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G. de P. — Companions, I am ready to answer questions now.
Student — Could you give us a little more information about the pitris? I understand that there are many classes of pitris; and from what I have read it seemed to me that the barhishad-pitris were the same as the lunar pitris, and the agnishwatta-pitris were the same as the manasaputras; but I am not at all clear on this point.
G. de P. — You are quite right. The word pitris is of course a Sanskrit word and means "fathers" — fathers in the sense of progenitors, ancestors. To say that there are many classes of pitris is of course very true. The world, the universe, is full of pitris. There are divine fathers or pitris — or progenitors or ancestors. There are also spiritual ones; there are intellectual ones, emotional ones; there are astral, vital and physical pitris. Barhishad-pitris is another name for the lunar pitris, or rather that aggregate class of ancestors or progenitors which came from the moon. The agnishwattas are the solar pitris, and this word solar is a generalizing term signifying all the solar lhas, or solar deities, who form an appropriate part of man's constitution. There are pitris of many, many, many kinds, but the agnishwattas and the barhishads are two important kinds concerning which HPB writes a great deal in her Secret Doctrine.
Would you like to have a further answer on this question? If so, please elaborate your query a little.
Student — Well, I was a little confused about the matter. You told us once that the agnishwatta-pitris were those who had gone through their human evolution in preceding manvantaras, and in The Secret Doctrine HPB says that they are very pure spirits who cannot touch matter except through transmission and —
G. de P. — Except through intermediaries, you mean.
Student — Yes, that is what I mean. I was a little confused in my mind how it could be that after they had been through their whole period of human evolution before, and while they still remained pure spirits, they had to wait for the creative forces belonging to the lunar pitris before they could have any communication with humanity on this globe.
G. de P. — And you would like a few words of comment on that, then?
Student — Yes, please, Professor.
G. de P. — Of course the phrase pure spirits is a relative term, just as purity is a relative term. A pure beast is hardly the same thing as a pure god. Therefore this phrase, pure spirits, refers only to our own solar system. It is quite true to say that the agnishwatta-pitris, or pitris of the sun, were men in a far by-gone cosmic manvantara, that is, in a by-gone manvantara of the planetary chain. They have evolved so far, as compared with us composite beings of mind and gross matter, that they can truly be called pure spirits. But they are very far from being as pure spiritually as are the pure spirits of some other solar system which, aggregatively speaking, is much farther advanced along the evolutionary pathway than our solar system is with its hosts of beings.
Your statement is also perfectly true that pure spirit cannot communicate directly with gross physical matter. There are indeed a number of intermediate states, or intermediaries, between the pure spirit of a human being on the one hand, and his gross physical brain on the other hand. These intermediate stages of the human constitution are formed partly of the pitris which came from the lunar chain — fathers also of us, ancestors, progenitors, but only so in the sense of being the ancestors or progenitors or fathers of this intermediary or intermediate part of our constitution. The lunar pitris are much more ethereal than our gross flesh is, but much less spiritual than are the agnishwatta-pitris. Furthermore, in a very true sense the lunar pitris are the human part of us men ourselves. They are we as human beings, and we are they.
Thus then, we have in the composite human constitution four main classes of entities — the divine being, or the monadic essence, or the essential monad, using here the word monad in a generalizing sense. Then the agnishwatta-pitri through whom this monad expresses its powers. Then the lunar pitri through whom the agnishwatta-pitri expresses its powers combined with those of the divinity. Then and last, the lowest class of the earth-pitris which form the astral-vital frame of the human vehicle or constitution. Through this astral-vital frame, all these combined essences just spoken of attempt or try to express each one its individual energy or power or character. Then, of course, there are the pitris of the physical body, and these pitris are our human parents, the father and the mother who brought the physical body to birth.
Is the answer now responsive to your question?
Student — Yes, thank you, Professor.
Student — I have two questions to ask on the same subject. Some weeks ago you told us that as the monads came over from the moon, they came from globe A in the seven different --
G. de P. — You mean from globe A of the lunar chain.
Student — Yes, of the moon; in seven different classes, one class after the other in serial order; and that thus the different globes of the earth-chain were gradually brought into being, one after the other, first by the three classes of the elementals; and that one class after another of these seven classes inhabited each in turn the seven earth-globes — each class following the next class so that all the globes of the earth-chain were in turn occupied, beginning with globe A; the beings from globe A of the moon-chain occupying all the globes of the earth-chain before the entities of globe B of the moon-chain passed over in their turn. Hence I infer that all these different globes of the moon-chain are also in different stages of evolution, that is, that there were seven grades of evolution on globe A of the moon-chain, and that the other globes were in different stages of evolution of the moon-chain.
Now, is it permissible to ask which of the globes of the moon-chain our present humanity on globe D of the earth-chain came from originally?
G. de P. — It came from all the globes of the lunar chain, from the lunar planetary chain.
Student — Yes. Of course I know that all the globes of the earth-chain are occupied by all the monads from the moon-chain; but I mean that our present humanity on globe D must have come from some particular globe of the moon-chain.
G. de P. — No. Our own humanity is but one family of a number of families coming over from the lunar planetary chain. The humanity on this earth planetary chain does not belong to the globe earth only. It belongs to the earth planetary chain. Just so when we were evolving entities on the lunar planetary chain, we belonged to all the seven globes of the lunar planetary chain.
