The matter which I am going to speak to you about tonight I approach with the utmost reluctance. It is thorny and difficult and is so entangled with other teachings that I almost despair of giving even a relatively clear picture of it. I despair, I say, of doing so without betraying the Mysteries more than I have any right to. For the full understanding of what I am this evening going to try to lay before you very simply, as far as I dare, the whole, the last word, is given only to those who have passed their Third Degree.
No wonder H. P. B. passed over it with scarcely more than a mere pointing of the finger. These are matters dealing with the Rounds and Races, and the globes of the planetary chain, and they may seem to you to be very simple and easy, matters which anybody has a right to know. But in fact it is all very difficult. Anybody has a right to know who has proved that right. Any human being who has made himself worthy has a right. But it is not for me, in the position I hold, to judge anybody.
So this evening I will go as far as I dare go. There is a great deal that I shall not even point to; so don’t think that what I am going to say tonight covers the whole question. It does not. I will merely try to give you a brief picture, some few hints. That is the best I can do.
Now we have here a diagram which should be helpful for our discussion this evening. It is one that I imagined out myself. But remember that diagrams, though helpful, can also be very misleading. They give hints which the mind itself thereafter should pursue; but they are not pictures of what they represent; they are not photographs, they are not paintings. The usual diagram of the seven principles, as given by H. P. B., is merely intended to show that the most high and the most glorious is Atman (at the top of the diagram); and that the principles then ‘descend’ in a decreasing scale of importance, power, and worth. It is not intended to convey the idea that the principles are one on top of another like the layers of a cake. And the only value that this present diagram has is to give the elements or principles in the order of their involved evolution from beginning to end; and to show that the fourth is the critical element or tattwa, the one at which the downward arc stops and the upward begins. That is practically the only value of this diagram, but it is very important to get that one idea clear.
Do you know the diagram of the seven globes as H. P. B. gives them in The Secret Doctrine You can consider that that diagram also represents the cosmic elements or tattwas on the four rupa planes of the cosmos; and just as there are two globes represented on the highest rupa plane, two globes on the next counting downwards, two on the next, and one on the lowest, so in like manner may the tattwas be arranged, as you see in the present diagram. Nature is all builded on one plan. And because this is so we can see, as this diagram shows, that any one of the planes of nature, or any one of the elements of nature, which includes the elements of man, whether it be high, as we say, or intermediate, or low, itself consists of seven subordinate or sub-planes.
Roughly the tattwas here enumerated have the following meanings: adi-tattwa is the primordial or first tattwa; anupapadaka: that which is born from its own essence; akasa might be called ‘space’; vayu-tattwa, according to the elements of the ancients was called ‘wind’ or ‘spirit.’ You may be interested to know that the Latin word ‘spiritus,’ our word ‘spirit,’ originally meant ‘wind’ among the ancients, and in Greece anemos was ‘wind,’ but it originally meant ‘spirit’ also. Tejas-tattwa, the fifth cosmic element, means ‘fire,’ the brilliant, the glowing, the burning, the dazzling fire. apas means ‘water’; prithivi means ‘earth.’ But mind you, these lower four cosmic elements are not the air that we breathe, nor the fire that cooks our food, nor the water that we drink and bathe in, nor the earth upon which we walk. It is the relatively spiritual elements of the universe that are given these names.
Now in this diagram I have attempted, in the enlargement of No. 4, which could equally have been an enlargement of any one of these cosmic tattwas, to correlate them with the human principles; for instance adi-tattwa with atman, man’s essential self, the root of all his being, and the source and root of the other six principles. Anupapadaka-tattwa corresponds with buddhi; akasa-tattwa with manas or mind; vayu-tattwa with kama; tejas-tattwa with prana; apas-tattwa with linga-sarira; and prithivi-tattwa with sthula-sarira. Its great value is to show, both in the cosmos and in man, the importance of four as the turning-point, where the bottom is reached and things go swinging up again. As for instance here in these globes: both globes and life-waves begin at the top and gradually sink downwards, so that after Round One comes Round Two, then Round Three; and then Round Four which is the very lowest, kama. And then the opposite process begins. When kama has been evolved in the life-waves, you get a balance between spirit and matter. Why is it that from this globe D, during the Fourth Round where we are now, there should have begun in the Fourth Root-Race the beginning of the rise of the luminous arc? Because spirit and matter are then practically balanced, and for millions of years after that balance had been reached between spirit and matter, spirit continuously evolving forth more and more began to grow a little stronger, and there was a rise, very slow but progressive and continuous. During the Atlantean Root-Race, the Fourth, the one that preceded ours, the bottom point of evolution was reached. Spirit then balanced matter, and from that moment all things which previously had been slowly sinking into matter, stopped, the balance had been reached, equilibrium; and from then onwards things are rising; so that we in our Fifth Race, as we are, are just a little higher than were the Atlanteans, for we are 9 million years to the good, towards the spiritualizing effect. The pull of spirit is stronger and will grow constantly stronger as our Fifth Root-Race gives place to the Sixth, and that to the Seventh, and even more so when our life-wave leaves this earth, globe D, and begins to ascend the arc to globes E, F, and G.
I might add here that while human flesh is Fourth Round stuff, because we are in our Fifth Root-Race during this Fourth Round, human flesh is somewhat more spiritual than the flesh of beasts is. When we shall have reached our Sixth Root-Race on globe D, human flesh will be still tenderer, because more refined, more etherealized. When we reach the last race of this globe D during this Round, the Seventh Race, human flesh will be still finer. It will be almost translucent, but not quite. It will be cloudy. And as the life-wave rises along the ascending arc, when they reach globe G, the bodies of the inhabitants of globe G will be bodies which will be self-luminous, and by the end of that Round they will be bodies of light. From now on, all the globes and all the life-waves which up to the present have shown a tendency to sink into matter, now having reached their balance, will hereafter show a tendency to become more ethereal. The very earth we live on, as the ages pass, will show a tendency to etherealize itself, spiritualize itself; and I may point out that the discoveries in radioactivity, such as that of uranium, and certain other elements of high atomic weight, are merely examples of the steady disintegration of the grossest chemical elements known. They would naturally be the first to etherealize.
Now then, how do the human principles, as given here, come into evolutionary activity during the course of their rounds around the seven globes? This is very complicated, simply because there are so many things to think of. We are now, let us suppose for purposes of exposition, at the very beginning of the First Round. None of these globes is yet formed. There is just an astral nebula. But the globes are just forming, because of the work of the three elemental kingdoms. We will call globe A the beginning of the manifestation of atman; we will take our human life-wave as an instance of all the other nine life-waves. But what part of atman, which itself is sevenfold (I have tried to show it on the diagram) is manifesting during the beginning of the First Round on globe A? It is the sthula-sarira of atman. But here comes in something else. In the atman, the atman-atman comes on quickly, the buddhi-atman comes on quickly, so with all of them down till the bottom is reached, because of the pull of matter, the sinking tendency that I spoke of. So all the sub-principles of atman are gone through, the higher six are very rapidly descended through until we reach the bottom of atman, the body of atman, the sthula-sarira; and that is the first principle of the human life-wave on globe A.
When this has been done, in other words when the seven root-races have been run through globe A, the sthula-sarira of atman remains here; but the surplus of life from atman overflows downwards into globe B, or rather the surplus of lives, because this surplus of lives is the outer life-waves.
What happens on Globe B? On Globe B all the atman principles are run through till it comes down here to the sthula-sarira of buddhi. In other words all the seven root-races are run through there, and the sthula-sarira, the last and most evolved on this First Round remains; and the surplus of lives from B passes down to C. The same process takes place there, and the surplus of lives passes down to D, and so on through all the globes. We will use seven globes. That is the First Round. We may call it, if you please, the atman-round. But atman is not fully developed. This is just the first round, and the lowest part of the atman.
What happens during the Second Round? We will call it the buddhi-round, when buddhi is evolved forth or emanated. The life-wave on globe A specializes, and it runs through all, till it stops at the linga-sarira; and as this is its main point during the second round in globe A, the surplus of life very quickly passes through the previously developed atman-sthula-sarira, gives the buddhi touch to it, and passes down to it, through the Second Round, to the linga-sarira of buddhi, and then goes on. Next, the surplus of life passes down to globe C, and the linga principle of the buddhi is developed in the life-wave, finishing its evolution in C; and the same thing happens, the surplus of lives passes down to D, and then upwards.
So thus far we have evolved the atman principle during the First Round, the buddhi principle very imperfectly during the Second Round, and from below upwards. The First Round brought forth the sthula-sarira of atman; the Second Round brought forth the linga-sarira of buddhi; the Third Round will bring forth the prana of manas in exactly the same way. The Fourth Round will bring forth the kama of kama. The Fifth Round, next one, will bring forth the manas of prana. Mark you, all through the globes. The Sixth Round will bring forth the buddhi of the linga-sarira in all the globes and the life-waves; and the Seventh Round — and isn’t this remarkable? — will bring forth the atman of the sthula-sarira.
This means that at the end of the seventh round, take our human life-wave as an example, all the individuals of the human life-wave will be fully developed seven-principled beings, every one of the principles fully developed for our manvantara, our chain during this Day of Brahma.
Why was it that during the Third Root-Race the manasaputras at first refused to imbody and give mind to the undeveloped humans of that time? Because the vehicles were not ready. There were no proper mental vehicles to contain them, to contain the mind of the manasaputras. I wonder if you are any the wiser!
So now the evolution begins with atman and ends with atman. The developmental process is from the bottom going up one stage or sub-stage with each round; so that while we begin with atman, having no proper vehicle to work through in the First Round, we reach the Seventh Round with all the human principles fully developed, and even the body exists in its atman state.
Round One develops the lowest part of atman on all the globes; you have the lowest part right down the scale, what in modern science would be called the elements, the chemical part. Remember it began with atman — spirit. The next Round we might call the buddhi-round, and that develops the next from the bottom of all of them. Then the Third Round you might call the manasic round, just as it was in the Third Root-Race on our globe that mind came to man.
When all the Seven Rounds have been run, when every principle of man has been fully developed in him, he is a god, he has the spirit working in him, the buddhi working in him, he has the mind working in him, he has the desire — and desire in the ascending arc becomes what we call aspiration, desire upwards instead of desire downwards. He has the prana spiritualized to become an actual individualized force in him. For instance, a Seventh Round man can then call upon his prana if he wants to, to shoot out a bolt of electricity by his will, if he wanted to work a little magic, crush a rock or disintegrate a tree, because his prana then is fully developed and under the power of his mind and his will. Likewise the linga-sarira will no longer be a rather shadowy, half-developed, inchoate body of man that now it is, but it will be a marvelous instrument, attuned to the harmonies of nature, individualized, man himself. It will be like a sounding-board catching every vibration; and his body will be a body of light, actually glittering just like the light of the sun. Why is it that the sun has the body it has? What we see is the sthula-sarira or body, it is a body of light. A man will be that way during the Seventh Round, a shining globe, and what his inner principles will be of course are beyond description!
And now let me recapitulate the main ideas I have given you. The key-thought is this: there are two lines of evolution, the spiritual and the material, beginning respectively with the summit of the atman and with the elementals, the lowest of the material; and as the rounds progress these two lines approach each other, the former working downward and the latter working upward; they pass each other so to speak in the Fourth Round, and at the end of the Seventh Round in a sense their positions are reversed; that is to say that at the end of the Seventh Round the atmic part is in the highest part of the material or prithivi, having run all down the sevenfold scale; and the material part has reached up as high as it can go into the atmic part of the material again; and this produces fully evolved vehicles. Here is the key-note to the whole process of evolution through the rounds: the evolving of fit vehicles to express the spiritual and intellectual faculties, monads.
Remember also, that the First Round is the outlining round, striking the pathways according to past karma for all the succeeding rounds. The very first entities that appear on the scene to build up the globes are the high entities (which I vaguely call the atman in my explanation) from the past incarnation of the chain, commingling immediately with the elementals; and thus we have the highest beginning at the top of the atman, and the elementals beginning at the bottom of the sthula or prithivi, and then, as stated above, through the remaining six rounds they work towards each other, pass each other, if we want to make a picture in our minds, in the Fourth Round, and then each line continues upwards or downwards respectively as far as each can go.
This means, therefore, that the monads or spiritual entities will have incarnated, or rather imbodied, themselves fully at the end of the Seventh Round, producing god-men or equivalent beings in the other kingdoms, and the vehicles or sheaths or bodies will have through the seven rounds raised themselves up or evolved or developed as high as they can go to be fit vehicles for these now fully imbodied monads.
Another point: If we take the vehicles for a moment and consider them alone: the Fourth Round brings out the desire-principle, with both its upper and its lower aspects. Then in the Fifth Round the vehicles are raised to the manasic plane on their respective positions in the scale of life; in the Sixth Round the vehicles evolve capacity to transmit buddhi; they become buddhic; and in the Seventh or last Round, the vehicles have gone upwards as far as they can in delicacy and unfolding power, and are then ready to carry the atmic ray.
But this is only as regards the vehicles on the several planes of man’s constitution. As regards the spiritual entities or rays: they lean down to meet the upward rising vehicles all through the rounds, and thus, although they are always transcendent, in other words themselves always on their own planes, because of leaning down they seem to descend, as it were, and approach their rising vehicles until the junction is made in the Fourth Round, when, taking the human kingdom, man really becomes truly man, child of spirit and child of prithivi or earth — halfway up and halfway down, so to speak.
Solomon was a wise man, and in my judgment a man not wise in the wisdom of this lower world so much as in the wisdom of the higher world, genuine wisdom; and if he really builded the temple which people mean when they talk about the “Temple of Solomon,” one can only ask oneself: what on earth became of that particular temple-structure? Antiquity outside of the Jewish books knows nothing whatsoever about it. Traveled men and learned men, scholars, people surrounding the Mediterranean passing through Judea many hundreds of times in a year never report having seen such a gorgeous structure — gorgeous because of the description of the wealth lavished upon it supposedly, but perfectly horrible in the architectural shape and structure of it, if it ever existed — an eye-sore.
Why is it that the learned men among the Romans and Greeks and the Egyptians and other peoples who passed along one of the main highways of Asia Minor, never mentioned this wonderful temple? No traces of it exist today except a legend that the present temple of Jerusalem is builded on its emplacement. We are also told that this temple was builded by certain priest-workers, structural workers, masons and carpenters and others, and yet that there was heard no sound of tool. Isn’t it evident from the very description, that this temple of Solomon was not a physical structure at all, but a mystical temple in the Heavens if you wish?
How is the universe builded by the cosmic workers, the cosmic spirits, the cosmic laborers and the cosmic architects working night and day? How is it builded? Without sound of tools, builded by cosmic wisdom, held in place and continuance by cosmic wisdom and cosmic love, and it is ineffably beautiful as a cosmic structure. How is the body of man builded, the temple, the holy throne, in its highest parts the holy of holies of the inner divinity? Builded in the silence without sound of tool, neither sound of hammer nor chisel nor mallet. Among the initiates it was a common sign that when a certain great Being founded a ‘city,’ he founded an esoteric school, and when be builded a ‘temple’ in that city, he opened a sanctuary for initiation — the temple in the city, the sanctuary, the holy of holies, within the school.
Solomon in Hebrew means peace, quiet. The theosophy of the Hebrews called the Qabbalah, also describes the building of the universe as a temple, not so much in the words but in the same thought. From the indescribable Primordial Point comes forth ‘adam Qadmon, the Primordial Hierarch of the Universe to come: and from ‘adam Qadmon streams forth the nine and ten Sefiroth, the Angelic Hierarchies of the subordinate Architects and Builders, the contractors, the masons, the carpenters, of the universe, building the temple in the bosom of ‘Ein Sof, the Boundless. A Universe.
What was this mystical temple of Solomon, but the Angelic Hierarchies of the universe constructing without sound of tools the noblest work the gods have done. The holiest meaning, the most beautiful of the significances, of this temple of Solomon is of a new revealing to mankind of the ancient God-Wisdom. So we call it the Qabbalah of the Jews that Solomon then first gave. The tale is founded upon the then secret Qabbalah, the Theosophy of the Jews. How much more beautiful, how much more worthy of worship: that which makes man from man a demi-god, because unveiling, revealing, bringing forth, the god within him. Is there any religion higher than that? It is the objective, the aim, the purpose, of all the greatest spiritual intellects of antiquity: to bring out the god within man.
And you remember even what another Jew, the great Avatara Jesus, pointed out as the noblest way by which to pray, the holiest, the most acceptable to the divinities? In substance it was this: when thou desirest to unveil thy heart in gratitude, enter into the holy of holies, thy secret chamber within thyself, wherein is peace and Silence and worship. Don’t do as the Pharisees do in churches, in synagogues, in temples, worshiping in public with many words. But enter into the holy of holies, within thine own heart wherein the divinity abides. There is the temple. Those who wish may worship openly, in churches, in synagogues, temples and cathedrals and in whatnot. The true followers of Jesus the Avatara, the true followers of the great initiates of all times, may attend such places; but when their worship is highest and dearest to them, they will go within into the inner chamber, worship in secret and peace, in silence with the quiet of all the senses, for there in the silence is the still, small Voice.
The temple of Solomon is but one version of the universal allegory known all over the world and among all peoples; and probably we never would have heard of the Jewish form of the allegory if it had not been for what took place in history. If the Persians, for instance, had overthrown the Greeks when they invaded Persia, how vastly different would have been European history today, perhaps far higher; because the Persians were far more spiritual than the subtil-minded, beauty-loving and gracious, graceful Greeks: fine qualities if added to that sense of the mysticism of truth and its response within the human heart which the Greeks indeed sometimes spoke of, but the ancient Persians more often.
I have listened with deepest sympathy to the generosity towards each other’s views which you have all shown in your study this evening. All of us remember that knowledge is marked by modesty, because knowledge knows its own limitations, and therefore is never dogmatic. I have noticed also that you are patient with each other for using words in different ways. Your minds are not water-tight compartments which would not hold ideas of other people.
Now in regard to this matter of ‘rays’ or ‘waves.’ We Theosophists of many, many years’ study have developed a terminology of our own which younger students do not yet fully grasp. When they do grasp it they will see that it is good. We speak of a ‘ray’ from the sun. The sun has been emanating countless rays through the aeons, and each such ray is a wave, an energy if you want to use the language of modern science, a language which will be changed in thirty years from now when scientists know more. This is one of the difficulties that a Theosophist has to contend with, to remember that he himself is using a highly technical series of terms which he and others like him understand, but which the non-Theosophist who has not studied Theosophy does not grasp; and therefore does not understand what the Theosophical speaker is talking about half the time. We should never forget that; and consequently when you people differ, it is not really about ideas that your minds are at variance. I would wager almost anything that ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is about words.
I desire brief speech with you upon two thoughts. The first is about these life-atoms and reproductive germs and so forth. I do not think it is good to think too much about these things and talk about them too much, and I am always amazed to see the intense concentrated attention with which an audience listens to them. They may interest doctors; it is their job; but there are so many more and vastly more interesting things to study.
Now in the first place, reimbodiment is not a haphazard thing, as of course every one of you understands. It is all done by the laws of nature, and by nature I do not mean physical nature, I mean it in the old occult way of speech. So that the imbodiment, the reimbodiment, of an ego takes place strictly according to karmic law, and karma means cause and effect, cause and consequences, the y following the x. If you do something, nature will react upon you for that act. That is karma. You may react in a billion ways. That action and reaction may take a billion years to run itself out. The reaction may come at once, or it may be thinly spread over millions of years. Who can say? It depends upon the originating cause.
So that the reimbodiment of an ego is just as much a fact of nature’s laws and nature’s actions and reactions as is the physical birth. Now the ego in the devachan lives in an auric sphere as it were, an ethereal rupa. Its size may be anything. It may be coextensive with the solar system. The probability is that it is, as far as mere physical extension goes, infinitesimal, for magnitude has nothing to do with consciousness. Magnitude is a maya of our plane and of our brain-minds.
However, the ego in its devachan enjoys blissful dreams. Then there comes a time at the end of long centuries, or long periods of scores of years, when the forces which had brought about this sleep and rest to the devachanic entity begin to weaken, to work themselves out. The devachanic sleep and bliss is fading gradually. But what is taking place coincidently? There is taking place a slow awakening to a sense of consciousness of the old human earth-attractions. These enter the dream-state of the devachani as dream-recollections of what it had been, and what it had seen and heard and thought and felt — beautiful things, however, because it is still in the devachan. Now these are the recrudescences into the consciousness of the ego of the tanhic elementals held in the ether-body of the ego. Hitherto the dreams of the devachani have been too high or too spiritual for these rather earthly things to have any effect on the ego. But as the devachanic dreams begin to fade, die out, grow darker as it were, these tanhic, these trishnic elementals begin to grow in activity in the ether-body of the ego, as I have already said. What does this mean? It means a thickening or a coarsening of that auric body, that higher ether-body; and slowly as it were the entity drops, is attracted because of his materialized body, downwards towards this sphere. It may take centuries for this to happen, or a few score years, according to the individual karmic case.
Now then, to phrase it otherwise, there arises in the ether-body of the devachani a growth in memory of earthly things. Its own past life comes back into its recollection, very feebly at first, stronger as time goes on. In other words there is a thickening, as I have stated, a coarsening, materializing of this vehicle. This is the beginning of the growth of what we call the linga-sarira, the pattern-body around which our gross sthula-sarira, the physical, is builded atom for atom. Thus does the man reproduce himself from the last life — consequences, karma.
I have already said that magnitude has nothing to do with it. Let us suppose that the ether-body when this takes place is the size of an apple. After all, how large is a human life germ? But in this beginning of the linga-sarira there resides a growth potency — supply your own term if you do not like that, we won’t quarrel about words — a growth potency, the same kind of svabhava, as we call it, which makes an apple seed produce an apple and not a rose or a strawberry or a banana or something else; that makes a plum seed always reproduce a plum and not some other kind of plant. In other words there is in this linga-sarira the capacity to develop along its own karmic laws into the linga-sarira and the physical body of the man, the child to be born.
But before this stage is reached, on account of the attractions of this ray descending from the auric body — call it a ray, call it a wave — on account of the attractions of this back to its familiar fields of life on earth, as it were a magnetic or electric contact is established in exactly the same way in which the thunderbolt will strike this tree and not that one. There is a reason for this. Everything in the universe works by law. There is no chance. The same principle of selective choice works in the case of the thunderbolt and in the case of the human ego selecting its own mother; not consciously in the way we might think it is done, but by a conscious human electricity as it were, sympathy, synchrony of akasic vibration. We call this a projection of the ray; and that is what I have alluded to in The Esoteric Tradition.
Now here comes the point: In any human being there are innumerable multitudes of life-atoms which are strictly his own atoms of life, life-atoms, jivas, originating in his own vital font or fountain, and looking upon him as their parent. Suppose we say, just as a speculation, because no one could say how many life-atoms the human body contains — I doubt if the gods could — but suppose that we say a human body contains of these particular life-atoms a hundred billion. And after his death these become distributed among the two billion or so inhabitants of earth; so that when a reimbodying ego thus seeks its physical house or sthula-sarira for its next imbodiment it is sure to find sympathetic attraction to and therefore lodgment in any human body. This contact of the ray from the ego with the life-germ — germ if you please in the body of the two parents — is a contact with life-atoms that that ego used in its former body on earth. The thing seems complicate simply because it is new to most folk. And by the way, this is one of the reasons that explains what we call the fertility of races and the ability of some stocks of beings to cross, miscegenate, and others not.
Now of course it is obvious that some family milieu, some families, would give an ego a happier home and a happier physical body than other human couples would. You can understand that, and it is the automatic endeavor, run by nature’s laws, of a reimbodying ego always to seek the happiest home it can find. It has the instinct to do so. It does not do it self-consciously. It is nature that does these things, for such happiest home is for the reimbodying ego the line of least resistance. Remember, it is still in the devachan, and its spirit is not in full control. This is the reason why also — and this is a delicate subject, I hope you will forgive it — this is the reason for the moral weight of the teachings given to men and women to be careful in their relations with each other, for egos are attracted to both men and women in the manner that I have endeavored to describe, and they are attracted with tenfold force when a man and a woman feel affection for each other. In face a mere flirtation may be wrong because that sets up a kind of synchrony of vibration between the couple.