Copyright © 1974 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
In this double progression our World — the only one we can judge by objectivity is no one distinct world, but a compound of two on each planet from which radiate the others from which our world or Earth radiated in her turn. Thus in the Ist Round on planet A, Humanity partakes of Satya and Atala; in the IInd Round — on Planet B it is Tapas-Vitala; IIIrd — Janas-Sutala — IVth Mahar Rasatala, etc. and on the progression of gradations in Races and sub-races it reflects according to ascent and descent, the qualities and attributes physical and spiritual of all and of each of those individually. — The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, pp. 252-3
First of all, the lokas and talas are not something distinct and separate from the entities or beings that inhabit them. As a matter of fact, these spheres or lokas and talas are virtually identic in fundamental essence with the principles and elements of a cosmos, and likewise with the planes of a hierarchy, whether that hierarchy be a solar system, a planetary chain, or a man.
As explained earlier, in the course of the unrolling of the worlds at the beginning of a cosmic manvantara, it is the cosmic elements, or element-principles, which appear first; then, taking a cosmic plane as an illustration, such plane unfolds or expands into its different worlds, and it is precisely these worlds or subplanes which are the loka-tala twins. Hence the terms subplanes, and lokas and talas, can be used more or less interchangeably.
The lokas may be called the principles or energies of a hierarchy and their corresponding talas its elements or substantial or material aspects. All seven lokas and talas are continuously interblending and interworking, and together form the universe with its various subordinate hierarchies. We may speak of a tala as the material aspect of the world where it predominates, just as we may consider a loka to be the spiritual aspect of the world where it is dominant. Every loka is coexistent with and cannot be separated from its corresponding tala on the same plane. By analogy, man's constitution is a hierarchy of its own kind, and therefore as such is a composite entity formed of lokas and talas.
The accompanying diagram sets forth the seven manifested cosmic planes with the twelve globes of a planetary chain as well as the lokas and talas traversed by the life-waves in the different rounds; and on a still smaller scale of magnitude, the sub-sublokas and sub-subtalas in relation to the races of any one globe of the chain, such as our earth. This diagram shows that our present human life-wave, now on globe D, is on the lowest or seventh cosmic plane, or in bhurloka-patala; and that because we are in the fourth round, we are in the fourth world of the loka-tala system, maharloka-rasatala; but since we are also in the fifth root-race of this fourth round, we are in the svarloka-talatala world.
The dual septenary of interacting and interblending lokas and talas may be looked upon, at least from one viewpoint, as the spiritual and the vehicular poles of a universe. In our own solar system, they represent the evolved and evolving worlds or subplanes of every one of the seven cosmic planes, on which are distributed the twelve globes of our planetary chain. Because of the repetitive structure of the solar system, each globe has all the lokas and talas, which we may call its sublokas and subtalas.
Furthermore, it will be noticed that the talas are especially allocated to the arc of descent, that the lokas and talas balance each other in globe D, the turning point of our chain, and that the lokas are especially allocated to the ascending arc. The actual meaning is that the lokas are the luminous arc, or rather that procession of nature and of entities in which spirit predominates; while the talas are the shadowy arc, or that procession of nature and of beings in which matter predominates. This should not be misconstrued to mean that there are no lokas on the descending arc, and no talas on the ascending arc. The point is that the talas are particularly unfolded on the descending arc, and the lokas are relatively recessive there; whereas on the ascending arc the lokas are particularly manifested and the talas relatively recessive. Every loka has its corresponding twin or tala; and each such pair is inseparable, although there are times when either the loka or the tala quality is the more manifest.
What distinguishes each of the twelve globes is the fact that the loka and the tala of the cosmic plane on which the globe is placed are for that globe the dominant or strongest in effect. For instance, we are on the lowest or seventh plane of the solar system. Therefore, our loka and tala are the bhurloka and the patala of the solar system; but as we are in the fourth round, the combined influences of maharloka-rasatala are likewise very strong in us, yet interacting with bhurloka and patala and working through these last as overtone qualities, to use a musical expression.
Now let us take globe B. Following the septenary scale, we will say that globe B is talatala and svarloka combined; but, on account of the globe's being on the tala-side, the descending, material side, talatala is stronger in effect than is the svarloka part of globe B. Or take globe E which has bhuvarloka working and interblending with mahatala, but here the bhuvarloka quality is more pronounced.
We note that the highest cosmic plane is a union of satyaloka and atala. Again the second cosmic plane is a combination of taparloka and vitala working together; like the positive and negative poles in electricity, one cannot separate these. Yet at any period of time, or at any moment of evolution, or on any part of the racial arc, either a loka or a tala is more predominant than is its opposite tala or loka.
Continuing downwards, the third cosmic plane is where janarloka and sutala interblend and work together. On the fourth cosmic plane maharloka and rasatala are jointly predominant — and it is just on and in this fourth plane of the manifest seven planes where the grossest aspects, the greatest density, are found. Next, we have the fifth cosmic plane formed of svarloka and talatala; and then the sixth cosmic plane imbodying bhuvarloka and mahatala; and finally, we reach the bottom of the descent in the seventh or lowest cosmic plane imbodying bhurloka and patala, the lowest loka-tala twin of the hierarchical series.
Therefore we may rightly say that every one of the globes of a planetary chain is the imbodiment of the swabhava of its predominant loka-tala twin. Yet all the other lokas and talas are expressing themselves in each globe likewise. As each globe is sevenfold (and indeed, tenfold and even twelvefold), so the cosmic planes and the lokas and talas are likewise seven-, ten- or twelvefold in characteristic swabhava. To illustrate, the highest globe on the first cosmic plane is satyaloka-atala and, being sevenfold, it includes all the other lokas and talas, but in the satyaloka-atala condition: they are all represented therein in latency, held there in seed, not yet expressed in manifestation.
Following down the diagram we get a picture of a universe expanded, unfolded, in spheres of consciousness, in globes, cosmic planes, otherwise called lokas and talas, until finally we reach globe D, our earth. We call it bhurloka-patala, because it is an expression of the bhurloka-patala characteristics. Likewise the sun that we see is the bhurloka-patala of the solar chain. The visible planet Venus is also the bhurloka-patala of the Venus chain, and so on for all the other planets.
Analogy is the master key — simply because nature is built that way, is consistent with herself, is coherent with her own parts and powers, and therefore what the great contains, the small part of that great must likewise contain. Applying this to the lokas, we may deduce that, whether the universe is divided into seven, ten or twelve parts, every portion of it will have the same number of characteristics. In the septenary scale, each loka and tala manifests its powers in seven different degrees of strength, and therefore we have seven times seven lokas and talas, making in all forty-nine loka-tala twins.
These [lokas and talas] are worlds — to their respective inhabitants as much solid and real as our own is to us. Each of these, nevertheless, has its own nature, laws, senses — which are not our nature, laws or senses. They are not in space and time for us — as we are not in space or time — for them, as the 3-dimens. world suspects the 4-dimensional, so the latter suspects the existence of our lower world. — The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, p. 249
In connection with the evolution of peregrinating entities in and on the seven manifested cosmic planes, and therefore functioning in the different lokas and talas, it is important to remember that the cosmic planes, and coincidentally the lokas and talas, may be looked upon from two different viewpoints: (a) in the evolutionary sense as signifying the progressive and continuous unfolding of powers and faculties; and (b) in the sense of cosmic planes and lokas and talas considered as being the unfoldings of the cosmic structure from the standpoint of densities and corresponding etherealities.
Evolution proceeds from the spiritual through all intermediate planes in what we may call a direct line until we come to the end of the evolutionary arc, as is shown by the paradigm of the globes of a planetary chain; and then when the bottom of the arc is reached, the ascent towards spirit begins, but nevertheless the evolutionary progress is continuously forwards. The evolving life-waves progress steadily around the planetary chain and through the different globes, first on the downward arc, and then, making the turn, they rise along the ascending arc until spirit is again reached — the life-waves continuously unfolding from within themselves all possible powers, faculties, attributes and qualities, which the evolutionary journey involves.
