Between Science and Theosophy there is a wide gulf, for the present unbridged, on the question of the origin of man and the differentiation of species. The teachers of religion in the West offer on this subject a theory, dogmatically buttressed by an assumed revelation, as impossible as the one put forward by scientific men. And yet the religious expounders are nearer than science to the truth. Under the religious superstition about Adam and Eve is hidden the truth, and in the tales of Cain, Seth, and Noah is vaguely shadowed the real story of the other races of men, Adam being but the representative of one single race. The people who received Cain and gave him a wife were some of those human races which had appeared simultaneously with the one headed by Adam.
The ultimate origin or beginning of man is not to be discovered, although we may know when and from where the men of this globe came. Man never was not. If not on this globe, then on some others, he ever was, and will ever be in existence somewhere in the Cosmos. Ever perfecting and reaching up to the image of the Heavenly Man, he is always becoming. But as the human mind cannot go back to any beginning, we shall start with this globe. Upon this earth and upon the whole chain of globes of which it is a part seven races of men appeared simultaneously, coming over to it from other globes of an older chain. And in respect to this earth — the fourth of this chain — these seven races came simultaneously from another globe of this chain. This appearance of seven races together happens in the first and in part of the second round of the globes. In the second round the seven masses of beings are amalgamated, and their destiny after that is to slowly differentiate during the succeeding rounds until at the seventh round the seven first great races will be once more distinct, as perfect types of the human race as this period of evolution will allow. At the present time the seven races are mixed together, and representatives of all are in the many so-called races of men as classified by our present science. The object of this amalgamation and subsequent differentiation is to give to every race the benefit of the progress and power of the whole derived from prior progress in other planets and systems. For Nature never does her work in a hasty or undue fashion, but, by the sure method of mixture, precipitation, and separation, brings about the greatest perfection. And this method was one known to the Alchemists, though not fully understood in all its bearings even by them.
Hence man did not spring from a single pair. Neither did he come from any tribe or family of monkey. It is hopeless to look to either religion or science for a solution of the question, for science is confused on her own admission, and religion is tangled with a revelation that in its books controverts the theory put forward by the priest. Adam is called the first man, but the record in which the story is found shows that other races of men must have existed on the earth before Cain could have founded a city. The Bible, then, does not support the single pair theory. If we take up one of the hypotheses of Science and admit for the moment that man and monkey differentiated from one ancestor, we have then to decide where the first ancestor came from. The first postulate of the Lodge on this subject is that seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the earth, and the first negative assumption is that man did not spring from a single pair or from the animal kingdom.
The varieties of character and capacity which subsequently appear in man's history are the forthcoming of the variations which were induced in the Egos in other and long anterior periods of evolution upon other chains of globes. These variations were so deeply impacted as to be equivalent to inherent characteristics. For the races of this globe the prior period of evolution was passed on the chain of globes of which our moon is the visible representative.
The burning question of the anthropoid apes as related to man is settled by the Masters of Wisdom, who say that instead of those being our progenitors they were produced by man himself. In one of the early periods of the globe the men of that time begot from large females of the animal kingdom the anthropoids, and in anthropoid bodies were caught a certain number of Egos destined one day to be men. The remainder of the descendants of the true anthropoid are the descendants of those illegitimate children of men, and will die away gradually, their Egos entering human bodies. Those half-ape and half-man bodies could not be ensouled by strictly animal Egos, and for that reason they are known to the Secret Doctrine as the "Delayed Race," the only one not included in the fiat of Nature that no more Egos from the lower kingdoms will come into the human kingdom until the next Manvantara. But to all kingdoms below man except the anthropoids, the door is now closed for entry into the human stage, and the Egos in the subordinate forms must all wait their turn in the succeeding great Cycle. And as the delayed Egos of the Anthropoid family will emerge into the man stage later on, they will thus be rewarded for the long wait in that degraded race. All the other monkeys are products in the ordinary manner of the evolutionary processes.
On this subject I cannot do better than quote the words of one of those Masters of Wisdom, giving the esoteric anthropology from the secret volumes, thus:
The anatomical resemblance between Man and the higher Ape, so frequently cited by Darwinists as pointing to some former ancestor common to both, presents an interesting problem, the proper solution of which is to be sought for in the esoteric explanation of the genesis of the pithecoid stocks. We have given it so far as was useful, by stating that the bestiality of the primeval mindless races resulted in the production of huge man-like monsters — the offspring of human and animal parents. As time rolled on, and the still semi-astral forms consolidated into the physical, the descendants of these creatures were modified by external conditions, until the breed, dwindling in size, culminated in the lower apes of the Miocene period. With these the later Atlanteans renewed the sin of the "Mindless" — this time with full responsibility. The resultants of their crime were the species of apes now known as the Anthropoid. . . .
Let us remember in this connection the esoteric teaching which tells us of Man having had in the Third Round a GIGANTIC APE-LIKE FORM on the astral plane. And similarly at the close of the Third Race in this Round. Thus it accounts for the human features of the Apes, especially of the later Anthropoids, — apart from the fact that these latter preserved by Heredity a resemblance to their Atlanto-Lemurian sires.
