The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

Letter No. 14

[Transcribed from a copy in Mr. Sinnett's handwriting — Ed.]

Letter from K.H. Answering Queries. Received by A.O.H., July 9th, 1882.

(1) We understand that the man-bearing cycle of necessity of our solar system consists of thirteen objective globes, of which ours is the lowest, six above it in the ascending, and six in the descending cycle with a fourteenth world lower still than ours. Is this correct?

(1) The number is not quite correct. There are seven objective and seven subjective globes (I have been just permitted for the first time to give you the right figure), the worlds of causes and of effects. The former have our earth occupying the lower turning point where spirit-matter equilibrates. But do not trouble yourself to go into calculations even on this correct basis for it will only puzzle you, since the infinite ramifications of the number seven (which is one of our greatest mysteries) being so closely allied and interdependent with the seven principles of Nature and man — this figure is the only one I am permitted (so far) to give you. What I can reveal I do so in a letter I am just finishing.

(2) We understand that below man you reckon not three kingdoms as we do (mineral, vegetable and animal) but seven. Please enumerate and explain these.

(2) Below man there are three in the objective and three in the subjective region, with man a septenary. Two of the three former none but an initiate could conceive of; the third is the Inner kingdom — below the crust of the Earth which we could name but would feel embarrassed to describe. These seven kingdoms are preceded by other and numerous septenary stages and combinations.

(3) We understand that the monad, starting in the highest world of the descending series, appears there in a mineral encasement, and there goes through a series of seven encasements representing the seven classes into which the mineral kingdom is divided, and that this done it passes to the next planet and does likewise (I purposely say nothing of the worlds of results, where it takes on the development the result of what it has gone through in the last world and the necessary preparation for the next) and so on right through the thirteen spheres, making altogether 91 mineral existences. (a) Is this correct? (b) If so, what are the classes we are to reckon in the mineral kingdom? Also (c) How does the monad get out of one encasement into another; in the case of inherbations and incarnations, the plant and animal dies, but so far as we know the mineral does not die, so how does the monad in the first round get out of one into another inmetalliation? (d) And has every separate molecule of the mineral a monad or only those groups of molecules where definite structure is observable such as crystals?

(3) Yes; in our string of worlds it starts at globe A of the descending series and passing through all the preliminary evolutions and combinations of the first three kingdoms it finds itself encased in its first mineral form (in what I call race when speaking of man and what we may call class in general) — of class 1 — there. Only it passes through seven instead of "through the thirteen spheres" even omitting the intermediate "worlds of results." Having passed through its seven great classes of inmetalliation (a good word this) with their septenary ramifications — the monad gives birth to the vegetable kingdom and moves on to the next planet B.

(a) As you now see, except as to the numbers. (b) Your geologists divide, I believe, stones into three great groups — of Sandstone, granite and chalk; or the sedimentary, organic, and igneous, following their physical characteristics just as the psychologists and spiritualists divide man into the trinity of body, soul, and spirit. Our method is totally different. We divide minerals (also the other kingdoms) according to their occult properties, i.e., according to the relative proportion of the seven universal principles which they contain. I am sorry to refuse you, but I cannot, am not permitted to answer your question. To facilitate for you a question of simple nomenclature, however, I would advise you to study perfectly the seven principles in man, and thus to divide the seven great classes of the minerals correspondentially. For instance, the group of the sedimentary would answer to the compound (chemically speaking) body of man or his first principle; the organic to the second (some call it third) principle or jiva, etc., etc. You must exercise your own intuitions in that. Thus you might also intuit certain truths even as to their properties. I am more than willing to help you but things have to be divulged gradually.

(c) By occult osmosis.The plant and animal leave their carcases behind when life is extinct. So does the mineral only at longer intervals, as its rocky body is more lasting. It dies at the end of every manwantariccycle, or at the close of one "Round" as you would call it. It is explained in the letter I am preparing for you.

(d) Every molecule is part of the Universal Life. Man's soul (his fourth and fifth principle) is but a compound of the progressed entities of the lower kingdoms. The superabundance or preponderance of one over another compound will often determine the instincts and passions of a man, unless these are checked by the soothing and spiritualizing influence of his sixth principle.

(4) Please note, we call the grand cycle that the monad has performed in the mineral kingdom a "round" which we understand to contain thirteen (seven) stations, or objective, more or less material worlds. At each of these stations it performs what we call a "world ring," which includes seven inmetalliations, one in each of the seven classes of that kingdom. Is this accepted for nomenclature and correct?

(4) I believe it will lead to a further confusion. A Round we are agreed to call 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 "world ring" is correct. M⸫ advised Mr. Sinnett strongly to agree upon a nomenclature before going any further. A few stray facts were given to you par contrebande and on the smuggling principle hitherto. But now since you seem really and seriously determined to study and utilize our philosophy — it is time we should begin to work seriously. Because we are constrained to deny to our friends an insight into the higher Mathematics it is no reason why we should refuse to teach them arithmetic.

The monad performs not only "world rings" or seven major inmetalliations, inherbations, zoonisations (?) and incarnations — but an infinitude of sub-rings or subordinate whirls all in series of sevens. As the geologist divides the crust of the earth into great divisions, sub-divisions, minor compartments and zones; and the botanist his plants into orders, classes and species, and the zoologist his subjects into classes, orders and families, so we have our arbitrary classifications and our nomenclature. But besides all this being incomprehensible to you, volumes upon volumes out of the Books of Kiu-te and others would have to be written. Their commentaries are worse still. They are filled with the most abstruse mathematical calculations the key to most of which are in the hands of our highest adepts only, since showing as they do the infinitude of the phenomenal manifestations in the side projections of the one Force they are again secret. Therefore I doubt whether I will be allowed to give you for the present anything beyond the mere unitary or root idea. Anyhow I will do my best.

(5) We understand that in each of your other six kingdoms, a monad similarly performs a complete round, in each round stopping in each of the thirteen stations, and there performing in each a world ring of seven lives, one in each of the seven classes into which each of the six said kingdoms are divided. Is this correct and, if so, will you give us the seven classes of these six kingdoms?

(5) If by kingdoms the seven kingdoms or regions of the earth are meant — and I do not see how it can mean anything else — then the query is answered in my reply to your Question 2. And if so then the five out of the seven are already enumerated. The first two are related as well as the third, to the evolution of the elementals and of the Inner Kingdom.

(6) If we are right then the total existences prior to the man-period is 637. Is this correct? Or are there seven existences in each class of each kingdom, 4,459? Or what are the total numbers and how divided? One point more. In these lower kingdoms is the number of lives, so to speak, invariable, or does it vary and, if so, how, why, and within what limits?

(6) Not being permitted to give you the whole truth, or divulge the number of isolated fractions, I am unable to satisfy you by giving you the total number. Rest assured my dear Brother, that to one who does not seek to become a practical occultist these numbers are immaterial. Even our high chelas are refused these particulars to the moment of their initiation into adeptship. These figures as I have already said are so interwoven with the profoundest psychological mysteries that to divulge the key to such figures, would be to put the rod of power within the reach of all the clever men who would read your book. All that I can tell you is that within the Solar Manwantara the number of existences or vital activities of the monad is fixed, but there are local variations in number in minor systems, individual worlds, rounds, and world rings, according to circumstances. And in this connexion remember also that human personalities are often blotted out, while the entities whether single or compound complete all the minor and major circles of necessities under whatsoever form.

(7) So far we hope we are tolerably correct, but when we come to Man we have got muddled.

(7) And no wonder, since you were not given the correct information.

(7a) Does the monad as Man (ape-man and upwards) make one or seven rounds as above defined? We gathered the latter.

(7a) As a man-ape he performs just as many rounds and rings as every other race or class; i.e., he performs one Round and in every planet from A to Z has to go through seven chief races of ape-like man, as many sub-races, etc., etc. (see Supplementary Notes) as the above described race.

(7b) At each round does his world circle consist of seven lives in seven races (49) or of only seven lives in one race? We are not certain how you use the word race, whether there is only one race to each station of each round, i.e., one race to each world circle or whether there are seven races (with their seven branchlets and a life in each in either case) in each world circle. Nay, from your use of the words "and through each of these Man has to evolute before he passes on to the next higher race and that seven times," we are not sure that there are not seven lives in each branchlet as you call it, sub-race we will, if you like, say.