Referring now to the lokas and talas, evolution begins for the classes of monads in the satyaloka-atala and moves straight forwards until the bhurloka-patala, or full flowering of the evolutionary capacity in the monads, is achieved. Yet the densest cosmic plane, and appropriately the densest loka and tala, is the fourth in the series of planes and lokas and talas. Beginning with the fifth plane and its corresponding loka-tala twin, and thereafter proceeding on the rising scale, the density grows proportionately less and the ethereality more pronounced, so that when the evolving monads reach the end of the sevenfold evolutionary journey in the bhurloka-patala, they do so as evolved spiritual monads with the flowering of faculty and attribute, but in the ranges of the bhurloka-patala which are highly ethereal and relatively spiritualized. (1)
To illustrate: when our human life-wave shall have reached the seventh root-race in this round, on this earth, it will be in more ethereal conditions (because in the higher parts of bhurloka-patala) than our life-wave was when in the fourth root-race, corresponding to the maharloka-rasatala of our globe and our racial evolution. Again, when our human life-wave shall have reached the seventh round on the highest or seventh globe — using the sevenfold system — we shall be at the end of all possible evolution in the present chain-manvantara, and shall be in the satyaloka-atala ranges of ethereality. Then the individuals of our life-wave who shall thus have run the race successfully will be ready to take their nirvana as relatively evolved dhyani-chohans — virtually a race of minor buddhas.
In brief, we should keep in mind that evolution proceeds as it were in a straightforward and direct line, from the highest to the lowest, makes the turn and returns to the highest spheres; but that the greatest densities and grossness of world systems, or lokas and talas, are found in the manifested fourth phase — again following the septenary system.
If the monad were to return to the identic state in which it began its peregrinations, this would simply be a returning to the unself-conscious state of the monad or jiva. But this is not the case; we evolve forwards in a steady line, and eventually reach the highest point as self-consciously individualized entities. In other words, in order to have a field of action and of consciousness appropriate and fit for the highly developed and evolved jivas to work in, nature provides these manifested planes; and the return to divinity, which ultimately takes place at the end of a manvantara of whatever magnitude, is a re-entrance not into the former conditions but into the highest planes as evolved self-conscious beings. For instance, we do not come down the chain to the fourth subplane of the bhurloka-patala and then recede upwards through the identic planes until we reach the former planes or conditions, because that would simply be like the English saying: "The king of France and his forty thousand men drew their swords and put them up again." But we go steadily forwards through all the seven planes or subplanes of whatever cosmic plane; and the result of this is that after the downward arc is ended and the rising towards spirituality begins, it is not backwards but forwards — forwards through the planes not yet traversed, but in the higher and more spiritual portions of those planes.
To repeat once again: the fourth plane and the fourth loka-tala twin are the grossest in the series, and the planes which precede and those which follow are more ethereal in both directions from it. Otherwise stated, planes or loka-tala systems become denser and denser until the fourth of each is reached, then rise again into more ethereal planes and loka-tala systems, although evolution proceeds in a 'straight course' steadily forwards in its process of unfolding faculty and power and attribute.
Just here is a significant point. Considering the twelve globes, we see that bhurloka plus patala is a reflection of satyaloka and atala, a shadow of spirit cast 'down' into the waves of the seventh cosmic plane. Also the talas grow more tala-like as we follow them down the scale — more and more tala-istic, so to speak. In a similar manner, each loka on the upward swing is more spiritualized than the one immediately beneath it until we reach the highest, the 'loka of Reality.'
In satyaloka-atala, the highest tala and the highest loka combine into or rejoin the monadic essence of the planetary chain. The differentiation so marked on the lower planes ceases here and, because of this, the two blend into or become one. Contrariwise, in the lowest or globe D of the chain, we have the most evolved tala called patala, uniting with and becoming the alter ego of the most fully expressed loka, bhurloka. The thought is extremely interesting; because we find on the uppermost plane the highest loka and tala melting into virtual identity; and on the lowest or seventh cosmic plane, the lowest loka and tala likewise blending into almost indistinguishable unity — but in a manner opposite to the nondifferentiation found in the highest, for in the lowest loka-tala and in the lowest globe is produced the greatest development of innate substance and force, quality and attribute, characteristic and potentiality.
However, the globes of a chain — otherwise, the lokas and talas forming each globe — do not remain throughout the chain-manvantara on the same cosmic plane to and on which they respectively belong or are situated. For these globes themselves in the course of the ages pass downwards through the cosmic planes until the evolutionary bottom of the arc is reached, and then rise upwards until each globe reaches the spiritual planes again, preparatory to a new chain-manvantara.
Each loka and tala as a twin represents the bipolarity of each world; and it is just this interaction which enables the evolving monads to bring forth what lies latent within them. Actually, as we have seen, the lokas and talas are themselves built of monads of varying degrees of evolution; and it is these less developed monads composing the structural framework of the worlds, or lokas and talas, which provide the living vehicles or bodies, whether cosmic or subcosmic, in which the more advanced monads live, evolve, and carry out the purposes of their karmic destiny.
Hence even a human being can, if he will evolve from within himself the ability to do so, be in sympathetic touch with the spiritual powers which rule our universe; and he does so by placing his center of self-consciousness in the loka-tala corresponding to the inner plane of being in which he desires at the time to be.
The lokas and talas should really be thought of as worlds or spheres of consciousness of varying degrees of ethereality and spirituality. We should not imagine for a moment that a man lives solely in the bhurloka-patala, just because his physical body happens to be in that loka-tala. Let me give an illustration that may perhaps show how two individuals, living on the same cosmic plane, and therefore in the same loka-tala system of that plane, nevertheless have, each one, an inner life in a loka-tala world different from that of the other. A and B, let us say, are friends. They may be sitting in A's study, they may be walking on a street, or they may be in the country resting on a grassy bank. The one man is a musician; the other is a scientist. Now both men are on globe D of our chain and on the seventh cosmic plane and therefore in bhurloka-patala. But, because both belong to our present fifth root-race, they are also under the overtone influence of svarloka-talatala; in addition, because as a life-wave we are in the fourth round, they are subject likewise to the overtone influence of maharloka-rasatala. It is precisely these common coefficients, or these common faculties of consciousness, which enable them to understand each other, to be friends despite the great inner differences of character — of swabhava.
Nevertheless, while these two men are together, the mind and inner consciousness of A, let us say, is in one of the higher loka-tala systems, possibly even temporarily in janarloka-sutala; yet at the same instant, the mind and inner consciousness of the other man may be in its own maharloka-rasatala. Just here is the secret key that the adept frequently employs when he wants to communicate with interior realms. He raises his consciousness out of bhurloka-patala, and puts it into the loka-tala wherein he desires to function.
There is no need whatsoever to boggle over the differences as among planes, lokas and talas, and principles and elements; because when we look at the essence of all these various things we find they are identical, being but different manners of viewing Space in its manifestations.
Man, being a microcosm, repeats by analogy throughout his structure whatever the macrocosm or universe contains. We already have learned that man's seven principles are but another way of looking at the different layers of the auric egg, and that actually these layers correspond closely to the lokas and talas of the universe. These aggregates of layers, or principles and elements, when considered each one as a unity, correspond to the planes of the cosmos.
Neither the layers in the auric egg, nor equivalently the lokas and talas in the cosmos, occupy the same space, although in both macrocosm and microcosm they interpenetrate and are centered around the individual entity. I mean that the more ethereal, and even more so the spiritual, lokas and talas of a cosmos, or the more ethereal and spiritual layers of a man's auric egg, extend outwards and inwards as an aura or atmosphere surrounding the entity; so that while the lowest lokas and talas and the lowest layers of the auric egg are virtually the physical vehicle, either of the cosmos or of man, the higher lokas and talas and the higher layers of the auric egg extend far beyond their physical vehicles. It is just these far-flung auras which keep an entity in constant spiritual and psychovital touch with other entities of its own kind: with other parts of the universe in the case of a cosmos, and with other parts of the world in the case of a man.
In this lies the real meaning of the teaching that the spiritual entity continuously flowing through the laya-center has rays extending far beyond the more material vehicles, which in the lowest vehicle radiate scarcely further than its own circumscribed limits. In other words, the inner realms of man (or of a globe) are the various planes or spheres of the auric egg. This thought is imbodied in the Vishnu-Purana, one of the Brahmanical works:
The sphere of the earth (or Bhur-loka), comprehending its oceans, mountains, and rivers, extends as far as it is illuminated by the rays of the sun and moon; and to the same extent, both in diameter and circumference, the sphere of the sky (Bhuvar-loka) spreads above it (as far upwards as to the planetary sphere, or Swar-loka). The solar orb is situated a hundred thousand leagues from the earth; and that of the moon, an equal distance from the sun. At the same interval above the moon occurs the orbit of all the lunar constellations. The planet Budha (Mercury) is two hundred thousand leagues above the lunar mansions; Sukra (Venus) is at the same distance from Mercury; Angaraka (Mars) is as far above Venus; and the priest of the gods (Brihaspati, or Jupiter), as far from Mars; whilst Saturn (Sani) is two hundred and fifty thousand leagues beyond Jupiter. The sphere of the seven Rishis (Ursa Major) is a hundred thousand leagues above Saturn; and, at a similar height above the seven Rishis, is Dhruva (the pole-star), the pivot or axis of the whole planetary circle. Such, Maitreya, is the elevation of the three spheres (Bhur, Bhuvar, Swar) which form the region of the consequences of works. The region of works is here (or in the land of Bharata).
Above Dhruva, at the distance of ten million leagues, lies the sphere of saints (or Mahar-loka), the inhabitants of which dwell in it throughout a Kalpa (or day of Brahma). At twice that distance is situated Jano-loka, where Sanandana and other pure-minded sons of Brahma reside. At four times the distance between the two last lies the Tapo-loka (the sphere of penance), inhabited by the deities called Vairajas, who are unconsumable by fire. At six times the distance (or twelve Crores — a hundred and twenty millions of leagues) is situated Satya-loka (the sphere of truth), the inhabitants of which never again know death. (2) — II, vii, pp. 225-7
In other words, the field of influence of bhurloka, our earth, reaches little farther than its atmosphere; bhuvarloka has an atmosphere or aura extending to the sun, although actually it is the world or loka next within the earth; and svarloka within bhuvarloka is a world still more ethereal or spiritual, having an aura which reaches even to Dhruva, or the polar star.
We could have no connection with beings outside ourselves, or with other globes or planets or even our sun, unless there were these atmospheric carriers or auric rays, both on our plane and on other planes. Just as a magnet has its field or atmosphere reaching beyond itself, so all these lokas and talas have their respective atmospheres.
Take our earth or our solar system: the highest lokas and talas of either are its points of contact with other spacial units throughout infinity. The more ethereal and more spiritual lokas and talas of our earth keep it in intimate magnetic and all other kinds of contact not only with the other globes of our chain, but likewise with the other planetary chains of our solar system; and the same great law applies to the interwebbing of our solar system with other solar systems of our galaxy.
We see from the foregoing that our spiritual principles are universal, which means that our atma-buddhi links us with the whole universe; similarly, the cosmic atman of our solar system is universal in extent, interwebbing it with the entire galaxy. This wondrous fact is the basis for the statement in Hindu philosophy that the essence of man, his atman, is identical with the paramatman of the universe.
When we succeed in allying ourselves with the higher principles of our constitution and learn to think and feel and act self-consciously therein, we gain self-conscious immortality (3) for the duration of the planetary chain — billions of years; for we then are jivanmuktas. Of course when the planetary chain reaches its end, such liberated monads, not having been able to go higher into still vaster realms of self-conscious cosmic life, must follow nature's law and have their nirvanic period of rest.
In this connection we might well ask ourselves whether the lokas and talas that make up the fabric of the twelvefold sun are identic with those of a planetary chain or of a globe. Or again, do the lokas and talas of our earth derive their essence and energy from the sun, the sun stepping these down, as it were, from the lokas and talas of a galaxy? If this is so, does a man embrace or contain the loka-tala powers of a galaxy?
The answer in brief to each of these questions is yes. Our solar system is a unitary individual, and therefore it has its own lokas and talas on the solar scale. Being and living therein, it is obvious that the lokas and talas of a planetary chain, or of any globe thereof, are fundamentally identic with those of the solar chain, yet preserving their own respective individualities. So too the lokas and talas of our galaxy comprise within their being the minor lokas and talas of any solar system in that galaxy. Hence we see that the lokas and talas of our own solar system are individual worlds, yet contained within the encompassing grander system of the galactic worlds, precisely as the lokas and talas of a planetary chain, or of any of its globes, are encompassed by the greater loka-tala system of the solar chain. It is a case of wheels within wheels. In the same fashion all the life-atoms, on whatever plane, which go to make up the constitution of a man, are individual entities, yet included within the larger human entity.
While the answer to the above questions is in the affirmative, it must be qualified with the statement that each smaller individual world, or loka-tala twin, is surrounded by and suffused with the life-essence of the greater loka-tala system in which it lives. Thus we cannot say that the smaller system is identic with the greater, because the greater and the smaller are each one an individual; nevertheless, so far as fundamental essences go, they are identic on the grand scale. The differences which exist between lokas and talas, whether on the macrocosmic scale, or on that of a planetary chain or globe, pertain to rates or frequencies of vibration.
Therefore even man contains within his constitution, as the very basis of his being, not only the loka-tala powers and substances of our galaxy, but likewise of our solar system as well as of our globe D, earth. More than this, being himself an individual, he combines all these grander loka-tala powers with his own loka-tala powers and substances.
This beautiful fact of nature allows man, by going into the arcana of his own being, to come into identic vibrational relations with all other parts of the universe, and thus feel and know himself to be at one with all that is. Just here is the sublime cause of morals, and the reason why all the great sages and seers of the past have taught that ethics are no merely human convention, but are based on the structure of the universe itself: when a man injures another, in very truth he injures himself.
The "Three-tongued flame" that never dies is the immortal spiritual triad — the Atma-Buddhi and Manas — the fruition of the latter assimilated by the first two after every terrestrial life. The "four wicks" that go out and are extinguished, are the four lower principles, including the body. . . .
Just as milliards of bright sparks dance on the waters of an ocean above which one and the same moon is shining, so our evanescent personalities — the illusive envelopes of the immortal MONAD-EGO — twinkle and dance on the waves of Maya. They last and appear, as the thousands of sparks produced by the moon-beams, only so long as the Queen of the Night radiates her lustre on the running waters of life: the period of a Manvantara; and then they disappear, the beams — symbols of our eternal Spiritual Egos — alone surviving, re-merged in, and being, as they were before, one with the Mother-Source. — — The Secret Doctrine, I, 237
Every mathematical point of Space is a consciousness center, a monad — an 'individual', the final point which cannot be divided any more, the vanishing point. Consider what this thought means. In everything around us — all the materials in a building, the substance of all our bodies, the atoms, molecules, electrons, all so-called mathematical points, whether of the air, the world, the surrounding space of inner planes, upper and lower — the same rule applies, for Space is a vast congeries of points of consciousness.
We are surrounded by very material things, by every kind of entity; for instance, in our own world by chemical composites: stone and wood, water and plants and flesh, and what not. All these are formed of monads, ultimately. If we press the search ever farther and deeper inwards, as far as we can go, we realize we shall never reach an end; yet the mind at last obtains a point of support which it calls a mathematical center, the core of the core of an entity — and that is the monad, a spiritual individual with divinity at its heart. In this connection the ancients spoke of the Waters of Space, each droplet or monad emanating from the environing Ocean of Consciousness and ultimately returning to it. Or, as the Lord Buddha is stated to have said, the "dewdrop slips into the shining Sea" — to emanate from it again at the beginning of some future manvantara. The Monas monadum, signifying the cosmic monad, is simply the aggregated monads of which it is at once the parent and final goal. It in its turn is but a minute monad in a supercosmic entity still more vast.
However deeply the mind plunges into the abysses of thought, it will never reach anything more than an ever-expanding consciousness of itself: the ultimate Self, the god within, the atman. This is the monad. This is the perpetual individual, the spiritual individuality, the indivisible part of us. The heart of the monad, its superior fountain of life and intelligence, is a divine monad, the inner god. But the word monad is used in a general way for a variety of consciousness centers in man. There is the spiritual monad, offspring of the divine monad; there is the human monad, offspring of the spiritual monad; there is the vital-astral monad, offspring of the human monad. All these together form the human constitution. Each such monad, no matter what its grade, is an evolving entity. All that we are as human beings we derive ultimately from the monadic essence which is surrounding the inmost. Our spiritual intelligence, our instincts for noble thinking, for kindly and brotherly action, the impulses to compassion which fill our hearts, the love which so dignifies us, the loftiest intuitions which our nature is capable of — all these are derivative from and rooted in the monad. The spiritual monad, which is the 'heart' of the reincarnating ego, is itself rooted in the divine monad or inner god, the deathless part of us. Without the influence or rays from the monad streaming into our human consciousness, we should be merely human beasts. The monad would be there, though inactive, and we should indeed be humans, but spiritually darkened and unawakened.
Now the soul, which is an aggregate entity just as a monad itself really is, is simply the clothing or the psychomental veil of a monad which is passing through that particular phase of its everlasting peregrinations through periodic time and hierarchical space. This monad's expression on any plane is a soul. The soul, in turn, works through its own vehicle, whether an ethereal or a physical one. Mystically, the physical body itself may be called an aggregated monad of the physical plane, because it is formed of mathematical points, little lives or monads of which the soul is the Monad of monads of this particular bodily hierarchy; while the monad above the soul is again its supermonad or Monas monadum.
This is a wonderful mystery: the universal nature of consciousness. It shows the fallacy of having our ideas crystalized, of keeping them pigeonholed. In matters of consciousness one cannot do this. We must keep our ideas fluid like ether — indeed, like consciousness itself! The consciousness of a man, for instance, is all over his body, yet has its different foci or points of special activity in the bodily organs. (It is possible for one's consciousness to be localized in an organ, or even in a point, in the body; but it requires the expenditure of great energy to do this.) By analogy, we see how the consciousness of the cosmic monad is universal, and how we are all in it throughout eternity, constantly increasing and expanding our consciousness in it, which really means evolving our conscious selves.
The universe expresses its inner powers, faculties and structure by means of alternating periods of world-manifestation and world-rest. At the beginning of each manvantara, it begins unfolding what is within; and when that manvantara finally ends, all the monads of the different hierarchies and classes in the universe have, each one, gone up a step on the endless ladder of cosmic life. Thus, considered as an individual, there is no beginning and no end of a universe, except insofar as the stages of its expanding growth are concerned, the periods of manifestation and pralaya — just as a human incarnation has a definite beginning and a definite ending at what we call birth and death; but the inner spiritual consciousness streams onwards and forwards forever.
One thing a human being cannot ever do is to annihilate himself, because, as an individual droplet of the cosmic Sea, he is an individual monad continually pouring forth, somewhat like an artesian well, ever-enlarging streams of consciousness from within.
A monad begins its evolutionary course in any one of these great manvantaras at the bottom. It cannot begin elsewhere, because one cannot climb a ladder by starting at the top and going downwards. So it is with monads: they enter upon the manvantara at the beginning of things. They do so as bare monads, and gradually unfold around themselves sheaths of consciousness, each one appropriate to the sphere through which it is at the time passing, these sheaths being composed of still less evolved monads trailing after the chief monad — children monads to which it had given birth in past manvantaras. But the core of each such monad beginning its new mahamanvantaric evolution is a monad that came from the previous mahamanvantara.
Thus the monads at the beginning of the manvantara enter the three elemental kingdoms, and proceed on up the scale to the gods. But whence come the three elemental kingdoms? From the monads at the heart of every such elemental. Every being — god, demigod, man, subhuman entities of all classes — each one is essentially a monad passing through that particular phase of its evolution. All impulses originate in the monad. All substances flow forth from the heart of the monad. All consciousness resides in the core of the monad, all thoughts in their ultimate origin spring forth from the flow of consciousness arising in its fountainhead.
All these entities, from the elementals on up to the gods, and so on forever, are vehicles expressing different phases of the long, long evolutionary journey of the monads through space and time. A god is as much such a vehicle as is a man, only far greater in spiritual quality. Similarly an elemental is a vehicle of a monad. Can we ever reach an ultimate, an absolute ending, by going deeper and deeper into the heart of the heart of the monad? Never; for its root is Infinity.
Certain monads by the end of the previous mahamanvantara had already evolved so far that at the beginning of the new mahamanvantara they have little to learn in its opening stages, and therefore pass very rapidly through these lower stages. But their children monads, rays from themselves, spring into active manifestation at the beginning of such a new mahamanvantara, and in consequence must go through all the lower stages as their new schoolrooms of experience.
The 'graduated' monads are, each one of them, a Monas monadum; and these are the guides and spiritual helpers of the less developed monads, their own children, trailing along behind. This is the essential thought of the doctrine of the Hierarchy of Compassion.
The ancient Hindus spoke of an 'anu,' which means infinitesimal or atomic; hence it is a monad in its lowest ranges of cosmic expression. When we say monad, do we give to it magnitude, volume or bulk? No, because our mind instinctively recognizes it as a point of consciousness, an infinitesimal, whose essence nevertheless is universal since it is a droplet of the universal consciousness. A monad (literally 'one') cannot ever be divided; it is an individual, yet it is all-embracing because its heart is Infinity. The beginning of a circle is likewise its ending; similarly, Infinitude is the ultrainfinitesimal. The spirit or self within us catches and understands this thought, because it contains it; but the brain-mind, with its insistence upon dimensions, will not catch it because it is not evolved enough. Yet even the brain-mind itself is an as yet unexpressed monad.
This is why the ancient Hindu philosophers called anu by the name of Brahman, for Brahman is both the universal and the ultrainfinitesimal. The dewdrop is not different from the shining Sea, and when it returns to the fount from which it came, it has become one with the water of its source. That is what consciousness is and does; this is what body and form are not and do not. We should try to think in terms of consciousness, in terms of understanding. If we conceive of the monad as having physical size we shall never get the essential idea, because we are then giving it limitations which do not belong to it. The phrase "it becomes one with the water" does not signify that the monadic essence producing the dewdrop coalesces with the water. The dewdrop is the physical vehicle of the inner monad and, just as our human bodies do, breaks up into its component particles which are distributed throughout the prithivi-tattwa of nature; but the monad remains the individual, the indivisible center of consciousness, and in good time will gather together again its life-atoms and reproduce the dewdrop that was and now again is — the 'resurrection of the body,' as the Christians would phrase it.
Thus the jivanmukta or freed monad rebecomes at the closing of the manvantara the Brahman from which it originally emanated as a ray, but does not coalesce unto eternity with that Brahman, for at the opening of the cosmic drama of the succeeding manvantara the monad issues forth again, and enters on its new peregrinations in realms higher than those from which it had previously been freed as a jivanmukta.
