, so that they may graduate as gods.
3. A complete new outfit of psycho-mental apparatuses must be evolved in preparation for the growing need of infant egos to come.
4. Opportunity must be provided so that the reincarnating egos that now exist may proceed towards spiritual monadship.
5. These spiritual monads must themselves benefit in their march towards freedom, and at the same time
6. A pathway must be made by which the material units, life-atoms, in all their composite relationships may progress, step by step, by their association with all the grades of evolving consciousness, out of darkness into light.
7. Through all this, the ends of cosmic nature will be fulfilled.
Why, it may be asked, has it taken us already three and one half rounds to arrive even at the relatively unevolved point we are now at? What have we been doing during all this long past? The answer to the question is told in the past history of evolution as taught by the Theosophical Teachers. First there had to be the gradual preparation of the earth-chain, step by step from pure spiritual consciousness, through a gradual advance in organization, in concretion of matter, and in conscious elaboration of detail until in this round vehicles were evolved ready to receive self-conscious, intelligent entities. This important event, the incarnation of mind-entities, was reserved for this round, and the human race today holds the honorable position midway between the already evolved hierarchy of self-conscious beings above, and the unselfconscious entities below. As a race we might be said to be the feet of self-consciousness and the head of unself-consciousness.
The story of the evolution of these vehicles is the one we wish to enlarge on. It is all a part of man's journey on this globe in this present round, and would seem to be the most important cyclic period in the history of the world.
To understand the remarkable sequences of events in this journey, does it not seem a fundamental principle that in every new venture, in every essay from the unmanifest to the manifest, we have to repeat the selfsame process of our evolution from the subjective to fully evolved objectiveness? Thus in our individual incarnation, we epitomize in a short space of a few months all the complicated changes from the simple "laya center" to the full blown human child. In this small drama there is evidence of all those racial types that we have already passed through, that is, up to the middle of the Fifth Root Race. And we must not forget that these changes are vehicular, the controlling architect, the Monad, remaining in his own realm at all times, directing the changes. The same principle pertains in the globe- and round-evolution, with corresponding changes in length of time-periods in the process, but always with each step a corresponding move upwards, towards the hierarchical perfection.
Our ancestral selves of the First Race are represented as enormous cells, balls of mist, moving about by rolling over and over; 173 feet high like mighty snowballs, or as they have facetiously been described, "pudding bags," naturally with the pudding inside — this inside pudding having its vital septenary attributes, however little manifest at first.
These semi-astral cells had the elementary electro-magnetic attributes of the present-day human cell. They were especially active at the time of their multiplication by cell division or fission, at which time each division assumed the magnitude and general character of the parent, the latter continuing its own life. In their internal activities they showed mineral, vegetable and animal or beast properties, especially in their attractions and repulsions, in their granular dispositions as in a cell, in their metabolism of environmental substance. Inferentially it is conceivable that they were isometric to the ocean mineral composition on the astral plane, just as our blood and other bodily fluids are today. And is it not fair to assume that their connexion with their divine Monads was maintained by something corresponding with the nucleus and nucleoli of our cells which in those far-gone days would represent the mind-part of these snow-mist entities? It is a tempting suggestion that this tiny nucleus evolves into that wonderful organ of union with the inner god which today we call the pineal gland.
This astral race must have existed in our earliest geologic periods, in that part of the earth we call the North Pole. We are told that they were moon-colored, speechless, and whilst mindless, were highly spiritual. They were called the "Sacred Race" and we are told they never "died," but by slow degrees their forms became more concrete and they took on silvery shapes of a more ovoid character, thus slipping imperceptibly into what we call the Second Race.
Some of the activities of this Second Race were very startling. Their method of procreation was similar to that of some of our water animalcula or protozoa of today; that is, they gave off little buds, like the beads of sweat that issue from our skin today, just breaking off small elements of their substance, without any sexual process, and these then grew up into beings similar to their parents. They had no physical organs beyond the protoplasmic, and lived by osmosis (absorption or permeation of outside elements). As said, they were more solid than their ancestral First Race and consequently more shrunken in size but still enormous. We are told they were about 120 feet in height.
They persisted for millions of years in that part of the world now occupied by Greenland, Sweden, and Siberia, a region called by some the Hyperborean continent — the name being derived from the Greek idea "beyond the north wind." From there there was a gradual descent south. Their speech, if it could be called such, was a sort of chant-like series of sounds with vowel dominants.
These ancestral entities gradually changed their shapes, substance, characters and activities, and evolved into the most epochal, the most historic and significant and cyclicly critical of all our ancestral races: the Third Race. In this race everything was speeded up. Commencing as practically shapeless, mindless, sexless entities, they passed through many mutations and reached their climax as complex, fully formed entities, almost identical in general physical characteristics with our own.
They assumed a golden color. From a semi-liquid state they evolved into first a gelatinous consistency and ultimately became semi-cartilaginous, dwarfing in size to 75 feet and 60 feet. Their method of propagation evolved from budding to that of casting forth spores or seeds, and ultimately they became egg-bearing.