So now there may be seven rounds each with seven races, each with seven sub-races, each with seven incarnations = 13 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 31,213 lives, or one round with seven races and seven sub-races and a life in each = 13 x 7 x 7 = 637 lives or again 4,459 lives. Please set us right here stating the normal number of lives (the exact numbers will vary owing to idiots, children, etc., not counting) and how divided.

(7b) As the above described race: i.e., at each planet — our earth included — he has to perform seven rings through seven races (one in each) and 7 x 7 offshoots. There are seven root-races, and seven sub-races or offshoots. Our doctrine treats anthropology as an absurd empty dream of the religionists and confines itself to ethnology. It is possible that my nomenclature is faulty: you are at liberty in such a case to change it. What I call "race" you would perhaps term "stock" though sub-race expresses better what we mean than the word family or division of the genus homo. However, to set you right so far I will say — one life in each of the seven root-races; seven lives in each of the 49 sub-races — or 7 x 7 x 7 = 343 and add 7 more. And then a series of lives in offshoot and branchlet races; making the total incarnations of man in each station or planet 777. The principle of acceleration and retardation applies itself in such a way, as to eliminate all the inferior stocks and leave but a single superior one to make the last ring. Not much to divide over some millions of years that man passes on one planet. Let us take but one million of years — suspected and now accepted by your science — to represent man's entire term upon our earth in this Round; and allowing an average of a century for each life, we find that whereas he has passed in all his lives upon our planet (in this Round) but 77,700 years he has been in the subjective spheres 922,300 years. Not much encouragement for the extreme modern reincarnationists who remember their several previous existences!

Should you indulge in any calculations do not forget that we have computed above only full average lives of consciousness and responsibility. Nothing has been said as to failures of Nature in abortions, congenital idiots, death of children in their first septenary cycle, nor of the exceptions of which I cannot speak. No less have you to remember that average human life varies greatly according to the Round. Though I am obliged to withhold information about many points yet if you should work out any of the problems by yourself it will be my duty to tell you so. Try to solve the problem of the 777 incarnations.

(8) M— said all mankind is in the fourth round, the fifth has not yet commenced but soon will. Was this a slip? If not, then collating this with your present remarks we gather that all mankind is on the fourth round (though in another place you seemed to say we are on the fifth round). That the highest people now on earth belong to the first sub-race of the fifth race, the majority to the seventh sub-race of the fourth race but with remnants of the other sub-races of the fourth race and the seventh sub-race of the third race.

Pray set us quite right on this.

(8) M knows very little English and hates writing. But even I might have used very well the same expression. A few drops of rain do not make the monsoon though they presage it. The fifth round has not commenced on our Earth and the races and sub-races of one round must not be confounded with those of another round. The fifth round mankind may be said to have "commenced" when there shall not be left on the planet which precedes ours a single man of that round and on our Earth not one of the fourth round. You should know also that the casual fifth round men (and very few and scarce they are) who come in upon us as avant couriers do not beget on earth fifth round progeny. Plato and Confucius were fifth round men and our Lord a sixth round man (the mystery of his avatar is spoken of in my forthcoming letter) and not even G Buddha's son was anything but a fourth round man.

Our mystic terms in their clumsy retranslation from the Sanskrit into English are as confusing to us as they are to you — especially to M unless in writing to you one of us takes his pen as an adept and uses it from the first word to the last, in this capacity he is quite as liable to "slips" as any other man. No we are not in the fifth round, but fifth round men have been coming in for the last few thousand years. But what is such a petty stretch of time in comparison with even one million of the several millions of years embraced in man's occupancy of earth in a single round!


Please examine carefully the few additional things I give you on the fly-leaves. Damodar has received orders to send you No. 3 of Terry's letters — a good material for pamphlet No. 3 of Fragments of Occult Truth.

Man on a Planet


This figure roughly represents the development of humanity on a planet — say our earth. Man evolves in seven major or root-races; 49 minor races; and the subordinate races or offshoots, the branchlet races coming from the latter are not shown.

The arrows indicate the direction taken by the evolutionary impulse.

