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2001-08-14 14:41:35 (UTC)

Part Two: Don't Worry There Will be a Test!

Chapter 5
Cycles Imprinted on the Earth
There must exist geological and physical cycles as well as
intellectual and spiritual; globes and planets, as well as
races and nations, are born to grow, progress, decline and -
- die. Great nations split, scatter into small tribes, lose
all remembrance of their integrity, gradually fall into
their primitive state and -- disappear, one after the
other, from the face of the earth. So do great continents.
Ceylon must have formed, once upon a time, part of the
Indian continent. So, to all appearance, was Spain once
joined to Africa, the narrow channel between Gibraltar and
the latter continent having been once upon a time dry
land. -- The Theosophist, "A Land of Mystery"
Geologists are well on their way towards finding additional
and convincing evidence that this "good earth" of ours has
preserved records of colossal events in her wonderful
career as a man-bearing planet. In fact, our earthly home
has been the shifting stage upon which the moving drama of
humanity's life has regularly come and gone, over and over
again, for millions of years. This planetary stage-setting
has been shifted to and fro, back and forth, up and down,
but always in keeping with the human plot of the unfolding
racial drama for which it was the background. It was an
unusually responsive background, too, because the earth
being an entity itself -- a magnet, scientists say -- there
was a constant electromagnetic play of currents between its
electronic matter and the busy creatures who swarmed over
its surface. Their bodies were made of its same stuff; and
they affected the earth with what they thought, felt, and
did. In return it affected them, so that they moved on
together, progressing through every kind of small,
intermediate, and great cycle.

The earth tells its story -- not in the language of any one
time or people, but in the universal mother-tongue of
nature. Hence, he who understands his own composite nature
may see how the career of mankind and of the globe have
been keyed to the same great purpose throughout all the
changes of earth-life. Racial and planetary cycles have
imprinted upon the earth geological hallmarks of their
common evolutionary periods of change and growth.
Therefore, the geologist who interprets his fund of
scientific data in the light of the planetary history as
given in The Secret Doctrine will find evidences of cyclic
periods of Mother Earth's growth as plainly recorded as the
annual rings in cross-sections of gigantic trees. The
detailed record has been kept from age to age by the White
Brotherhood, and sacredly guarded in teachings of the
Mystery schools. Enough is now given out to answer the moot
questions of racial and planetary evolution.

Agassiz said that "The crust of our earth is a great
cemetery where the rocks are the tombstones on which the
buried dead have written their own epitaphs." This quaintly
somber reading of the geological data of humanity's earlier
rounds of experience is enlivened by the theosophical story
of humankind's reimbodiments. For the same deathless egos
who began their many earth-lives in the "garden of Eden"
period have never ceased to be. Even now some of them may
be incarnated among the geologists who are studying the
imprinted records which Mother Nature kept of their
planetary childhood and youth.

There is an interesting analogy between the way the earth
cycled through its early embodiment and our own physical
beginning of each fresh incarnation. In The Mahatma Letters
to A. P. Sinnett, the Master K. H. writes:

As you may infer by analogy every globe before it reaches
its adult period, has to pass through a formation period --
also septenary. Law in Nature is uniform and the
conception, formation, birth, progress and development of
the child differs from those of the globe only in
magnitude. The globe has two periods of teething and of
capillature -- its first rocks which it also sheds to make
room for new -- and its ferns and mosses before it gets
forest. As the atoms in the body change [every] seven
years, so does the globe renew its strata every seven
cycles. . . . The correspondence between a mother globe and
her child-man may be thus worked out. Both have their seven
principles. -- pp. 93-4
It is stated in The Secret Doctrine, 2:140, that the period
of mineral and vegetable development was not less than
300,000,000 years before mankind, then present in its
astral forms, acquired "coats of skin." At the time that
the astral body became physicalized, the separation of the
sexes occurred -- some 18,000,000 years ago. Also, the
latent fires of the human mind were lighted, and we began
to revolve in experience as self-conscious human beings.

The most active cycle of development of the mineral and
vegetable kingdoms occurred during the earth's earlier
rounds before mankind's astral imbodiment
became "physicalized." At present the combination of human
mental and material nature is the dominant activity on the
globe, while the lower kingdoms are in a cycle of relative
quiescence. The present convulsions of nature, which to us
are so disturbing, like earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., are
mild compared with the periods of intense activity of the
rocky earth in the globe's earlier stages. The theosophical
teaching is that while the bodies of the late third root-
race were physicalized enough to have left some fossilized
remnants, yet the violent volcanic, seismic, and
cataclysmic events that have occurred periodically since
that time doubtless have ground any such records to pieces.

Moreover, continents have disappeared beneath the oceans,
and new lands have arisen from beneath the waves in many
parts of the globe since its matter solidified from its
primeval state. The earth rounded out one of its
continental birthdays, so to say, in the same time period
of each one of the great root-races. The globe itself has
evolved through its successive cycles corresponding to the
rounding out of several root-races, of which we are in the
fifth.

Of course, neither the root-races nor the continents which
they specially inhabited were always sharply defined, any
more than our birthdays mark sudden and complete changes in
our body or in our character. There was the same
intermingling and overlapping of human and continental
cycles that is taking place today, although finally great
cataclysms changed the surface of the globe. These
convulsions wiped out the degenerate portion of a root-
race. Meanwhile the worthy survivors had found refuge on
lands which had been rising from the ocean as slowly as
other parts of their former habitats had been sinking for
ages.

A haunting memory of these momentous events in racial
history is the basis of similar traditions among all
peoples. H. P. Blavatsky points out:

That worlds (also Races) are periodically destroyed by fire
(volcanoes and earthquakes) and water, in turn and renewed,
is a doctrine as old as man. Manu, Hermes, the Chaldees,
all antiquity believed in this. Twice already has the face
of the globe been changed by fire, and twice by water,
since man appeared on it. As land needs rest and
renovation, new forces, and a change for its soil, so does
water. Thence arises a periodical redistribution of land
and water, change of climate, etc., all brought on by
geological revolution, and ending in a final change in the
axis. . . . there is a secular change in the inclination of
the earth's axis, and its appointed time is recorded in one
of the great Secret Cycles. -- The Secret Doctrine 2:725-6
Naturally, the intimate relation between human nature and
Mother Nature would make so important an event as the
beginning and ending of great human cycles coincident with
planetary changes. Always and everywhere there is the
combined action of the laws of karma (cause and effect),
reimbodiment, and cycles. These laws rule not only in human
life, but in the life-course of every atom of matter, as
well. Thus it is that the whole mass of matter constantly
changes at the same time and exhibits alterations analogous
to changes through which man the thinker is passing.

These concurrent evolutionary changes of mind and matter
are consistent with the fact that all matter is alive and,
in some degree, is conscious, though mankind only is self-
conscious. Matter is somehow intangibly affected by its
association with conditions of human life. For tangible
evidence of human influence upon earth material, contrast
the complicated equipment of twentieth century American
life with the native Indian's simple demand upon nature's
supplies in his day.

These two peoples, with similar bodies to feed, clothe,
shelter, and transport, are ages apart in their viewpoints,
both of which have been reflected upon the same country.
Compare the light impress which the Indian made upon the
earth he occupied, with the same area as it appears today.
Now the landscape has been tunneled through, bridged over,
deforested here and reclaimed there, soil and even weather
modified, oceans joined by an artificial canal, electric
and water power harnessed, highways and skyways charted --
the whole nature picture changed to match a different cycle
of human thought and feeling.

An interesting hint of the relation of man to nature is
given in Isis Unveiled 1:395 where, in discussing human
magnetic emanations, it is said:

Magnetic currents develop themselves into electricity upon
their exit from the body.
In view of this interplay of forces, it is easily seen how
a continued and unbalanced flow of certain magnetic human
emanations would periodically reach a point of tension with
a violent reaction upon the globe itself. The physical
effects would result through electrical and other fluids
acting with the gases on the solids of the globe. The
exploding point, so to say, would coincide with the change
of a great cycle, producing violent convulsions in the
forms of earthquakes, floods, fire, and ice. William Q.
Judge goes into this at some length in The Ocean of
Theosophy, pp. 169-70, where he says:

At the intersection of the great cycles dynamic effects
follow and alter the surface of the planet by reason of the
shifting of the poles of the globe or other convulsions.
This is not a theory generally acceptable, but we hold it
to be true. Man is a great dynamo, making, storing and
throwing out energy, and when masses of men composing a
race thus make and distribute energy, there is a resulting
dynamic effect on the material of the globe which will be
powerful enough to be distinct and cataclysmic. That there
have been vast and awful disturbances in the strata of the
world is admitted on every hand and now needs no proof;
these have been due to earthquakes and ice formation so far
as concerns geology; but in respect to animal forms the
cyclic law is that certain animal forms now extinct and
also certain human ones not known but sometimes suspected
will return again in their own cycle; . . .
Since Judge wrote this in 1893, evidence of ancient areas
formerly covered with ice have been found in tropical
sections of Africa and elsewhere, showing that these were
once polar regions. The theory of the shifting of the poles
is now commonly accepted by scientists. The ancient
teaching is that, in addition to alternations of the warm
ocean currents and the hot magnetic currents of the earth,
cataclysmic effects include alterations of the poles which
have been inverted several times. Each time there was a
complete change of the earth's surface, alternately
affected by fire and water, upon which event is based the
Biblical story of the Noachian flood. Noah and all living
things in the ark stand for the surviving men and things of
the doomed fourth root-race, which were the beginnings of
the succeeding root-race. This story of our Deluge,
recorded from the remotest antiquity, is a universal
tradition. It is found in beliefs of so varied nations as
the Peruvians, Aztecs, Chaldaens, Chinese, Egyptians,
Phoenicians, Hindus etc., as well as among primitive
peoples.

Geology proves that the polar regions were once warm and
flourishing countries; and theosophy tells us that mankind
was even then present and imbodied. Both Arctic and
Antarctic explorers have found fossils of subtropical
plants in very high latitudes, coral that flourished on the
shores of Greenland, etc. There are many geological
footprints of the migrations of the great ice sheets which,
as one scientist graphically states, marked "a sliding
scale of climatic values on the changing cycles of time."

Modern geology has a fairy-tale fascination for a student
of theosophy because, far from dealing with a dry-as-dust
subject, one is studying a planetary entity which has kept
a graphic sketch of vast cycles in our wonderful past. The
evolutionary plan running through those periods of
experience is prophetic of greater unfoldment in the
future. Intuitive researchers will find that the phenomena
of earth and of nature forces are the natural language
which matter speaks in its own behalf, in the universal
drama of unfolding, imbodied, cyclic life.

H. P. Blavatsky's knowledge of cycles enabled her to
predict discoveries in the twentieth century that would
prove many of the ancient teachings. Her explanations of
the rounds and races and the continents they inhabited did
not fit in with the current theories and, in her day, they
were then thought to be wholly lacking in tangible proof.
Nonetheless, anthropologists are slowly pushing back the
dates for prehistoric humanity, while a few scientists are
examining the idea of Atlantis seriously. Moreover,
observations such as submarine explorations reveal many
changes in the elevation of the water line, which seems to
be part of the universal ebb and flow of things. Of course,
it is well known that changes in elevation are going on now
in many parts of the earth. Some of the American coasts are
slowly rising, while others are going down; the Himalayas
and the California mountains are steadily rising, etc., all
of which is in keeping with the overlapping and
intermingling of great and small cycles, both in the
history of root-races and of continents. Even today, an
overlapping geological cycle dating back to the third root-
race includes parts of California, Ceylon, and Australia.

These geologic evidences of conditions which we and Mother
Earth have passed through together have something more than
a scientific meaning. Looking backward, they give us a
mountain-peak perspective of the soul's continued journey.
The background of spiritual purpose of the whole picture
dignifies and ennobles the pathway of our everyday life.
The past, present, and future are the eternal Now for the
inner self who cycles beyond the limits of time into
limitless Eternity. Each person is told in The Voice of the
Silence, page 31:

Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live
for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is
not of fleeting life; it is the man that was, that is, and
will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.

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Chapter 6
Recurring Civilizations and Archaeology
The revolution of the physical world, according to the
ancient doctrine, is attended by a like revolution in the
world of intellect -- the spiritual evolution of the world
proceeding in cycles, like the physical one.
Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and
flow in the tide of human progress. The great kingdoms and
empires of the world, after reaching the culmination of
their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same
law by which they ascended; till, having reached the lowest
point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more,
the height of its attainment being, by this law of
ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher than the
point from which it had before descended. -- Isis Unveiled
1:34
But these cycles -- wheels within wheels, . . . -- do not
affect all mankind at one and the same time -- as explained
in the Racial division of Cycles. Hence, as we see, the
difficulty of comprehending and discriminating between
them, with regard to their physical and spiritual effects,
without having thoroughly mastered their relations with,
and action upon the respective positions of nations and
races, in their destiny and evolution. This system cannot
be comprehended if the spiritual action of these periods --
pre-ordained, so to say by Karmic law -- is separated from
their physical course. -- The Secret Doctrine 1:641-2
A volume might be written about the facts given in the
above quotation. Indeed, many volumes would not suffice for
the vitally interesting subject. The teachings in The
Secret Doctrine are not theories or hypothetical half-
truths. They are a matter of actual records which have been
kept all down the ages by the most highly evolved and noble
representatives of the human race. These records are safe
in the secret annals of the great White Lodge of Masters
who sent H. P. Blavatsky forth as the messenger to their
fellow-men.

In these ancient records, the prehistoric part dwarfs all
that is known historically about the life story of mankind
and the globe. In the vast perspective of the whole, all
the confusing data of evolution, archaeology, geology,
etc., fit into consistent times and places in the picture.
A significant example in the picture is the fact that in
the working out of human progress, the whole mass of
mankind does not reach the same level of attainment at the
same time. This accounts for the confusing archaeological
finds of high and low grade civilizations in the same
geological strata. The ancient record also explains the
finding of superimposed cities, where the lower levels show
that a higher degree of culture preceded later levels of
more primitive conditions.

In different parts of the globe, at the same time, there
have been cave-dwellers, lake-dwellers, tribes of wandering
hunters, pastoral peoples, and flourishing civilizations,
all rounding out their separate careers.

It is perfectly natural that certain larger or smaller
numbers of the human race should be karmically grouped
together according to their general status of evolution.
Moreover, contemporary grouping of different grades is the
general rule of life. For example, in educating a single
generation, are not the students graded from the alphabet
level on up to the university degrees? The analogy holds
good with members of the whole human family who are
revolving in different orbits of racial childhood, youth,
maturity, and old age, all at the same time. In fact,
mankind has here and now, as always, its different age
groups of evolutionary growth. Each group is rounding out
its own rightful "place in the sun" of mental and spiritual
illumination. It is all as natural as that the day should
be dawning at one place, while the sun is at full meridian
at another point, is setting at the third, and only faintly
reflected by the midnight moon at the fourth quarter of
this one world.

Evolution is but another word for cyclic law. The race does
not move en masse in an end-on evolution. That fact is
evident in watching the same tide of human development
which is both ebbing and flowing at different places of the
modern world. The contrasting levels would speak for
themselves to an observer, now that aviation and radio are
bringing the ends of the earth together. Imagine the
aviator filming a bird's-eye view of the human conditions
which he flew over as he circled round and round Mother
Earth. He would find, between the most contrasted types,
living pictures of all the mental, moral, and material
strata from savagery to civilization. In fact, if this
modern world were suddenly overwhelmed by a cataclysm and
preserved in statu quo, like Pompeii, the far distant
archaeologist would find a buried past as paradoxical as
the present excavators do, in looking backward.

Just as our rotating earth swings us around from one
morning to the next, when we carry on further our
yesterday's affairs, so the rounds of whole civilizations
come and go, flourish and fade away, again and again. Each
reincarnating ego is attracted back to earth karmically at
the time, to the place, and in the conditions where it can
take the next step on its journey of becoming humanly
perfect. How rapidly and how far each one will go in one
lifetime depends upon himself. Conditions which are
stumbling blocks to a weak character may be used as
stepping stones by another of strong will and courage. Each
person is reborn with the character which he has made for
himself, and each life holds opportunities for bringing out
more of his own inner power and knowledge. The karmic law
makes no mistakes in grouping individuals together in any
stage of any kind of a culture. The greatest and the least
of them, as well as the general average of individuals, are
more or less closely linked by their personal, national,
and racial karma.

The recent unexpected findings in various places of a
series of superimposed cities of different grades of
culture are evidences of the living ebb and flow of human
affairs in one or another country. The puzzling situation
points to the naturally cyclic course of our evolution.
These finds are the common homesites of people of different
degrees of development, and they were separated, layer from
layer, by the dust of ages. The question is not only, Who
were these forgotten peoples, but Why were they all drawn
to the same place to settle? It may be that it was a
favorable site for the general interests of a community.
Possibly, numbers of them reincarnated in several strata of
the series. Most likely, each level was a lesser round in
some larger cycle of a purpose working in the whole series.
In that case, the first city would leave behind it
something of its influence which, unconsciously, attracted
after-coming men, collectively, to settle there. Thinking
man leaves his impression on something more than the
material earth. The vital impress of his own inner life of
thought and feeling is reflected in the surrounding astral
light which retains all these pictures. Thus, besides, the
tangible relics which mark the levels of recurring
habitations, the inhabitants must have impressed the
locality with a certain psychomagnetic quality which had an
intangible attraction for other minds and hearts.

Much has been done in discovering these old sites since H.
P. Blavatsky wrote of them in 1888:

Tradition asserts, and archaeology accepts the truth of the
legend that there is more than one city now flourishing in
India, which is built on several other cities, making thus
a subterranean city of six or seven stories high. Delhi is
one of them; Allahabad another -- examples of this being
found even in Europe; e. g., in Florence, which is built on
several defunct Etruscan and other cities. -- The Secret
Doctrine 2: 220-1
Some of these buried cities are helping us to realize that
much which has stood for traditional events and mythical
figures was founded on actual history of an unrecorded
past. For instance, it is reported that the oft-quoted Hill
of Hissarlik where Troy stood is now revealing the site of
the Homeric city, "the seventh from the bottom of a stack
of nine cities that comprise the hill."

The same author adds that there are ancient cities in the
western world of the Americas which have not even a
legendary history. She points out that

There, all along the coast of Peru, all over the Isthmus
and North America, in the canyons of the Cordilleras, in
the impassable gorges of the Andes, and, especially, beyond
the valley of Mexico, lie, ruined and desolate, hundreds of
once mighty cities, lost to the memory of men, and having
themselves lost even a name. . . . As regards prehistoric
buildings, both Peru and Mexico are rivals of Egypt.
Equaling the latter in the immensity of her cyclopean
structures, Peru surpasses her in their number; . . . Works
of public utility, such as walls, fortifications, terraces,
water-courses, aqueducts, bridges, temples, burial-grounds,
whole cities and exquisitely paved roads, hundreds of miles
in length, stretch in an unbroken line, almost covering the
land as with a net. . . . Of the long generations of
peoples who built them, history knows nothing, and even
tradition is silent. . . . Whole forests have grown out of
the cities' broken hearts, and, with a few exceptions,
everything is in ruin. But one may judge of what once was
by that which yet remains. -- The Theosophist, "A Land of
Mystery"
There is a pathos in that thought of the cities' broken
hearts, where once upon a time the vital currents of human
life pulsated to and fro, moving with the ebb and flow of
hopes and fears, aspirations and desires, joys and sorrows,
even like our own. Archaeology is no dry-as-dust study when
we begin to read the continued story of human earth-life.
These excavated homes and temples and battlefields -- if we
but knew it -- are scattered chapters of the history of the
past -- of our own past.

Human nature ever plays the same dual role in the drama of
a god living in an animal body. The usual
archaeological "finds" of both altars and weapons
everywhere are symbols of the same contrasting impulses
that move us today in our forms of worship and of conflict.
Sometimes, merely the fragments of prehistoric pottery
excavated from old kitchen middens give us glimpses of an
artistic side to an unknown people's life. Thus art and
archaeology are allied in passing on some evidence of our
heritage of that strain of creative beauty which runs in
the veins of the human family. How could many of us who are
untaught in the arts so often thrill with the harmony
expressed in color, or line, or sound, if we had not known
and felt the like before? Why should our busy lives ever
seem to be, at times, a mere round of drab and aimless
days, if our inner self had never revolved in some past
period of a broader and brighter existence? Our innate
ideals are often the spiritual aroma of rounds of
experience which the real self remembers. The new brain
that is born with each recurring incarnation, cannot
remember all the details of its own life-term. But the
enduring soul harvests and stores all that is best in every
round. There is both truth and poetry in Emerson's words:

What is excellent,
As God lives is permanent;
Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain;
Heart's love will meet thee again.
A subject of perennial interest is the location of the
cradleland of mankind. Of course, the continents of the
first four root-races were gone, and new lands were ready
when the time was ripe for the present fifth root-race of
evolving egos to begin its wheeling. The scientific idea
that civilization originated where now stretch the great
plateaus of Central Asia, and the theological tradition of
the Garden of Eden, both point to the cradleland of our
fifth root-race. The ancient records tell of a vast Central
Asian homeland, with two widely separated epochs of racial
history. The fifth root-race, in germ, dates far back to
some egos then among Atlantean tribes. This early stock
left the continent of the powerful sorcerers and migrated
in serial surges, under spiritual guidance, to the then
rising lands of Central Asia, now the region of the Gobi
desert. Then, this vast continental tract was an aggregate
of beautiful, fertile lands, with a mild and equable
climate, and with outlying islands and countries in the
surrounding seas. HPB speaks of an inland sea, consecrated
and called "the Abyss of Learning" (The Secret Doctrine
2:502). The sacred records tell of the wonderful
civilizations there which sprang up and flourished for
ages.

Then, in the revolving cycles of time, the land rose, the
seas receded, the fertile land turned barren, and the
climate became severe. The people migrated, in turn, to
newly risen lands, and spread out to the west, the east,
and the south. This diffusion of the old culture into new
lands went on for thousands upon thousands of years. In
time, knowledge of those early Asian civilizations receded
into a far-off past, until even their history became
legendary. The migrants were the people who far later
became the Chinese, the Tartars, the Hindus, the Assyrians,
the Babylonians, the Persian, the Greeks, the Romans, the
Celts, and the Germanic and Scandinavian tribes.

The present archaeological urge to search these dim
corridors of the past is timed with the new cycle of
spiritual awakening, and of recovery of sacred knowledge of
the sublime purpose that runs through unnumbered
incarnations. Dr. de Purucker, in an interesting article
from which the above data are culled, says:

Some day I believe that our archaeologists and other
scientists, delving in the wind-swept deserts, sandy, arid
plains of Turkestan, Persia, Baluchistan, will uncover
remains showing that there there was at least a
civilization the equal of anything we have today. . . .
There was a civilization, some few thousand years before
the earliest history that we know about Greece and Crete
and Asia Minor, in what is now the arid lands of Persia,
that would have put to shame anything that ancient Greece
or Rome or Egypt or Babylon could show -- a civilization
gentler, greater even than ours. That was the mother-land
of the Greek and Roman and Italiot peoples. . . .
Central Asia is not only the cradle of civilization of our
Fifth Root-Race, but our motherland. To it, in the earliest
beginnings when the Fifth Root-Race began to be itself as a
stock separate from Atlantis, to it the earliest Fifth Race
colonists went and settled there. It was then a land rising
above the waters and from its lofty plains and plateaux --
through age after age, as age succeeded age -- the germinal
new races tried to work off the deviltry of their own
Atlantean forefathers now rushing to their doom. Protected
of karma, protected by the Lodge, the early Fifth lived
there. Sub-race succeeded sub-race, as they slowly climbed
from innocence to knowledge and from knowledge to a modicum
of wisdom -- and its abuses, until now we have reached our
kali-yuga and are beginning to pay. When will men learn
that the only road to happiness and peace, to prosperity
and increase in possessions, both spiritual and material,
is obedience to the spiritual and moral law, and
service. . . . Selfishness defeats its own ends. -- The
Theosophical Forum, June, 1937
These glancing headlights on a wonderful past in Central
Asia appeal to our intuition as events belonging to our
individual history. The average you and I have been egos in
this human life-wave from the beginning. Looking back,
one's mental horizon expands with thought of the endless
revolving of wheels within wheels of our past lives. The
many incarnations have been mere epicycles along the great
spiral of this fifth root-race which is still in its prime.
Our imagination pictures this Asian focus of civilizations
broadcasting its human life and light by way of those
migrant groups whose cultures evolved into the
characteristic types of different nations. In time, there
must have been -- must still be -- recurring points of
contact between the egos who there took separating paths
for one or many lives.

Consistent with the karmic repetition of old contacts would
be the historical welter of converging influences during
the decline of the Roman Empire. At that period, the fixed
forms of belief and custom became fluidic and unsettled.
The strange mixture of thought and character was, in its
origin, Indian, Druidic, Germanic, Syrian, Persian, and
from other strains, all typical expressions of some
national trend of the human mind and emotions. Today,
America is another melting-pot of nationalities. Are not
the age-old contacts being renewed again -- this time with
peculiar responsibility to profit by past mistakes, and to
build more wisely for the common good? Especially in the
New World, life in the precocious generations is fluidic,
restless, dynamic, seeking -- sensitive to impulses that go
far, right or wrong.

Because present world conditions were foreseen, provision
was made for spreading abroad such a light of liberating
truth that, in the signs of the times, we may read of the
real issues being worked out. The great White Lodge which
sent guides to lead our young race from doomed Atlantis to
the Asian homelands, sent H. P. Blavatsky with the ancient
knowledge by which we must find our way out of our selfish
mistakes. Our humanity has outgrown its irresponsible
infancy, and it must round this turn of the cycle with self-
conscious will and the right motives.

It was part of the great plan for universal brotherhood
that the fresh land of the New World was to be the
birthplace of the Theosophical Society. It was not chance
that, a century earlier, the obverse side of the United
States seal was subscribed: "Annuit coeptis. Novus ordo
seclorum." Then it was that a New Order of Ages was started
on its grand round upon the upward arc. It was part of the
end-of-the-century work for humanity that is brought out
from behind the scenes. Timely efforts were also being made
in Europe to warn those in power of impending disaster. The
messengers tried to awaken the many who pursued secret
methods of gaining wealth and power and long life, that the
real "philosopher's stone" was the faculty within our own
spiritual nature. But the warnings, and the noble and
extraordinary work of Cagliostro, Mesmer, and Saint-Germain
were understood only by the few.

It is most significant that the outer work of the Great
Lodge for the end of the Nineteenth century has been
carried over in the Theosophical Movement into the
twentieth century. It is the first time since the
fourteenth century that "light from the East" has grown
brighter and stronger in the West. It is being recognized
by ever larger numbers of those who are willing to go
forward. We find hints of the larger issues running deep in
the changing current of affairs. For instance:

. . . Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our
very eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be
formed, and that it is in America that the transformation
will take place, and has already silently commenced.
Pure Anglo-Saxons hardly three hundred years ago, the
Americans of the United States have already become a nation
apart, and, owing to a strong admixture of various
nationalities and inter-marriage, almost a race sui
generis, not only mentally, but also physically. . . .
Thus the Americans have become in only three centuries,
a "primary race," pro tem., before becoming a race apart,
and strongly separated from all other now existing races. --
The Secret Doctrine 2:444

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Chapter 7
Language Cycles
As languages have their cyclic evolution, their childhood,
purity, growth, fall into matter, admixture with other
languages, maturity, decay and finally death, so the
primitive speech of the most civilized Atlantean races --
that language, which is referred to as "Rakshasi Bhasa," in
old Sanskrit works -- decayed and almost died out. While
the "cream" of the Fourth Race gravitated more and more
toward the apex of physical and intellectual evolution,
thus leaving as an heirloom to the nascent Fifth (the
Aryan) Race the inflectional highly developed languages,
the agglutinative decayed and remained as a fragmentary
fossil idiom, scattered now, and nearly limited to the
aboriginal tribes of America. -- The Secret Doctrine 2:199
But language, proceeding in cycles, is not always adequate
to express spiritual thoughts.-- Ibid., footnote.
Hearing was the first of humanity's five senses to be
developed, and language was destined to play its important
part in the recurring events of unfolding life on earth. As
language is coeval with reason, the vocal sounds made by
the earlier root-races, before solar deities had lighted
their fires of mind, were more copies of nature sounds than
articulate speech. However, the last subraces of the third
root-race, under their divine instructors did build cities
and begin civilizations while they were still limited to
monosyllabic speech.

Naturally, the vocal medium of expressing human thought and
feeling evolved pari passu with the cyclic expansion of
consciousness. Thus, as human beings gradually rounded out
more and more of their human nature, little by little, they
gained the means of finding a wider range of vocal
expression. By the time of the late fourth root-race, there
had been developed the first languages of inflectional
speech. These languages, adopted by the overlapping early
fifth root-race, became the root of the Sanskrit. The
Devanagari script was invented by the Kabiri (see The
Secret Doctrine 2:364.)

H. P. Blavatsky says of her great work, The Secret
Doctrine, that, in writing it,

The attempt to render in a European tongue the grand
panorama of the ever periodically recurring Law --
impressed upon the plastic minds of the first races endowed
with Consciousness by those who reflected the same from the
Universal Mind -- is daring, for no human language, save
the Sanskrit -- which is that of the Gods -- can do so with
any degree of adequacy. -- The Secret Doctrine 1:269
The ancient origin of Sanskrit is given in an article
entitled "Was Writing Known Before Panini?" and is found in
Five Years of Theosophy (pp. 419-20). This article, written
by "A Chela," explains that classical Sanskrit was only
restored, if somewhat perfected, by the celebrated
grammarian Panini, who did not create it. It had existed
throughout cycles and would pass through others still. The
author continues:

Every one sees -- cannot fail to see and to know -- that
for a language so old and so perfect as the Sanskrit to
have survived alone, among all languages, it must have had
its cycles of perfection and its cycles of degeneration.
And, if one had any intuition, he might have seen that what
they call a "dead language" being an anomaly, a useless
thing in Nature, it would not have survived, even as
a "dead" tongue, had it not its special purpose in the
reign of immutable cyclic laws; and that Sanskrit, which
came to be nearly lost to the world, is now slowly
spreading in Europe, and will one day have the extension it
had thousands upon thousands of years back -- that of a
universal language. The same as to the Greek and the Latin:
there will be a time when the Greek of Aeschylus (and more
perfect still in its future form) will be spoken by all in
Southern Europe, while Sanskrit will be resting in its
periodical pralaya; and the Attic will be followed later by
the Latin of Virgil.
It is in keeping with the above data that the sacred
language should have been preserved, and should have begun
to reappear with the ancient wisdom which was brought from
the introspective and philosophical Orient. When the
Theosophical Society was founded in 1875, the teachings
were so new to the matter-of-fact West that often no
suitable English words could express them. It came about,
in explaining finer shades of meaning or more universal
concepts, that Sanskrit terms crept into the literature and
lectures. For instance, the term karma,
meaning "action," "consequences," or "cause and effect,"
soon became common, especially as applying to human life.
This one word covered the meaning of the Bible phrase
that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Moreover, the logical process of such harvesting was
explained by the periodical series of reincarnations --
though the teaching of cycles was less emphasized then than
it is now when it is being recognized both in science and
philosophy. At first, however, the strange words were
sometimes objected to by critics like the reporter to whom
W. Q. Judge replied prophetically that

the Sanscrit language will one day be again the language
used by man upon this earth, first in science and
metaphysics, and later on in common life. Even in the
lifetime of the Sun's witty writer, he will see the terms
now preserved in that noblest of languages creeping into
the literature and the press of the day, cropping up in
reviews, appearing in various books and treatises. . . . So
this new language . . . will be one which is scientific in
all that makes a language, and has been enriched by ages of
study of metaphysics and the true science. -- The Path 1:58
Judge's confidence in the adoption of Sanskrit terms by the
West is already justified. Not only do they appear in the
press and current literature, but university courses in
Sanskrit find increasing enrollments. This is significant
of something more than getting mere literary "light from
the East." It shows a growing need of terms for voicing
larger ideals and deeper feelings of men and women who are
heart-hungry for truth and light. These seekers are such as
will form the nucleus of a subrace of the new cycle with
its undercurrent of natural mysticism awakening their own
muted sense of an inner reality.

The revivifying of this ancient tongue makes for a better
understanding between the thinking world of the mystical,
introspective East and that of the practical, intellectual
West. The two have much of value to share with each other
and reap mutual benefit thereby. It was H. P. Blavatsky's
understanding of the inner treasures of truth possessed by
India's learned pundits, which gave her and her work the
support of some of their best native scholars and cultured
citizens. She early helped to found schools for the Indian
boys and, later, for the girls, in which Sanskrit was
taught -- an innovation at the time. This work, recorded in
early numbers of her Theosophist, is significant of her
methods in founding a nucleus for a universal brotherhood.
Instead of bringing a new religion or an alien philosophy
to different peoples, her appeal to each was to awaken them
to the hidden, liberating truths in their own teachings.
The vibrations of her keynote of international
understanding have been kept alive by her students ever
since. This keynote rings stronger and clearer than ever
today -- a saving minority of harmonious vibrations in a
chaotic world.

Words are living things. A language reflects the quality of
the time, of the events, and of the character of the
people, when and where it circulates as the medium of
mental and emotional exchange. An everyday instance is
noted in the way the restless, vivid, intensive strain in
modern life is finding typical expression in newly-coined
words and catch phrases. Travelers from abroad note the
quick coinage of so-called Americanisms which keep pace
with new elements entering into the flowing current of
daily life in the western republic. Some of the hybrid
terms are so apt as to find a place, finally, in standard
dictionaries.

Language is one of the valued keys of the ethnologists.
What puzzles some of them who hold to an end-on evolution
for mankind, is to find many barbarous and savage peoples
who speak, even imperfectly, languages which are elaborate
in both vocabulary and syntax. If these people were nearer
a supposed ape-ancestry than Europeans, their language
should be correspondingly crude and simple. However, this
apparent contradiction proves to be a paradox which is
explained by the law of cycles. These cases are good
evidence of the spiral evolutionary course pursued through
great rounds and races. These peoples are moving on the
last turn of a wheel of untold antiquity.

It is noted that the Australian natives, for example, "use
a complicated grammar with three genders." Presumably,
these egos now incarnating in a disappearing race are
finishing the final curves of a downward cycle dating back
to old Lemuria of which Australia is a remnant. These
echoes of former greatness point to the long ages which
these egos have spent in fulfilling the law of sowing and
reaping. For us, too, they are words of warning. They are
tragic evidence of the essential nature of ethics in the
fabric of the universe. Right and wrong are not human
inventions, but are part of the universal law of balance
and harmony. The law of retardation slows the wheel of our
progress when we break the moral law of our own being.
Likewise, nature, on her part, calls a halt by means of
sickness -- or even death -- when we persistently break her
laws of health. When she halts us with sickness where we
are on the wrong course, the pain and limitation are her
stop signals, lest a worse thing befall us.

An ethical sidelight on the hints of culture in the
language of certain peoples is found in The Esoteric
Tradition. On page 403, G. de Purucker says:

The point in illustration here is not that the savage or
barbarian having these terms in his language understands
them, but that he does not understand them, since they are
words or names retained from pre-history in his language,
and which in his sight are either entirely inexplicable or
are words used in tribal mystical ceremonies, or in tribal
initiations, or in their mythology as signifying their
divinities, or the powers or tools or instruments of the
gods. The words remain, but their real significance has
been utterly forgotten.
It is, however, to be remembered that such linguistic
fossils are of extremely uncommon occurrence when dealing
with things or events of a purely physical or material
character; but such fossils are very numerous when dealing
with more abstract things, such as pertain to philosophy,
religion, mysticism, and the like. The reason is that words
dealing with physical things are more likely to die and
pass out of currency almost with the passing of the things
themselves when no longer in use; whereas words of religion
or mysticism remain.
The cultural echoes in the life of these peoples hark back
to their past experience both in cycles of growth in true
wisdom and in periods given over to evil magic. In some
degree, do we not all vaguely feel, at times, a sense of
having attained to better and to worse things than belong
to this life? Emerson points out in his essay on History
that

Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history.

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Chapter 8
Spiral Pathways among the Stars
"The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its
brain is hidden behind the (visible) sun. From thence,
sensation is radiated into every nerve-center of the great
body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each
artery and vein. . . . The planets are its limbs and
pulses. . . ."
. . . there is a regular circulation of the vital fluid
throughout our system, of which the Sun is the heart -- the
same as the circulation of the blood in the human body --
during the manvantaric solar period, or life; the Sun
contracting as rhythmically at every return of it, as the
human heart does. -- The Secret Doctrine 1:541
The italicized part of the above quotation is from the
archaic records, here interpreted by commentaries "compiled
by generations of adepts." As The Secret Doctrine is based
upon these records, the striking analogy between the solar
and the human heart is presented therein as a logical part
of the one universal evolution. When the book was published
some seven years before the discovery of x-rays, H. P.
Blavatsky predicted that if the living and throbbing heart
could be made luminous and visible, one would see the
sunspot phenomenon repeated every second. Today, the
growing interest in, and the deep study of sunspots and of
the electromagnetic and other influences of the celestial
spheres, open the way for still other of the ancient
teachings which relate man to universal nature.

Our solar system is a big cosmic family with its sun and
moon, and the older and younger planets, comets, nebulae,
etc., visible and invisible. Each shining orb imbodies an
intelligent being, a deity of some grade, rounding out its
own cycle of suitable experience and growth. Our earth also
imbodies a planetary entity. Mankind, too, has its rightful
place in the solar family, for

the "Serpents of Wisdom" have preserved their records well,
and the history of the human evolution is traced in heaven
as it is traced on underground walls. Humanity and the
stars are bound together indissolubly, because of the
intelligences that rule the latter. -- The Secret Doctrine
2:352
These "Serpents of Wisdom" are the few most highly evolved
spiritual and intellectual individuals of each succeeding
round and race. Through initiation in the Mystery-schools,
they learned to verify the inner teachings about man and
the universe. The divine instructors of early humanity had
directed men's minds to the invention of all the arts and
sciences through which the creative impulse again comes
forth and operates in recurring civilizations. These
teachings included laws and legislation, architecture,
metallurgy, agriculture, the medical use of plants, various
modes of magic, astronomy, etc. Echoes of all these things
have remained in the earth's inner atmosphere and are the
source of the "innate ideas" that haunt our minds. Each ego
must round this part of the cycle of constructive knowledge
by becoming aware of it within himself. We are reminded
that

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and
that which is done is that which shall be done; and there
is no new thing under the sun. -- Eccles. 1:9
Every human being has a background of infinity and a
limitless future. To have reached the human stage means
that we were all in that majestic procession which started
with our earth's life cycle. Then it was that "the morning
stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for
joy." Among those rejoicing at the birth of this infant
humanity were our spiritual ancestors who had perfected
their human cycle long, long ages before. They are aware of
a karmic relation to us which calls for their help in
following them on the destined way.

The unity of man and nature is given voice in "Locksley
Hall" where Tennyson says:

Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen'd with the process of the
suns.
In keeping with the earth's cycling onward, astronomers'
advance in knowledge and technique has enabled them to
reach out into new regions of space. They are finding many
extra-galactic systems all evidently revolving and evolving
on their own pathways as we are on ours. This is added
evidence of intelligent direction and common purpose
everywhere. The very thought of it broadens the mind that
can see here the working of universal law. Moreover, the
harmonious and orderly interrelations of the countless orbs
point to the essential nature of cooperation and ethics in
the universe itself.

The paths of the celestial bodies are spiral curves of the
utmost complexity. Moreover, as our sun moves around its
orbit, it brings its whole family of revolving globes into
new regions of space where they have never been before. Nor
will they be there again. New conditions of mind and of
matter, and of their influences, are met and intermingle
with those of the receding past.

There is the cycle of 25,920 years during which the solar
family travels around the zodiac of which each sign has a
different influence upon the earth and upon us. Speaking of
this in 1887, H. P. Blavatsky said that when, in a few
years, we entered the sign of Aquarius, "psychologists will
have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies
of humanity will enter on a great change" (Lucifer 1:174).
Her words are being fulfilled in the increase of mental and
nervous diseases, the craze for psychism, the numbers
of "sensitives" and mediumistic types, phenomenal
occurrences, etc. These conditions were far more rare fifty
years ago.

When the twentieth century opened, the thought world was
dominated by the opposing forces of a scientific
materialism and those of an illogical theology. Neither was
prepared to meet the problems of the unfolding nature of
composite man who is essentially linked with all the
universe. Nor did both together make provision to meet the
psychological phase of evolving humanity which is
manifesting in the disorders now confronting physicians,
statesmen, publicists, and, indeed, individuals and nations
generally. In short, the selfish, egocentric view of men
and nations today is logically and morally on a par with
the mediaeval belief in a flat earth as the center of
attendant globes. The modern world sadly needs the
practical help of the mysticism of the ancients. Our
statesmen might change the course of history by
understanding the deeper causes of recurring events. Such
knowledge is as scientific as the foretelling of a coming
comet or a star. For instance, looking back to the signs of
the times in 1888, we read:

It is simply knowledge and mathematically correct
computations which enable the Wise Men of the East to
foretell, for instance, that England is on the eve of such
or another catastrophe; France, nearing such a point of her
cycle, and Europe in general threatened with, or rather, on
the eve of, a cataclysm, which her own cycle of racial
Karma has led her to. -- The Secret Doctrine 1:646
The Masters of wisdom do not meddle with politics. Their
warning meant what is so slowly dawning on the disordered
world. Its rapid progress having interwoven and
intermingled its every material and mental interest, it can
go no farther save with brotherly regard for humanity's
common welfare. The Masters, vitally alive to world
conditions and to sidereal influences, know the zodiacal
periods calling for help. Of this we read:

This cycle of 2160 years is called the Messianic Cycle
because it is the recurrent time-period at the opening or
closing of which a new and somewhat especial spiritual and
intellectual effort is made and work undertaken by the
Great Brotherhood publicly in the world; and it may as well
be frankly stated that H. P. Blavatsky was a Messenger
opening such a Messianic Cycle, and that a previous
Messianic Cycle ended -- or a new one began -- some 2160
years ago, more or less, with the life and work of the
Avatara, whom the West knows under the name of Jesus the
Christ. -- The Esoteric Tradition, p. 1058
This linking of the sidereal cycles with mankind was, with
the ancients, the esoteric or sacred part of astronomy.
With them, astrology was a science as infallible as
astronomy, and still is for its interpreters who are
equally infallible. The secret records go back to those of
the great Atlantean astronomer, Asuramaya. It is said that
the Atlantean records cannot err, as they were compiled
under the guidance of early mankind's divine instructors in
astronomy. However, what has survived to our time, and is
even publicly known, is but a fragment of the vast and
noble science of ancient astrology. The ancients considered
the position and influence of all the heavenly orbs as the
bodies of intelligent entities. This knowledge, manifestly,
is beyond the attainment even of the many intelligent men
and women who feel the appeal of the starry spaces and are
looking there for more light on life here.

The modern horoscope, even if correct in some things, may
be more of a detriment than a help. The person who depends
upon its decrees as inevitable, is less inclined to use his
spiritual will to meet and work through his difficulties
impersonally. To regard unfavorable issues merely by their
conflict with our personal desires and plans is to lose the
benefit of the karmic experience as a means of gaining more
self-knowledge and strength of character. We cannot change
our past sowing of unhappy causes; but how we face and deal
with the harvest of effects is in our power. "The stars
impel but do not compel."

The ancients knew how to regulate human life by the
reckonings of the cosmic clock of nature which is
infallible.

That clock is the heavenly vault; and the sun, the moon,
the seven planets (as the ancients reckoned them), and the
stars, are the "hands" marking time cycles. -- Fundamentals
of the Esoteric Philosophy, p. 206
All the esoteric anniversaries, like the four sacred
seasons -- the winter and summer solstices, and the spring
and autumn equinoxes -- were based upon the science of
relating the destiny of mankind to the timing of the
celestial orbs. Man is a son of the spiritual sun, and his
body and all his life on earth are sustained by solar
vitality. Man is an embryo divinity, even as the divinities
were once men in their aeonic evolutionary cycle of "self-
becoming." The quickening spirit ensouls alike every
manifesting form of matter from the least to the greatest
on the one grand round.

From center to circumference, from the imperceptible
vesicle to the uttermost conceivable bounds of the Kosmos,
those glorious thinkers, the Occultists, trace cycle
merging into cycle, containing and contained in an endless
series. The embryo evolving in its pre-natal sphere, the
individual in his family, the family in the state, the
state in mankind, the Earth in our system, that system in
its central universe, the universe in the Kosmos, and the
Kosmos in the ONE CAUSE . . . thus runs their philosophy of
evolution, . . . -- The Secret Doctrine 2:189

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Chapter 9
Conclusion
In conclusion, the doctrine of cycles, as presented in this
manual for inquirers, is by no means completed. Further
theosophical study based upon the different aspects of the
subject in the several chapters, will repay specialists in
scientific and in other lines of research. For this
doctrine imbodies a scientific, philosophic, and religi


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