Then the sex-instinct evolved from within, producing androgynous characters, viz., where both sex-characters exist, but not manifest until later when hermaphroditic forms were produced, having both male and female qualities in one form. (There are occasionally hermaphroditic children born now — a throw-back to that long past historical event.) Towards the end of the Race their children showed definite male and female forms, these becoming perfected in the Fourth Race.
They lived, we are told, in the middle of the Mesozoic period, according to geologic nomenclature. Now the Mesozoic period lasted 36,800,000 years. By further calculation add 18,400,000 to the 7,360,000, the estimated period of the Tertiary, and to this add 1,600,000, the estimated Quaternary period. This gives us 27,360,000 years. Dr. de Purucker gives the figure as about 25,300,000 years ago; so that our figure seems near enough. This environs them with the coal ferns or forests, the time when there were already fish in the oceans, enormous reptiles on the land, myriads of crustaceans, lobsters, crabs, prawns, and birds in the early stages; but there were no mammals till the middle period of their evolution. Mammals appeared before the coming of mind, probably in the spore-bearing stage of the Race, the mammals being thrown off unconsciously from the main stock. They lived in a vast continent farther south than the Hyperborean, which included what is now enormous areas of the Pacific Ocean, of which the Polynesian Islands, Australia, Malay Archipelago, Ceylon — which was afterwards part of Atlantis — and Madagascar are relics.
It was 18,000,000 years ago that this Third Race acquired, by their contact with divine beings called the Manasaputras, the endowment of mind, self-consciousness and intellect. Contemporaneously, the separation of the sexes occurred, naturally by a slow process. First there were separate examples which must have been taken for sports or monstrosities; then more and more instances occurred, until the two sexes became the rule, and this state was fairly well established by the coming of the Fourth Race.
There were concurrent events which marked the evolution of the Third Race other than those mentioned, previous to the coming of mind, intellect and self-consciousness. During the time that these entities were shaping out, one of their outstanding features was the evolution and organizing of the Cyclopean Eye, a protrusion from the primitive brain, resulting in an external organ of sight, which also acted as a medium of communication with their divine preceptors that watched over them. Being spiritual entities, their means of communication with these exalted Guardians was a sort of instinctive intuition. Also they developed first the vowel chants, these evolving gradually into more definite nature sounds, and finally a sort of primitive language.
But after the great mind-illumination, many things were changed; first and foremost there was a large development of brain, and an expansion of the soft cranium to accommodate it. There was the enormous emergence of cerebral hemispheres, first as vesicles, then as semi-material convolutions which by pressure upwards and outwards swamped by slow degrees the one eye. At the same time there appeared the two optics, first as vesicles, then, by co-operation of certain changes in the skin of the face, the outward production of two eyes, so that for a long time there must have been three eyes: a time spoken of in Greek legends when there were giant Cyclopes. But by slow degrees, with the development of the brain, the "Third Eye" disappeared from the exterior of the cranium. Thus man became endowed with two eyes (intellectual organs), two sexes, and two minds.
After these remarkable changes man settled into his paces and acquired a stable form which with minor changes marked a type that persisted through the next race and is today extant, although there was a gradual dwarfing of size both in height and width. But with this stabilization of form came a natural advance in functional acumen.
The Fourth Race, by common consent now denoted by the name Atlantean, is a race not known to modern science and only casually hinted at in sundry references by ancient historians, but by the grace of the Trustees of the Archaic Lore, described for us as human entities of complete anatomy (though hermaphrodites persisted in the early part) with keen intellects far surpassing the ordinary intelligence today.
These men and women were still enormous beings, twenty to thirty feet tall, with developed bones and hard horny skins, red to brown in color. (2) They occupied a period indicated by modern science as the Tertiary and representing an age somewhere between 8,900,000 and 7,360,000 years.
They passed through many stages of culture, branching out from a primitive language to many races having many languages — the origin of the story of the Tower of Babel. Occupying in human evolution the kamic period, their minds were a low grade of kamic intelligence, materialistic, selfish, cruel, revengeful and at their height they developed a great deal of sorcery and black magic.
But of course there was a corresponding modicum of divine teachers and benevolent adepts. "Many a green isle needs must be in the deep wide sea of misery," as Shelley wrote. It was a time when humanity was evolving its lower mind, its psychic-mental apparatus, and wonderful civilizations developed, enormous edifices rose, profound knowledge and science flowered, producing weird inventions. There are even hints of such things as airplanes, propelled by means suggestive of the Keely motor. (3)
This Fourth Race occupied a large continent, and part of the earth's surface now covered by the Atlantic Ocean; also part of Europe, Africa and the East as far as India, including Ceylon (the old island of Lanka), and part of America. The last Race, our own Fifth, was the child of Atlantis. It had its early civilizations in the region of the Desert of Gobi. Its units gradually dwindled in size to 7 and 5 feet. They were softer in structure, and up to the present time have existed over a period of 1,000,000 years. To know what they really look like study the looking glass!
1. Author of The Evolution of Man's Mind. Dr. Beale who died January, 1943, was a valued contributor to Theosophical periodicals for almost fifty years. — Eds. (return to text)
2. The Mayas and Quiches of ancient America, and perhaps the modern North American Indians may be considered as relics of these ancient Atlanteans. (return to text)
3. See the stories told by William Q. Judge, writing under the pseudonym of Bryan Kinnavan. (return to text)