As one of the "Sacred Slokas" quoted in The Secret Doctrine (II, 80) has it:
"The thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana, re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all things back into action."
The word anu, the smallest imaginable particle of matter, has much the same indefinite meaning that atom has in modern philosophical and scientific thought. Jiva means life, also a living entity. Let us then coin a term for the soul of an anu and call it a jivanu, a 'life-atom,' a life-infinitesimal, the 'soul' of the chemical atom. Superior to it, actually its parent, let us place a paramanu (parama, meaning primordial, first in order). Thus we have anu, the atom; jivanu, the life-atom; paramanu, the supreme atom or atomic monad.
The paramanu or atomic monad lasts through the whole cosmic manvantara without diminution of power or cessation of consciousness. The life-atom or jivanu lasts only for a certain period of time within the cosmic manvantara. Like our physical body, the anu is even more transitory and fugitive. Thus when a life-atom and an anu reach their term, the paramanu or atomic monad has to imbody itself again, take a new life-atom and a new aggregate of infinitesimals making a new anu. (4)
Similarly with man: our monad lasts through the whole cosmic manvantara. Our soul or reincarnating ego, which correspondentially is the human life-atom within us, lasts for the duration of the planetary chain; but our bodies last only for one earth life. Thus we have the analogies: paramanu, jivanu, anu; monad, reimbodying ego, body; or, in the Christian scheme, spirit, soul, body. Every manifested entity everywhere, on inner or on outer planes, here or anywhere in boundless Space, is constructed on identical lines. Its heart, the core of itself, is an individual or a monad, a spirit, a god, which has its soul and its bodies.
When we say that a paramanu lasts through the whole cosmic manvantara without diminution of power or cessation of consciousness, we are considering the paramanu as the monadic essence of an atom; but this does not imply that this atomic monadic essence is as highly unfolded in its innate divine and spiritual faculties and powers as is the monad of a divinity. Both a paramanu and a divine monad are in essence one; yet a paramanu is, as it were, latent or sleeping, in comparison to the divine monad which is fully expressing its transcendent powers and is, in all probability, the monadic essence of some jivanmukta (The Secret Doctrine, I, 610-34).
Another method of classifying the three main divisions of man's being is according to the three classes of the indriyas as given in Hindu philosophies. They are considered to be the organs or channels, or rather the instruments by which the ego expresses itself in and through its sheaths of consciousness: the buddhindriyas, jnanendriyas, and karmendriyas. From the theosophical standpoint, the buddhindriyas, as the word buddhi shows, are what one might call the organs or means of spiritual consciousness, apperception, sense and action; the jnanendriyas are those innate organs and functions of consciousness which pertain to the intellectual, mental, and psychical parts of the human constitution; whereas the karmendriyas fall naturally into place as the astral-vital-physical organs of sensation and of action on our plane, such as the ear, the skin, the eye, the tongue, and the nose.
To understand the esoteric philosophy it is best to forget bodies and to grip the essential consciousness of ourselves. The fatal error of Western thought in all its departments of religion, philosophy and science is that it concentrates on the body-aspects, therefore on the transitory, the ever-changing. We have forgotten that the way by which to understand ultimates is by facing and studying them; and the ultimate of ultimates is the divine Selfhood, essential consciousness.
The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes — too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane — it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "form," from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter — two polar antitheses — as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 175
Everything in the universal cosmos consists of twelve principles or elements; or, if we are thinking of the consciousness side, the hierarchies of consciousness, we look upon them as the twelve classes of monads. In other words, when our universe first came into being and proceeded in its evolutionary stages of unfolding, it unrolled itself into twelve 'folds' or divisions, each being a plane or principle or a class of monads. If instead we use the septenary scheme, we do so only because for the time we are limiting ourselves to the seven manifested spheres from their highest to their lowest; similarly, when we speak of ten, we have in mind the manifested seven with the divine monad, triune in character, hovering above it. When we refer to twelve, we are viewing the whole, high and low, no part or portion omitted.
Each monad of whatever class is, in its origin, a cosmic elemental because born of one of the cosmic elements or principles. Circumgyrating and whirling through the kingdoms of nature and along the pathways of karmic destiny, each such monad brings forth from within itself the locked-up characteristics, faculties and powers which, as they appear, slowly raise the evolutionary status of the evolving monad into an ever-enlarging field of consciousness and activity. Finally the evolving monad becomes a man, destined to become in future ages a full-blown god. (5)
Let us consider for a moment the relation of the different classes of monads in and to the manifested world around us. Those monads — and I am referring now to the evolution of beings progressing forwards — which have unfolded one element or principle are natives or inhabitants of what we call the elements per se. It is customary in occultism to speak of these inhabitants as falling into three elemental kingdoms: the elementals of the spirit of an element; those of the intermediate ranges; and the elementals belonging to the lowest triad of such cosmic element.
Those monads which have unfolded two principles we call in their aggregation the mineral kingdom; those which have unfolded three principles compose the vegetable kingdom, while those which have unfolded four are the animal kingdom. The human kingdom has unfolded, at least to some degree, five principles out of the twelve. We shall not be really complete human beings until the end of the fifth round, when manas, so far as it is possible, will then be fully developed in us. At the present time, being only in the fourth round, and yet in the fifth race on the fourth globe, we are a kind of animal-human, the fourth element or kama manifesting in us almost more strongly than does the fifth or manasic principle.
Those, again, who unfold six elements in themselves are the highest mahatmas, the bodhisattvas; and those fully enlightened by atman — when all six principles or elements have been to some relatively large degree unfolded within themselves — are called Buddhas or Christs, or by some similar descriptive name. Those monads who have unfolded, or who in the future will unfold, seven elements with relative fullness in themselves, are the gods. Similarly, those who unfold ten of the cosmic principles are the cosmic hierarchs, the Silent Watchers, who have nothing more to learn for the remainder of their respective manvantaras. Whereas those who have unfolded all twelve cosmic principles within themselves, and are thus self-conscious on every plane or in every aspect of their being, are those divine entities who manifest as universes — including inner spirit, intermediate ranges, and encompassing cosmic body.
From the foregoing we see why at times it is necessary to speak of seven, ten or twelve, when referring to principles or elements or cosmic planes. But all methods of division are somewhat arbitrary, in that one could with equal truth speak of three-principled creatures or beings, or even of four- or five-principled, etc.
Every monad, high or low, in boundless Space, contains every element that all other monads do; but all have these common principles unfolded in differing degrees and according to classes. Some have unfolded many of their principles; others, only a few; still others, such as human beings, are approaching the midpoint, where the buddhas and the gods stand. When we view the universe in its totality we think of ten, or even of twelve, elements; or, when we consider only the lower or manifest aspect, we speak of seven, which is perhaps the most common because so practical in teaching. This is probably why H.P.B. so strongly emphasized the septenaries in the universe, although she frequently pointed to other principles or elements, superior to the manifest seven, as belonging to divine or superdivine ranges.
The Secret Doctrine treats of the different classes of monads — and the hierarchical stages and evolutionary grades which they occupy in the cosmic life and structure — from a very mystical standpoint, by distributing the seven monadic classes in and through the twelve zodiacal divisions.
It is obvious that the number twelve can be divided into two groups of six. Now this manner of distributing the manifest seven over and into the twelve is as follows: the lower hexad is left undisturbed, and the lowest of the six individuals of the upper group forms the link uniting the lower with the upper hexad. Thus the lower six plus the lowest individual of the upper six make the manifested septenary, whether applied to cosmic planes, to classes of monads, or to lokas and talas. Furthermore, this lowest of the upper six includes all the other and superior five members of the upper hexad, thus giving us again the number twelve.