I, II, III, IV, etc., are the seven major or root-races.
1, 2, 3, etc., are the minor races.

a, a, a, are the subordinate or offshoot races.
N, the initial and terminal point of evolution on the planet.
S, the axial point where the development equilibrates or adjusts itself in each race evolution.
E, the equatorial points where in the descending arc intellect overcomes spirituality and in the ascending arc spirituality outstrips intellect.

(N.B. — The above in D.K.'s hand — the rest in K.H.'s. — A.P.S.)

P.S. — In his hurry D.J.K. has made his figure incline somewhat out of the perpendicular but it will serve as a rough memorandum. He drew it to represent development on a single planet; but I have added a word or two to make it apply as well (which it does) to a whole manwantaric chain of worlds.


Supplementary Notes

Whenever any question of evolution or development in any Kingdom presents itself to you bear constantly in mind that everything comes under the septenary rule of series in their correspondences and mutual relations throughout nature.

In the evolution of man there is a topmost point, a bottom point, a descending arc, and an ascending arc. As it is "spirit" which transforms itself into "matter" and (not "matter" which ascends — but) matter which resolves once more into spirit, of course the first race evolution and the last on a planet (as in each round) must be more ethereal, more spiritual, the fourth or lowermost one most physical (progressively of course in each round) and at the same time — as physical intelligence is the masked manifestation of spiritual intelligence — each evoluted race in the downward arc must be more physically intelligent than its predecessor, and each in the upward arc have a more refined form of mentality commingled with spiritual intuitiveness.

The first race (or stock) of the first round after a solarmanwantara (kindly wait for my forthcoming letter before you allow yourself to be repuzzled or remuddled. It will explain a good deal) would then be a god man race of an almost impalpable shape.  And so it is; but then comes the difficulty to the student to reconcile this fact with the evolution of man from the animal-- however high his form among the anthropoids. And yet it is reconcilable for whomsoever will hold religiously to a strict analogy between the works of the two worlds, the visible and the invisible — one world, in fact, as one is working within itself so to say. Now there are — there must be "failures" in the ethereal 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 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 develop little by little the full type of humanity. In this commingling they lose their high intelligence and spirituality of Deva-ship to regain them in the end of the seventh ring in the seventh round.

Thus we have:

Ist Round. — An ethereal being — non-intelligent, but super-spiritual. In each of the subsequent races and sub-races and minor races of evolution he grows more and more into an encased or incarnate being, but still preponderatingly ethereal. And like the animal and vegetable he develops monstrous bodies correspondential with his coarse surroundings.

IInd Round. — He is still gigantic and ethereal, but growing firmer and more condensed in body — a more physical man, yet still less intelligent than spiritual; for mind is a slower and more difficult evolution than the physical frame and the mind would not develop as rapidly as the body.

IIIrd Round. — He has now a perfectly concrete or compacted body; at first the form of a giant ape, and more intelligent (or rather cunning) than spiritual. For in the downward arc he has now reached the point where his primordial spirituality is eclipsed or overshadowed by nascent mentality. In the last half of this third round his gigantic stature decreases, his body improves in texture (perhaps the microscope might help to demonstrate this) and he becomes a more rational being — though still more an ape than a deva-man.

IVth round. — Intellect has an enormous development in this round. The dumb races will acquire our human speech, on our globe, on which from the 4th race language is perfected and knowledge in physical things increases. At this half-way point of the 4th round, Humanity passes the axial point of the minor manwantaric circle. (Moreover, at the middle point of every major or root race evolution of each round, man passes the equator of his course on that planet, the same rule applying to the whole evolution or the seven rounds of the minor Manwantara — 7 rounds ÷ 2 = 3 1/2 rounds). At this point then the world teems with the results of intellectual activity and spiritual decrease. In the first half of the fourth race, sciences, arts, literature and philosophy were born, eclipsed in one nation, reborn in another. Civilization and intellectual development whirling in septenary cycles as the rest; while it is but in the latter half that the spiritual Ego will begin its real struggle with body and mind to manifest its transcendental powers. Who will help in the forthcoming gigantic struggle? Who? Happy the man who helps a helping hand.

Vth Round. — The same relative development, and the same struggle continues.

VIth Round.

VIIth Round.

Of these we need not speak.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition