Studies in Occult Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Questions and Answers  (part 2)

The Seven Original Human Groups

In The Secret Doctrine (Vol. II, p. 1) H. P. B. speaks of “the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven Portions of our globe.”  Are we to accept this literally, or is she referring to some occult aspect of the teaching which is not generally given?

This passage and other passages appertaining to the same point of the occult teaching, mean just what they say, and are not to be construed metaphorically.  These passages do not refer to inner and outer Rounds, nor to the other globes of the earth-chain, nor to the seven different human principles, as astral, physical, etc., except indirectly; as is shown very clearly by H. P. B.’s own words, “seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe.”  Here it is our Globe D or Earth, our planet Terra, which is meant.

Thus it is a fact that original mankind, which does not mean any branch of humanity but the very beginnings of what we popularly call the First Root-Race on Globe D in this Fourth Round, refers to the matter of the sishtas from the preceding Round.  In other words, it means that our human life-wave as a whole or totality, when it again reached our Earth during this Fourth Round on this Globe D, awakened the seven classes of the then living sishtas on this our Globe D, because the forerunners of our life-wave were themselves composed of the seven different kinds of human monads.  In other words they were composed of what, in other connections, H. P. B. has called the different classes of the Pitris.  This is a little intricate but very simple when other teachings about the incoming life-waves on a globe are properly understood, and must not be confused with other life-waves; and I may add of course that the last word of this teaching is highly esoteric and belongs to higher Degrees.

However, mark the following points: the sishtas waiting the incoming septenary human life-wave were themselves sevenfold, i.e., seven different groups of sishtas, each group being composed of individuals who through evolution were more or less alike.  The life-wave when it reaches our Globe, is thus composed of the bulk of what we call the First Sub-Race of the First Root-Race, intermixed with forerunners, i.e., more advanced monads of six other kinds, representing the other six classes of human monads.

Hence it was that all the seven classes of sishtas were more or less contemporaneously awakened, as it were, which means that they became vehicles for the different classes of the incoming monads, and began to increase; and thus it was that in this Round, on this Globe, as H. P. B. says, there was a “simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe.”  These seven different classes of monads of the incoming life-wave, including the majority and the forerunners of the other six, started the seeds of the different Root-Races, which in time were to develop in this Round on this Globe, and of which Root-Races 1, 2, 3, and 4 have come and gone, and we are now in the Fifth, although there are representatives amongst us even today, forerunners, of the Sixth and Seventh Root-Races to come before our life-wave passes on to Globe E.

It is thus clear that The Secret Doctrine teaches not a monogenetic origin of humanity, i.e., the birth of the human race from a single individual, or from a single couple like the Jewish biblical story; but teaches a polygenetic origin, that is to say an origin of the human race from seven different living foci, which I have hereinbefore called the seven different types or kinds or sub-classes of the sishtas, each one such type or sub-class being awakened by the similar incoming portion of the human life-wave.  Of course the portion of the incoming life-wave which was to become specifically the First Root-Race was the most numerous at that earliest period in our humanity, and became the First Root-Race.  Then when it died out, it was followed by the growth in numbers of the class of the monads which was to become the Second Root-Race, etc.

In this connection, it must not be forgotten that all these seven types or classes of monads in the incoming life-waves are not separated in water-tight compartments, any more than the different types of men today, advanced and less advanced, are all separated off from each other.  But they more or less mingled as time went on, yet the members of each class as it were gravitated to its own particular group and part of the globe.

From this teaching we likewise see that there may be, and indeed are, groups of humanity which inhabit portions of a globe and remain almost quiescent for ages, until their time comes to begin to increase and to become the dominant Race or Sub-Race.

Thus H. P. B.’s words are to be taken literally.  Of course, what is here briefly said took scores of millions of years to come about, up to the time of our own Fifth Root-Race.

Cyclic Progression not Repetition

Will all things now existing exist again after pralaya in more or less the same form as hitherto?  Will the cycle just repeat itself in a kind of predestined way, all entities repeating their previous work and accomplishments?  As just one instance, will the great world scriptures such as the Hindu Ramayana come into being once more with the same individuals composing its history?

The idea of repetitive cycles imbodied in this question is nothing new in the history of Oriental philosophy, nor indeed in that of ancient Greek philosophy; for it was one of the foremost and favorite teachings of the old Stoic school: that the Universes, or our universe rather, and all in it, repeated itself cyclically through immense intervals of time, so that what now is, took place in the previous cosmic cycle, and what now is, will again repeat itself in due serial order when this present cosmic cycle is ended, the rest-period is completed, and the new cosmic cycle begins.  It is the principle of the turning wheel, the favorite symbol of these repetitive cycles with their undoubted mechanical aspects.

Now there is great truth in all this.  But what most of these statements ignore, either deliberately or through ignorance, is that while these repetitive imbodiments of the Universe certainly take place, this being one of the fundamental teachings of Theosophy, yet each imbodiment for any particular or any one universe is always on a higher plane than the one on which it was last imbodied.  Thus it is not a perfect identity, and therefore there is no dead mechanism about it and no merely frightfully useless running the round on the wheel of change with no hope of progress.  This last would be the worst kind of fatalistic horror.

The universe repeats itself, reimbodies itself, and each repetition governed by the karma of the preceding produces a universe closely alike to the one which preceded it — just as a man in one life is very much like the man of the last life; yet in both cases the imbodying entity, whether universe or man, is always a little higher, a little more forwards in its evolutionary course, than before.

Thus it follows naturally enough that the Ramayana will again be written in the next cosmic manvantara, and will probably doubtless contain the same more or less accurately reproduced figures of that grand epic.  But they will not be the mere identical reproductions of identical entities, not one of which has advanced, because those of one manvantara graduate into a higher plane: the karmic molds of destiny they have left behind them in the cosmic astral light, bring things about so that the multitudes of monads trailing along behind us will naturally walk in our footsteps.  And yet because these entities are different individuals, and because the universe itself is somewhat advanced, while there will be a reproduction of the Ramayana with all its incidents, etc., everything will be a little better, because on a higher plane.

Is the Sun Hot or Cold?

When the Teachers say that the Sun is not hot does that mean that it is really cold, or is there some deeper meaning behind that statement?  Dr. D. H. Menzel of Harvard Observatory gives reasons to believe that the part of the Sun’s Corona very near the surface of the sun is intensely heated, far more so than the surface itself.  Does this explain the apparent heat of the surface?

The sun is a body of power, a ball of energy, or rather of energies, and is no more hot as such than is a block of ice, although of course even a block of ice has some heat as compared with something still colder.

Thus, electricity is neither hot nor cold, although it can chill things and heat things, with proper mechanical apparatus.  Sunlight is neither hot nor cold, although because it is energy, it can set up movement in the molecules and atoms of the bodies on which it falls, like our skin, or a rock, or the side of a house, and thus give us the impression that the sunlight is hot.  It is like electricity, which, because of the response of the metal through which it passes, heats the metal red hot, which therefore gives heat.  But the electricity is not hot, no more than the energies coming from the sun are hot.

Most of the heat on our earth actually arises from magnetic and electric interplay between the earth itself and that marvelous continent above our heads, as the Master says.

The earth gets very little heat direct from the sun, as compared, I mean with the heat generated in the manner above explained between the earth and the meteoric continent above our heads.

Now, turning to the sun, the sun as a body of forces is cold, and yet I hate to use this word, as it does not give the meaning.  As a body of forces it is neither hot nor cold.  Temperature does not enter into the picture.  Temperature arises out of the play of forces on resisting media.  But and here is the important point what you might call the sun’s outer garment, not near the sun but around the surface of the sun, what science means when it speaks of the corona, can be heated by chemical and alchemical action to great heat, or to less heat, or to no heat at all, in spots, according to circumstances.

Thus we might say that the sun itself is neither hot nor cold, being just a body of forces.  But these forces in their interplay with the garments of the sun, call them gases if you like, or ethers, can produce actual heat, as we understand heat.  This means that the sun’s forces playing and interplaying on the atoms and molecules of these garments of the sun, can at times, and usually do in spots or in areas, vast areas too, make heat, even great heat.  But this heat has very little to do with heating the earth.  It is simply radiated into space, or sucked in again towards the body of the sun, and is dissipated.

Thus the sun is neither hot nor cold.  It is neutral to these two adjectives, so to speak; but the sun’s outer garments can be and usually are, sometimes more, sometimes less, very hot, sometimes not hot at all, according to the way the forces play and interplay at this time or some future time, or did in some past time.

Was the Founding of the T. S. Premature?

In The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett?there is a suggestion that the effort made by two of the Masters in helping with the founding of the T. S. was deemed by other and higher Masters in some sense as premature.  Someone said to me that thus it became in a certain sense a failure, and this made necessary ‘the new effort in 1909 which was accomplished by Max Heindel.’ Can you say if there is something in this or not?

My answer is an emphatic no; and there is not an atom of proof that this is so.

I will begin to answer this question at the end and move towards the beginning at my end.  I believe that Mr. Max Heindel was an earnest man who had mystical and astrological and what he called Rosicrucian ideas of his own.  I will speak quite frankly: like all these others — every one of them — the other mystical and semi-mystical societies which have been born in the West since H. P. Blavatsky came in 1875 and gave the world Theosophy, all of them have drawn upon our Theosophical teachings for the good that they contain.  They take without acknowledgment from our treasury!  This I would not object to, because I am anxious that all in our treasury that the world can accept shall be given to the world; and if unauthorized takers crash the barriers, even then I am happy.  I ask only that the takers be honest and acknowledge the source of their inspiration, saying: “I have taken from your treasury because I found the door unlocked! “

To come to the next point: there is not a word of truth in the statement that the Theosophical Movement has failed — not one word of truth.  I will admit that the Theosophical Movement has made some serious mistakes, grievous errors, in the past; but they have been mistakes not due to the heart but to the difficulties involved in introducing a very strange (as it seemed to the West) Religion-Philosophy-Science into the Occident.

The Theosophical Society today is an organization which covers the earth — sparsely, it is true, but which has branches everywhere — and I should perhaps say the Theosophical Movement, including all the Theosophical Societies.  Some of them in my judgment are more true to the original purposes of our Great Teachers than others; but I do not condemn.  My wish is to be brotherly and to help.

But to state that the Theosophical Movement failed, when it was founded by the Masters to help mankind — failed within thirty-four years of its founding — is not only to utter a falsehood but to traduce their holy names; for they knew what they were about, or they didn’t.

Coming now to the first part of the question, which is the last part of my answer: It is true that, as regards the founding of the Theosophical Movement in 1875, there was a difference of opinion among some of our Great Teachers.  Some thought that it would be wiser to wait a few more years; and among these, I may say, was the Great Soul whom we Theosophists revere and call the Maha-Chohan, the Teacher of those two noble-hearted gentlemen, the Mahatmans M. and K. H. He, too, thought the time was as yet not quite ripe.  But he said to his two Chelas, our two Teachers: “Try!”  And they tried.  They tried because their hearts were filled with sorrow for the world.

Look back, you older Brothers, if you have lived that long, to the year 1875, and consider in what a state men then were.  Religion in the Occident was mostly dogmatism and forms: the spirit had largely fled from the churches.  Science was introducing a scientific materialism into men’s minds and hearts, so that men had lost all faith in their spiritual intuitions and their feeling that there is an interior and invisible Universe.  They had lost all faith that there is a moral law in the world; had lost all faith that men would ineluctably reap what they themselves sowed.

The result was that in those days the human race as a whole, especially in the Occident, having lost the guiding light of the spiritual Star which guides mankind through the ages, thinking themselves to be but beasts of a better kind than the apes, were rushing for the maelstrom of material sensuality — the sensualities of an utterly material existence.  This would have involved the loss of hundreds of thousands if not millions of souls, and heaven knows what untold spiritual and intellectual misery and harm to men and women, whose intuitions were still alive but blighted, and who knew not where to look for light.