Student — Well, perhaps I have not made my question quite clear. I know that we are going to circle around all the globes, and therefore I see that we belong to all the globes; but I thought that because it is taught that globe B of the moon is the parent of globe B of the earth-chain, therefore each globe of the moon is the respective parent of the same corresponding globe of the earth-chain. Hence I thought that our present humanity — that is our humanity of globe D — must originally have come from some one particular globe of the moon-chain.
G. de P. — No. If you will pause a moment in thought, you will readily see that just as our human family passes around and therefore belongs to all the seven globes of the earth-chain, so did our human family at a less evolved stage of its evolution, when it belonged to the moon-chain, belong to all the seven globes of the lunar chain. Of course globe A of the moon-chain is the parent of Globe A of the earth-chain. Globe B of the moon-chain is the parent of globe B of the earth-chain. Globe C of the moon-chain is the parent of globe C of the earth-chain, and so forth. I think you are confusing, and it is a very common confusion, the transference of the vital principles of the seven globes of the lunar chain to the laya-centers destined to become the corresponding globes of the earth planetary chain — in other words, confusing this transference of the vital essences of the seven globes of the moon with the seven classes of the spiritual entities which form seven families, seven evolving groups, seven peregrinating groups. Is not that so?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — For instance, in the last or seventh round of the lunar chain, there were a number of different family groups of which our present family group was one. At the beginning of the seventh or last lunar round, this beginning of course took place on globe A of the lunar chain, seven root-races of all the seven classes or family groups were run through there. Then the life-wave passed onto globe B of the lunar chain, and seven root-races were run through on globe B of the lunar chain; and so forth around the seven globes of the lunar chain. When these families reached the seventh globe of the lunar chain, from that seventh globe they took their flight like seven (or like ten) groups of winging birds into their nirvanic rest. But when all the higher essences, the evolving families, had left globe A of the lunar chain, that globe A thereupon began to die; and its decay proceeded until complete death occurred, which meant the passing of the last globe-essences to the laya-center which was to become, in the future, globe A of the earth-chain.
The same series of operations took place with regard to globe B of the lunar chain. Similarly so with regard to globe C of the lunar chain; and similarly so with all the other globes of the lunar chain, until the last or seventh globe of the lunar chain was reached. Then it finally followed the same course of action, and globe G, or the last globe of the lunar chain, in its turn died. Then the entire lunar planetary chain was dead, and has remained ever since a decaying corpse — I mean that all the seven globes of the lunar chain thereafter have been continuously decaying, dissolving corpses.
The component atoms of each one of the seven globes of the lunar chain, at the death of each respective globe, immediately began to dissociate, and this process of dissociation or decay has continued to the present time. I don't know how long it takes a human body to decay when buried. I suppose six or seven years, more or less, if left undisturbed; but in the case of a planetary chain, naturally the time of dissolution is one to be measured in cosmic time periods, and of course is very much longer than the dissolution period of a human corpse.
Has my answer thrown any light on your thought? Perhaps I have not yet fully understood your question.
Student — Thank you, I think so. My idea was that the entities, the monads, of these different globes were not mingled, that they stayed in a certain way separate; that inasmuch as they were constantly revolving, there would always be certain ones from A on A, and certain ones from B on B; that each globe would have a different class of entities on it, inasmuch as the different globes were different. But I see now that they are mingled on the earth-chain — all the different classes.
G. de P. — Exactly. Just as they were mingled, to use your words, on the moon-chain. Remember also that there is a constant transference of life-atoms proceeding all the time, and this fact occurs just the same with celestial bodies as it does with our own human physical bodies, or again with the sheath of our mind or of our soul — a constant transference or cycling of the life-atoms.
Student — Thank you.
G. de P. — I might add, perhaps, to make the matter a little clearer, that our human family is not the only evolving great family group of our earth-chain. There are other family groups which are ahead of us, and others which are cycling along behind us, but all have come from the lunar chain. We human beings are only one family group or group family.
For instance, on the globe immediately preceding ours of the earth-chain, globe C, there is a family group which is just in the beginning of its first root-race there. We are in our fifth root-race on this globe D. As soon as we shall have left this earth, two root-races and a half, more or less, from the present time, after a relatively short period another family group will enter our globe D on this earth. Our human family will have left it except for the sishtas, the remainders — those who will then wait through the ages to come to form the seeds of life for our present family group when it returns again to earth after having completed the fourth round, and also after having passed its interglobal nirvana, and after having passed through globes A, B, and C in the fifth round.
It is a very intricate subject, this of rounds and races, but it is one of the most fascinating, instructive, and one of the most suggestive. You cannot really study it too much. I have heard it said sometimes that what theosophists should do is to concentrate on the ethical or moral values, and that rounds and races and that kind of thing are merely high-brow intellectual studies. Don't believe it! There is inspiration in these teachings about the rounds and races. They are exercises for the higher intellect. They are exercises for the spirit part of us; and, best of all, they teach us our perfect unity with all that is. They show us the reason for ethics, how ethics are based on the common brotherhood of all things that exist and are. They show us our essential unity, not only with the different family groups evolving on our own planetary chain, but with the entire cosmos. It is this intermingling and inter-revolving procedure which teaches us that the other planets of our solar system are sister-planets of this earth's planetary chain, and that we belong to those other planets as fully as we do to this earth; and furthermore that our entire solar system is our present home, but that the other solar systems in our home-universe, the galaxy, the Milky Way, are all interconnected, inter-evolving.
No, the study of the rounds and races, and of the seven principles of man and the universe, and of other fundamental teachings similar to these, is all very important. Spiritually, ethically, intellectually, in every way they are worthy of your highest regard. Of course, there is another side to this matter. If a man or a woman belonging to the TS has merely an intellectual interest in some of these teachings, and likes to spend time in speculations upon them, the while neglecting his duties, then of course he is not doing right. He is doing wrong. But those instances would be exceptional cases.
Student — May I ask two questions about the seven principles? One is about prana. We are used to speaking of the seven principles as vehicles or sheaths. I have always had difficulty in seeing how prana could be looked upon as a sheath.
G. de P. — Quite right.
Student — Can you throw any illumination on that?
G. de P. — You are perfectly right. It is a matter on which I have spoken on more than one occasion. The seven principles are not vehicles. They are not sheaths. To call the seven principles the seven elements of man's constitution is just as good a manner of speaking. It depends upon the point of view whether we speak of seven principles or seven elements. The two are the same. They are principles when looked at from one point of view and elements when looked at from some other point of view. The vehicles, on the other hand, are aggregated centers or focuses or vortices in which the respective egos live, but these vortices, focuses, are in each case themselves all composed of the seven principles or elements.
No, you are quite right. The seven principles or elements are the seven cosmic essences with all their various modifications and changes, whether in the case of a man, or of a planet, or of a solar system, or of a god.
Student — Now my other question is about the astral body. In some of the literature of the other Theosophical Societies, they speak of the astral with a number of complications or rays. They speak of various degrees. They use the words "ethereal body" a good deal. I don't know clearly if there is any basis for those ideas in HPB's teachings and instructions, and yet there seems to be something in it — that there must be degrees of ethereal and astral substances. These people speak so much of the ethereal body as something separate from the astral. They are so confident on that subject. I would like any light there is to be had on this point.
G. de P. — Yes, it is true, I believe, that certain theosophists so write; but to a large degree it involves a distinction without a difference. Any astral matter is ethereal as compared with our gross physical matter; and astral matter has seven stages and extends from the highest to the most gross. The highest part of the astral is the akasa, and really astral and ethereal, in a general way of speaking, are interchangeable as words, although it is advisable perhaps to draw a distinction in words in order to define more clearly. For instance, the mayavi-rupa is an ethereal body. Our own astral body, if we limit the term astral to the linga-sarira or pattern-body, is an ethereal body too, using the word ethereal in a general sense, as contrasted with the gross physical body. But I have noticed the same tendency in the writings of these brother theosophists that you speak of; and in many cases, perhaps in most cases, they seem to me to make distinctions without real differences between astral and ethereal. The two are practically the same thing; although I now repeat, there may be times or occasions in writing or in speaking, when it is convenient to draw a pro tempore distinction between astral and ethereal.
Student — You were speaking of the essences that are transferred from the different globes of the lunar chain to those of the earth-chain, but I have not been able to understand what these essences are. Are they the seven elements of some being?
G. de P. — They are the monads; seven, or actually ten, classes of monads.
Student — I don't mean them. I mean the essences that go into the new laya-center from the lunar globe itself — not the life-hosts on the lunar chain.
G. de P. — Oh, I see what you mean. The essences that I spoke of a few moments ago and which are what you now refer to, were the essences which become the three kingdoms of the elementals, the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the beast kingdom. Of course, strictly speaking, the entities of the human kingdom are essences also in their monadic parts.
There are also the globe essences, and I now here refer to the various essences composing the fabric or substance of the individual globes. Perhaps it is to these last that your question more particularly points. Is my answer responsive?
Student — Well, yes. It gives me an entirely new line of thought. I have always heard that the earth is like a being in itself. I didn't quite understand what hierarch was governing the earth as a globe, or as one of seven globes.
G. de P. — Please repeat your question.
Student — We have heard of the earth as a being, and I have often wondered what hierarch was at the head of this earth considered as an entity.
G. de P. — Does your question run to the point of asking whether there be a hierarch for every globe of the planetary chain?
Student — No. Not for every globe, but for all seven globes.
G. de P. — There is such a hierarch, but there is also a sub-hierarch for every globe.
Student — Yes, I supposed so. But what is that hierarch? Is it connected with us in any way?
G. de P. — Certainly it is. It must be connected with us, otherwise we should not be here.
Student — But it is not the same hierarch that governs our actual essence, our being, is it?
G. de P. — That governs what?
Student — Our own being?
G. de P. — Our constitution?
Student — Yes.
G. de P. — As individuals?
Student — As individuals. Because we are not certainly in the same stage of evolution as the globes on which we are living.
G. de P. — We are individually higher than the globes on which we live.
Student — Yes, I remember you told us that before, but I don't quite see the relation between the two.
G. de P. — Well, you are touching upon very deep problems indeed. "In my Father's house are many mansions." The reference there to the father is to the grand hierarch of the solar system. Now there is a householder, or a mansion-holder, for each one of these mansions, and he is the sub-hierarch or planetary spirit. Do you understand so far?
Student — Yes, I do, Professor.
G. de P. — And it is in and on the physical expression, or vehicle, or body of this planetary spirit that we at present live, so far as our earth is concerned. We are intimately related karmically with this planetary spirit. We belong in a certain sense to the planetary spirit's family, just as we belong to the family of the sun.
Now use your intuition. You are touching upon very dangerous ground. When I say dangerous, I mean forbidden ground. If I were to tell you a little more, then you would begin to ask me further embarrassing questions, such as: where does this planetary spirit live? What kind of appearance has it? And I simply cannot answer those questions here. So I merely suggest that you think over the phrase of the Christian New Testament: "In my Father's house" — look at the curious phrasing — "are many 'mansions,'" or dwelling places or rooms. Let us call them mansions, in my Father's kingdom are many mansions; each mansion has its own mansion-holder or householder; and we come into the mansion not merely as transient guests but as members of its family. We abide awhile, and then go to one of the other mansions of the great father, the king of the country, so to speak, who is the solar grand hierarch.
Let me tell you that every human being is on his way to become a planetary spirit. In times of the future still more remote, speaking now in cosmic terms, every human being will become a sun. Just as the blood with its burden of cells flows in the human body through the different organs, so do the life-waves or family groups flow around in circulatory fashion, following the circulations of the solar system, to and from the various organic points or organs, if you like, of that solar system, and these organs are the planets. Do you begin to understand me a little bit at least?
Student — Yes, indeed I do.
G. de P. — Well, I am so glad!
Student — I want to ask another question although it is not quite on the same line. It is about the term palingenesis. We learned that it meant the transmission of an identic life, and the illustration was given of the oak tree producing the acorns, and each acorn producing its oak tree. But I don't understand whether it means that the life that is in the new oak tree is actually a part of the same being — as far as it is evolved from it — as the other tree, or if that first tree was just a channel through which the new life essence, which was like it, passed and then became a new oak tree.
G. de P. — It is both. It is both a channel and the same identic life essence.
Student — But there does not seem to be the right analogy then between the vegetable world and the human kingdom for instance. Because it would seem then that in the vegetable world, the being that was in this tree, or the evolving beings in this tree, were as evolved as it is, at least within the space of a few years. For instance, in the human kingdom we of course are throwing off atoms, and these in time, in future aeons, will evolve into human beings; but why is it that the beings evolved by the tree so soon become trees again. I should think that they would be much lower in the scale and would evolve into trees at a much later time.
G. de P. — I think your trouble arises almost wholly because you forget the essential meaning of the term palingenesis. A father produces his human offspring, who grows up to maturity in the lifetime of the father, just as a tree does.
Student — But that offspring is not part of the father's essence, not part of the father's ego.
G. de P. — No, certainly not part of his ego; nor is the child oak the same as the ego of the parent oak.
Student — Then I understand. I was confused by the term identic life. I thought it meant the same life as itself.
G. de P. — No. I mean the same encompassing life appertaining to a certain strain, a vital current, a vital river.
Now then, a human being in his constitution is a composite entity. That fact is a most wonderful key, if you will hang to it in thought like grim death. This composite constitution comprises the inner god and all the smaller entities of which the inner god is the hierarch. Now this inner god is our essential we. I mean that your inner god is your essential you, my inner god is my essential I, and yet in each case the parent-essence is different from the child essence. Both statements are exactly correct. The one is different from the other because that inner god has its own egoic individuality, its own swabhava. Yet you or I or any other human being or any other entity springs from its own inner god, from the same vital stream or life-stream immanent in that same vital atmosphere continuously through the ages, that is, in imbodiment after imbodiment. Yet each one of us as a growing, evolving, learning, monadic entity or monadic ego is different in its swabhava from the swabhava of the parent inner god.
This fact as applied to the egos of the human constitution is another example of palingenesis. My inner god is I, and yet not I. I in my origin was its thought, a thought of it, an atom of its life, a particle of it. And yet I have my own core of the core of me, my own heart of the heart of me, which is my own monad. As I evolve or grow through the ages, I shall be continually bringing forth into ever fuller and greater manifestation what is thus locked up in me as an entity, as an individual, as a swabhavic entity. Meanwhile, my inner god in its turn is evolving on its own supernal plane. Thus, the god within me is I, yet not my ego. It is not the I am I of me, for that is my ego, but it is exactly my I am — or sheer, pure consciousness.
Oh, if you could only get this thought! It will open more doors of understanding for you than I can easily tell you. The divinity of our solar system, father sun, whose life essence extends all over the solar system and permeates everywhere, for in it we live and move and have our being, is I, is you, is the root of every one of us. And yet despite that marvelous fact, each of us, as an entity, as an individual, is an essential individual; and as an individual, in future aeons it is destined to evolve forth into becoming in the future what father sun is to us now. Further, the lower life-atoms now forming our constitution on all its planes, and also forming our various vehicles, will in that future time — when each one of us shall have become a father sun — be the various human entities, angelic entities, etc., infilling our cosmos. Do you understand the idea?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — Father sun, the spirit of our solar system, in a far bygone cosmic manvantara, that is a far bygone manvantara of the solar system, was a man, or a being equivalent to a man. And I use that term, a being equivalent to a man, so that you won't imagine that this entity must of necessity have had just the exact physical bodies that we now have, with two ears, and two eyes, and two arms, and two legs, etc.; but had the intelligence, the willpower, the self-consciousness and all the spiritual and intellectual faculties, which we as human beings have at present evolved and which make us men — in other words, a self-conscious individuality. The beasts have not yet evolved forth this self-conscious individuality. The gods have lost their self-conscious individual personality because they are universal, nevertheless they are egoic. Their personality has melted into impersonality, which finally became universality. Always however the gods retain their divine egoic individuality which is the indivisible part of each one of us, considered as an entity, and this indivisible part is the swabhava.
Student — May I ask if it is this swabhava that belongs to the parent star and to the child of the parent star?
G. de P. — Palingenetically yes. I could not say, however, that the essential individuality of any human being is the identic essential individuality of his parent star, because that would make of that parent star an entity having an individuality no more highly developed that yours or mine is.
Student — No, I mean a child of it? Just as we speak of a child of the sun?
G. de P. — Your fundamental idea is right. The swabhava of you or of me or of any other is a child of a parent and closely similar swabhava, but is not the same swabhavic swabhava of the parent — or is not swabhavically identic with the parent. In other words, any particular life-stream is composed of monadic units closely similar to each other, but no two of which are swabhavically identic. It is almost impossible to express these ideas in a language that has no words to express them in.
Student — I understand. I never understood before what part of us did belong to that parent star.
Student — If space is filled with high beings, and every such high entity has its children, and they grow up, how can there be room for them? It is like every tree, every little branch of that tree becomes itself a big tree. Thus there is no room for the forest.
G. de P. — That is a very pertinent question. The answer lies in the fact that space is frontierless. It has no boundaries. It is infinite, beginningless, endless, both in duration and in what we may call extension. Space has no beginning, has no end. You have stated the problem admirably. Every mathematical point in space, which means any point anywhere, is a monad — or, if you like, that point is occupied by a monad — a monad destined to become in time a universe in the boundless, frontierless, beginningless, endless, reaches of utter, sheer infinitude.
Student — Is this the old question of parabrahman?
G. de P. — Yes, I think so, in the terms that he used.
Student — My question is about the sishtas, and I am not quite clear on one point. You speak of them as seeds left behind at the passage of the monads in order to be the seeds of the future humanity when those monads return. But are they not also the seeds of the evolving humanity that comes in to take the place of the host that has gone on? Is there not a part, perhaps, that does remain through the ages to hold the model, to keep the evolution level, as it were, and then another part that serves as seeds for the next incoming humanity?
G. de P. — You mean by the term incoming humanity the great family group which follows us?
Student — Yes, Professor.
G. de P. — No, it is not so. The doctrine of the sishtas is one upon which very little has been said, and you will understand the cause of this reticence. First, because it is very difficult to explain, and second, because it is still more difficult to understand.
Perhaps the following illustration, and the deduction to be drawn from it, may help you. Our entire mineral kingdom as it is on earth today is the mineral sishtas of the mineral group-wave which has passed on. Do you understand? The beasts came afterwards. They were not minerals, but yet they were associated with the mineral sishtas. Plants came before the beasts, and the humans followed the beasts — and here I do not mean the mammalian beasts, because the mammalian beasts came after man.
Next, the plant world as it exists on the earth today is almost entirely a group of sishtas, almost but not quite. It has still some of the vital flow of the plant life-wave; I mean that the plant life-wave has not fully left the earth, but has almost done so.
Again, the beast kingdom is about fifty percent sishtas, which means that the beast life-wave or family group is about fifty percent efficient, evolutionally speaking, today.
The human kingdom is here almost in its entirety as an evolving family group. You doubtless now understand what this means. If you could have seen with your present human consciousness and powers of understanding what happened at the time when, for instance, our mineral life-wave was in its heyday of evolutionary growth, you would have seen what would have seemed to you to be most extraordinary things — moving minerals advancing on the surface of the earth; extraordinarily great volcanic and seismic phenomena of various kinds.
Carry your thought to the plant world. In their heyday of evolutionary development, you would have seen plants acting in a most extraordinary way: trees waving their branches in a manner suggestive of intelligence, folding their fronds and doing other strange things. Even today you will find horticulturists and agriculturists telling you of the remarkable "instinct," shown by the roots of certain trees, which will, as the trees grow, travel along under the earth for sometimes twenty, forty, sixty feet and perhaps a greater distance, going straight for water which exists at the distant point — the roots seem to be drawn to the water as by an instinct. This fact seems ordinary to us simply because we are accustomed to it. But in the heyday of the evolutionary development of the plant life-wave you might even have seen plants bend down towards the water, and apparently suck it up much the same as when you see the beasts drink. There are certain plants today which exemplify these unusual life-movements.
The telegraph plant (Desmodium gyrans) of the East Indies is one of the most remarkable examples of movement, and the modus operandi and reason for its behavior is a mystery to science. The leaves of this plant are divided into three leaflets, the outer ones, which are smaller than the central one, move up and down with distinct jerks, traveling through an arc of 180 degrees. They also gyrate or turn on their stalks as axes. The central leaflet only moves slightly. This motion is continuous and easily seen, and does not cease during the life of the leaf.
The sundew (Drosera) is another plant that moves its leaves but with deliberate intent. It is one of the meat-eaters that lives on insects. The rounded leaf is covered with long tentacles which glisten attractively with sticky honey. When the unfortunate insect lands on the leaf these tentacle-hairs bend over and entangle it, and then the leaf begins to curl up and form a bag from which the prey cannot escape. Digestive fluid pours out, and the dinner is peacefully digested. Darwin showed that no chemical action serves to explain the bending over of the tentacles that are far removed from the insect. This plant is widely distributed; it is found both in England and California.
The Venus' flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is a member of the same family as the sundew, but more lively. Its leaves are bordered with formidable spikes, and are tipped with tempting honey. As the unsuspecting insect steps on one of the sensitive nerve-hairs, the sides of the leaf snap together like a mousetrap, and there is no escape. The action is instantaneous. When the prey is digested the leaf opens again and the trap is set for the next meal.
We are all acquainted with numerous plants that open and shut their flowers at certain times of the day or night, and it is clear that this motion is not purely mechanical because their hours of awakening or sleeping are entirely different in so many cases. Some even close at noon, others at dawn.
Many other illustrations could be given of the power of spontaneous movement in plants, but the above are enough for our purpose, which is to show that a remnant or sishta of the far greater characteristics of archaic vegetation still exists.
In regard to the rocks, it is worth mentioning that Ruskin in his Ethics of the Dust treats the subject of crystals in an interesting way. He shows that in their growth they exhibit all sorts of quaint resemblances to the behavior of human beings. The titles of some of his chapters are, The Crystal Life; The Crystal Virtues; The Crystal Quarrels; Crystal Caprice; Crystal Sorrows; and The Crystal Rest. Ruskin was a deep student of crystals and rocks, and frequently shows remarkable intuition in his observations.
The lower kingdoms — and this is especially so with the mineral and the plant kingdoms, because their sishta-condition is practically perfect — are sleeping or dormant. The sishtas of all kingdoms when left behind after the departing life-waves "sleep." I do not mean that the human sishtas when our family group leaves globe D will all be plunged in sleep, somewhat like the Beauty in the Enchanted Wood of the well-known fable — I do not mean that. The human sishtas will be men as much awake as we are now, and they will be working even as we do at their various avocations and callings; but the human evolutionary impetus, that the life-wave when present possesses, will be absent.
As a Frenchman whom I knew might have said: On ne vivra pas, on existera — "They will not live, they will exist."
Student — May I ask another question? As I understand, the beasts will leave this earth before we do, and the time will come when there will be no beast kingdom — no evolutionary expression through beast bodies. Is that because they are fifty percent sishtas, and are moving out? And if that is true, will the plant world also leave us, or will it become somewhat more dormant, or static?
G. de P. — The plant world will be somewhat more static, to use your excellent term; but the beasts being a higher body of entities will be represented by a far smaller number of sishtas than the gross aggregates of the mineral and plant life-waves. As a matter of fact, the beasts will practically die out from the earth, which simply means that the young brought to birth will grow fewer and fewer as time goes on, and only a relatively small number of the most highly evolved beasts will remain on the earth as the sishtas. And do you know what these beasts will be? They will be what are now the highest monkeys and the apes. Whether there will be sishtas also of most of the other groups of the beast kingdom is a matter which I do not care at the present time to state definitely, beyond saying that there is a high probability of there being such remainders also.
The human sishtas will be very few, the reason being — and it will require some thought on your part probably to see the reason why, but it is clear enough — the reason being that human entities are so much more highly evolved than the plants or than the mineral life-wave, that the call to go onwards and higher is much stronger with the humans. You must remember that we have passed the midpoint of our manvantara of this planetary chain and are beginning to rise along the ascending arc. Individualization has advanced to a much greater degree with human beings than with the beasts; with the beasts it is more advanced than with the plants; with the plants than with the life-atoms of the mineral kingdom. This entire matter of sishtas is a fascinating study.
Student — Is it then those who are not ready to proceed farther along the path, as far as their evolution goes, who remain as sishtas, or will they voluntarily give up the idea of further individual evolution for the time being in order to remain as sishtas?
G. de P. — That is a good question. When self-conscious individuality has been attained, as it has in the human kingdom, man takes a self-consciously active part in the cosmic work, which means that the human sishtas — who, as I have already explained to you, are in all cases the most evolved entities in the human kingdom — will be the very highest fruitage of humanity. I don't dare to use the phrase that I had on the tip of my tongue, because I am afraid I shall be misunderstood; but I was going to say that the human sishtas will be the Masters. That is a fact, but I am afraid you will misunderstand me. In the instance of the human sishtas it is largely a case of deliberate self-sacrifice, giving up their own individual evolution for the time being in order to be on earth and ready and waiting for our own human life-group or life-wave when next it returns to earth during the fifth round. These human sishtas will be the great leaders and guides of the infant humanity of the fifth round on this earth; just as when we entered this earth during this fourth round there were the great leaders who were waiting for us — the great teachers and instructors of our child-humanity. Do you understand me?
Many Voices — Yes, Professor.
Student — May I ask one question more on the sishtas? You spoke a moment ago of the fact that the sishtas of our humanity would be represented by a race that was highly evolved. Yet it seemed to me that you also pictured them as a race rather dormant in many ways. There is now a confusion in my mind between that statement and the statement you have just made about their being the Masters.
G. de P. — Did I say that the human sishtas would be a race?
Student — No, you spoke of them as being a few. I got the impression that they would be a sort of drowsy species of human beings.
G. de P. — That is not true, if by the word drowsy you mean actually drowsy physically and mental-psychically. It is true if your word drowsy means a relative quiescence of the evolutionary urge. This last is just what I meant in referring a little later to the fact of the great sacrifice that these sishtas will make. The evolutionary life-wave will have swept onwards and will have left these noblest examples of humanity behind, stranded by their own will on a sandbank in the river of evolution. This does not mean that they are standing utterly still. They can evolve indeed, but their evolution then will be extremely slow. Opportunities existing when the life-wave was present have gone.
These sishtas will be very few in numbers on earth as compared with what will happen after the human evolutionary impulse again returns to earth, and sweeps them along on its advancing current. Nevertheless, they are not actually sleeping or literally dormant, and this is because of the high stage of evolution that these human sishtas will have attained. The mineral kingdom will be utterly dormant. The plant kingdom will be very dormant, but somewhat less so than the mineral kingdom. The few beasts who will remain will also be dormant, but somewhat less so than the entities of the plant kingdom. The human sishtas, however, will be relatively fully awake but dormant as compared with what they will be when they rebecome the great instructors of the infant humanity of the fifth round.
It is a stage of quietude rather than dormancy in their case, just as in the human beings today among our average mankind, you must have noticed instances where men for a time show an unwonted expansion of innate power, of relative quiet, of rest. Such men during these periods of quiet produce no more great books, or they make no more great inventions, or they show quiescence of their latent faculties, until the new impulse or urge comes, and then they make a new start. Do you get the idea?
Many Voices — Yes.
G. de P. — I will add that in the case of the human sishtas, these great souls will deliberately choose to become such sishtas, because they belong to the order of the buddhas of compassion, and their whole being will be pledged to service for the world. Of course, they gain greatly in the end, because all sacrifice of self-interest for others makes glorious karma. That very choice is written large on the registers of the lipikas. They will make a great and superb record, and they will infallibly gain their sublime compensation, their great reward. But they will have to wait for aeons; and just here is where the sacrifice appears. It is very much like a man who, in one of our educational institutions, out of pity for some struggling soul whom he is trying to help, will deliberately forego his own studies and give up passing his own examinations and thereafter taking his place in the world, doing this so that he may remain as a student and help along the one to whom his heart impels him to act as a helper and guide.
Student — Professor, this question came to me in listening to your lecture on last Sunday. We are all parts of a greater entity, are we not?
G. de P. — We are.
Student — That entity must have a kind of body, must be some sort of being. I was wondering, for instance, when any great war occurs and men's passions are in a particularly turbulent state, or again when one single person is treading the downward path, although it may be temporarily, whether such occurrences have the same effect on this greater entity of which we are a part as any disease in our human body has on that body.
G. de P. — Yes, the analogy is a good one. The acts and consequent karma of a single human individual would affect this greater entity you speak of, but very slightly indeed. Nevertheless, to follow the analogy that you make, such an occurrence as a great war or the instance of a lost soul might be considered to produce a very slight irritation, a very slight local irritation somewhere in the fabric or structure of the greater entity.
You should remember, however, that a single human individual as compared with this greater entity has relatively much less effect by his acts on that greater entity than does a single cell or an aggregate of cells have on a physical body. The effect of any great human war, for instance, on the fabric or structure of such a greater entity, would be practically infinitesimal, and would be as slightly sensed by that greater entity as would some atomic change in a human body affect that human body.
Student — Then we have a certain responsibility upwards towards this greater entity, just as we have a responsibility downwards to the smaller entities in our own bodies, haven't we?
G. de P. — Assuredly so, so far as spiritual and moral responsibility goes. The responsibility indeed exists, but it is less great. We are responsible for what we have done in the past, for the manner in which we have traveled the evolutionary road, for the things that we have done and have left behind. Consequently, for what we have done or left undone we must answer. We are also held responsible by nature for what we have the capacity for doing, if we don't do it; but held less rigidly responsible, if you understand me, than for those things that we ought to have done or ought to have left undone, or for those things which we have done and should not have done.
Student — This question of this larger entity I have been thinking about too. Are there rounds and races and periods of development for such a larger entity in order to carry out the structural intention of universal nature for such a being?
G. de P. — There are. These greater entities have, in and on their own larger spheres of life, time periods and evolution periods of which our own time periods or rounds and races, and evolution periods in these rounds and races, are mere copies.
Student — Have we nothing to do with these larger time periods and larger evolution periods? Do they have no influence on us?
G. de P. — They have, decidedly. Exactly in the same general way as whatever takes place in the sun affects us although we are not directly involved and are not individually responsible, because it is not our deliberate, willful doing. Nevertheless we are indirectly involved, because we belong to the cosmic life-stream of the sun.
Student — Shall we learn sometime to grasp these greater rounds and races?
G. de P. — Yes, indeed. That is part of the teachings of initiation; and please remember that initiations don't stop at the third or fourth or fifth or the sixth or the seventh, but continue. We shall speak of the seventh or last initiation as being the highest which a human being can normally take. With the seventh initiation comes mahatmaship.
Student — You made this statement on Sunday: "So many men on earth, so many gods in heaven." I would like to have you tell us something more about that statement.
G. de P. — I have already alluded to this in an earlier part of the evening, when speaking of the inner god.
Student — So I noticed.
G. de P. — It is an actual fact that with the single exception of what we call lost souls, who are exceedingly rare, every human being, and indeed every entity, is over-enlightened or, to use the curious English expression, over-shadowed, by an inner god, of which inner god such human being or such other entity is the expression, one expression at least, on this earth. This inner god is our link with the divine worlds, and the channel through which we receive those numerous and voiceless intimations of spiritual glory, of self-forgetfulness, and of impersonal love. This is what the avatara Jesus had in mind when he is reported to have said: "I and my Father are one." It is verily so. I will now go a little farther in explanation, and I hope that you will understand me.
This inner god is our parent-star. Now make of that statement what you can! It is not so much the physical star, although that is true also as being the corporeal vehicle of the inner god. Mere spacial distance has nothing to do with this fact, because the links are links of consciousness and of spirit.
Student — You used the word this evening laya-center, and I have also been puzzled somewhat over the word pralaya, not that the contexts of our books do not show generally what these words mean; but will you kindly give the derivation of those words and their meaning and interpretation?
G. de P. — Laya and pralaya are both words derived from the Sanskrit verbal root li, meaning "to dissolve." Pra of pralaya is a prepositional prefix, having the force of "apart," as in the expression dissolving apart, signifying therefore a complete dissolution. A laya-center is a point or channel or portal or door of ingress and egress. It is that actual point where and through which substances of the lower plane pass upwards and are dissolved — therefore the word laya, dissolving — into the lowest grade of the plane next superior. A laya-center also is the point or channel or portal or door through which and by which substances pass from a superior plane to the plane immediately below it or inferior to it. In other words, the laya-centers are the channels of communication between two immediately contiguous planes or worlds.
Every human being is builded around a laya-center, and through this laya-center pass all the spiritual influences into his consciousness as a human being.
Pralaya as a noun signifies dissolution, complete dissolution, the complete falling apart of the component substances or atoms, if you will, of an entity, whether that entity be a world or a human being, a solar system or a cosmos.
Make a clear distinction in your mind between pralaya, "dissolution," death, on the one hand, and obscuration on the other hand. Obscuration means the obscuring or darkening of an entity or of a world. A world or an entity, such as man, is in obscuration when that entity is resting or is dormant, as in sleep or when in a state of extreme repose. The mineral kingdom on earth today, which is the aggregated sishtas of the mineral life-wave which has passed on, is on this earth in obscuration now. A planet is in obscuration at that particular period of time when all the various family groups have left it and it rests, but with its families of sishtas remaining.
Any globe can be either in partial or complete obscuration. It is in complete obscuration when there is no actively evolving life-wave on it. This is rather rare, but happens frequently enough when compared with the immense ages of a chain-manvantara. Partial obscuration occurs when a life-wave has left a globe to pass to the next succeeding globe, although there may be other families still evolving on the globe which has been left.
Partial obscuration is the case with globe C. It is in partial obscuration because our life-wave has left it, and it is partial because a globe is in full activity only when representatives of all the seven or ten life-waves are on it. When any one has left it, or two or three have left it, then it is by so much in partial or greater or still greater obscuration. When every one of the life-waves has left it, then it is in complete obscuration, and so remains until the next incoming life-wave awakens that particular portion of its activities. And this last case might be spoken of as one of partial awakening.
Now globe C is in obscuration — I should have said partial obscuration in my answer — because not only the human life-wave has left it, but as I understand the matter, also other life-waves. But at the time I was thinking only of our own life-wave. Nevertheless I do happen to know that there is one of the life-waves just opening or beginning its first root-race on globe C. So therefore globe C could hardly be said to be in complete obscuration. Here again we have another case of the immense complexity of the teachings making any partial statement of them quite subject to the charge of contradiction or inaccuracy.
It is thus very rare for a globe to be in full activity with every one of the life-waves functioning on it, and equally rare for a globe to be in full obscuration with not one of the life-waves at the time evolving on it. The usual case is for a globe to be partly obscured and partly active. And I may say that such is the case with our own globe at the present time, because the mineral life-wave has already gone on to globe E, which makes our globe only partially active, and therefore in partial obscuration because the mineral life-wave is no longer fully active here. And exactly the same thing may be said with regard to the vegetable life-wave on our globe. It is rapidly passing over to globe E. But not completely so yet. Thus the minerals on our globe D are the sishtas and therefore our globe D is in partial obscuration. It is hard to understand these things.
As an afterthought I might add that the life-wave, which is just beginning or opening its first root-race on globe C, is a far higher life-wave than is the human, and actually is a dhyan-chohanic Wave. Its time will come when it will reach the earth, of course millions of years hence. But our human life-wave then will have passed on to globe E. Thus the life-waves succeed each other in a series of waves rolling around the chain, occasionally overtaking each other, but rarely all being on one globe at the same time. It is always the case, however, with globe G at the end of a chain-round, due to causes already explained.
Student — Thank you very much. It has cleared up my confusion.
G. de P. — Do you understand? Have you clearly understood?
Student — I think so.
G. de P. — Thank you. Well, Companions, I think that we had better close the meeting now.
[The sounding of the gong. Silence.]