Another similar scheme is that of the ten, divided into the lower septenary and the highest triad, the latter hovering over the septenary, as it were, yet strictly to be considered as inspiring, because residing in, the uppermost unit of the lower septenary.
These seven classes of monads, which imbody in themselves the supernal five classes, are so interestingly, even if somewhat vaguely, described in The Secret Doctrine, (6) that I quote here the following pertinent passages:
The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; the seven of the manifesting scale being connected, moreover, with the Seven Planets. All this is subdivided into numberless groups of divine Spiritual, semi-Spiritual, and ethereal Beings. . . .
The highest group is composed of the divine Flames, so-called, also spoken of as the "Fiery Lions" and the "Lions of Life," whose esotericism is securely hidden in the Zodiacal sign of Leo. It is the nucleole of the superior divine World. . . . They are the formless Fiery Breaths, . . . — I, 213
The second Order of Celestial Beings, those of Fire and Aether (corresponding to Spirit and Soul, or the Atma-Buddhi) whose names are legion, are still formless, but more definitely "substantial." They are the first differentiation in the Secondary Evolution . . . they are the prototypes of the incarnating Jivas or Monads, and are composed of the Fiery Spirit of Life. It is through these that passes, like a pure solar beam, the ray which is furnished by them with its future vehicle, the Divine Soul, Buddhi. These are directly concerned with the Hosts of the higher world of our system. From these twofold Units emanate the threefold. — I, 216
The Third order corresponds to the Atma-Buddhi-Manas: Spirit, Soul and Intellect, and is called the "Triads."
The Fourth are substantial Entities. This is the highest group among the Rupas (Atomic Forms). It is the nursery of the human, conscious, spiritual Souls. They are called the "Imperishable Jivas," and constitute, through the order below their own, the first group of the first septenary host — the great mystery of human conscious and intellectual Being. . . .
The Fifth group is a very mysterious one, as it is connected with the Microcosmic Pentagon, the five-pointed star representing man. — I, 218-19
The fifth group of the celestial Beings is supposed to contain in itself the dual attributes of both the spiritual and physical aspects of the Universe; the two poles, so to say, of Mahat the Universal Intelligence, and the dual nature of man, the spiritual and the physical. Hence its number Five, multiplied and made into ten, connecting it with Makara, the 10th sign of Zodiac.
The sixth and seventh groups partake of the lower qualities of the Quaternary. They are conscious, ethereal Entities, as invisible as Ether, which are shot out like the boughs of a tree from the first central group of the four, and shoot out in their turn numberless side groups, the lower of which are the Nature-Spirits, or Elementals of countless kinds and varieties; from the formless and unsubstantial — the ideal THOUGHTS of their creators — down to the Atomic, though, to human perception, invisible organisms. . . . The Celestial Hierarchy of the present Manvantara will find itself transferred in the next cycle of life into higher, superior worlds, and will make room for a new hierarchy, composed of the elect ones of our mankind. Being is an endless cycle within the one absolute eternity, wherein move numberless inner cycles finite and conditioned. Gods, created as such, would evince no personal merit in being gods. Such a class of beings, perfect only by virtue of the special immaculate nature inherent in them, in the face of suffering and struggling humanity, and even of the lower creation, would be the symbol of an eternal injustice quite Satanic in character, an ever present crime. It is an anomaly and an impossibility in Nature. Therefore the "Four" and the "Three" have to incarnate as all other beings have. This sixth group, moreover, remains almost inseparable from man, who draws from it all but his highest and lowest principles, or his spirit and body, the five middle human principles being the very essence of those Dhyanis. Alone, the Divine Ray (the Atman) proceeds directly from the One. When asked how that can be? How is it possible to conceive that those "gods," or angels, can be at the same time their own emanations and their personal selves? Is it in the same sense in the material world, where the son is (in one way) his father, being his blood, the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh? To this the teachers answer "Verily it is so." But one has to go deep into the mystery of BEING before one can fully comprehend this truth. — I, 221-2
Taking then these seven classes of beings, we can make an analogy with the seven principles of man or of the cosmos, and again with the seven cosmic planes. Thus the first or highest class of the seven monadic groups corresponds with the atman in man or the paramatman in the cosmos; the second class corresponds with the atman-buddhi in man or the mahabuddhi of the cosmos; and in similar fashion, we find next in serial order the third class of monads corresponding in man with atman-buddhi-manas; the fourth class with atman-buddhi-manas-kama; and so forth, running down the scale until we reach the seventh or lowest class of monads which corresponds with atman-buddhi-manas-kama-prana and the linga-sarira plus the physical body or sthula-sarira.
Now while each one of these seven classes of monads is a group in itself, corresponding by analogy with a cosmic plane, in fact actually forming and being that cosmic plane, nevertheless we notice that every subordinate class of monads contains within itself all superior classes — exactly after the manner in which the universe is unrolled from its highest principle or cosmic plane, downwards through all the series, thus building the structure of the cosmos. Each class of monads, although being itself divided into seven (or twelve) subclasses, as a group can be thought of as a cosmic individual family composed of seven submembers; exactly as a cosmic plane, considered as an individual, is itself divisible into a like number of subordinate planes. This fact of the septenary nature of each class of monads provides the immense and amazing variety of the monads existing in any one class.
We likewise observe that, just as in the unrolling of the cosmic planes (in order to form the compound structure of the universe), or in the emanation of man's lower six principles from his atman, each contains within itself all the preceding or superior planes or principles; so in like manner each of the seven classes of monads contains within itself all the preceding or higher classes.
There is in man a representative monad from every one of the seven monadic classes, their union thus putting him in touch or in inseparable common life essence not only with all the seven cosmic planes, but also with the entire septenary of these monadic groups. Yet man is self-conscious in his present evolutionary stage only on this lowest (to us) cosmic plane. This is because the human monad, or his kama-manasic essence, is wakened to self-consciousness on this cosmic plane, and he is functioning self-consciously in its third from the top (or fifth from the bottom) principle or monadic class.
Finally, as said, these seven classes of monads are the inhabitants of the respective seven cosmic planes. Each such plane (taking the highest as an instance in point), because of the subordinately septenary nature of the class of monads appurtenant to it, contains not only the most evolved monads which belong to it by evolutionary development, but likewise undeveloped monads native to that highest plane — because of their karma in the manvantara — in and from which plane they begin their aeons' long evolutionary journey. This is explained by the fact that such highest cosmic plane, or highest class of monads, is itself septenary, with the divine-spiritual at one end and the lowest subordinate class at the other.
The paragraphs cited below from The Secret Doctrine (I, 181) are replete with occult facts, although unfortunately many students have construed them so literally as to miss the major part of H.P.B.'s intent. Having in mind the seven or more classes of peregrinating monads, they then come upon her reference to "a triple evolutionary scheme," and wonder if this is not a contradiction. There is no contradiction of any kind.
It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Upadhis; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections on the field of Cosmic Illusion of ATMA the seventh, the ONE REALITY.
1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with: —
2. The Intellectual, represented by the Manasa-Dhyanis (the Solar Devas, or the Agnishwatta Pitris) the "givers of intelligence and consciousness" to man and: —
3. The Physical, represented by the Chhayas of the lunar Pitris, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the "growth" (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and — owing to the accumulation of experiences — of the finite into the INFINITE, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.
Each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or "Logoi." Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosm of the great Macrocosm; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is.
When we consider the evolution of man through the ages, it is as correct to say that all his seven principles and his various monads evolve as it is to say that his evolution takes place as a "triple evolutionary scheme," to wit, his spirit evolves, his soul evolves, his body evolves. It will be seen that in the above extract H.P.B. was simply dividing the seven monadic classes into three general groups: (a) those monads which are typically spiritual in swabhava and in position on the ladder of life; (b) those which are, by swabhava and evolutionary unfolding, intellectual or typically manasic; and (c) the group which aggregatively are the monads more or less completely sunken in the material or physical realms of nature.
Thus then, the human constitution is divisible into three monadic groups: an upper duad, an intermediate duad, and a lower triad (cf. Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, ch. XLVI). The two highest monadic classes — those farthest advanced in evolutionary growth — form what H.P.B. describes as the spiritual or the monadic, corresponding to the upper duad (atma-buddhi) in the human constitution.
The second group, corresponding to the intermediate duad (manas-kama) in man, comprises the two particularly manasic classes of monads: the typical solar devas or agnishwatta pitris, otherwise the manasa-dhyanis; and the lower solar devas which are the higher lunar pitris. In other words, these latter are agnishwatta pitris of a lower class, albeit of solar characteristics, which were evolving intellectual monads of lower degree on the moon.
Thirdly, the three monadic classes of the lowest group form what H.P.B. calls the physical, and correspond to the lower triad (the vital-astral-physical) in the human constitution. These three classes consist partly of monads typically terrestrial because closely connected by karmic destiny with globe D of our planetary chain, and partly of the monadic life-atoms exuded or emanated from the lowest part of the veils of the lunar pitris, which life-atoms in their aggregate are the 'shadows' or chhayas or astral doubles of the lunar pitris, just as man's linga-sarira is his astral double.
Now when the lunar pitris, during the course of their evolutionary growth as the early 'humans' on this globe D in the present round, clothed themselves in these astral veils — the thickened effusion of their own vitality pouring forth from the auric egg — these chhayas or astral bodies served as the original 'physical' bodies of the 'human' stock in the first root-race. The terrestrial life-atoms collected around these chhayas and thus aided in the consolidating process of the 'human' linga-sarira in those earliest times of human evolution on this globe during this fourth round. Hence our present physical bodies or sthula-sariras are the thickened and concreted chhayas of the lunar pitris.
We see that the three periodical upadhis mentioned above are the three groups of monads corresponding to the spirit, soul and body of man, the union of these three streams in him making him the complex being he now is. While "each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or 'Logoi,' "nevertheless in our system they are "inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point."
From the foregoing the distinction between agnishwatta pitris and lunar pitris should be clearer. The agnishwatta pitris are those monads which in former planetary chains rose from unself-conscious god-sparks into the human status, and passing through the human status attained manasic divinity. On the other hand, the lunar pitris, often called the barhishads, although in essence solar devas precisely like the agnishwatta pitris, had not yet reached the 'human' status on the moon, but they have attained it on our present planetary chain — hence the lunar pitris are now we humans.
For the bulk of mankind this great event took place during the third root-race, when the manasaputras or 'sons of mind' awakened the latent intellectual and psychical faculties in the then relatively unself-conscious human stock of that root-race, it being their karmic obligation so to do. These manasaputras or agnishwattas thereafter continued their evolution in their own realms, while the lunar pitris, being thus stimulated or awakened, pursued their evolutionary course from about the middle of the third root-race onwards as self-conscious thinking individuals.
Every monad, of whatever class, and no matter what may be its state in evolution at any time, is in its essence a non-fully expressed divinity or god. Therefore we, having now in our constitution these different monads, are very composite beings, each one of these monads being itself a learning, growing entity, destined in future ages, if at present below the human status, to become a man; and if above the human, to go still higher.
In the future, and following nature's rule of action, it is we who will at the end of the seventh round become manasaputras or agnishwattas of one of the lower classes of this group; and, when our planetary chain imbodies itself anew, it is we who shall then perform the role of illuminating or awakening those monads which now amongst us have not yet evolved forth the human status, being at present the higher groups of animals.
I have touched upon the manner in which the lunar pitris, during the first root-race on this globe D during this fourth round, exuded or projected their shadows or chhayas, which were nothing more than their astral bodies, the vital-astral and quasi-physical forms in which they were then imbodying themselves. This exuding simply means that the lunar pitris had reached the point in their evolution when their astral vehicles were more or less fully developed, so that they formed actual bodies in and through which the lunar monads worked, exactly as our human monads today live in and work through our present physical bodies. Once this stage in the evolving of the lunar pitris had been reached, and once their chhayas or astral bodies had become concrete enough to manifest in the 'physical' world, from that moment the terrestrial matter and forces of this globe aided in the thickening of these chhayas. This process continued until actual physical bodies were produced, which steadily became grosser and heavier until the middle point of the fourth root-race — the most material point possible in this fourth round. From that time on our bodies have been very slowly but continuously etherealizing themselves, so that we of the fifth root-race have bodies less gross than those of the Atlanteans or fourth root-race. This process of the etherealizing of our sthula-sariras will go on without interruption, so that at the end of the seventh root-race on this globe D during this fourth round, our physical bodies will be closely akin in texture and appearance to the quasi-astral bodies of the first root-race.
When H.P.B. speaks of the astral doubles of the lunar pitris being exuded or projected, she uses this graphic expression for the reason that a man's astral and physical vehicles are more or less doubles or reflections of what the inner man is. Thus, our physical bodies are but the feeble reflections of what we as human egos really are. It is utterly erroneous to consider this phrase astral doubles to mean that the lunar pitris detached from themselves astral forms which, thus separated, evolved into human beings.
Now, how can we relate the above to the statement in The Secret Doctrine (II, 1), that seven groups of humanity appear simultaneously? (7)
As regards the evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine postulates three new propositions, which stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas: it teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral, before the physical body: the former being a model for the latter; and (c) that man, in this Round, preceded every mammalian — the anthropoids included — in the animal kingdom.
This refers to the fact that human evolution opened on this globe D in this fourth round by the simultaneous appearance, on seven different parts of the land surrounding the north pole, of seven embryonic astral 'humanities,' these being the seven classes of lunar pitris. It is from these original humanities, forming the beginnings of the first root-race on this globe in this round, that all the later human races came. These astral humanities had their geographical zones on what H.P.B. calls "the Imperishable Sacred Land," the first continent, surrounding and including the north pole and extending, like the leaves of a lotus, somewhat southwards from the pole in seven different zones. These primordial life centers or simultaneous races were as distinct as the seven globes of the planetary chain are from each other. The esoteric doctrine thus teaches a polygenetic and not a monogenetic origin for mankind. (8)
There are, strictly speaking, ten classes of pitris: three arupa or relatively formless, called the agnishwatta or kumara class who were solar beings; and the other seven, the rupa, or those having form, who were the lunar pitris. Of these seven classes, the three highest were also relatively arupa, while four were distinctly rupa. It is the lunar pitris who, coming to this globe from the preceding globe C of our planetary chain, appeared — when the time for human evolution on this globe began — on the north pole in their seven classes, awakening the sishtas or seeds of the humanities left on this globe D when the preceding round, ages and ages previously, had ended.
It is not quite accurate to speak of these seven astral humanities as seven races, for this word races in this instance could be misleading. I would liefer speak of them as seven embryonic astral mankinds, each one of them being the production of one of the seven classes of the lunar pitris. It was especially the four lowest classes of lunar pitris which gave to these original mankinds their physical form.
Such was the opening of the drama of present human evolution on this fourth globe in this fourth round. From that time onwards, the seven astral humanities began their evolutionary development as the first root-race, and continued it, each on its own zone, until the time came for the appearance of the second root-race. By then the seven original mankinds had mixed and had disappeared as separate individual humanities. The first root-race then merged itself into and became the second root-race. Already in the first root-race, and among the seven astral embryonic humanities of that very early time, seven grades or differences appeared in evolutionary development from the lowest mankind upwards to the highest or seventh, which even then showed the beginnings of self-conscious and thinking man.
