Theosophical University Press Online Edition
After the Kali-Yuga — ?
Notes on the Character of our Fifth Race
Elemental Kingdoms and Cosmic Elements
The following question in regard to the four Yugas has been sent to me for comment and elucidation.
"We are told in the Occult Glossary that the four Yugas, with their respective time-periods of 4, 3, 2, 1, take up just half of the duration of a Root-Race. I have been wondering in what order the Yugas follow after Kali-Yuga, in which we now are, because by analogy it might mean that they would go in the reverse order, so that after Kali-Yuga there would be Dwapara-Yuga, and then Treta-Yuga, and then Satya; but reasoning from another standpoint, it seems we merge into the Golden Age, at least that is what it seems to say in the Vedas. Then from another standpoint, when a Race is dying out, as some of the primitive Races that we now know of, some of the aboriginal Races, they might be said to be in a Golden Age in one way, because they have no responsibilities, they are childlike, and in that sense might be said to be in the Golden Age to the end. So my question is: In what order do the Yugas in a Root-Race come after the Kali-Yuga?"
I think I can best answer this very interesting question in a public gathering by pointing to the history of our own present or Fifth Root-Race. We are all at present, as you know, part of the Fifth Root-Race on this Globe D in this Fourth Round. Now then, it was a legend among the Greeks that the childhood of mankind was happy, that it was peaceful, blessed with plenty, with abundance, that there were no wars and harassing anxieties in those halcyon days of the childhood of man. They called it the Saturnian Age, the Age of Saturn, mainly, I think, because there were no real responsibilities, as the questioner has correctly stated. I question very much, however, whether I for one would like to live the life of a babe unborn, in the womb, without responsibilities, a mere human lump. No!
About the middle point of the Fourth Root-Race, our Fifth Root-Race began to take form, which merely means that certain individuals who had passed through the Fourth Root-Race incarnations up to that time on the Earth, made among themselves a society, not organized, but the mere fact of their being and having more or less arrived at similar mental and spiritual outlooks made them in the middle part of the Fourth Root-Race to be as it were a people apart. Do you catch my thought? It was not an organized Society, an organization, a brotherhood, at first. It was simply that at about the middle point of the Fourth Root-Race certain individuals were born, which means that they had reached a time when Fifth Root-Race qualities and attributes were to begin to appear in them; just as in our present Fifth Root-Race we have almost reached its middle point, we are in its fourth Sub-Race, and the forerunners of the Sixth Root-Race are just beginning to appear amongst us here and there over the world. Sporadically they appear, forming no definite body, organization, society, or brotherhood; but nevertheless beginning to imbody, to incarnate.
Now, as time went on, the Fourth Root-Race, which was then in its Kali-Yuga, began to descend the facilis descensus averno, the easy descent to Hell more and more; but at the same time a greater number of more advanced human monads were incarnating, thus constantly increasing the number of the then Fifth Root-Race in the throes of its birth. These individuals were for the Fourth Root-Race set apart. Nature favored them, which does not mean that they necessarily had a very easy time, but Nature favored them. They were fortune's favored pupils; they were receiving, because they had won all these benefits, special guidance, special help, special instruction, mostly unconscious except for the highest among them. Why? Because they needed it. The balance of the Fourth Root-Race was simply running down-hill, and with each thousand years going faster down. But these favored individuals ' fortune's favored sons, were helped, guided, protected, sheltered — sheltered as far as it could be done — because they had merited it on account of their previous evolutionary strivings to ascend; and because they were the seeds of the Fifth Root-Race to come, our present one. They were in their Satya-Yuga, the first and the longest.
Thus the yugas begin with the longest, next the next long, third the next long, and finally comes the culmination of wickedness and evil-doing in the Kali-Yuga, which we of the Fifth Root-Race have just begun. How many among us, I ask the question right here, are to be among the 'favored' to form the seed of the Sixth Root-Race now already beginning on this continent and elsewhere, but more particularly perhaps in the Americas? We have reached our Kali-Yuga; it will last more than four hundred thousand years, and we are only some five thousand years gone in it, barely entering upon it! And as the majority in the future days of the Fifth Root-Race will be growing worse and worse, and going steadily faster and faster down the relatively steep descent, the individuals of the forthcoming Sixth Root-Race will contemporaneously grow more numerous and will be in their Satya-Yuga, their highest.
I think I have given in Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy a diagram (p. 251) in which the birth of each Race is shown as beginning at about the middle part of the preceding one. There you have the picture. Each Race begins with its Satya-Yuga, its longest; passes from that into the next, the Treta; then into the third, the Dwapara; and then into the fourth and shortest and most intensely individual, the Kali-Yuga. And just about that time the seeds of the Race to follow are in their throes of birth.
I might add this — although I hope that it won't complicate your understanding — that these wonderful figures, 4, 3, 2, followed by one or two or more zeros, are key-numbers in Nature, and they are computed by means of the six, commonly called the senary, or again the duo-decimal, system of reckoning either by six, or twelve which is twice six; and hence there are the same yugas but with more zeros added - for globes as well as for Races; for Chains as well as for globes, and so forth.
Thus it is that the hey-day of civilization and progress of a Root-Race lasts through the four yugas from beginning to end; during its Kali-Yuga and towards the beginning of it, the seeds of the new succeeding Race begin to appear, and these seeds are in the beginning of their Satya-Yuga. As the centuries and the millennia roll slowly by, the scepter of dominion and of empire, of progress and advancing intelligence and wisdom, slowly passes from the former Race to the latter Race; so that when the former Race is finishing its Kali-Yuga, the succeeding Race is already beginning the hey-day of its halcyon times of progress and power and civilization.
Meanwhile, even after the Kali-Yuga of the former Race is ended, the more or less degenerate remnants of the former Race continue in existence, but steadily going down-hill still, and these degenerate descendants, although slowly through the ages growing constantly fewer and fewer, nevertheless last on until the succeeding Race in its turn has run through its three yugas and is entering its fourth or Kali-Yuga.
This is what I meant when I stated that although a Race begins its career at the middle point of the previous Race, it lives on for pretty much the same length as before, although in a state of degeneracy and senile decrepitude; the old waters gradually mix with the new and fresh, because the more advanced and better egos of the previous Race begin to reincarnate in the bodies of the succeeding or newer Race.
All the so-called savage or barbarous peoples presently existent on the face of our globe are Fifth Root-Race branchlets, most of them degenerate. I don't mean in a moral sense; I mean evolutionally degenerate, because, although living amongst us of the Fifth Race and therefore to be accounted as Fifth Race sub-racelets, they nevertheless are degenerated remnants of the great Root-Race which preceded ours — which great Root-Race we call the Atlantean only to give it a name.
To this there are two or three or four exceptions, these exceptions being degenerated remnants of the great Third Root-Race. Such are the Eskimo and the Andaman Islanders; but even these are largely Atlanteanized also. The Blackfellows of Australia and Tasmania and the Maoris of New Zealand belong to degenerate Fourth Root-Race branchlets.
To speak of these now degenerate remnants of once great races as those races themselves, is wrong because very misleading. I have heard it stated that the Negroes are a degenerate Atlantean racelet, and that they are soon to die out. This is likewise erroneous. The Negroes form one of the very few exceptions amongst us today of baby races, imperfect in mental and physical development (but not in spiritual development) — somewhat more so than we are, because of their youth, not because of great age.
In some scores of thousands of years the Negroes will begin to take a prominent place amongst the civilized peoples of the world, but they will then no longer be Negroes as we understand the Negroes today; because an enormous amount of miscegenation or intermarriage will have taken place. So rapidly, in fact, is this intermixing of the peoples taking place that we can see it on an enormous scale around us even today wherever we may look. It has been said sarcastically and unkindly by American critics of some South American peoples that they are Black and Tan Republics. I don't think it needful to be unkind in expressions concerning other portions of the human race. A man is a man because of what is in him, not because of the color of his skin. Think of the geniuses who have appeared in all parts of the world. Homer, with his black eyes and black hair and dark skin was a genius. Are we not entitled to believe that credit should be given to worth wherever that worth is found? Do we not find the most glorious systems of philosophy amongst the dark-skinned peoples of India, not only among the Aryan races of India but among the Tamils and others?
The mixing of the races proceeds apace even today, and whether we like it or not, within twenty thousand years, I will venture to say, the only Negroes to be found on the surface of the earth, as we understand Negroes, will be in Africa itself, in remote parts of that continent; while the Negroes elsewhere in the world will have by then relatively completely mixed with other races, their vital waters will have mingled with the vital waters of the other races of the earth. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing on earth today in the human family as an absolutely pure stock, such as we find among the beasts. It simply doesn't exist anywhere in the human race. We have races in which one blood-stream predominates, other races in which other blood-streams predominate; and thus even among our so-called White humanity we have the pink-skinned Northerner, and we have the dark-skinned Southerner of Italy and Spain and Portugal whose origin is as much Caucasian as is that of the Northerner. The Northern strain is mixed, the Southern strain is mixed, and these mixtures are formed from the Germanic and Celtic chiefly; and today over most of Europe these two intermingle with a large proportion of what is called the Latin; so that you have, for instance, the pink-skinned Scandinavian, the olive-skinned Southern Frenchman, and the brown-skinned Italian or Spaniard. Or you will find in Russia today the fair hair and pink skin of the North intermingling with the black hair and dark eyes of the typical Slav. And all these races are mingling and have been doing so from ages immemorial. They are all Fifth Race men — to be sure in different degrees of national development, but not different degrees of racial development. These are facts of the commonest knowledge known to scientific researchers. The long-headed men and the round-headed men have been known for a long time; and you will find round heads, brachycephalics, and long heads, dolichocephalics, among all the branches like that unless they had the thought, the thought expressing itself in the words: genius clothing itself in language.
You have there a proof from the standpoint of scientific linguistics of what a people can be, can have been, may in the future be; and yet we hear some of our scientists saying, and they have been saying it for fifty years: Such and such a race cannot count above the number five. I don't know a more inept, inadequate, in fact absurd, estimate than that implied by this little popular expression. How could a race which has a marvelous language, indicating a thinking power already highly developed, not count beyond five? And why did these particular now savage, but not then savage, peoples select five, the half of ten? Here you have the quinary system and the decimal system. The wonderful scientific thinkers of the days of our fathers, if they lived even today with these savage people, would find that these natives know very well the difference between six coconuts and five. If you don't believe me, go amongst them and try it out! And yet we are told they cannot count beyond five! That they have no words in their language to count beyond five! The answer is — as we have discovered — they don't need more than five digits to count with. They add the fingers of one hand, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, once; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, twice; and so forth.
Besides, it has been discovered since, that these people counted up to five, or it may have been six, because they had an esoteric doctrine of which five or six was the root cycle, and they counted by fives thereafter, just as we have the decimal, or the duodecimal, systems, and count by tens or twelves.
A few words more, and then I close. It is a remarkable thing that the more mixed a race is the greater its productions in civilization. It is precisely — I, an American, speak with reverence and not boast — because our own great country, the United States, has become the human vital alembic of our days, that its incomparably glorious future lies before it, genius pouring into it from all the corners of the earth; so that the American people of the future will be, as it were, the seeds possessing within themselves strains of capacity, young capacities containing strains of genius, drawn from all quarters of Mother Earth. If you wish a race to die out and become degenerate rapidly, isolate it, and you will see it weakening
The question has been asked: just what are the Three Elemental Kingdoms and have they any special relation to the Cosmic Elements of the Ancients?
Elemental Kingdoms, as all the others are, are aggregates or groups of evolving monads; whereas the so-called elements of the ancients, or the principles, were so phrased by them to describe more what we today would call the seven principles or elements of the universe, as a man has seven principles or elements. It is their way of describing it. The Hindus have the same way, only in that case the Sanskrit name is tattvas: prithivi-tattva, apas-tattva, vayu-tattva, taijasa-tattva, akasa-tattva, and so forth.
Now then, these groups or aggregates of monads, each group being a kingdom, or in their Rounds what we call a Life-wave — each such group of monads, which means all groups, live in and work through these tattvas or cosmic elements, which the Greeks and Romans called Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Some, like the Pythagoreans, said there was a fifth, Aether, but actually in the occult schools the teaching was that there were seven, of which only four were popularly known, and the Pythagoreans and some others in Europe openly declared the existence of a fifth. The Greek aether or the Pythagorean aether properly understood, was what the Hindus meant when they said akasa.
Thus then, these cosmic elements are the different stuffs of the universe, the different substances out of which the universe is builded. We can call them the various prakritis of the universe, although of course each one of these different names has its own sublime of thought connected with it. They are therefore not absolutely interchangeable. Consequently, the cosmic elements or these prakritis belong to all the kingdoms because all the kingdoms, as I have just stated, are living in and working through them.
What is the origin of these cosmic elements? They are the essence-stuffs or substances out of which grow the more developed planes of the universe. There being thus seven or twelve cosmic elements, when manvantara opens these seven cosmic elements begin from the top and unroll downwards, each one going down in its serial order, and each one giving birth to its first or essential stuff, its most spiritual aspects so to speak; and this last, its most spiritual aspect, is just what is meant by these cosmic elements. Then each such cosmic element as it unrolls on its own plane before it gives birth to the cosmic elements beneath it, unrolls from itself all its own seven sub-planes, or sub-cosmic elements, so that each such cosmic element contains in itself all the other cosmic elements, but in less degree. Thus the water cosmic element, to use Greek phrasing, has as its swabhava the water-element, but it likewise contains within itself the fire-element, the air-element, the earth-element, etc.
The kingdoms are aggregates or families or groups of monads. The cosmic elements are the essential stuffs in which they live and move and have their being and evolve.
Now then, one final thought will connect everything up, I hope. Spirit in its sevenfold aspects is the root of all these cosmic elements, or prakritis. Just as all the prakritis unroll from mulaprakriti which is the veil of Brahman or pure cosmic Spirit, so do all the cosmic elements unroll from the primal substantial veil around cosmic Spirit, corresponding to mulaprakriti. Thus out of Spirit comes everything, all the cosmic elements; and out of spirit likewise proceed the classes or families or groups or aggregates of monads forming the different kingdoms, from the Dhyani-Chohans down to the elementals. And lastly, when we examine and penetrate to the very ultimate nature or stuff of the cosmic elements, we can see that every cosmic element is really a vast aggregate or group of monads or consciousness-centers not yet aroused into activity, and which are therefore dormant. It is just like all the earth around us, which, representing the lowest of the cosmic elements on this plane, is nevertheless composed of simply innumerable multitudes of dormant monads which have not yet awakened to begin their evolutionary journeys and develop into self-conscious gods. Or again, as the flesh of a man is composed of molecules, these of atoms, and these of life-atoms, or life-points, which are the effect on this plane of monads on their own plane.
It is of course understood that a monad never leaves its own plane; so when we say that the earth-element is composed of concreted or dormant monads, we do not mean the spiritual monads themselves; we mean the life-atoms, each life-atom being the representative of a monad on this cosmic plane.
What relation, then, have the three elemental kingdoms, kingdoms of the elementals, to the cosmic elements? Now in the first place, I will say that this phrase 'three elemental kingdoms' is an easy and graphic way of saying the seven kingdoms of the elementals, or the seven sub-kingdoms of the generalized kingdom of elementals; just as in a man we often generalize his constitution by saying spirit, soul, body, knowing all the time that the constitution is divisible into seven parts.
The three kingdoms of elementals in their first or original appearance in manifested manvantara, spring forth from the stuffs of the original cosmic elements; and therefore these baby-entities, which are as it were ensouling parts of life-atoms, are called elementals. This is the original and if you wish highest kingdom of the elementals, not highest here in the sense of evolution, but highest in schematic diagram. The so-called lower kingdoms of elementals are lower merely because they are farther from the spiritual part or nature of the cosmic elements, but being more evolved in that sense they stand higher. So that the lowest class of elementals, which is beneath the minerals, actually is the most evolved of all the elemental kingdoms. But they have not yet even reached the point where they can be classed as minerals or pass into the mineral kingdom.
Now the reason why there are really seven elemental sub-kingdoms, is because each such elemental kingdom springs from its own particular cosmic element. As there are seven cosmic elements, each cosmic element gives birth to its own elemental kingdom. Thus when all these elemental kingdoms are classed together, we say seven elemental kingdoms, each one such coming from its own different cosmic element.
As a final thought, it is to be noted that in occult or esoteric phraseology, the elementals are so called because whatever their class and whatever the cosmic elements or tattva from which each elemental class springs, it springs directly from this tattva or cosmic element without intermediary. Thus, the elementals are, as it were, the denizens or inhabitants of the cosmic elements, because they spring forth immediately and without intermediary from the latter.
To those who are not more or less adept with Theosophical studies, it is important to point out that the elementals are not elementaries, this last term being adopted from medieval European quasi-occult or semi-occult Schools, such as the Fire-Philosophers. An elementary is a denizen of the astral light, and is, briefly speaking, the reliquiae or semi-conscious astral remnant of what was once an evil man on earth. In other words, and more briefly, an elementary is the semi-conscious kama-rupa or in the worst case almost wholly conscious kama-rupa, of what was when he lived on earth, a gross and evil man. These elementaries in the astral light are slowly decaying, but still filled with all the evil, gross, and often malignant impulses and proclivities, tendencies, and biases, that the said evil man showed when he was imbodied in flesh.