Moreover, shells of this nature [lost souls] do not remain for any great length of time in the atmosphere of this earth, but like straws floating near a whirlpool get caught up by and dragged down in that terrible Maelstrom, which hurries off the failures towards disintegration, in other words to the planet of matter and death — the mental as well as the physical satellite of our earth. — The Theosophist, Sept. 1882, p. 312
This somber planet is what at different times has been called the Planet of Death, or the Eighth Sphere, or the realm of Mara. As a globe it is slowly dying, and therefore is in its last round. It is almost a corpse, and is properly called, in two ways, the Planet of Death. It is of material so dense, so heavy, that we, with our relatively ethereal bodies and the relatively ethereal physical substance around us, do not perceive it as a material sphere. However, there are rare occasions when, due to a number of converging causes including the materializing influence of the moon, certain individuals may catch a glimpse of it in the moon's neighborhood. The reason that we do not see it is that very gross or material substance is as invisible and as intangible to us as is highly ethereal or spiritual substance, because both planes are different from our physical plane.
Further, this Planet of Death has a retrograde motion of rotation. As a matter of fact, every planet or globe in the solar system, visible or invisible, at different times in its planetary manvantara, slowly changes the position of its axis of rotation, so that the axis has a secular movement of inclination, slowly increasing (or decreasing) through the ages. Thus it is that at one time the axis of our earth is upright — the plane of its equator coinciding with the plane of the ecliptic — and then there is springtime over all the globe throughout the year. At other times the poles of the earth, i.e. of the axis of the earth, are parallel with the plane of the ecliptic, or with the earth's own orbit. This secular movement of inclination continues until what is the north pole points, so to speak, downwards, and the south pole upwards. The poles then have become inverted; and the movement of inclination continues until finally the north pole resumes its former upright position in space when considered in relation to the plane of the ecliptic.
An inversion of the poles usually brings about great continental readjustments, with consequent karmic changes in the destiny of human races, such as those which took place in the long career of the fourth root-race, the Atlantean. It should be obvious that a slow secular movement of change in the earth's axis takes millions of years; and an inversion of the poles brings about a retrograde rotation of the thus inverted globe. The Planet of Death or the Eighth Sphere is in such an inverted condition, and therefore its rotation is retrograde (cf. The Secret Doctrine, II, 352-3).
The Eighth Sphere is a very necessary organic part of the destiny of our earth and its chain. Just as in a great city the sewers form a most important part of the organization for public health and convenience, and we have designated places where refuse is disposed of, similarly in the solar system there are certain bodies which act as vents, cleansing channels, receptacles for human waste and slag.
The Planet of Death has been given this name because it is the dread sphere to which utterly corrupt souls finally descend, although it is not hell in the Christian sense, because there is no similarity in its functions to the exoteric horrors of the theological place of punishment. But when a human soul has lost its link with its inner god, and is therefore cast off because it is no longer a fit and receptive channel for the spiritual life flowing from its inspiriting divinity, it then is discarded, much as the body may slough off particles of itself which have become useless and dead. Obviously such a lost soul or discarded psychologic entity must find its own proper habitat. It cannot go floating around aimlessly forever in the astral world or kama-loka, because its propensities or attractions are too gross even for the vile and filthy ranges of the kama-loka itself. It therefore sinks into the Planet of Death or the globe of Mara to which its own heavy material magnetism drags it, where it is dissipated as an entity from above, which means from our globe, and is slowly ground over in nature's laboratory.
In The Mahatma Letters (p. 171), this is graphically described:
Bad, irretrievably bad must be that Ego that yields no mite from its fifth Principle, and has to be annihilated, to disappear in the Eighth Sphere. A mite, as I say, collected from the Personal Ego suffices to save him from the dreary Fate. Not so after the completion of the great cycle: either a long Nirvana of Bliss (unconscious though it be in the, and according to, your crude conceptions); after which — life as a Dhyan Chohan for a whole Manvantara, or else "Avitchi Nirvana" and a Manvantara of misery and Horror as a ---- you must not hear the word nor I — pronounce or write it. But "those" have nought to do with the mortals who pass through the seven spheres. The collective Karma of a future Planetary is as lovely as the collective Karma of a —— is terrible.
This is the outline of the teaching, although there are many and various exceptions pertaining to individual lost souls. However, precisely because the lost soul is an aggregate of astral-vital-psychical life-atoms concreted around a monad as yet scarcely evolved, this monad, when freed from its earth veil of life-atoms, thereupon begins in the Planet of Death a career of its own in this highly material globe.
Finally, the whole subject is complicated by the fact that the Planet of Death is in its last round, and that in consequence its 'normal' inhabitants are not to be confused with these monads dropping among them from our earth globe. The truth is that while the Planet of Death receives these fallen monads and cares for them according to those laws of nature which prevail and operate in the Eighth Sphere, it receives them as imperfectly evolved entities and treats them as such; which simply means that they are 'failures' which in the next globe reimbodiment of the Planet of Death will have to begin their evolution in an inferior capacity.
Quoting again from The Mahatma Letters (p. 87):
Now there are — there must be "failures" in the etherial races of the many classes of Dyan Chohans or Devas as well as among men. But still as these failures are too far progressed and spiritualized to be thrown back forcibly from their Dyan Chohanship into the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower kingdoms — this then happens. When a new solar system is to be evolved these Dyan Chohans are (remember the Hindu allegory of the Fallen Devas hurled by Siva into Andarah who are allowed by Parabrahm to consider it as an intermediate state where they may prepare themselves by a series of rebirths in that sphere for a higher state — a new regeneration) born[e] in by the influx "ahead" of the elementals and remain as a latent or inactive spiritual force in the aura of the nascent world of a new system until the stage of human evolution is reached. Then Karma has reached them and they will have to accept to the last drop in the bitter cup of retribution. Then they become an active Force, and commingle with the Elementals, or progressed entities of the pure animal kingdom to develope little by little the full type of humanity. In this commingling they lose their high intelligence and spirituality of Devaship to regain them in the end of the seventh ring in the seventh round.
But enough of this. Always remember that we are sons of the Sun, even if we did pass through the moon and played on that stage of life — as Shakespeare might have said — such antics as made the gods weep. Yet we are rays from the solar Lhas, and ultimately, after many manvantaric ages, we shall return to Father Sun, and pass the solar portals into our spiritual home.