The churches gave it not for they had it not.  The scientists never had it.  They were just researching, hunting, and had not yet found.  And these two Great Men, men of Buddha-like souls, took the karmic responsibility upon their shoulders (and only the esotericist knows what this means) of making themselves karmically responsible for the sending out of a New Message to men, which, by the force of its innate vigor and the persuasive power of the teachings which it contained, would induce men to think despite themselves.

H. P. B. came.  Laughed at and derided, scorned and persecuted, she worked alone until she found a few helpers — Colonel Olcott and Mr. Judge being the first among them; and by means of her indomitable, her inflexible, will and her magnificent intellect and her amazing spiritual intuition, she taught and wrote and built up a society which cried “Halt!” — and it succeeded.  A new impetus was given to the thoughts of mankind.  Science from that time began to have strange stirrings of new thoughts.  New impulses were sent forth into the thought-atmosphere of the world through the newspapers, through books, through traveling lecturers.  Men were taught that there was a sane universe, that men are responsible for what they do; that there is truth in the universe and that it may be had by him who yearns for it and who will have it.

And then the magic was wrought.  New thoughts began to percolate into the consciousness of men.  Suddenly the world was startled by the work of Crookes, Becquerel, and Roentgen with the so-called ‘X-rays’ — a marvelous revelation to the materialism of the time, proving an interior world which was invisible to the sense-apparatus which we have.  Following this came the work of the Curies, Rutherford, Soddy, and others.  Radium was discovered.  Men’s thoughts took a new turn.  They began to think along new lines, or rather, along the old lines which the church had forgotten and modern science had not yet discovered.

And today, what is it that our greatest modern scientific thinkers tell us as the result of the deductions of their discoveries?  That the fundamental thing in the Universe is consciousness; and this is why I repeat this in every public lecture that I give, if I can find the chance to do it; for it is so important: Modern science is now telling us that the material world is illusory, an illusion, that the only reality is behind the visible, behind the veil of what we can see and touch and feel and taste and smell and hear: old thoughts, thoughts which we Theosophists have been teaching for innumerable ages, thoughts which H. P. B. gave in her books in outline, almost in detail, from 1875. She it was who awakened the world to the new realities — the old realities, the real things in the Universe and in human existence.  Oh, if I could tell you the true story of her life!  Some day if I have the time and the strength I will write it or tell it.

It is the duty of the Theosophical Society to continue to be the leader in the thoughts of men, to carry on the work which H. P. B. did, to keep the link with the Lodge unbroken; and if we slide backwards, if we become mere followers, then indeed the Theosophical Movement will have become a failure and the strictures of our critics will be justified.

Fossils from Third Round

H. P. B. says the fossils found in very early geological rocks are relics of the Third Round.  Are we to interpret this to mean that fossils have been carried over from the Third Round and persisted through the early ethereal state of the Fourth Round?

When H. P. B. correctly points out that at the opening of the Fourth Round on our Globe D certain Third Round forms still existed which now are occasionally discovered by us as fossils, this must not be construed as meaning that these now fossil forms have existed as such since the end of the Third Round.  The meaning is that these fossil forms continued as living entities during the opening drama of the Fourth Round of our Globe D, coincidentally and contemporaneously with the different sishtas of the life-waves.  But when these life-waves began coming in to our Globe D, thus opening the drama of our Fourth Round on Globe D, the sishtas mainly were affected, and these living Third Round forms more or less quickly or belatedly died out, and became fossils.  That is why we occasionally find their fossils.  They were replaced by the evolving or developing life-waves working through and multiplying through the sishtas.  This resulted in the changing of the sishtas into more evolved forms which took the place of the Third Round sishtas of the different kingdoms still alive from the Third Round.