The same teachers furthermore assert that the mammalian types were produced in the fourth round, subsequent to the appearance of the human types. For this reason there was no barrier against fertility, because the root-types of those mammals were not far enough removed to raise the natural barrier. The unnatural union in the third race, when man had not yet had the light of Manas given to him, was not a crime against Nature, since, no mind being present save in the merest germ, no responsibility could attach. But in the fourth round, the light of Manas being present, the renewal of the act by the new race was a crime, because it was done with a full knowledge of the consequences and against the warning of conscience. The karmic effect of this, including as it does all races, has yet to be fully felt and understood — at a much later day than now.
As man came to this globe from another planet, though of course then a being of very great power before being completely enmeshed in matter, so the lower kingdoms came likewise in germ and type from other planets, and carry on their evolution step by step upward by the aid of man, who is, in all periods of manifestation, at the front of the wave of life. The Egos in these lower kingdoms could not finish their evolution in the preceding globe-chain before its dissolution, and coming to this they go forward age after age, gradually approaching nearer the man stage. One day they too will become men and act as the advance guard and guide for other lower kingdoms of this or other globes. And in the coming from the former planet there are always brought with the first and highest class of beings some forms of animal life, some fruits and other products, as models or types for use here. It will not be profitable to go into this here with particularity, for being too far ahead of the time it would evoke only ridicule from some and stupidity from others. But the general forms of the various kingdoms being so brought over, we have next to consider how the differentiation of animal and other lower species began and was carried on.
This is the point where intelligent aid and interference from a mind or mass of minds is absolutely necessary. Such aid and interference was and is the fact, for Nature unaided cannot do the work right. But I do not mean that God or angel interferes and aids. It is Man who does this. Not the man of the day, weak and ignorant as he is, but great souls, high and holy men of immense power, knowledge, and wisdom. Just such as every man would now know he could become, if it were not that religion on one hand and science on the other have painted such a picture of our weakness, inherent evil and purely material origin that nearly all men think they are puppets of God or cruel fate without hope, or remain with a degrading and selfish aim in view both here and after. Various names have been given to these beings now removed from our plane. They are the Dhyanis, the Creators, the Guides, the Great Spirits, and so on by many titles. In theosophical literature they are called the Dhyanis.
By methods known to themselves and to the Great Lodge they work on the forms so brought over, and by adding here, taking away there, and often altering, they gradually transform by such alteration and addition the kingdoms of nature as well as the gradually forming gross body of man. This process is carried on chiefly in the purely astral period preceding the gross physical stage, as the impulses thus given will surely carry themselves forward through the succeeding times. When the midway point of evolution is reached the species emerge on to the present stage and not showing the connection to the eye of man nor to our instruments. The investigations of the day have traced certain species down to a point where, as is confessed, it is not known to what root they go back. Taking oxen on one side and horses on the other, we see that both are hoofed, but one has a split hoof and the other but one toe. These bring us back, when we reach the oldest ancestor of each, to the midway point, and there science has to stop. At this spot the wisdom of the Masters comes in to show that back of this is the astral region of ancient evolution, where were the root-types in which the Dhyanis began the evolution by alteration and addition which resulted in the differentiation afterwards on this gross plane into the various families, species, and genera.
A vast period of time, about 300,000,000 years, was passed by earth and man and all the kingdoms of nature in an astral stage. Then there was no gross matter such as we now know. This was in the early rounds when Nature was proceeding slowly with the work of perfecting the types on the astral plane, which is matter, though very fine in its texture. At the end of that stretch of years the process of hardening began, the form of man being the first to become solid, and then some of the astral prototypes of the preceding rounds were involved in the solidification, though really belonging to a former period when everything was astral. When those fossils are discovered it is argued that they must be those of creatures which co-existed with the gross physical body of man.
While that argument is proper enough under the other theories of Science, it becomes only an assumption if the existence of the astral period be admitted. It would be beyond the scope of this work to go further into particulars. But it may incidentally be said that neither the bee nor the wheat could have had their original differentiation in this chain of globes, but must have been produced and finished in some other from which they were brought over into this. Why this should be so I am willing to leave for the present to conjecture.
To the whole theory it may be objected that Science has not been able to find the missing links between the root-types of the astral period and the present fossils or living species. In the year 1893 at Moscow Professor Virchow said in a lecture that the missing link was as far off as ever, as much of a dream as ever, and that no real evidence was at hand to show man as coming from the animals. This is quite true, and neither class of missing link will be discovered by Science under her present methods. For all of them exist in the astral plane and therefore are invisible to the physical eye. They can only be seen by the inner astral senses, which must first be trained to do their work properly, and until Science admits the existence of the astral and inner senses she will never try to develop them. Always, then, Science will be without the instruments for discovering the astral links left on the astral plane in the long course of differentiation. The fossils spoken of above, which were, so to say, solidified out of date, form an exception to the impossibility of finding any missing links, but they are blind alleys to Science because she admits none of the necessary facts.
The object of all this differentiation, amalgamation, and separation is well stated by another of the Masters, thus:
Nature consciously prefers that matter should be indestructible under organic rather than inorganic forms; and that she works slowly but incessantly towards the realization of this object — the evolution of conscious life out of inert material.