Every Spiritual Individuality has a gigantic evolutionary journey to perform, a tremendous gyratory progress to accomplish. First — at the very beginning of the great Mahamanvantaric rotation, from first to last of the man-bearing planets, as on each of them, the monad has to pass through seven successive races of man. . . . Each of the seven races send seven ramifying branchlets from the Parent Branch: and through each of these in turn man has to evolute before he passes on to the next higher race; and that — seven times. . . . The branchlets typify varying specimens of humanity — physically and spiritually — and no one of us can miss one single rung of the ladder. . . . Please, bear in mind, that when I say "man," I mean a human being of our type. There are other and innumerable manvantaric chains of globes bearing intelligent beings — both in and out of our solar system — the crowns or apexes of evolutionary being in their respective chains, some — physically and intellectually — lower, others immeasurably higher than the man of our chain. — The Mahatma Letters, p. 119
The inner rounds are the journeyings of the evolutionary life-waves or families of monads around the globes of a planetary chain. There are actually twelve such life-waves passing from globe to globe, but we shall confine our remarks here to a consideration of the seven rupa or manifest globes, or rounds, or life-waves, etc., leaving aside the upper five or arupa globes with their life-waves. Thus each of the seven planetary life-waves, when passing from the first to the last globe of the seven, goes through each one in turn, beginning with A and closing with G.
On each globe the evolutionary waves make seven gyrations or turns, each of which is a root-race. These seven root-races begin with the lowest and end with the highest evolutionary degree on any one globe of the planetary chain. Between any two globes, as the life-wave passes from one globe to another in any one round, there is an interval of relative quiet or repose, which is too low in type to be called a nirvana, and yet too high to be called devachanic; and this interglobal interval is in duration about one tenth of the time passed on any one of the seven globes during each round.
The rounds likewise signify changes of consciousness as the hosts of human entities pass from globe to globe, either on the descending or shadowy arc, or on the ascending or luminous arc. Each passing from globe to globe signifies either a further descent into material existence, or a further rise out of material existence into a more spiritual state, and therefore into a more spiritual sphere. Nevertheless, the rounds themselves also are actual transfers of the hosts of entities from one globe to the next, not unlike the migrations of birds. Birds when beginning their migration first rise into the air, then they whirl around for a while, following a leader who finally finds the direction, and off they go. They leave the places where they had lived, only to return when the proper season comes again. Flock after flock of birds thus take wing to other parts of the earth; and in a closely similar manner do the families of entities living on our globe at the end of the globe-round wing their way to the next higher globe of the planetary chain. It is in each case an actual transfer, although it also means a coincident changing of consciousness.
The human host is not the only life-wave passing around the planetary chain seven times from globe A to globe G. There are several different evolutionary life-waves following each other serially in time and therefore in space. When our human life-wave shall have reached its seventh race on earth in this fourth round, and shall have gone through the interglobal period of rest and on to globe E, then after a short time, cosmically speaking, its place on globe D will be taken by another life-wave composed of a host of evolving monads; and this will occur before we as a life-wave shall have finished our sojourn on globe E.
As has been already stated, there are seven main classes of monads in seven different stages or degrees of evolutionary growth. The highest, when entering upon a new planetary chain, enters globe A — which the three classes of elementals had already formed in space around a laya-center — and therein begins to help build that globe. When the work of this monadic class is completed on globe A, by means of seven turns or root-races, then comes the second class of monads which starts to build on the foundation laid by the first monadic class.
Meanwhile this first class of monads begins to pass to the next globe on the arc of descent, globe B. When the second class of monads on globe A has finished its evolutionary course, consisting of seven gyrations or root-races, it is succeeded by the third class of monads, the second class then proceeding to globe B. So accurately adjusted are the times of evolution on the cosmic clock, that when this takes place the first class of monads will have finished its work on globe B and will pass on downwards to globe C; and so on all around the chain of seven globes, all seven classes of monads following each other serially. Each globe has a certain interval of rest before any succeeding evolutionary life-wave follows on.
In connection with the entities or circling life-waves of those globes superior to our globe D, it might be of interest to add here that because these globes on the ascending arc are so much more evolved — both in types of entities living there and also in spiritual status — the very 'beasts' on globes F and G, and almost so on globe E, are hundreds of times higher than men are on this earth.
Each class of monads as it passes to the next globe leaves behind it, as seed for the next round, sishtas or remainders which will serve as the first vehicles for the first incoming monads on that globe. The life-waves, after having passed around the chain in that round, have their nirvana between globes G and A, and then begin the next manvantaric round.
K.H. in one of his letters to A. P. Sinnett called a round "the passage of a monad from globe 'A' to globe 'Z' (or 'G') through the encasement in all and each of the four kingdoms, viz., as a mineral, a vegetable, an animal and man or the Deva kingdom." The phrasing "from globe 'A' to globe 'Z' (or 'G')" is exceedingly significant, for it gives a hint of the existence of more globes than the manifest seven (The Mahatma Letters, p. 80). H.P.B. herself, because of the difficulty for people in those days to understand even the septenary idea, was forced to hide, except to the intuitive, the existence of the upper five globes of a chain.
A monad at its heart is a monadic essence, a continuing entity. Now the statement that the monad in its evolutionary progress from an unself-conscious god-spark to self-conscious divinity must pass through each one of the kingdoms, does not mean that these kingdoms exist before the monads which composed them brought them into being. Rather it means that the life-wave of monads expresses itself, initially, as the first kingdom of the elementals, next, as the second and then as the third elemental kingdom; it continues as the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and seventhly, as the human or deva kingdom, and finally as the three classes of the dhyani-chohanic kingdoms. Once these kingdoms are established on earth, or on any other planet or celestial sphere, the fertile field is there for evolution to pursue its courses farther; and the monads come and go on their peregrinations therein.
It is the first round which marks the actual evolutional appearance of true globes, the five preliminary stages of developmental formation having been the work of the three elemental classes and of the primordial pre-elemental two stages. During this round, the monads had to build from the ground upwards all the foundation structure upon which the later superstructure was to be erected. In so doing, as they themselves were the builders, they became the monads which built the embryonic globes of the shadowy globe-chain. All the classes of monads without exception must begin at the beginning and run through all the experiences in that first chain-round to its end. This produces the ten classes of monads thus cooperating to build the globes, forming at the end of such first round the twelve globes in their embryonic shape or form.
After the first round the method of the monads in entering the globes is very naturally changed, because they find the sishta vehicles already waiting for them from the preceding round, in which the monads simply need to imbody without having to build their bodies from the ground up as had to be done during the first round. In reality, however, there is no change; it is rather a taking up again of their evolutionary development on a globe at the point where it was dropped when a particular family or life-wave of monads had left that globe during the preceding round — not a change in method, but merely a continuation of evolution in bodies already waiting.
Thus, in the first round, do the various kingdoms from the elemental to the dhyani-chohanic come into being; and upon leaving any globe of the planetary chain, they leave behind them the sishtas to await the second round of the same life-waves. On each globe, therefore, after the main life-wave has gone to inhabit the next globe, there are left sishtas of all the different classes of monads.
Now the first life-wave, reaching the laya-center which becomes globe A, contains within itself all the other life-waves; so that after the first entering life-wave has run its seven rings or root-races on globe A, it unfolds from itself the second life-wave which takes its place, and the surplus of the first life-wave passes to globe B. This surplus — which is not the projection but rather the globe B aspect of itself — must not be regarded as being merely a superabundance of animal vitality, for every higher contains within itself that which it unfolds on a lower plane. After all, this surplus of lives is really a river of peregrinating monads in all-various stages or degrees of evolutionary development, which, when considered as a unit, is indeed flowing life. This means that each passage of a life-wave from one globe to another brings forth into its proper cosmic field of manifestation the attributes and characteristics which it was impossible to unfold during the preceding globe. In other words, within the first globe all the other globes are encapsulated, (1) so to say, because they could not come into existence unless they were contained in the first. Thus we have seven surpluses of lives forming globe A, six forming globe B, five forming globe C, and so on around the chain.
In exactly the same way the animals came into being from the human stock — the surplus of life pouring itself forth from the human reservoir. We have the human line continuing in its genetic purity, although evolving from age to age, and meanwhile throwing off the stocks which were unevolved within it, stages inferior to the human, each unit of such inferior surplus being a learning entity, destined at some future period to pass through the human stage. This has reference to the unfolding process which took place on the downward arc; but when the bottom of the arc is reached, evolution and emanation cease, and the reverse process or involution along the ascending arc starts. The 'outbreathing' in this its minor application ends, and the 'inbreathing' begins.
Every seed is the body of an evolving entity, of a psychical life-atom, an elemental. Of course, every life-atom has everything in it essentially that a man or a god has. Yet no life-atom can express on any one plane more than its then evolved capacities permit, any more than a man today can be a god because he has not yet evolved forth the god within him. In the human body every vital cell, every reproductive germ, contains within itself the potentiality not only of the divinity latent within it, but also numerous lower quasi-psychical life impulses which, could they find expression, would produce an inferior creature, whether it be an elephant, a giraffe or even some biological 'sport.' The reason why such cells in man today do not evolve forth new animate stocks is that the evolutionary urge has faded out for the remainder of this round, and involution has taken its place.
Now the expression surplus of life may likewise be used in connection with the growth of a seed into a plant. Out of the seed flows forth the surplus, in the technical sense, of life that the seed contains: first the green shoot, then the stem and branches and leaves, and finally the fruit producing other seeds. Surplusage here means that which flows forth from what is locked up within. The growth of a man from a human germ is also descriptive of this process: out of the seed comes the embryo, which enters the world as a child and grows to adulthood, by unfolding from within the hitherto latent powers and faculties of mind and heart, the moral and spiritual attributes.
Thus we see that, after the life-waves have formed globe A in any one round, the surplus of life is not merely what is left over in the ordinary sense, but actually is the greater part, the immense life, attributes, powers and faculties stored up in globe A, which cannot manifest there because that is not their field, and so they pass down to and unfold globe B, the next stage. When globe B has unfolded to a certain extent in the first round, the same surplus of life passes down and unfolds globe C. And so on all around the chain.
When round the first is completed, there is no longer this rolling out, no longer an evolution of what is within as regards unmanifested globes, because now they are on the scene. They are there. And when the life-waves enter the chain anew for the second and all subsequent rounds they merely follow the pathways that have been laid down, evolving of course, unfolding the surplus of life in themselves, but not for the building of the chain, except as further improvement upon previous stages.
This surplus of life is exactly what the ancient Stoics meant when they spoke of spirit unrolling from within itself the next element or plane in the cosmos which, let us say, was aether; and when spirit and aether were unrolled, the surplus of life passed down and formed the third, or spiritual fire; and then in serial order: air, water, earth. After that the universe was completed.
Now when the first round is ended, the globes, otherwise the mansions or houses of the planetary chain, are built each one on the highest subplane of its own cosmic plane of the solar system. Henceforth all subsequent rounds up to the seventh, or last, are the different cycling families of monads entering into the houses or mansions, and conditions of existence, which are ready and waiting for each class of monads as it appears on a globe in its turn in the series.
When the twelve embryonic globes of this shadow-chain in the first round are formed, on which the vehicles thus built live by force of repetitive habit, the way becomes familiar to the journeying pilgrim monads so that at each recurrent appearance of the life-wave the progress through the lower realms becomes ever more rapid. Therefore, once a monad has evolved forth from itself faculties and powers so that it can manifest as a human being, its progress through the lower kingdoms in any later cycle is very quick indeed. There is a perfect analogy in the growth of the microscopic human seed through its embryonic and fetal stages and on to adulthood. The reincarnating ego is not self-consciously active in the embryo, but becomes self-conscious on this human plane when the child first manifests signs of intelligence and of inner faculties. Just so with the ten or seven classes of monads as they pass through the various kingdoms.
The monads — which we essentially are — have now reached a stage in their evolutionary journey when the pathway forwards becomes slow and difficult again, because we are passing from humanity into godhood. Dhyani-chohanship is the next great stage that we shall reach, as the monad of each one of us evolves forth more and more of the divine faculties and powers within us. Slowly the human race in the aeons of the future will advance to a nobler humanity, and in time there will be no men and women as such; we will be but 'humans' on the way to becoming gods. First, we shall be human dhyani-chohans, and then at the end of the seventh round we shall leave our earth's planetary chain as fully evolved dhyani-chohanic entities.
Those beings now expressing themselves in the human kingdom on our earth manifested in the beast kingdom on the moon. When the earth reimbodies itself as a new planetary chain we humans shall be the dhyani-chohans or gods of the future planet which will be the child of this earth. The beings now in the beast kingdom will then be the men of that planet; and as our karmic bonds with that kingdom are very strait and close, so will they be on the planet-to-be.
When our humanity shall have attained the ultimate degree of development possible on this earth, it will likewise have attained the ultimate possible in this series of seven rounds. But the earth itself at the end of the seventh round will be passing through the stages of death, becoming the moon of the next planetary chain. This future chain will comprise the entirety of the hosts of life-atoms — spiritual, intellectual, psychical, astral, and physical — which now animate the twelve globes of our present planetary chain.
The monadic essence must pass through every grade or condition of matter belonging to the planetary chain to which it is attached, beginning with the spiritual, descending through the ethereal, and finally passing through the material states, before the monad begins again its upward cycle on the luminous arc. The purpose of this is that the monadic essence, although a god in its inmost being, shall obtain experience in these new phases of the evolution of the life-stream. But that part of the monadic essence which absorbs this experience is not the monad itself, but rather a projection of it called the ego, an imperfect ego coming over from the previous planetary chain.
To recapitulate: the monad at the beginning of every reimbodiment of a planetary chain — because it is a part of that chain unto eternity, although the chain itself is evolving — must pass through all the lower kingdoms, thus helping to form them. On the second round it passes through these kingdoms much more quickly because the road is ready. On the third round it moves still more rapidly through the lower kingdoms, but more slowly in the higher. In identic fashion the reincarnating ego finds itself obliged to enter the human womb as a life-spark; and it must pass through all the phases of gestation, although it itself is essentially a spiritual being. It must do this in order to build up a human body in which it can work, yet it stands apart from the embryo, which it merely enlivens with a portion of itself.
If we think of the passage of the monad through the globes and during the rounds as a process of gestation, then we can look upon the monad as finally being born into its own ethereal spheres after the end of the seventh round. As said, the development of the embryo is a good illustration. Here we have the case of a spiritual being needing to pass through all the kingdoms of nature in the human womb: the mineral, vegetable, animal, and finally human, before it can build for itself a body to work with on this plane. In the far future the human monad will no longer have need of bodies of flesh, but, living then on highly ethereal planes of the kosmos, it will fashion for itself correspondingly ethereal vehicles. Furthermore, these bodies of ours are in themselves also evolving entities, ultimately in their turn to become monads.
When the monadic ego has finished its seven rounds, it leaves the planetary chain as a dhyani-chohan, a planetary spirit, to become one of the army of guides of the humanity and lower entities of the next planetary chain. In that new chain, these dhyani-chohans will not have to go through every condition of matter therein, except in the first round. When the monadic egos, the monads, have passed through the first round, they have then gained sufficient experience of the new conditions of matter to enable them to assume their position as guides and spiritual heads of the hosts of less evolved beings trailing along after them.
It is these less evolved entities which will have to pass through every phase or degree of material substance of that new planetary chain; and the highest class of these imperfectly evolved egos, in their turn, when the seven rounds of the future planetary chain shall have been completed, will leave it as dhyani-chohans. Meanwhile, we shall have passed to a destiny still more sublime than that particular condition of dhyani-chohanship which we shall have attained at the end of the seven rounds of our present chain.
Of course, the manifold states of material substance are not in themselves different from the lower monadic entities evolving in and through a planetary chain, but are in fact the vast aggregate host of these monadic beings themselves. Matter per se is an illusion. The essence of matter is the host of the monadic essences which are dormant or quasi-dormant, in the various conditions of material substance. Matter and the monadic hosts are therefore one; and these monadic hosts in the core of their being are pure consciousness. Hence matter per se has no actual existence, but is merely the product of these hosts of monadic essences — a subject at once mysterious and wonderful.
All the seven globes of any planetary chain are compact of these virtually incomputable armies of monads in their various degrees of evolutionary development. The mineral kingdom on our earth, for instance, is naught but a host of monads passing through that particular stage of consciousness. A somewhat higher class of monads composes the vegetable kingdom, and one still more advanced works through the beast kingdom. A host still more evolved composes the human kingdom, above which is the army of the dhyani-chohans, who were the human beings of the planetary chain of the moon.
Furthermore, our very bodies are built of hosts of monads passing through that grade of their evolutionary growth; for our bodies are but higher animals. It is the splendor of the buddhic light shining from the heart of the monad which makes the human soul a growing, evolving entity — originally sprung from the monad, but destined at the end of the seven rounds of this planetary chain to blossom from an unself-conscious god-spark to self-conscious divinity.
To summarize: there are three evolutionary streams of life going on at one and the same time through eternity, whether it be in a cosmos, a sun, a planet, a human being, or an atom. And these are the spiritual, the psychomental or intermediate (which in man is the human soul), and the astral-vital-physical. Fundamentally the three are one — a trinity, the same ultimate life, the same ultimate substance; and yet the highest gives birth to the intermediate, and the intermediate throws forth from itself its own child, the vital-astral, which in turn is imbodied in the physical.
For three and a half rounds the general tendency of all the globes of the planetary chain is towards a greater degree of materialization; during the second half of the seven-round period there is a corresponding rise towards dematerialization, an etherealization of all the globes and of all their entities and inhabitants and beings.
In the first round the life-wave passes through all the globes from A to G, the descent of the entities occurring through globes A, B, C, and through half of our globe D's life cycle. Then there begins a reascent to spiritual realms along the ascending arc through the second half of globe D, and through globes E, F, and G. The second round and third round repeat this process, through planes and worlds of an ever more material type and character. The fourth round is the last round of the process of materialization, that descent lasting until half of the life-evolution on our globe D is reached. Then begins a reversal towards a progressive etherealization, a general ascent taking the place of the former gradual slipping down through the preceding three and a half rounds.
We are now in the fourth round, and have passed the critical period which occurred during the fourth subrace of the fourth root-race on globe D in this round. We have already begun to ascend, although we have not yet left our fourth-round globe; and the next three rounds will be a continuous and ever gradual movement towards the spiritual again. Nevertheless, during each of the three rounds to come there will be a descent through the globes until our earth is reached, and then an ascent along the remaining globes. But in each subsequent round the descent to globe D will be of a somewhat higher or more spiritual type than was the preceding one.
A globe is therefore seen to be evolved by a dual process of involution and evolution. They work together and at the same time, every step in evolution being likewise a step in involution. The elemental powers forming the energies of a planetary chain as they descend into physical substance, are at once an involution of spirit and an evolution of matter proceeding concurrently and continuously. On the ascending arc, it is an involution or disappearance of matter and an evolution of spirit, the opposite of what took place on the downward arc. These are but two sides of the same thing. You cannot discover evolution working apart from involution, nor is involution ever found anywhere working apart from evolution. Consequently we cannot say that in the building of the latter half of the fourth globe — our earth — and of globes E, F, and G, and on up the ascending arc, evolution is the only or even predominant quality or force at work. We can only say that on the ascending arc spirit evolves and matter involves, just as on the downward arc matter evolved and spirit involved.
Every entity lives in the greater life and consciousness of some other entity from which it was born. Nothing exists unto itself alone. Everything is interlocked and permeated with something else, with another entity's vitality, mentality, spirituality, will, and body. As we humans are formed of minor entities, which are the life-atoms composing our various vehicles, so we are the life-atoms of an entity still more sublime. Our higher attributes — the inner light, vision and power, all that belongs to the spiritual part of us — remain as forming the structure through which the higher consciousness of the monad streams. Yet these inner attributes themselves are evolving equally with the lower. This can hardly be understood unless we grasp the nature of consciousness which is the fundamental of the cosmic structure. All else — matter, energy, change, progress, dormancy, the state of being awake — are but phases or events in this wondrous story of consciousness.
When the universal spirit wakes, the world revives; when he closes his eyes, all things fall upon the bed of mystic slumber. — Vishnu-Purana, Bk. VI, ch. iv
What happens to the various families of monads when the end of a round is reached on globe G and their nirvana begins? As a matter of fact, after leaving any globe each class of monads enters into a short nirvanic period of rest and spiritual assimilation before it enters the succeeding globe. (2) This process is repeated until the topmost globe of the twelvefold chain is reached — when the next round begins. The important point here is that upon leaving globe G, which already is a quasi-spiritual globe, the different classes of monads enter the arupa globes, where conditions of life — and increasingly so as the monads ascend — become more and more typically nirvanic. The same principle in reverse applies to the monads on the downward arc when they enter globe after globe, each globe becoming more material and physicalized.
When a life-wave, which is but another name for a family of monads, leaves any globe, that globe then and there enters upon a period of obscuration until the next life-wave reaches it and awakens it again. These interglobal periods which the monadic classes experience are not all of the same length, but vary according to the time that the life-wave has spent on the globe which it has just left. For instance, when our life-wave leaves globe D, after having passed, let us suppose, some thirty million years thereon, then one tenth of that period would be our interglobal nirvana before we as monads would begin to imbody ourselves on globe E. The rule is that the interglobal nirvanic rest is on the whole one tenth of the time that the life-wave has just passed on the globe.
Actually, our life-wave on this globe D during this fourth round passes a good deal more time than thirty million years — all these time-periods have been carefully veiled as regards their respective durations. Indeed, if we were to take the entire period from its first beginnings here until its very last endings, a much longer time would be required, because we have to take into account the forerunners, the body of our life-wave, as well as the stragglers or trailers. The passage of a life-wave through any one globe of a planetary chain, such as that of our human host through our present globe D, takes therefore hundreds of millions of years; and such a passage is called a globe-manvantara.
Furthermore, a life-wave does not remain the same length of time on every globe, for not only do the life-waves differ in spirituality and materiality, but the higher the globe the shorter is the imbodiment period upon it. The reason for this is that the spiritual and intellectual faculties are then more strongly aroused and do not yearn for material things or imbodied existence. It is the same rule which applies to the devachanic interludes: the more spiritual and intellectual the ego, the longer is its devachan — so long as the devachan is still needed; the grosser and more materialistic the individual, the shorter is the devachan, and hence the more numerous are the imbodiments on a globe during the passage of the life-wave to which it belongs. From the foregoing it is seen that no life-wave 'jumps over' from one globe to the next; in every passage there is always an interglobal nirvana of differing lengths of time. (3)
When the life-wave on its round through a planetary chain leaves a globe, that globe so abandoned for the time being does not go into pralaya — which means disintegration — but into obscuration, a period of dormancy. Thus when we shall leave this fourth globe and go to the next higher globe on the ascending arc, globe E, our earth will for a long time go into its obscuration. However, it will not remain resting during the full period in which our own particular life-wave ascends through globes E, F, and G, and through the upper five globes, has its own nirvana between globes G and A, and then undertakes the descent through globes A, B, C, until our present globe D is reached again. After a few tens of millions of years, following the departure of our human life-wave from this globe, the life-wave succeeding us in the procession of entities will make its appearance on earth, and then go through its seven root-races.
Obscuration simply means that a planet at certain times in its evolution is more or less barren of humanities. Periods of activity occur when the humanities appear in full flower on the respective globes. Our present human racial stocks are not the only life-wave which lives on earth. In fact, our globe D has several 'humanities' or Manus — several life-waves perhaps is a better word — evolving on it, one after the other. As explained, when our life-wave leaves, our globe D will go into obscuration for a certain period; and then a new life-wave will come rolling in, composed of its armies of beings very closely like ourselves, but not identic. By that time our human life-stocks will be on globe E.
It is like a room in a hotel. I am traveling and I spend a night in it, and then I leave. Let us say that the room remains empty for a few hours. But soon some other man is given my room, my globe, and stays there for a night and part of a day. This room does not remain vacant until I go back to the same hotel, perhaps after a year or two. So the families of monads, the life-waves, follow each other in serial order around the globes of the chain; and when a particular life-wave reaches a globe, that life-wave begins to flower: its time has come to run through its root-races.
There is an analogy between the life-waves entering their nirvana, and the human soul entering its devachan in the bosom of the spiritual monad. After every chain-round the monads go into their interplanetary nirvana; similarly, after each globe-round the monadic classes undergo an interglobal nirvana. Where do the nirvanis go when they leave globe G? Are they just wandering vaguely in empty space like motes in the sunbeam? No; for, as pointed out, those monads who enter their nirvana after quitting globe G pass through the five upper globes before they come down again for each new round.
However, it is not the divine and spiritual parts of our constitution which pass into nirvana, for they are already, as it were, beyond that state, but it is the human monads: the nirvana is for them what the devachan is for the human soul after death. The tradition is that when the bodhisattva becomes a buddha, the buddha enters nirvana, he is wiped out; but that does not signify annihilation. What is left behind is that portion of the bodhisattva which in its turn is a monad and again will become a buddha leaving behind a bodhisattva-sishta.
There are several kinds of nirvanas, each being a state of consciousness. Now the divine and spiritual parts of an entity such as a man, are, when in their own native condition of consciousness, in a typically nirvanic condition; but the 'nirvana' into which the lower monads enter is not that higher condition of consciousness characteristic of the divine and spiritual entities.
The reason that there is a temporary nirvana between every round is that the monads which attain full self-consciousness on globe G (as we shall when we reach it at the end of this present fourth round) are not yet sufficiently evolved to have full self-consciousness on the three still higher cosmic planes; just as the human soul when it dies is not yet evolved enough to become self-conscious on planes higher than its own consciousness, and therefore sinks into the devachan where it remains until its rebirth on earth.
At the end of the seventh round, however, when the monads leave globe G, they will probably be sufficiently more evolved to be self-conscious on the first of the arupa globes of the upward arc, possibly the second, almost certainly not the third — simply because the consciousness of that globe is too great. The monads will lapse into unconsciousness before they reach it because they have not evolved from within themselves the spiritual powers or organs to be self-conscious thereon; just as the human soul after death sinks into dreams. We are unconscious in these higher realms because we have not yet learned to live self-consciously in the grander parts of our constitution; when we have learned to do that we shall be self-conscious when we sleep, and therefore conscious when we die. Furthermore, a part of the constitution of every human being, as it travels on its upward path during its post-mortem peregrinations through the spheres, must traverse the globes on the ascending arc of our planetary chain. It has an imbodiment or contact on each one of such globes, at least once.
All these families of life-waves finally gather together like homing birds on the topmost globe of the twelvefold chain; or, if we were considering only the sevenfold chain, we might say globe G. But, because nature repeats her operations everywhere, there must be on any one of the globes, before it goes into obscuration, an assembling of all the life-waves — not in fullness, however, because there are always forerunners as well as trailers.
Thus, there is a globe-manvantara for A, a globe-manvantara for B, then C and then D; and when a life-wave has gone all around the chain, that is one chain-round for it. On each of these globes there are all classes of life-waves. There are the forerunners of our human life-wave, and there is also a numberless host of entities trailing behind, young beings on the evolutionary pathway, younger by manvantaras than the seventh race of the seventh round will be. This seventh and last race of the present manvantara of our planet will leave it then as dhyani-chohans — gods.
The forerunners, called fifth and sixth rounders, are those advanced egos who, because of past relatively perfected experiences on the moon chain, are more evolved than the bulk of the life-wave. It is a simple thing: we have all grades of men, from the most unevolved on up to mahatmas and buddhas. The forerunners who are now in our fourth round are those individuals who, when they get the chance, leave the earth and run ahead; they forerun us, which merely means that while we are laboring along back of them on globe D they already have rushed ahead of us up the globes and down again in their fifth round. The sixth rounders are those rare flowers of the human race who are still more evolved than the fifth rounders; they have gone around twice ahead of us. But these last are few; they are as rare as the buddhas, as "rare as is the blossom of the Udumbara tree" (The Voice of the Silence, p. 39).
The case of the trailers is quite the contrary. Many of these will not enter into active evolutionary experience on this planetary chain, which therefore means on this globe, when it shall have attained its fullness of completed evolution; for then this globe will begin to die. Those following in our wake now, and who will likewise be following us then, will pass into their nirvana just as we shall, awaiting the next planetary chain; and on that new chain-to-be, still trailing after us, will come these hosts upon hosts of minor entities inferior to us in evolutionary development. At the end of the seventh round, all the inferior entities composing the hosts of life on our planet will go into their own nirvana, but on a much lower nirvanic plane than that in which the life-wave as a whole (which will then consist of dhyani-chohans) will be. If everything were perfected as regards the earth and all its hosts of inhabitants at the end of the seventh race of the seventh round, there would be no possibility of future reimbodiment. Everything and everybody and the planet itself would have attained paranirvana; and many, many solar manvantaras would pass before the urge to reimbodiment was felt anew.
But such is not the case. The entities and things that are less evolved than the seventh-race humanity in the seventh round are still imperfect, therefore possessing both good and evil in them; and necessarily they bring back into the next reimbodiment all that they are themselves. There will be entities immediately inferior to the seventh race of the seventh round followed by other hosts still more imperfect trailing behind along the evolutionary pathway to the very deeps of material existence.
Let us consider our own globe D. We are in the fifth root-race. We have to run through two more root-races before our globe goes into obscuration. But the animals are here also, as are the plants, the stones, the three elemental kingdoms, all these life-waves cooperating and making the life around us. There are also representatives of some of the dhyani-chohanic kingdoms amongst us, invisible to us, but that is simply because they are higher than we. We know of a few on the lower globes, and we call them mahatmas, chohans, and by other names. Christians speak of them as angels; but these chohans are amongst us, forerunners of their regular life-waves. Therefore on our globe D towards the manvantara's ending every one of the different life-waves must have its representatives here, and all must be ready to wing their way in serial order, each in its turn, to globe E before globe D goes into obscuration.
When I say that representatives of every one of the seven or ten life-waves gather together like homing birds on a globe before it goes into obscuration, it does not mean that every one of these life-waves or monadic classes is on such globe in that life-wave's fullness, although this last fact approaches reality on the highest globe of the twelvefold chain, where there is a rest before the new round begins.
As the earth is but the physical body of a seven- or twelvefold entity, the rest periods of such a composite being are likewise composite in character. When a planetary chain dies, each of the elements of its constitution — that is, the hosts and multitudes of life-atoms, and quasi-conscious, self-conscious, and fully self-conscious beings — goes into its respective nirvana. But the planetary chain itself, considered as an entity, does not enter a planetary nirvana, but rather goes into a planetary devachan. What is nirvana for the component inhabitants of a planetary chain is but the devachan of that chain, or rather of the globes forming that chain.
Similarly is it with the human being, for nature's primal law of analogy runs throughout. When a man dies, the human monad is in a nirvanic state for a period. But the god within, for that period, is not in that nirvanic state. And, thirdly, the human soul is in its devachan.
Our earth is lower in the scale of its individual evolution than is the average humanity inhabiting it, although the spiritual entity, of which the earth is the physical expression, bears the same relation to its humanity that the human soul bears to the composite atoms of the lower part of the human constitution. Now some may wonder whether this statement refers to the earth as globe D of our planetary chain, or to the chain as a whole. While it applies to our globe earth in particular, it can refer by analogy equally well to every other globe of our planetary chain. The fact is that each such globe, from the evolutionary standpoint, is less advanced than the 'humanity' of the evolving egos which at any time inhabit it or, otherwise stated, pass through it during the course of the rounds through the globes of the planetary chain.
In this connection I am reminded of a certain passage in The Mahatma Letters (p. 94):
The correspondence between a mother-globe and her child-man may be thus worked out. Both have their seven principles. In the Globe, the elementals (of which there are in all seven species) form (a) a gross body, (b) her fluidic double (linga sariram), (c) her life principle (jiva); (d) her fourth principle kama rupa is formed by her creative impulse working from centre to circumference; (e) her fifth principle (animal soul or Manas, physical intelligence) is embodied in the vegetable (in germ) and animal kingdoms; (f) her sixth principle (or spiritual soul, Buddhi) is man (g) and her seventh principle (atma) is in a film of spiritualized akasa that surrounds her.
Now I would like to point out that K.H. had in mind here the sevenfold nature of the physical sphere of the earth only, and was not dealing as I was with our globe earth as a cosmic septenary, containing as it does all the seven element-principles of the universe from the cosmic atman down to the globe's sthula-sarira. K.H. was concerned only with our globe's terrestrial sthula-sarira, with its seven elements and principles. As every one of the principles is in itself sevenfold, even the sthula-sarira is a septenary entity; and of this sevenfold characteristic of our physical plane, we human beings form the buddhi life-atoms during our transit.
In identical manner, man's sthula-sarira may be divided into seven principles formed of portions of all the parts of his constitution expressing themselves on the physical plane in and through his body. For instance, in the human body all the seven species or classes of elementals form its grossest physical matter, its fluidic double, and its life-principle or prana; whereas the fourth principle of the physical body is a portion of the element of kama working through it; its fifth principle is the brain-mind's psychomagnetic activity; its sixth principle is the reflection in the body of man's higher human soul; and the body's seventh principle or atman is the akasic auric fluid surrounding the human body, i.e. the auric egg of man in its lowest or most material aspect.
While the planetary spirit of our earth is farther along the evolutionary ladder of life than is the humanity inhabiting it, nevertheless the earth as a globe is less advanced in physical evolutionary development than is the human body of flesh, relatively soft and quasi-astral when compared with the earth's rocky and metallic sphere.
I might add here that the relation which the planetary spirit of our globe earth — considered as a cosmic septenate — bears to the different 'humanities' evolving on and through our globe is of a distinctly hierarchical character; and the same relation holds with regard to all the other globes of our planetary chain. Indeed, the same hierarchical relation exists with respect to the planetary spirits of the sacred planets through which the evolving 'humanities' pass during the course of the outer rounds.
The most developed Monads (the lunar) reach the human germ-stage in the first Round; become terrestrial, though very ethereal human beings towards the end of the Third Round, remaining on it (the globe) through the "obscuration" period as the seed for future mankind in the Fourth Round, and thus become the pioneers of Humanity at the beginning of this, the Fourth Round. Others reach the Human stage only during later Rounds, i.e., in the second, third, or first half of the Fourth Round. And finally the most retarded of all, i.e., those still occupying animal forms after the middle turning-point of the Fourth Round — will not become men at all during this Manwantara. They will reach to the verge of humanity only at the close of the seventh Round to be, in their turn, ushered into a new chain after pralaya — by older pioneers, the progenitors of humanity, or the Seed-Humanity (Sishta), viz., the men who will be at the head of all at the end of these Rounds. — The Secret Doctrine, I, 182
Comparatively little has been written in theosophical literature about the sishtas, their characteristics and the very important function they play in nature.
The Sanskrit word sishta comes from the verbal root sish, to leave, to remain behind, so that its past participle means remainder, left behind, etc. Now it is interesting that sishta may also be derived from the verbal root sas, to discipline, to rule, to instruct, this past participle meaning disciplined, well regulated, and hence learned, select, wise, etc., and therefore superior or chief. It is rather curious how the past participle of each of these verbal roots imbodies meanings which the esoteric doctrine shows as being the characteristic qualities of the sishtas themselves.
The sishtas thus are the highest representatives of a life-wave, otherwise of a monadic class, left behind on a globe of a planetary chain when that globe goes into its obscuration. When a life-wave finishes its seven races on a globe, the greater part of it passes on to the next globe during the round, but leaves behind its highest representatives who are the sishtas, the remainders, left there to provide the same life-wave, on its return to the same globe, with the seeds of life enabling it to multiply itself again.
Now the sishtas must not be confounded with the Manus. In various passages of The Secret Doctrine, H.P.B. speaks of the Manu that begins the evolution of a life-wave on any globe as then being a root-Manu, and of the Manu that remains behind when the life-wave leaves a globe as being the seed-Manu. This shows clearly that the Manus and the sishtas are very intimately connected, so much so that in certain aspects they are identical; yet they are not identical all along the line.
The life-waves, as already stated, pass around the globes of the chain one after the other, so that the first class which appears on the evolutionary scene is the first elemental kingdom, and when it has run through its seven rings or root-races, the second elemental kingdom does the same, followed in its turn by the third; and when this last has completed its rings, then come the monads of the mineral kingdom which run through their septenary gyrations, to be followed by the vegetable, the animal, and the human kingdom and, finally, by the first, second, and third dhyani-chohanic kingdoms.
When any one of these ten kingdoms leaves a globe in order to pass to the next globe around the chain, it leaves behind its most fully evolved individuals as sishtas, and the globe thus quitted has a brief period of obscuration, after which it awakens to the flowing into it of the first representatives of the succeeding life-wave or kingdom. Meanwhile the sishtas of the preceding kingdom remain on the globe until the great majority of their own life-wave, which is now passing along the other globes on its round, returns; and then these sishtas feel the incoming or influence of their own life-wave returning, and respond by proper increases in numbers, thus providing the vehicles in which the bulk of the life-wave will in time imbody itself as the first root-race of the new round on this particular globe. (4)
It would be a mistake to imagine these sishtas as either evolving rapidly, or as having no evolutionary progress whatsoever, for both these suppositions are incorrect. Although the sishtas when left behind are always very much less numerous than the bulk of the life-wave, being the highest representatives of their life-wave, nevertheless they do continue to evolve, but at a much lower rate than takes place when the life-wave proper is on the globe; so that during the hundreds of millions of years before their own life-wave comes again, they slowly evolve and regularly reproduce themselves, albeit in a quasi-passive state or condition.
In the human kingdom, these sishtas are imbodied reincarnating egos, and of course die and are reborn again and again, the individual egos having exactly the same post-mortem destiny that they always had had. Furthermore, the human sishta-group — which will serve more or less accurately as an illustration for all other sishta-groups — does not remain numerically fixed, for the simple reason that it is constantly receiving a gradual increment in numbers because of forerunners, individuals who outrun their life-wave and thus again reach the globe on which the sishta-group is, but more quickly than does the main body of the life-wave. These sishtas, in our case the fifth rounders (and very rarely the sixth rounders), remain behind because they have already run through their fifth round, and therefore do not need to repeat it; as a matter of fact they cannot go on in their evolutionary development until the life-wave catches up to them. Hence it is that the sishtas continuously, albeit slowly, increase in number, and somewhat more rapidly with each passing million of years until the life-wave reaches their globe again.
I have been speaking here about the sishta-groups left on the different globes of our planetary chain during any round; but nature, because of her analogical structure and operations, has sishtas of other kinds than the globe-sishtas. There are sishtas, as an example, which pass over from one dying chain to the next imbodiment of the same chain, and hence it is that these sishta-groups are called the seeds of life, or the root-sishtas, which open the manvantaric drama in the first round on globe A of the new chain-imbodiment.
Being sishtas no longer of evolving life-waves from globe to globe of a chain, these sishta-groups from one chain-imbodiment to the next are not so much individuals manifested in bodies as what I at times have called monadic spheres or monadic eggs (cf. Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, ch. XLII). Indeed, the human ego while in its devachan may likewise be considered as a monadic egg or sphere because, in its blissful dreaming within the spiritual monad — clothed as the devachani is in its auric egg — it is really a sort of monadic egg out of which will grow the man-to-be in the next earth life. Of course what is said here about the monadic egg of the human kingdom applies equally well, in principle, to the sishta-groups of all the other nine kingdoms or monadic classes between chain-imbodiments.
Thus when the new chain is forming it is always the highest representatives of all classes which, combining with the elementals of their own class or variety, become as it were the ideative 'architects' impressing the architectural plan upon these elementals so that these last can do their respective labors in building the globes of a chain. Once this architectural scheme, with the help of the elementals, is ideated forth, then the lower representatives of each different kingdom begin to manifest and in turn do their respective labors of preparing the differing types of groundwork into which the highest representatives again, and later in due course of time, manifest themselves.
As for the Manus, the following selections from the writings of H.P.B. give the essence of the teaching:
Vaivasvata Manu (the Manu of our own fifth race and Humanity in general) is the chief personified representative of the thinking Humanity of the fifth Root-race; and therefore he is represented as the eldest Son of the Sun and an Agnishwatta Ancestor. As "Manu" is derived from Man, to think, the idea is clear. Thought in its action on human brains is endless. Thus Manu is, and contains the potentiality of all the thinking forms which will be developed on earth from this particular source. . . .
Manu is the synthesis perhaps of the Manasa, and he is a single consciousness in the same sense that while all the different cells of which the human body is composed are different and varying consciousnesses there is still a unit of consciousness which is the man. But this unit, so to say, is not a single consciousness: it is a reflection of thousands and millions of consciousnesses which a man has absorbed.
But Manu is not really an individuality, it is the whole of mankind. You may say that Manu is a generic name for the Pitris, the progenitors of mankind. They come, as I have shown, from the Lunar Chain. They give birth to humanity, for, having become the first men, they give birth to others by evolving their shadows, their astral selves. . . . But, as the moon receives its light from the Sun, so the descendants of the Lunar Pitris receive their higher mental light from the Sun or the "Son of the Sun." For all you know Vaivasvata Manu may be an Avatar or a personification of MAHAT, commissioned by the Universal Mind to lead and guide thinking Humanity onwards. — Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, pp. 77-8
Manu declares himself created by Viraj or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity), which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity: that Logos or UNIVERSAL MONAD (collective Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centres of activity — progenitors of the numberless Solar systems as well as of the yet undifferentiated human monads of planetary chains as well as of every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is "Swayambhuva," the SELF-BORN, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhuva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity. — The Secret Doctrine, II, 311
As the word manu is a derivative from the Sanskrit verbal root man, to think, to reflect upon, a Manu, therefore, is at one and the same time a thinking individual and an army of minor individuals or 'thinkers' which compose it. Our physical body is an individual and yet is composed of an immense number of smaller individuals, each one a distinct unitary entity, and yet absolutely belonging to and comprehended by the body as a whole. Now this is an exact description of what a logos is in cosmic magnitudes. In other words, that which a cosmic logos is in the cosmos — being at once the cosmic Purusha as well as an army of subordinate monads composing it — that on the smaller scale of a chain or a globe is a Manu.
H.P.B. expressed this fact in her own inimitable way:
If all those Manus and Rishis are called by one generic name, this is due to the fact that they are one and all the manifested Energies of one and the same LOGOS, the celestial, as well as the terrestrial messengers and permutations of that Principle which is ever in a state of activity; conscious during the period of Cosmic evolution, unconscious (from our point of view) during Cosmic rest, as the Logos sleepeth in the bosom of THAT which "sleepeth not," nor is it ever awake — for it is SAT or Be-ness, not a Being. It is from IT that issues the great unseen Logos, who evolves all the other logoi, the primeval MANU who gives being to the other Manus, who emanate the universe and all in it collectively, and who represent in their aggregate the manifested Logos. Hence we learn in the "Commentaries" that while no Dhyan Chohan, not even the highest, can realise completely "the condition of the preceding Cosmic evolution," "the Manus retain a knowledge of their experiences of all the Cosmic evolutions throughout Eternity." — The Secret Doctrine, II, 310
A Manu, then, is a minor logos, either of a globe or of an entire chain, according to our scale of magnitude; and is humanity both as an individual and as the vast number of egos of the human host which in their inclusive aggregate compose the Manu. Hence we may speak of a life-wave beginning its evolutionary course upon a globe as a root-Manu, out of which will proceed in due course of time the seven root-races; and, equivalently, we may say that the same life-wave when it leaves a globe is the seed-Manu, passing forwards on its round through the other globes and becoming again the root-Manu when it reaches that globe once more.
As said before, the Manus and the sishtas, while very closely linked, are not identical, for the sishtas are the most advanced individuals of the seed-Manu; and it is these sishtas which become the seeds of life when their Manu reaches their globe again and becomes the root-Manu. The Manu therefore includes not only the main body of the life-wave but the sishtas also.
In the light of the preceding paragraphs, it will be easier to understand the teachings as imbodied by H.P.B. in the following passage from her article, "The Septenary Principle in Esotericism." Speaking of the septenary law and of the innumerable allusions to it throughout ancient literatures, she asks "Who was Manu, the son of Swayambhuva?", and answers by explaining that:
The secret doctrine tells us that this Manu was no man but the representation of the first human races evolved with the help of the Dhyan-Chohans (Devas) at the beginning of the first Round. But we are told in his Laws (Book I, 80) that there are fourteen Manus for every Kalpa or "interval from creation to creation" (read interval from one minor "Pralaya" to another); and that "in the present divine age, there have been as yet seven Manus." Those who know that there are seven rounds, of which we have passed three, and are now in the fourth; and who are taught that there are seven dawns and seven twilights or fourteen Manvantaras; that at the beginning of every Round and at the end and on, and between the planets there is "an awakening to illusive life," and "an awakening to real life," and that, moreover, there are "root-Manus" and what we have to clumsily translate as "the seed-Manus" — the seeds for the human races of the forthcoming Round (a mystery divulged, but to those who have passed their 3rd degree in initiation); those who have learned all that, will be better prepared to understand the meaning of the following. . . . Just as each planetary Round commences with the appearance of a "Root-Manu" (Dyan Chohan) and closes with a "Seed-Manu," so a root and a Seed Manu appear respectively at the beginning and the termination of the human period on any particular planet. It will be easily seen from the foregoing statement that a Manu-antaric period means, as the term implies, the time between the appearance of two Manus or Dyan Chohans; and hence a minor Manuantara is the duration of the seven races on any particular planet, and a major manvantara is the period of one human round along the Planetary chain. Moreover, that, as it is said that each of the seven Manus creates 7 x 7 Manus, and that there are 49 root-races on the seven planets during each Round, then every root-race has its Manu. — The Theosophist, July 1883, p. 254
Thus we see once more the fundamental unity of all that is and the unbreakable natural bonds uniting us with everything that the universe contains. None of us can advance or pursue our pilgrimage alone — not one of us. We take along with us, bound into all the parts of our constitution, countless hosts of entities evolutionally inferior to us; and precisely in the same manner, but on a different scale, all of us are united by inseparable bonds with the spiritual beings superior to ourselves in the cosmic hierarchy. We must all go forwards together, as we have been doing through all past time; and into all future time we shall be progressing unitedly as a host of monads, like a vast cosmic river of lives.
1. The Mediaevalists had a strange theory which they did not understand and which has been rejected by science. They called it encapsulation. The idea was that Mother Eve in the Garden of Eden held encapsulated in her womb all the seeds of the human race, which she passed on to her children, the families of which in their turn held encapsulated the seeds of future generations, passing them on to their children; and so forth. When properly interpreted, this is what H.P.B. meant when she spoke in The Secret Doctrine (I, 223-4) of the unmodified germ plasm — Weismann's theory.
Here again the Christians anthropomorphized the esoteric doctrine, thus distorting it. As a matter of fact, not only the animal kingdom, but the vegetable, mineral, and even the three elemental kingdoms, came forth from the primal human, the 'Adam Qadmon. They were all encapsulated within him, and he brought them forth. (return to text)
2. This interval of rest is often rather loosely referred to as an interplanetary nirvana, whereas it should really be spoken of as an interglobal nirvana. (return to text)
3. We should bear in mind that there are several kinds of manvantaras, pralayas, and obscurations. For instance, there are cosmic or universal manvantaras, solar manvantaras as well as planetary chain manvantaras. There are also manvantaras for the rounds, globes and races; and when we come down to human beings, there is the individual manvantara which we call an earth life. (return to text)
4. In her magazine The Theosophist (March 1886, p. 352), H. P. Blavatsky writes that in the Vedas "it is said that at the end of each Manvantara comes the pralaya, or the destruction of the world — only one of which is known to, and expected by, the Christians — when there will be left the Sishtas, or remnants, seven Rishis and one warrior, and all the seeds, for the next human 'tide-wave of the following Round.'"
In a footnote to this she explains that, according to the Hindus, these eight persons are named sishtas because they are the only ones left after all the others are destroyed. Then she adds: "This is the orthodox version. The secret one speaks of seven Initiates having attained Dhyanchohanship toward the end of the seventh Race on this earth, who are left on earth during its 'obscuration' with the seed of every mineral, plant, and animal that had not time to evolute into man for the next Round or world-period." (return to text)