THE SEVEN ROUNDS AND THE SEVEN RACES
A STUDY FROM THE "SECRET DOCTRINE." (1)
THE FOURTH ROUND.
As this is the cycle of evolution to whose second half the present humanity belongs, it is of course described more fully than any of the others. We have now got beyond stages and steps in the development of a nascent humanity, and have to deal with the seven well defined Root-Races of the Round, described more or less perfectly as they are more or less material, for in each Round the experience of the former cycle is repeated on a new basis, and the early Races resemble in character the earlier Rounds.
With this cycle, we reach the solid state of matter and the centres of consciousness of the Fourth Round have added earth as a state of matter to their stock, as well as the other three elements in their present condition, for none of them as we have already heard, were in the three preceding Rounds as they are now. (2) The Fourth Round transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on. "Bhumi" (the Earth) has reached her fourth principle." (3) That is the principle called Kama in theosophical parlance, which is desire in the soul of man, cohesion in the kingdoms of nature. It is what Jacob Boehme called "the astringent quality," or the principle of all contractive force, which produces hardness, and solidity, the grossest and densest condition of matter. But it is not molecular matter itself, least of all the human body, which is the grossest of all our principles, but this informing force, the middle principle, the real animal centre, because from it spring the animal passions and desires. But as everything in nature has its two sides, this principle is the motive power that keeps the universe going, for without desire in some form we should have universal stagnation, and in its highest aspect it is aspiration, and leads the soul towards the Divine. And as man develops with the globe on which he lives, it is only in the Fourth Round, the middle-point of the life allotted to our earth, that he completely develops in himself this corresponding Fourth principle, which forms the fitting vehicle for the Fifth principle, which is Mind. And as there are no sudden transitions in Nature, but all conditions and states of consciousness shade into one another, so the blending of the Animal Soul, (or the emotional nature) with the Intellectual Soul (or mind), forms what is called Kama-Manas, or the lower mind, sometimes spoken of as the human Soul, as it partakes of the human and of the divine elements. It is the special characteristic of this last half-cycle, and with the next, we shall develop the Higher Mind.
"Intellect has had an enormous development in this fourth Round," says a Teacher, "and the world is teeming with the results of intellectual activity and spiritual decrease." "From the time of the Fourth Race, the hitherto dumb races acquire our present human speech, language is perfected, and knowledge increases. At the half-way point of the Fourth Race, which is, of course, the half-way point of the Round, humanity passed the axial point of the minor (Manvantaric) cycle." (4)
We have seen that the differentiation of the primordial germ of life (in the fifth globe of the first Round, or the fifth Creation) has to precede the evolution of the Third Hierarchy of the Forces of Nature before those (so-called) "gods" can become embodied in their first ethereal form, and for the same reason animal creation has to precede divine MAN on earth. This is why the fifth Creation called that of "the sacred animals," precedes the sixth, that of "the divinities." In the First Round the animal atoms are drawn into a cohesive, human, physical form. In the Fourth Round the reverse occurs, and the human atoms thrown off during the life of man, are drawn into animal forms according to magnetic conditions developed during life. This is the real meaning of metempsychosis (5) as explained in H. P. B.'s article on the Transmigration of Life-atoms, in Five Years of Theosophy. "By his own evil acts, a man may condemn every atom of his lower principles to become attracted by and drawn into the bodies of lower animals by virtue of the magnetic affinity thus created by his passions." For in the Fourth Round, man is the dominant note, and from its very beginning, "all in nature tends to become Man. Man is the alpha and the omega of the objective creation." (6) And from its initial period, the human kingdom branched off in several directions. "Man was the first and highest (mammalian) animal that appeared in this creation," says the Commentary. "Then came still huger animals; and last of all the dumb man who walks on all fours." (7) The form of the gigantic Ape-man of the previous Round, was reproduced in this one by human bestiality, and transfigured into the parent form in the modern anthropoid. (8) This topic will be more fully treated under the head of Races, as it is properly a sub-division of the main subject, human evolution.
THE FIFTH ROUND.
We are now only in the Fifth Sub-Race of the Aryan, or Fifth Root-Race of the Fourth cycle of evolution, and therefore the next cycle, or Fifth Round, may certainly be spoken of as the "remote future," and it is no wonder that few glimpses can be given us of conditions of existence so far ahead of our own. For this Aryan Race, which is now in its Dark Age, will continue to be in it for 427,000 years longer (9), and then there are two sub-Races, and two Root-Races, each with its 7 Sub-Races, to follow before the Fourth Round comes to an end. But owing to the often mentioned law of the overlapping of cycles, we find that the characteristic Element and the characteristic "Principle" of the coming Round are already beginning to be foreshadowed in the present one. For we are already endowed with Mind, (the Fifth Principle) which is to be fully developed in the next cycle, and are diligently trying to get at the nature of Ether, which is to be the Fifth Element. It is in the Fifth Round that the full development of Mind as a direct ray from the Universal Consciousness will be finally reached, a ray unimpeded by matter. (10) For as we are told elsewhere, (11) with the next Element added to our resources in the next Round, permeability will become so manifest a characteristic of matter, that its densest forms will seem like a thick fog and no more. This condition of things is admirably illustrated by a Roentgen-ray photograph of a booted foot, where you see the leather, the nails, the stocking, the flesh and the bones like layers of fog of different densities, but perfectly defined form.
This fifth, semi-material element Ether, will become visible in the air, we are told, towards the end of the 5th cycle. (12) It will then be as familiar to man as air is now, and those higher senses whose growth and development it subserves, will, during that 5th Round, become susceptible of a complete expansion. (13) This is not the Ether of our scientists, that is but a higher form of physical matter, one of its seven subdivisions, while the 5th Element is a subdivision of astral matter, called Akasa in its highest form. It is the medium which conveys the vibrations of thought, as air conveys the vibrations of sound, and therefore is said to "correspond" to the human mind. Cosmically, it is defined by occult science as "a radiant, cool, diathermanous, plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, correlative in its grossest aspects and portions, immutable in its higher principles. In the former condition it is called the Sub-Root; and in conjunction with radiant heat, it recalls 'dead worlds to life.' In its higher aspect, it is the Soul of the World; in its lower, — the DESTROYER. (14) But all the elements, even this mysterious Akasa, are but conditional modifications and aspects of the One and only Element, which is the Source of them all. (15) "To put it plainly," we read elsewhere, "Ether is the Astral Light, one of the lower principles of what we call Primordial Substance, or Akasa." And this Primordial Substance is the vehicle or medium of Divine Thought. "In modern language, the latter would be better named Cosmic Ideation (16) — Spirit; the former, Cosmic Substance — Matter. These, the Alpha and Omega of Being are but the two facets of the one Absolute Existence," (17) Ether, or the Astral Light, is the vehicle of every possible phenomenon, whether physical, mental, or psychic. (18) And every one of the seven Cosmical Elements each, with their 49 sub-divisions (343 in all, with about 70 of which chemistry is acquainted) is, at one and the same time Life and Death, Health and Disease, Action and Reaction. (19) For occult science shows, as our modern chemistry begins to teach, that everything has its good side and its bad, may be healing agent or a deadly poison, and furthermore, that the principle we call Life, underlies and is active in what we call Death. (20) And so lunar magnetism generates life, preserves and kills it. (21)
1. The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy. By H. P. Blavatsky. References are to the old edition. (return to text)
2. Idem I, 253. (return to text)
3. Idem I, 260. (return to text)
4. Secret Doctrine I. 189. (return to text)
5. Idem I, 455. (5)
6. Idem II, 170. (return to text)
7. Secret Doctrine II, 288. (return to text)
8. Idem II, 730. (return to text)
9. Idem II, 147. (return to text)
10. Idem II, 301. (return to text)
11. Idem I, 257. (return to text)
12. Secret Doctrine I, 12. (return to text)
13. Idem I, 257. (return to text)
14. Idem I, 13. (return to text)
15. Secret Doctrine, I, 326. (return to text)
16. Cosmic Ideation being the origin of human Thought. (return to text)
17. Idem I, 13. (return to text)
18. Idem 1, 330. (return to text)
19. Idem I, 347. (return to text)
20. Idem I, 261. (return to text)
21. Idem I, 398. (return to text)
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