Now these seven primordial humanities were much more ethereal at first than was this globe D on which they appeared, although the globe at that time was considerably more ethereal than now. With the exception of the relatively few who had attained a certain degree of self-consciousness, because belonging to the highest class of the lunar pitris, the great majority of these early seven astral mankinds were unself-conscious and therefore 'mindless.' They were the more or less concreted astral bodies projected by the lunar pitris: boneless, skinless, and without internal organs as we know them. They were embryonic men in a state of consciousness which can be likened only to that of a heavy daydream; likewise they had no moral sense, and in consequence there was no sin among them because there was no conscious mind to imagine sin and to do it. Morally, they were as irresponsible as the just-born child, although the analogy is not very close.
To summarize: the seven embryonic mankinds were actually the astral bodies of the seven classes of the lunar pitris, the lunar monads, each class of which was attracted by karma to its own geographical zone. However, it was only the lowest four classes of lunar pitris which formed and shaped, by projecting their own astral shadows or bodies, the then physical bodies of these earliest humanities.
Thus is a man composite — composite of the divine grandeur of a galaxy, the solar splendor of the manasa-dhyanis, as well as the transient energies of the lunar pitris. What a pathway we have before us! As humans we are finite entities; our human stage is but a finite event, a transitory phenomenon in the field of endless Duration; as humans we have not been evolving through eternity. Evolution is one of nature's laws, and evolution per se, considered as an abstract idea, is eternal; but no entity, no thing which exists, is eternal.
In the present cosmic manvantara we humans sprang forth as seeds of life, unself-conscious god-sparks, from some entity which had preceded us in evolution and of which we are the offspring, and in which we move and live and have our being. As we ourselves, along with all other entities, evolve into divinity, we too shall cast forth from our being god-sparks, that is, elementals, which in their turn will begin their long pilgrimage through the succeeding manvantara and finally themselves reach divinity.
Even the gods themselves, by contrast with endless Duration, are no more permanent than we are: a flash of life and they are gone, but to reissue forth in the next cosmic manvantara on a higher plane. We, not as men, but as the monadic essence within us, are the children of Eternity, particles of the Boundless. We began in this cosmic manvantara a new life experience, a new pilgrimage in higher spheres and on higher planes, in a nobler world than that in which the monadic essence manifested in the preceding manvantara.
In order to know all about this present universe, this present hierarchy, we must pass through every part of it from the most spiritual to the most material, and then rise along the ascending arc to rebecome what once we were, plus — and here is the value of evolution — all the assimilated fruitage of the experiences gained: the strengthening of inner fiber, the bringing out of new treasuries within our essential being.
Reincarnation exemplifies the idea. We have our experiences in one life, evolve a few steps along the path, bring out somewhat of what is locked up within us, take our devachanic rest, and then begin a new period of evolution — a new incarnation on earth. Here we see precisely the same law: a man in any one incarnation has not been evolving eternally. He is therein a new event, a new production, with its beginning and its end.
This monadic essence of each one of us is a divine thing, is an eternal producer, an inexhaustible fount of life and intelligence and consciousness, all different facets of the same fundamental consciousness-life-substance.
At the end of the preceding mahamanvantara we finished our evolution there as dhyani-chohans, 'lords of meditation,' gods, and went into our paranirvana, the cosmic rest, and passed aeons in that period, only to reissue forth again as unself-conscious god-sparks in the new stage of life, in the new and higher hierarchy — the child of the preceding hierarchy just as we are children of our own Self.
And such dhyani-chohan, the fruitage of the preceding manvantara, is what we now call our inner god. We are it and yet different from it. We sprang from it as a new seed of individualized life in the beginning of the present mahamanvantara; and it is the destiny of each one of us to become an inner god for some future psychical monad, issuing from the heart of that inner god in the next cosmic manvantara. I am my inner god and yet am its child.
Section 7, Part 1
Main Table of Contents
1. It may not be easy to grasp these involved and paradoxical statements with regard to the fact that evolution, although proceeding as it were in a straightforward line from its beginning to its manvantaric end, and thus working in and through the hierarchical series of lokas and talas, nevertheless, considered as a process, has its grossest and coarsest expression in the middle of such serial progress — in the fourth phase, whether of lokas and talas or of globes.
I have on several occasions pointed out that the fourth in a series, such as the fourth principle in man, is the grossest. On exactly analogical lines of reasoning, the grossest globe of the seven manifested globes is the fourth, our globe D; and again the fourth root-race, the Atlantean, was the most grossly material of our present racial manvantara on this globe during this fourth round. In other words, root-races first, second, and third, ran down a steadily descending arc, the life-wave reaching its culmination of coarse animal materiality in the fourth root-race. Since then we have begun the ascending arc, we of the present fifth root-race thereby experiencing a steady, albeit slow, etherealization and even spiritualization of ourselves as well as of surrounding nature.
As stated above, evolution considered as a process moves steadily forwards, constantly unfolding from within the evolving monads what is latent therein, so that the acme of evolutionary perfection is reached in the seventh stage which, for this evolutionary reason, we call the highest. Yet when we look at this evolutionary course from the standpoint of 'falling into matter,' i.e. from the standpoint of changing densities, we see that the fourth stage is where the grossest and the densest evolutionary episode takes place. Applying this rule to the journeying of the monads through the lokas and talas, we see that we reach the culmination of evolutionary flowering of attribute and faculty in the highest subplanes of the bhurloka-patala, which are really semispiritual — at any rate highly ethereal; yet before we reach this seventh stage we must pass through the coarsest and most grossly 'animal' of the lokas and talas, the maharloka-rasatala. (return to text)
2. The ranges or individual distances of the planets from each other are not to be construed as being astronomical units; the references are mystical not spacial. (return to text)
3. This is what K.H. referred to as "panaeonic immortality" in The Mahatma Letters, pp. 129, 131. (return to text)
4. I am here using these Sanskrit terms in their strictly etymological sense, and hence in a manner somewhat different from that employed in the two Hindu schools of Atomic Philosophy — the Nyaya and the Vaiseshika — which have endowed these words with specific meanings of their own. (return to text)
5. "It would be very misleading to imagine a Monad as a separate Entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower Kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transformations flowering into a human being; in short, that the Monad of a Humboldt dates back to the Monad of an atom of hornblende. Instead of saying a 'Mineral Monad,' the more correct phraseology in physical Science, which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it 'the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the Mineral Kingdom.'" — The Secret Doctrine, I, 178 (return to text)
6. We must remember that H.P.B. was writing for lay readers; and this accounts for the many and various quasi-exoteric facts drawn by her from the literatures of the world. To one who has not studied comparative religion and philosophy, the wealth of material adduced by her in support of her statement that these monads are found mentioned in the different world literatures, makes these passages extremely complicated, and to many minds they read almost like hodgepodge. Thus unless the student hold on like grim death to H.P.B.'s essential train of thought, he finds his mind drawn hither and yon; and this is one reason why these pages have been so badly understood, or passed over by some as almost incomprehensible. (return to text)
7. The author's comments on this question were later published in Studies in Occult Philosophy, pp. 260-2. — ED. (return to text)
8. It does not teach the descent of mankind from a single pair, from an Adam and an Eve. The Hebrew story does not really refer to one man called Adam and one woman called Eve, originally a rib in Adam's body, but is a generalized way of speaking of early mankind — not meaning the first root-race but the middle of the third root-race on this globe in this round. The rib is a reference to the separation of the androgynous humanity of that period into two sexes; and 'rib' is only one translation of the Hebrew word, which signifies a 'side' or a 'part.' This account reminds one of the mystical and quasi-historic narrative given by Plato in his Banquet or Symposium (§ 190), where he spoke of the original mankind as being of globular form, strong and mighty, but wicked in temperament and in ambition; so that Zeus, in order to curb their evil-doing and to diminish their strength, cut these beings into two, much as one would divide an egg with a hair. (return to text)