Tremendous geologic and volcanic convulsions open the drama of a Round on each globe, ours included.  But the sishtas, being the product (because the seeds) for the future, survive more or less successfully; whereas the original sishta-forms brought over from the Third Round, gradually died out or were swept away by these convulsions, because in cosmic ideation they were no longer useful to the monads, the monads having already evolved new forms and finer and more developed vehicles through the sishtas that were saved.  Herein lies the essential meaning of the Hebrew Noah’s Ark and of Vaivasvata’s story in the Hindu Puranas.

Nature of Cosmic Ether

Not long ago scientists generally accepted the existence of some kind of substance, called Ether, which fills all space.  Much discussion and disagreement has arisen about this in recent times.  What is the Theosophical interpretation of the Cosmic Ether?

I think this can be safely said, that whatever the new discovery about Ether may be, or be supposed to be: (a) some discovery has been made which proves that an Ether of some kind exists, probably not the old scientific idea of Cosmic Ether, about which I will have something to say in an instant; and (b) that the tendency of science today is away from Einstein’s former idea that an Ether according to the general theory of relativity really is not needed.  In this Einstein is quite wrong.  It arose from the fact that the mathematical chopper gives you back just what you put into it.  It is correct reasoning upon premisses laid down, and if these premisses are wrong or partly wrong, the deductions will be logical and correct in logic, but wrong or partly wrong in fact.  Mathematics never proves anything if the premisses are imaginary or uncertain.

Now here is the main point of all I want to say to you or any other Theosophist.  When these scientists talk about an Ether, our Theosophists constantly confuse our theosophical idea of a Cosmic Ether, or many Cosmic Ethers, with what the scientists mean.  And the scientific view of an Ether has ranged all the way from a kind of gas very dense and elastic perhaps, but still physical matter in a gaseous form, to something slightly more subtil but still quite physical stuff; and naturally the scientists wonder why such a Cosmic Ether if it exists does not affect the movement of planets, suns, comets, and other bodies, through it.  But this is not our idea of a Cosmic Ether.  Our idea of a Cosmic Ether is physical prakriti or matter in its first or second or even third or possibly fourth states, counting downwards from the highest.  When we Theosophists speak of an Ether we never mean physical stuff, however tenuous, and emphatically never mean a gas, such as the laboratory understands the term.  Therefore scientists have been quite right in refusing to admit the existence of a mere Ether of gas, however tenuous.  But they have been quite wrong in refusing to admit an immaterial Ether, immaterial here meaning something which is not matter in the physical sense, but nevertheless distinctly substance in our theosophical and philosophical sense; and yet not spirit, for spirit is infinitely more tenuous and etherealized so to speak.

Einstein’s relativity is a theory and a helpful one.  His fundamental idea of the relativity of nature in its various functionings and departments is sound archaic philosophy; but some of his premisses in his mathematical reasonings are utterly unacceptable to us, and therefore, as I have said, we cannot accept most of his mathematical reasonings, not because his mathematics are wrong, but because his premisses are only partly right or wrong.  I hope this is clear.  Nevertheless, when I speak of our theosophical Cosmic Ether, I do not mean a mere unsubstantiality, something which has no substance, which is not stuff.  I mean just the contrary.  It is at once, physically speaking, almost spiritually tenuous, and yet it is a prakriti on our own Cosmic Plane, but in physical prakriti’s highest forms there, and it is certainly far too gross to be called spirit.  Therefore it is matter in our theosophical sense.  But it is not matter as the scientists understand it.  For when they say matter, they mean things which are solid, liquid, or gaseous, in other words what we call the grossest, even sub-astral matter of physical space.  And the Ether of space, or the Ethers of space, are far more tenuous and ethereal than such scientific conception has it.  The Cosmic Ether does not affect the motion of bodies through it, because the bodies are grossly physical and the Cosmic Ether, while matter of the lowest prakritic cosmic plane, is immensely more tenuous than physical matter.

You might as well say that heat or light will prevent the bodies moving through cosmic space, because of pressure.  It is true that they will, but in an exceedingly slight degree, practically too slight to be observed.  Already scientists know about the pressure of sunlight, for instance.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition