Copyright © 1974 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
The earth repeats the general structure, forces, and substances, of the solar system to which it belongs; and equivalently therefore of the zodiac, and on a still larger scale of the galaxy. Hence the earth actually has twelve different fohatic or spiritual-magnetic powers working through it, each of the twelve globes of our earth's planetary chain being the focus of one of the twelve magnetic poles both of the solar system and of the zodiac.
The signs of the zodiac are symbols which have come down to us from extreme antiquity; and in many parts of the world, such as Rome, Greece, Babylon, Egypt and Hindustan, the names of these signs, which are also given to the houses, are the same; in other parts of the world, as in China, the names of the houses differ completely from those modernly used in Europe and America. While the signs go by the same names as the constellations or houses of the zodiac, and their order is the same, the signs are not the same as the houses.
What then is the difference between the signs and the houses of the zodiac? The signs are the reflections on and in our earth of the twelve constellations or houses of the celestial zodiac. In other words, the twelve celestial houses reflect themselves in and upon our earth, each fohatic magnetic emanation from the zodiac producing its corresponding fohatic magnetic effect or reflection in our earth. The consequence of this is that our earth globe actually is electromagnetically controlled by twelve poles, i.e. six fundamental magnetisms, each of which is bipolar.
The signs of the zodiac therefore appertain to our earth alone; although it is of course true that the other planets of the solar system feel equally strongly the same twelve polar magnetisms, which reproduce themselves in these different planets, just as they do in our own planet. From another point of view, it becomes clear that the signs of the zodiac could be regarded as the twelve spheres of influence or kingdoms, permeating and surrounding and therefore controlling our earth globe. Although invisible and intangible, these spheres of influence, as definite portions of our earth and its atmosphere, retain their places geographically, as it were, and thus are segments of the zodiacal belt of the earth sphere.
By convention the signs begin with Aries at the vernal equinox, about March 20th, so that the sign Aries, being 30° in length, and each degree corresponding fairly closely with a day of 24 hours, will continue from March 20th to about April 20th. The succeeding day marks the beginning of the sign Taurus, which continues until the 20th of May; and so on throughout the year until the last degree of Pisces is reached in March. In this connection I might say that the precession of the equinoxes is brought about not merely as modern astronomical science explains it, but primarily because of the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the constellations of the celestial zodiac. Thus it is that the signs slide forwards — in 'precession' — through the celestial zodiac at the rate of about one sign in 2160 years, and 2160 x 12 makes 25,920 years, which is one of the Great Years of archaic astrology-astronomy. Each one of these periods of 2160 years is called in theosophical literature a Messianic cycle.
The diagram here given of the correspondences of the globes of our planetary chain with the signs of the zodiac shows how each globe is under the individual influence of one of the constellations. Otherwise stated, every one of the twelve globes of the earth chain is a focus of the particular fohatic emanation flowing forth from the constellation of the celestial zodiac with which it is in closest magnetic affinity; yet all twelve constellations likewise work in and through every one of the globes of the chain.
The movements in our solar system are so many (not only the sun as an individual having its own particular motions, but every planet likewise), that it would be a hopeless task to attempt to explain them all in detail. In the last analysis, each and every one of these different solar or planetary movements is directly referable to two main instrumental causes: (a) to forces of a psycho-spiritual character inherent in the individual or celestial body itself, together with (b) the constant and unceasing influence of the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the constellations of the zodiac. One of the most interesting of these movements is what astronomy calls the revolution of the line of the apsides of the respective planetary orbits. (1) In the case of the earth's orbit this brings about a slow secular change or series of changes in the manner in which the constellational twelvefold magnetisms affect our planet, with which must be combined a similar but different change caused by the precession of the equinoxes in the direction contrary to that of the line of the apsides. There is a third most important movement, that of the inversion of the earth's poles, of a time period vastly longer than even that of the revolution of the line of the apsides.
All these various movements, whether of our earth or of any other planet, or of the sun itself, certainly partake of a mechanical character because they are movements of bodies; nevertheless within and behind them all is to be found the guidance and controlling power of lofty spiritual intelligences. It is precisely this working of mind upon the matter of the solar system which produces the beauty and regularity, the law and order, which have aroused the reverence of men of every age.
In this manner the earth in its motions carries along the signs, these being portions of itself; and from the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the celestial zodiac thus arises the shift of the signs with regard to and against the background of the constellations, producing not only the precession of the equinoxes, but other movements of the earth's axis. It is these other movements which bring about the extraordinary cataclysmic occurrences marking the endings and beginnings of root-races as well as of their main subraces.
It has been shown that the signs of the zodiac are located within the auric egg of our earth globe, and that they are not the same as the constellations of the celestial zodiac. It has also been stated that any planetary chain, as well as any globe thereof, is produced not only by its own monadic swabhava, but that the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the twelve constellations are likewise intimately involved with these inherent magnetic swabhavas in producing the planetary chains and their respective globes.
From this we see that the signs of the zodiac of any globe of any planetary chain are localized fields or foci, each such field being the portion of the auric egg of a globe which, in addition to its own swabhavic magnetism, reflects the corresponding fohatic magnetism emanating from one of the constellations of the zodiac. Thus, a globe of a planetary chain is surrounded with its own twelvefold zodiacal ring, and each one of these fields is one of the twelve signs of the globe zodiac. We may picture to ourselves this twelvefold magnetism as flowing forth from the heart of the auric egg of such a globe, and spreading out into fan-shaped sectors, these forming the belt or ring comprising the twelve signs of the globe zodiac.
Now, because of the intermingling of these twelvefold zodiacal magnetisms with the twelvefold inherent magnetism of the swabhava of any globe, we see that each sign of the globe zodiac is of a dual twelvefold character: (a) the magnetism of the swabhava of the globe monad; and (b) the magnetisms of the twelve constellations of the celestial zodiac. Everything works with everything else, and this is the reason why the monads of the different classes are able to find their proper fields of evolutionary experience, not only on any part of the earth's surface, but also in any one of the sacred planetary chains of our solar system.
Furthermore, what the esoteric philosophy calls the lokas and talas (i.e. the different worlds in which dwell and through which pass the evolving life-waves that circulate around any planetary chain) are actually built of and energized by the dual and compound magnetisms, thus putting each one of the talas and lokas in direct psychoelectric and psychomagnetic sympathy with the different magnetic emanations. Hence each such loka and tala is twelvefold in character, composed of a manifest seven and of the more spiritual five, very much as the twelve globes of a planetary chain are composed of seven manifest and five belonging to the arupa worlds. In this connection, H.P.B. has an interesting passage in one of her letters:
. . . each of the 7 globes or planets of our chain has such a dual septenary circle of RINGS — Saturn being the only half frank and sincere planet in this case. — The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett, p. 245
Entirely too much attention has been fastened upon the words here about Saturn and the so-called rings which surround it in the plane of its equator. What is really referred to is the dual series of manifested lokas and talas which are usually given as seven, the more spiritual lokas and talas being passed by in silence.
When we remember that the lokas and talas are actual worlds compounded of the blended magnetisms which build the planetary chains and their respective globes, we see what H.P.B. means when speaking of "a dual septenary circle of rings." Her reference to Saturn is but a way of stating that the Saturnian bhur-loka and patala have collected an equatorial ring, which, because of the close interrelation between our physical globe and the globe of Saturn, is at least partially visible to us. Indeed, our earth is surrounded in outer space by a relatively thick and dense 'continent' of matter belonging to the solar system which we are not aware of because our eyes have been evolved to see through it.
It might be added that this question of the intermingling of the lokas and talas as building the structure of any globe of a planetary chain is one of the most difficult to understand. For instance, we have to keep clearly in mind that there are other life-waves, families of monads, besides our own human life-wave, which follow each other in periodic circulations around the globes of the planetary chain and, in doing so, pass in regular serial order through the various lokas and talas belonging to each globe. Moreover, every one of the lokas and talas of each globe is subject to, and under the respective and differing influences of, the twelvefold magnetisms or signs of that particular globe zodiac, from which the globes themselves are considered as compounded or individualized units of the chain.
To summarize: let us picture a monad, a cosmic germ or hiranyagarbha, beginning its period of manvantaric manifestation. This cosmic germ will eventuate, let us say, in a globe of some planetary chain, like our earth, in its very earliest stages of development. As the cosmic germ unfolds, it pours continuously forth from within itself all the various substances and forces which immediately upon their emanation coalesce with the twelvefold fohatic magnetisms of the general field of the solar system — these magnetisms issuing forth from the zodiac of the constellations.
As this cosmic germ of our earth unfolds into becoming a globe, it does so by the process of forming the various lokas and talas, two by two; and these worlds, or lokas and talas, are themselves formed of magnetic emanated substances. Thus was our globe built of the twelve pairs of lokas and talas, of which seven pairs are manifest and five pairs are unmanifest.
The auric egg of a globe is the general field or interpenetrating body of the spirit-substance which issues forth from and surrounds the heart of the cosmic monad or germ, and thus the auric egg enfolds and interpenetrates all the lokas and talas, including of course our physical globe earth, which is bhur-loka and patala, considered as a pair. Every one of these worlds enclosed within the auric egg therefore has its own aspect, analogically speaking, of the globe zodiac of signs, just as our globe earth has; and each such sign on whatever plane, from the purely spiritual through all intermediate planes down to the gross physical, is the focus of the especial field of action of one of the constellations of the celestial zodiac, and therefore is known by the same name that the constellation has. Thus in a sense each of these different lokas and talas — each pair a world, and all combining to form the entirety of a globe — has its own zodiac of signs or twelvefold field of fohatic magnetisms.
Every entity has its own auric egg; and the higher the entity stands in evolutionary unfoldment, the more perfectly is the auric egg developed and the stronger is its function. The auric egg is by some supposed to be merely the vital aura (or astral-vital-material atmosphere) surrounding a living being; however, this is but its lowest expression, the physical body being actually the dregs of this vital auric atmosphere emanating from the auric egg.
In strict accuracy, the auric egg surrounds every portion of the constitution of an entity, and expresses itself on all the planes thereof in accordance with the laws and forces and substances pertaining to and active on any one plane. Each one of the different monads, which together form the complete constitution of any being, is surrounded by a knot or condensation of this living and intelligent aura — partly emanating from each monad and partly belonging to the general auric egg — which knot thus acts as a spiritual psychovital ganglion or nerve center for each plane and for the monad which it surrounds. All these different knots or foci of active consciousness, stretching from the divine to the physical, may be figurated as a pillar of light.
Thus the sun has its own individual auric egg through which, as in an electric field, operate the descending and ascending forces and substances which are continuously active and interblending in its constitution. Moreover, each one of the twelve globes of the solar chain has its own individualized auric egg, corresponding to the different monads in the human constitution. Precisely so with every planetary chain: every one of its globes, and in consequence our earth, has its individualized auric egg, yet the larger auric egg of the entire chain encloses them all.
The sphere of action or radiation of the divine and spiritual parts of any auric egg reaches to the stars of the galaxy, and possibly even beyond; while the range of action of the lowest parts of the auric egg of an entity extends little beyond the astral-physical vehicle. Thus, in the divine and spiritual parts of man's constitution, he is in actual 'touch' with all things over a sphere which reaches the stars; in his intermediate or psycho-intellectual portions the extent of influence of the auric egg is much more limited, but nevertheless covers our solar system; whereas the range of influence of the lowest parts of his auric egg reaches scarcely farther than his astral-vital aura which surrounds his astral-physical body.
Again, what we call the solar kingdom — which comprises all space within the compass of the divine, spiritual and intellectual, and even psychomagnetic radiation of our sun — consists of the planetary chains belonging to our own solar system, and of the interplanetary fields of space likewise. Hence all these planetary chains are bathed in solar radiations of various kinds; but so tremendously powerful is the sun, even in its lowest parts, the physical orb and its garments, that its vital-astral-material radiation extends even to the physical limits of its kingdom. (2) Thus it is that the aura of the auric egg of every entity within our solar system reaches to every part of the solar domain: fully in the fields of the highest parts of the entity's auric egg; less in the intermediate parts; and only slightly so with the lower parts of its auric efflux.
Now it is just these individual but invisible spheres of influence flowing forth from the auric egg which, in the case of the planets, were called by the ancients 'crystalline spheres.' They did not take the word crystalline literally, any more than we ourselves look upon these spheres as being composed of actual glass or crystal. Their meaning was: spheres, totally invisible, yet compacted of vital-astral substance in their lower parts, and of spiritual and intellectual substance in their higher parts, which combined are the respective auric eggs of the different planets.
Furthermore, every one of the planets revolving around our sun has that sun as its center; and as the entire solar kingdom is substantial and therefore solid in a sense, each such planet, which really means each planetary chain and the auric sphere extending from it, is a substantial body with the sun at its center. Each surrounds the sun as an invisible sphere, the visible planetary globe being the nucleus or development of the laya-center on the physical plane of this particular minor Egg of Brahma.
We thus have a picture of the Egg of Brahma of our solar system as a complex and yet most harmoniously interworking and interblended system of 'crystalline' spheres, each sphere being the 'body' of a planet; and the common center of this aggregate of planets is the sun. From this it is not to be supposed that those segments of the sun's auric egg which are or contain its own signs of the zodiac are the sole controlling centers of the known or unknown planets; because each of the zodiacal signs of the sun, or of any of its globes, is particular to and individualized respectively for the entire solar chain and for each of its globes, of which our visible sun is one.
This leads us to a highly important point of esoteric astrology. While it is true that the twelve fohatic magnetisms of the celestial zodiac bathe every being and thing in our universal solar system, nevertheless they are a diffuse twelvefold auric ocean. In other words, while these constellational magnetisms powerfully and continuously throughout the manvantara affect every planet and globe in the universal solar system, yet the influences are general and diffuse rather than particular and direct. In the case of our solar system it is not only the sun, but all the planetary chains which affect our earth chain with their individual influences, these planetary spiritual-auric individualities being what the ancients called the kosmokratores or world builders of our earth and its chain of globes.
Likewise the twelve fohatic constellational magnetisms of the celestial zodiac are 'directed' by and through the sun and these other planets of our solar system. Thus the power exercised upon our earth and its chain by the other planetary chains is not only that of the individual swabhavic influence of each such planetary chain and its globes, but both collectively and individually the sun and these other planetary chains direct and individualize the diffuse twelvefold magnetisms pouring forth from the celestial zodiac. Of course our own earth plays the same role on all the other bodies of our solar system that they individually play upon our earth, each contributing its own characteristic type of influence — a most suggestive picture of the interblending and interacting forces and substances ever at work throughout the entire manvantara of our solar system.
Every celestial body that we can see is the physical manifestation on this plane of an indwelling cosmic spirit. The divinity manifesting through a sun is a solar spirit or god. The entity manifesting through a planet is a planetary spirit, the chief of its hierarchy.
The higher in the scale of life an entity stands, the more perfectly does it accord in its consciousness and in its will with the fundamental of the hierarchy of which it forms a part. The sun, for instance, having no arbitrary movements of its own, keeps strictly to its place in space through the ages and follows a regular path in its orbit among the other solar systems of the Milky Way. A planet or planetary spirit similarly is bound by the rules of the hierarchy of which it forms a part. It is, so to say, one of the cogs in the wheel of the cosmic mechanism.
Each starry entity has, as component parts of its constitution, what esoteric Buddhism calls: first, a dhyani-buddha, then a celestial buddha, then a celestial bodhisattva, then certain intermediate elements, and finally the physical globe we see in the sky. Such a composite entity sends its influences or energies throughout the universe as rivers of living entities, life-atoms, composing in their aggregate a characteristic influence or force. These rivers of lives flow according to law, following certain definite paths or routes called the circulations of the universe or of the cosmos.
Every star as well as every true cluster of stars transmits to us its own particular range of vibrational energies. In fact, the stars, and to a less extent the planets, are the builders of the manifested universe — not merely of the physical bodies which flow forth originally from the physical bodies of the various celestial runners, but more particularly are they builders through the spiritual, intellectual, and psychical, as well as astral and vital, energies inherent in them and rooted in the invisible realms of the universe. (3)
These rivers of lives — so far as they consist of the entities which reach this part of our solar system, when coming from the twelve constellations of the zodiac — are actually the twelve classes of monads, each of them being identical in essence with the controlling spirit of one of the constellations. In other words, each class of monads may be considered to be a corporate emanation from one of the constellations. We should distinguish carefully between the astro-theogonical aspect of this subject, and that which is commonly studied in so-called judicial astrology. These two aspects are based on the same facts of natural being, but they are two different ways of looking at them.
The constellations are in movement as much as any other aggregate entity is. The stars of any constellation, considered as individuals, are rapidly moving; and in vast spaces of time they will change their places in the sky. Nevertheless, these various groups of starry bodies are formed of stars or suns which are akin to each other in their spiritual roots.
The gods of all the ancient mythologies were looked upon as the powers of nature plus consciousness. This was the view taught to the multitudes; but in the Mysteries a very different one was taken. There, the old mythological legends and stories were explained, and the gods shown to be the divine causes of existence, the fountains of self-consciousness and enlightened will — guardians of the cosmic law and order. They were the causes of cycles in nature herself, the exemplification of order and time periods. Individual man himself is the physical expression of an overshadowing divinity; and the gods, when fully evolved, were known to be the overshadowing monads — now fully evolved into divinity, but in aeons upon aeons in the past they also were men, or beings equivalent in evolutionary grade to men. Such, in brief outline, was the teaching concerning the gods in the Mysteries of the European schools. In Greek mythology Phoebus Apollo or Helios was personified as the sun god; but in the Mysteries it was taught that behind the sun there is a living splendor, the root of whose being is a divine consciousness, and whose energies manifest in the solar forces.
Everything that is in the universe is in man, latent or active. This means that every influence coming from anywhere in universal space at some time or other streams through each human being. All the twelve characteristic influences of the zodiacal signs are in us as well as in every other entity, animate or so-called inanimate, for it is actually these influences which build up all things, according to pattern, according to karma. While the particular sign under which a person is born is dominant in that life, the influences of all twelve signs must work in man, for he would not be a complete human being were he deprived of the characteristic quality of any one of the twelve rivers of life flowing from the constellations of the zodiac.
Some of the starry constellations have a singularly beneficent influence upon earth, while others in a few cases have an influence which may be described as maleficent. But all things are relative. What is good for us may be evil for another planet, or vice versa. The earth in its turn exercises an influence not only upon the other planets of our solar family but also, by reaction, upon the sun, even as the sun acts directly upon this earth.
Moreover, every human being as well as every one of the globes of our earth planetary chain is under the particular governance or inspiration of one of the seven sacred planets; and this applies likewise to each of the seven root-races on any one planet. For instance, the first root-race, and similarly the first globe of the planetary chain, are under the influence of the sun, or rather that secret planet for which the sun stands. The second root-race and the second globe are under the influence of Jupiter. The third root-race and the third globe are under the influence of Venus. The planet dominating the destiny of the fourth root-race — the Atlantean — and of our own fourth globe in the planetary chain is Saturn, in close operative alliance with the moon. Our present or fifth root-race and the fifth globe on the ascending arc are under the especial dominance and control of Mercury. Strange as it may seem, the planet which will govern the destiny of the sixth root-race and the sixth globe is Mars.
The seventh and highest globe of the planetary chain, and also the seventh root-race of any globe, are both under the governance of the moon, or rather the secret planet for which the moon stands. The seventh race is the last before the evolutionary life-wave quits this globe. The seventh globe is also the last before the generalized and aggregate life-waves quit the planetary chain. In other words, both the seventh race of earth and the seventh globe of the chain are the gates of life; from the material standpoint, also the gates of death. In fact, every planet is a lord of life and of death, but it is the moon especially which in esoteric philosophy is called the lord, or sometimes the goddess, of life and of death.
While every root-race is under the particular control of one of the seven sacred planets, all the other six likewise cooperate, not only in building each globe of the planetary chain but also in affecting the destiny of each root-race. As it is written in The Secret Doctrine (I, 573):
Hence the seven chief planets, the spheres of the indwelling seven spirits, under each of which is born one of the human groups which is guided and influenced thereby. There are only seven planets (specially connected with earth), and twelve houses, but the possible combinations of their aspects are countless. As each planet can stand to each of the others in twelve different aspects, their combinations must, therefore, be almost infinite; as infinite, in fact, as the spiritual, psychic, mental, and physical capacities in the numberless varieties of the genus homo, each of which varieties is born under one of the seven planets and one of the said countless planetary combinations.
The correspondences (4) given by H.P.B. are often taken entirely too mechanically. It is not the mechanism of these correspondences that is important. The important thing is to understand the meaning; the correspondences are merely hints, and were never supposed to be taken as being absolutes, as unveiling the whole truth.
I sometimes wonder if we are not going a little too far in making the earth and ourselves mere playthings of cosmic powers, influences or forces flowing to us from the zodiacal constellations. These powers or energies are undoubtedly facts; their influence on our earth and on all the other planetary chains is incalculably great. Yet we must never forget that every solar system — and every human being also — is an organic entity in itself, with an immortal monad within and behind it. The old astrologers used to say: the wise man controls his planets, the fool submits to them. The meaning is obvious: the indestructibly immortal monad cannot itself be fatally swayed by the universe around it, although its bodies and garments may be and are. Therefore, were all the universe pressing against a single monad, that monad would remain unharmed and untouched.
"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-centre of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein. . . . "
Thus, 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, I, 541
In our solar system, which is an organic entity, there are various life streams, following well-defined paths within the structure of this cosmic entity, which may be called the "circulations of the cosmos." This phrase describes a wonderful natural process which is analogous to the circulations of the various fluids in the human body, whether these be material such as the blood stream, or quasi-astral such as the nerve aura.
Elsewhere more will be said about the outer rounds, and the rivers of lives which follow these circulations as among the sun and planets; yet it might be well now to enlarge upon what we may call the occult physiological structure of the solar system, which includes the circulations of the cosmos. What these circulations are could be illustrated by the electric and magnetic lines of forces which bind together in a closely knitted organic web planet with planet, and the planets with the sun. Electricity is universal throughout the solar system; so likewise is magnetism, its alter ego; and both are expressions on lower planes of the cosmic jiva or universal life force: first the jiva of the solar system, and secondarily the respective jivas of the various planetary chains.
The electricities and magnetisms circulating in and through a solar system are the real causes of the forces of attraction and repulsion constantly at work in it. They function in such fashion that they attract the component bodies of a solar system, holding them in their respective orbital movements and at the same time, because of the polarity of these forces, bringing about repellent effects. Thus the different bodies of the solar system are kept apart, so that they do not collide or all rush to a common center, as they certainly would if the forces of attraction, whether electrical or magnetic, alone prevailed. In other words, both cosmic electricity and cosmic magnetism are manifestations of cosmic fohat, the Tibetan name for cosmic life or cosmic jiva. However, fohat is unimaginable apart from the indwelling and guiding cosmic mind or consciousness. As an ancient book quoted by H.P.B. so well expressed it: "Fohat is the steed, Thought is the rider."
Looking at the matter from another angle, electricity and magnetism are essentially life, vitality — yet always guided by indwelling mind. Thus the vitality of a cosmic being, evolved or unevolved, may in its most material aspects be called vital electromagnetism, and in its spiritual aspects the attractive and repelling operations of mind or consciousness.
Life, whether cosmic or enshrined within the vital sphere of a smaller organic entity, is a most protean thing in its multifarious and ever-changing manifestation. The very electric current which lights our cities and dwellings is an expression of cosmic vitality, as is the magnetism which attracts iron filings or plays so large a part at the poles of the earth. Even the influences that human beings exercise upon each other, such as sympathy, attraction or repulsion, are manifestations of the cosmic life, but working through us are therefore strongly affected by our individual characteristics.
The circulations of the cosmos are the arteries and veins of the solar system — considered as a living organism, as a cosmic individual — and are filled with, and actually composed of, the rivers of lives which are in constant movement in their passings from planet to planet and between planets and sun. In fact, the planets are actual organs within the body corporate of a cosmic entity, each organ fulfilling its own particular spiritual-magnetic function. Moreover, there are bodies circling around the interior of the sun, around its core, within what we perceive as the outer boundary of the solar orb. Truly, there are many mysteries connected with our sun.
Thus, by analogy, in man's physical body, and equivalently so as regards the monads of his entire constitution, each of the organs has its part to perform. Just as in our bodies there is a constant circulation of the vital essence imbodied in the blood and the nerve fluids, so in our solar system is there an incessant and tremendously powerful interchange of vital essences, every planet contributing to every other planet and to the sun, and the sun infilling them all in return with its own twelvefold forces and substances.
It would be difficult to imagine that the forces which leave or enter the sun do so haphazardly, without cause, or that they follow no particular channels. The circulations of the universe, so far as the sun is concerned, are the pathways of destiny used by the countless armies of the monads as they pass and repass on their journeys. These electromagnetic paths convey cosmic vitality which, like our blood stream, carries along with it innumerable multitudes of entities. All beings follow these pathways, for the universe is a living organism, threaded with its network of arteries and cosmic nerves, along which come and go all the migrating entities. As a matter of fact, these circulations have their beating heart in the central sun of our universe.
Now it is a very easy matter indeed for an adept, by using his will power and wisdom, to choose this or that route or channel by which he can pass from planet to planet, or from superior to inferior worlds, and vice versa. It is to this that Plato alludes in more than one of his writings, such as the Timaeus, and particularly The Republic, Book X, where he gives what is commonly called the Vision of Er, one of the least understood and most difficult passages of his books. Plato teaches in a rather figurative and mystical style, because he could not publicly put forth an actual teaching of the Mystery schools.
One thing of importance that we should constantly strive to avoid is to look upon ourselves as subject, and the solar system as object: in other words, to consider ourselves and the solar system or the planet, in or on which we may at any time be passing one of the phases of our aeons-long course of lives, as being separate and differently existing entities. In truth, man is throughout all his being an integral part of the universe. His vitality is not only derived from the universe which environs him and from which he receives further increments of 'life,' but in order to live and evolve he must return parts of his vitality to the source from which he got it.
These circulations of the cosmos are as fully active in the inner worlds as they are in our visible plane of the solar system. They are those invisible, but very real pathways, which are followed by the hosts of entities both before physical existence and after. In ancient literatures references can be found to the 'way of the gods,' the 'path of the fathers,' the 'path of the devas,' and we could rightfully add the 'path of the elementals,' the 'path of the dhyani-chohans' — in fact, the path of any family or group of entities. They are also the pathways which are trodden by the dead, or by those re-entering imbodiment. The Hebrew Qabbalah, for example, describes these circulations by the one word gilgulim, which means whirlings or revolvings, both of egos in their postmortem peregrinations and of the pathways along which they revolve.
If we could realize what flows from star to star, and from star to our solar system and back again, and what passes throughout our solar system after coming to us from the stars, we would know the entire story of the genesis, nature, and destiny, not only of the solar system itself but of all its inhabitants. And those inhabitants are of many kinds, not merely planets and men, not merely comets and asteroids, but the vast, indeed numberless, hosts of living entities in all degrees of development from a single life-atom to the gods.
To summarize, then, the circulations of the cosmos are the spiritual-magnetic pathways of the solar system and are composed of rivers of lives; and every human being is one of these 'lives' in the particular river or life-wave to which he by his karmic destiny belongs for the time being. Just because man, both as an individual and collectively as the human hierarchy, is part and parcel of one of these rivers of lives, he will be obliged during the outer rounds not only to pass from planet to planet of the sacred seven known to the ancients, but likewise, because of the onflowing stream along these circulations, sooner or later to enter the sun — and in the course of time leave it on his return journey through the solar system via the various sacred planets, in due serial order. Thus it has been said by the great teachers that the sun is the majestic beating heart and ever-active consciousness of the solar system, whose regular and periodic pulsations are never-ceasing throughout the long ages of the solar manvantara.
The doctrine of cycles is one of the most important in the entire cosmic range of the esoteric philosophy, because repetitive or rhythmic action is fundamental in nature. As a matter of fact, every being and thing that exists is an expression of rhythmic pulsation: we are not only the children of cycles greater than ourselves, but actually within our own beings imbody cycles because we are cyclical in all our life processes. The same rule applies with identical force to any entity in boundless Infinitude, whether a galaxy or an atom.
We perceive cycles by the recurrences of moving beings and things in our world, and are deluded into thinking that these repetitions are caused by some intangible entity called time, while in reality they are caused by the cyclical movements of the bodies or of the consciousness of entities. The revolutions of the planets around the sun is an example; they are not caused by time. It is the moving entities themselves which produce in us the time-illusion, due to our imperfect understanding of their operations in Duration. As one of the Stanzas of Dzyan says: "Time was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of duration" — because moving things were then no more.
A human being is a cycle; an atom is a cycle — in this technical sense. We say that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, and we call it a cycle, a day. The time-illusion produced by the moving object — in this case our earth — gives us the notion that a day is produced by an absolute entity called Time, or is an integral part of such separate entity.
Cycles themselves are not caused as minor integrals of time by time. Where you have no space, there is no time; where you have no time, there is no space. Space is a substantial entity in occultism, and one of its mayavi attributes is what we call time. As Space is eternally enduring, this is the cause of the time-maya. That does not mean that time is nonexistent, but there is no absolute entity apart from things called Time, nor where there are no beings to perceive it.
All the various and varied phenomena of the infinitesimal worlds of physical chemistry; all the movements of nature everywhere, even astronomical and meteorological phenomena, like storms, periods of drouth, electromagnetic outbursts such as the aurorae; the periodic epidemics of diseases — all these are rhythmic, because cyclical. The pulsing of the blood in the human body and the heartbeat manifest cycles as fully as does the sunspot period, or that of the precession of the equinoxes, or the whirlings of the rivers of lives along the circulations of the universe. The unending succession of manvantaras and pralayas, whether smaller or greater, rounds and obscurations, etc. — all are cyclical.
What is it in universal Being that sets in motion the various cyclical processes which make up the movements of the worlds? The causes of these interwoven cycles are to be found in the fact that the very swabhava of the cosmic life is pulsatory, rhythmic (see the second fundamental proposition in The Secret Doctrine, I, 16-17). Yet to state thus baldly that the cosmic life pulsates throughout eternity is incomplete until we add that such rhythmically vibrational activity is the imbodied expression of the movement of cosmic intelligence.
Now the cosmic life itself from the standpoint of structure may be looked upon as but an incomprehensibly vast aggregate of all smaller beings and things, each such comprehended entity or thing in itself, in its essence, being a droplet of the cosmic life and intelligence, and therefore imbodying its own relative portion of all the cosmic powers and faculties. Thus we have the vibratory and rhythmic movements of the cosmic life, plus all the other interwoven cycles of its incomputable hosts of entities, each one in itself of cyclical character. We have cycles within cycles: cycles within others still greater; or, conversely, cycles of increasing vibrational frequency running into the infinitesimal.
From this we see that every cycle is the life movement of the heartbeat and hence the mind-beat of some cosmic, subcosmic, or infracosmic being or entity. The whirling of a galaxy is an expression of the rhythmic life-pulses of the galactic hierarch throughout all its planes of being, and manifesting, astronomically speaking, on the physical plane as the cyclical wheelings of the galactic body. Similarly so in the world of the infinitesimals, such as the whirlings of the electronic bodies in the atom.
Cycles, then, irrespective of scale or magnitude or hierarchical plane, are the expressions of the pulsations of the life and mind of the hierarchical hosts — of the web of interblending worlds — which not only infill the universe, but actually are it. In short, cycles are the inherent rhythms of life.
Some students, after reading The Secret Doctrine, have spent years trying to apply the numerical keys given there in order to arrive at the exact length of the various kinds of Days and Nights of Brahma. There may be little harm in such adventures, yet one could waste a great deal of valuable time in this kind of theorizing. If given the final keys, a clever mathematician might closely approximate the correct time periods, and apply them to ascertain when some karmic event might come to pass. But, in view of the highly imperfect moral evolution of mankind, such knowledge would be replete with danger. Suppose that it were possible for a man to calculate just what is going to happen to him in the next week or month or year. The chances are that he would immediately begin to make new and bad karma for himself in trying to forestall the working out of nemesis, and thus involve himself in a new karmic web highly perilous not only to his moral stability but even to his intellectual equilibrium. Mercifully has this branch of the esoteric philosophy been most carefully shrouded in mystery throughout the ages.
Nevertheless, it is good that we should realize that all nature, as Pythagoras so wisely taught, is built on numerical relations, harmonically interacting in inflexible mathematical connections. For this reason there has never been any attempt to veil the general teaching, and even in some cases actual time periods have been disclosed. For instance, in The Secret Doctrine, Volume II, pages 68-70, we have Brahma's Age, called the mahakalpa, set down as 311,040,000,000,000 years; and one of Brahma's Days as 4,320,000,000, with a Night of equal duration, so that such a combined Day-Night period is 8,640,000,000. Furthermore, the total of the four general yugas, together making a mahayuga, is 4,320,000 years, and the full period of a manvantara is 308,448,000 years.
In examining the array of figures given by H.P.B., the difficulty lies in knowing just which manvantara or Day (or which pralaya or Night) is referred to. There are manvantaras of the entire solar system as well as of the planetary chain; and there are still smaller manvantaras, each one of which is the reign of a single Manu. Often terms are used which have different applications. For instance, the term 'solar system' may refer to our own planetary chain and its evolution. Thus seven chain-rounds of our earth chain might be called one solar manvantara for our earth chain, but the sun will be as lively as ever. When seven complete imbodiments of our planetary chain have taken place, that is a solar manvantara for our chain; for when a new manvantara for our chain shall again begin, a new sun will shine upon that chain; or, from the standpoint of our earth globe, we shall see that particular sun of the next higher cosmic plane of the solar chain on which our globe D will then begin to manifest.
A chain-round is a passage of the life-waves or families of monads from the highest globe through all the globes once. (When a chain-round passes through any one globe we call it a globe-round.) When seven such chain-rounds have been completed, that is a Day of Brahma or planetary chain manvantara. Seven of these Days of Brahma make a solar manvantara for this chain because, taking our globe earth as an instance, at the end of seven such planetary Days the seven subplanes of the cosmic plane on which our globe earth is will have been passed through and every experience gained therein. Then, in order to begin its new solar manvantara, the entire chain within our solar Brahmanda will begin its evolution on higher planes. And therefore a new sun will appear.
For the benefit of those who may be interested in numerical relations: the "full period of one Manvantara," mentioned by H.P.B. as being 308,448,000 years (The Secret Doctrine, II, 69), refers in this usage of the word manvantara to one half of a chain-round, which is the general time that it takes a life-wave to pass from the first globe (let us say globe A) of the chain to globe D, our earth. A similar time period is required in order to pass from the midpoint of our globe earth to globe G, let us say; so that one chain-round will take some 616,896,000 years. As the common teaching regarding the rounds gives their number as seven, when we multiply this last sum by 7, we obtain very closely the figure 4,320,000,000 years, which is one complete chain-manvantara, or one Day of Brahma, the Brahma in this case being the planetary chain Brahma. The difference between this rough and ready calculation and the full period of 4,320,000,000 is due to the fact that the sandhyas (twilights) have been omitted.
Furthermore, when a planetary chain has completed its chain-manvantara, there then ensues a rest period or Night of equal length — 4,320,000,000 years. In addition, the cosmic mahakalpa — here signifying the kalpa of our solar system or its complete manvantara or one Year of Brahma — is composed of 360 of the solar Brahma's Days, which are the planetary chain Days, as above alluded to. As there are a hundred of the solar Brahma's Years in the full period of a solar mahakalpa (Brahma's Life), this last figure must be multiplied by one hundred, and we thus attain the figure 311,040,000,000,000.
It has taken some 320,000,000 years since the first geological sedimentary deposits were made on our earth in the beginning of this fourth round, and this is but a trifle more than the "full period of one Manvantara," given by H.P.B. as being 308,448,000 years — which is but another way of saying the 'manvantara' of our fourth round inaugurated by Vaivasvata, the root-Manu of this round. (If the reader will analyze the various passages in The Secret Doctrine regarding the different reigns of the Manus of our planetary chain as applied to the time periods of the seven rounds, he will better understand these numerical allusions; in particular see Vol. II, pp. 709-15, as well as pp. 307-9.)
The fact of the repetitive analogies in nature is the master key in making computations dealing with all these time periods. Just because the small reflects throughout its structure and its destiny whatever is the structure and destiny of the great, the same general mathematical rules will apply both to a microcosm — whatever it may be — as well as to a macrocosm, such as a solar system.
It might be as well to state here that the esoteric year contains 360 days, equal to the 360° of the zodiac, whether of the signs or of the constellations; and in a past period of the solar system our earth year was actually 360 days long. Since then, due to a number of cosmic interacting causes, under the governance of the fohatic magnetisms of the zodiacal constellations, the speed of rotation of the earth somewhat increased, so that the present year contains roughly 365 1/4 days. This acceleration has now probably reached its maximum, in which case the rotation of the earth will slowly again decrease and in time pass through and beyond the median point of 360 days, so that the year will then contain somewhat less than 360 days, possibly as few as 354. When this minimum period has been reached, the earth's rotation will again quicken slightly, and in time will pass through the median point of 360 days until it reaches again its maximum. Thus it is that during the planetary chain's manvantara the average rotational yearly period is 360 days.
This is the reason that 360 days is recognized in occultism as the standard year; and many cultured nations, such as the Babylonians, Egyptians and Hindus, all famous throughout antiquity for their astronomical skill, used the 360-day period in their calculations for the length of a year. This is shown in the case of the Hindus by a passage in the very old astronomical work, the Surya-Siddhanta (I, 12,13) (5), which first states the standard occult year of 360, and then refers to the year as consisting of 365 1/4 days more or less.
Modern scientists, scholars and mathematicians ascribe to the ancient Babylonians our present reckoning of 360° in a circle, each degree divided into 60 minutes, although this same practice was as well known in ancient India as it was in Egypt and elsewhere. Why? Simply because of the vast knowledge of occult astronomy and astrology in the archaic Mystery schools, wherein the 'standard' year was usually employed for secret calculations, as well as being also the basis of civil and economic computations.
What takes place within a race is but a copying of what takes place on grander scales elsewhere. Any planet, sun, or universe, has its own four periods of a length and magnitude corresponding to its life cycle. In Hindu cosmogony these are called yugas, their length in each case depending upon the scale of its arc, whether of a man or a sun.
The manner in which the great cycles in the evolution of a root-race are repeated in the small is an extremely involved one. The general rule is that the small repeats the great, that little yugas not only are included in the greater yugas, but repeat them on their own level. For example, our present fifth root-race, considered as a whole with all its minor subraces, is now in its kali yuga, which began over five thousand years ago at the death of Krishna, and will last into the future for about 427,000 years.
Now some of the minor cycles or yugas of this fifth root-race will be rising, and some will be falling, yet all interworking with each other and subject to the great kali yuga of the root-race. Thus, a minor yuga or race may be in its youth and rising to its flowering, yet, because it is included in the over-all kali yuga, will be subject to the general decline of the major kali yuga.
Every minor cycle, great or small, within the root-race is in its turn septenary and therefore has its own little kali yuga, and its numerical relations are about the same. Just as the great kali yuga is 432,000 years long, so a minor one may be only 432 years long, or 4320, or even 43,200. The Hindu or Aryan race, which was one of the very first subraces of our own fifth root-race, is now in its own racial kali yuga in addition to being in the longer kali yuga of the root-race. But it is striving to rise again, and will do so in the future. On a smaller scale, Spain is in its short kali yuga, as also Portugal. Italy has just ended a short kali yuga and is beginning to rise again.
Unfortunately, because our fifth root-race is a very materialistic one, heavily sunken in matter due to our fourth round, these rises are mostly along the lines of materialisms. Furthermore, the European general stock of races, which we might call the European subrace or family race perhaps, has been steadily rising since the downfall of the Roman Empire, and will continue to do so, with various smaller shocks and falls and risings again, for some six or seven or possibly eight thousand years more. And then there will be a rapid descent until its kali yuga is reached, a small kali yuga, when there will be a great European catastrophe of nature. This will be some sixteen to eighteen thousand years from now. This period will see the submersion of the British Isles. Most of France will be under the water, also Holland, some of Spain, a good deal of Italy, and other places. Of course all this won't take place in a night, for there will be premonitory signs, such as slow sinkings of the coast, great earthquakes, etc.
The main fact is that, although the fifth root-race as a whole is in its kali yuga which began some five thousand years ago, its subraces may be rising or falling, each one according to its own time periods; and each such subrace has its own little kali yuga repeated after the great one, bearing the same proportion to the entire length of any such small race that the great kali yuga does to the root-race.
Another name for yuga or cycle in Sanskrit is kala-chakra, time-wheel. Just as a wheel revolves, so do the four yugas, the four time-wheels, following the numerical ratios of 4, 3, 2, and a period of pause; then again, the 4, 3, 2, pause, and so forth throughout the manvantaras. These same relative numerical ratios prevail in all divisions of nature. For instance, the globe manvantara can be subdivided into periods standing to each other in the relation of 4, 3, 2, pause or one, making the complete 10; and these can be called the satya yuga, treta yuga, dwapara yuga, and kali yuga, each with its rest period or sandhya, of the globe manvantara (cf. Occult Glossary, pp. 184-5).
Using exactly the same principle of repetitive workings in nature, an entire round, passing through all the globes, can be looked upon as a time period which is divisible into the same relative numerical portions. So we can say that the four yugas apply to any unitary period in the flow of time: to a planetary round, a globe-round, a root-race, or even to the period of a human life.
To illustrate: a man is not in his kali yuga when he is in advanced age. His kali yuga is reached in his most active portion of life, his middle age, when he is in the full plenitude of his physical powers, but still an infant as regards his higher powers. However, this fact did not apply to the early root-races, because they were on the downward arc and reached their kali yuga in their old age. Since we have passed the lowest point in our evolution and have begun to rise, our inner nature has evolved forth enough to make our later years, after our individual kali yuga period, a time of blossoming and realization. We now no longer die in the heyday of our physical age as did the early Atlanteans and the Lemurians. We live past the prime of physical activity, into the mellower, richer years, which older age brings. During the sixth and seventh root-races, curiously enough, our kali yuga will coincide with the rich point of our life, but we shall then be in the relative fullness of all our powers.
Applying these yugas or time cycles to the root-races: every root-race has its satya yuga, followed by its treta, dwapara, and kali yugas. Then comes a sandhya or rest period, a junction point, after which comes the birth of the new race. The seeds of the succeeding new root-race spring into being; but the old root-race continues along, although no longer having the mastery of the earth. The reason is that with the opening of the satya yuga of the succeeding root-race, all the stronger, more advanced egos of the race then in its kali yuga take imbodiment in the new race; whereas the bodies of the decaying race are given over to less developed egos which enter them. As these bodies of the old race continue living and propagating through several succeeding ages, egos of less and less degree of evolutionary advancement enter them, until finally these bodies through slow degeneration will house only the least developed egos of the human stock. But the dying-out root-race lasts almost as long as it takes the succeeding root-race to reach its kali yuga.
Here we have the key to these numerical periods, as they are given in the Brahmanical computations. A root-race takes four yugas or 4,320,000 years to achieve its growth and its physical prime. The last tenth of this period is its kali yuga. Then the new race comes into being; just as on a smaller scale the sixth subrace of our present fifth root-race is already having its seeds of birth in the Americas, where also the seeds of the sixth root-race to come are now being laid, beginning now in our kali yuga, but as yet merely an adumbration of what it will be. When our kali yuga reaches towards its end, some 427,000 years from now, the seeds of the sixth root-race will then be fairly numerous. Meanwhile our fifth root-race will continue as bodies for inferior egos until this series of bodies, not of egos, through degeneration towards its end will finally be the vehicles for only the least developed egos of the human stock. From this we see that a root-race on this globe, during this fourth round in the past and up to the present, has taken something like 8,640,000 years to live from its seeds to its disappearance, though only half of that time — the mahayuga or four yugas of 4,320,000 years — can properly be called the zenith of that root-race. The remaining 4,320,000 years represent its dying-out period.
As each root-race begins at about the middle period of its parent root-race, our own fifth root-race began to be born in the kali yuga of the fourth. The sixth root-race succeeding us will begin to be born in our kali yuga, upon which we are now entering. When a race begins, its forerunners are very few; they are strange people, and are considered almost as freaks of nature. By and by they find themselves in the majority, and that is when their root-race has become strong. It is the egos which make the root-races, and the egos really which make the yugas. What takes place in the great is repeated in the small: a root-race is but an analogy, a repetition, of a round; even of an entire solar manvantara. The life of a man is exactly the same: it is an analogy of a solar manvantara, of a round, of a globe-manvantara as well as of a root-race.
A root-race, then, from its seed to its death, since the beginning of the Lemurian or third root-race, has been running between eight and nine million years. If we reckon it in yugas, it is 8,640,000 years, but of this period only half, or the mahayuga, can be properly called that root-race, as a beginning, growing, and mature entity. As pointed out earlier, the remaining or second mahayuga is its slow disappearance, because the race becomes, as physical bodies, the receptacle of egos in a constantly decreasing scale of evolutionary advancement. Thus it is that we have amongst us today Atlanteans, but the egos inhabiting these degenerate 'Atlantean bodies' are much inferior to the best class of Atlanteans when Atlantis was in its prime. We have even a few of the ancient Lemurians amongst us, sorry remnants of once wonderful ancestors, for Lemuria was a magnificent race and continent in its day. These few 'Lemurian bodies' still going on and on — so called because they are of direct Lemurian descent — offer vehicles to the very lowest class of the human stock. Now these lower egos are not lost souls. They are simply the least evolved of human egos at the present time, and therefore trailers behind us. Each root-race contains the same egos that were evolving in the preceding root-race.
Turning again to the life cycles of the root-races as they relate to the yugas: the Lemurians and Atlanteans as a rule died quickly when their bodies, their lives, reached what we now would call the human kali yuga period. The reason for this was that they had not yet evolved sufficiently in higher intellectual power and spirituality. In other words, these early races died young because they had no old age of richness and fullness to look forward to.
We have passed in evolution that phase which was so noticeable in Atlantean times; and being in the fifth root-race and on the upward arc, we are slowly growing into the evolutionary stages of consciousness wherein the higher intellect and spirituality are becoming ever stronger with each hundred thousand years that pass, making the latter half of life, as time goes on, continuously richer of understanding and of feeling.
With the beginning of the fifth root-race the latter half of a man's life began to develop. Some day old age will be the years when he will be in the plenitude of his power, physical and intellectual and spiritual. It will then be the time when childhood and youth will be proportionately shortened, the reason being that man will come into self-conscious functioning of faculty far more quickly than now. This process will continue through the ages so that, when we shall have reached the seventh root-race on this earth during this fourth round, the latter half of life will be considered as the only part worth living. Bodies then will be stronger, more flexible, very different from what they are now in some respects: more vital, with greater resisting power, yet more ethereal. In those distant days a man's body before his death will be stronger than in what we would call his youth.
Although the Atlanteans died in what we would consider late youth or early middle age, the years that they lived were many more than ours. As time goes on, children will show a tendency to be born continuously more mature in interior faculties, as well as more mature in body, although not necessarily large physically. It was bodies which occupied the greater part of human life in the past. With us, things are beginning to reverse themselves. It will be the inner man — the mind, the spirituality — which will more and more show forth.
We live in a very interesting age. I do not think that in the recorded annals that are open to us at the present time there has ever been an epoch when serious-minded students of the ancient wisdom have had the opportunities that now are available.
Much has been said of the blackness of our age, the kali yuga, but it is just this stress and strain which are opening our hearts and tearing the veils away from our minds. It is the Iron Age, a hard, rigid cycle where everything moves intensely and where everything is difficult; but precisely the age in which spiritual and intellectual advancement can be made most quickly. In the Golden Age, in the so-called Age of Saturn, the era of man's innocence, everything moved smoothly and all nature cooperated to make living beautiful and pleasant; and there is something in our hearts that yearns to return to it. But it is not what the evolving ego longs for.
It is a strange paradox that the hardest and cruelest of all the yugas is the very one in which the quickest advancement can be gained. It is the opportunity time, the time of choice, when the most advanced egos will become the seeds of the succeeding great root-race. Thus will be born the satya yuga of the new race out of the kali yuga of the old, and in the distant future there will be even greater things than in the past. Once again the lives of men will be attuned to the inspiration of universal compassion and of wisdom, and the archaic teachings regarding the light which flows from the heart of the spiritual sun, which each man is in the inmost arcanum of his being, will again become the most precious heritage of the human race.
Section 5, Part 1
Main Table of Contents
1. The line of the apsides of the earth's orbit, for instance, is said by astronomy to stretch in both directions towards two constellations of the celestial zodiac, Sagittarius and Gemini, and to be moving steadily and slowly eastward at an estimated rate which will make a complete circuit in some 108,000 years. Of course the revolution of the line of the apsides of each different planet makes its circuit in its own time period. (return to text)
2. It may be of interest to note that Marttanda, also Mritanda, both names for the sun in Sanskrit literature, mean 'mortal egg' (from mrita, mortal, and anda, egg) — the reference being to the mortal or nonpermanent part of the Egg of Brahma, i.e. particularly to the visible sun which is the physical vehicle of the solar Brahma. In just the same fashion is man's body the mortal part of his constitution or auric egg. (return to text)
3. There are a number of Nordic myths regarding the making of the worlds, based on natural truths formulated in symbolic language by great Northern seers of the past. All of them have the touch of melancholy that seems to be inherent in the blood of the Norse people; and therefore in most of these myths of the formation of the world, there are references to one of the greatest mysteries of being — the self-sacrifice of the divinities in order that the worlds may come into existence. They give their bodies and of their 'lifeblood,' which latter flows forth and with the body becomes the world and all things.
There is a very holy mystery involved in this, taught in different forms as, for instance, in Hindustan and in Egypt, but all meaning the same: that the universe is kept going and preserved from destruction by the self-sacrifice of the highest gods. (return to text)
4. It may be of interest to quote two passages from H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions, II:
. . . when the planets of the solar system are named or symbolized . . . it must not be supposed that the planetary bodies themselves are referred to, except as types on a purely physical plane of the septenary nature of the psychic and spiritual worlds. A material planet can correspond only to a material something. Thus when Mercury is said to correspond to the right eye it does not mean that the objective planet has any influence on the right optic organ, but that both stand rather as corresponding mystically through Buddhi. Man derives his Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) from the essence of the Manasa Putra, the Sons of Wisdom, who are the Divine Beings (or Angels) ruling and presiding over the planet Mercury.
In the same way Venus, Manas and the left eye are set down as correspondences. Exoterically there is, in reality, no such association of physical eyes and physical planets; but esoterically there is; for the right eye is the "Eye of Wisdom," i.e., it corresponds magnetically with that occult centre in the brain which we call the "Third Eye"; while the left corresponds with the intellectual brain, or those cells which are the organ on the physical plane of the thinking faculty. The Kabalistic triangle of Kether, Chocmah and Binah shows this. Chocmah and Binah, or Wisdom and Intelligence, the Father and the Mother, or, again, the Father and Son, are on the same plane and react mutually on one another.
When the individual consciousness is turned inward a conjunction of Manas and Buddhi takes place. In the spiritually regenerated man this conjunction is permanent, the Higher Manas clinging to Buddhi beyond the threshold of Devachan, and the soul, or rather the Spirit, which should not be confounded with Atma (the Super-Spirit) is then said to have the "Single Eye." Esoterically, in other words, the "Third Eye" is active. Now Mercury is called Hermes, and Venus, Aphrodite, and thus their conjunction in man on the psycho-physical plane gives him the name of the Hermaphrodite, or Androgyne. The absolutely Spiritual Man is, however, entirely disconnected from sex. . . .
In the same way the right and left nostrils, into which is breathed the "Breath of Lives" (Genesis, ii, 7), are here said to correspond with the Sun and Moon, as Brahma-Prajapati and Vach, or Osiris and Isis, are the parents of the natural life. This Quaternary, viz., the two eyes and two nostrils, Mercury and Venus, Sun and Moon, constitutes the Kabalistic Guardian-Angels of the Four Corners of the Earth. It is the same in the Eastern esoteric philosophy, which, however, adds that the Sun is not a planet, but the central star of our system, and the Moon a dead planet, from which all the principles are gone, both being substitutes, the one for an invisible inter-Mercurial planet, and the other for a planet which seems to have now altogether disappeared from view. These are the Four Maharajahs of the Secret Doctrine [I, 122], the "Four Holy Ones" connected with Karma and Humanity, Kosmos and Man, in all their aspects. They are: the Sun, or its substitute Michael; Moon, or substitute Gabriel; Mercury, Raphael; and Venus, Uriel. It need hardly be said here again that the planetary bodies themselves, being only physical symbols, are not often referred to in the Esoteric System, but, as a rule, their cosmic, psychic, physical and spiritual forces are symbolized under these names. In short, it is the seven physical planets which are the lower Sephiroth of the Kabbala and our triple physical Sun whose reflection only we see, which is symbolized, or rather personified, by the Upper Triad, or Sephirothal Crown. (return to text)
5. This is a truly profound and remarkable treatise, dealing with yugas and time periods of various lengths, divisions of time into infinitesimals, cycles of sun, moon and planets as well as with eclipses. In the opening verses it is stated that Surya, the sun, through his solar representative, communicated to Asuramaya "the science upon which time is founded, the grand system of the planets" (I, 5), and that this occurred at the end of the krita or satya yuga (I, 46-7). If we reckon back from the present day, we have already run through some 5000 years of the kali yuga, 864,000 of the dwapara, and 1,296,000 of the treta which followed the satya yuga. This would mean that the Surya-Siddhanta is over two million years old. As H.P.B. says in her Secret Doctrine (II, 49-50), the knowledge contained in this work was transmitted to this great Atlantean astronomer during the closing epoch of the fourth and the beginnings of the fifth root-race.
We should not think, however, that the sun came down from heaven and dictated these very words, but rather that the solar glory illuminated the brain of this adept. In other words, in paying homage to Surya, Asuramaya was raising his inner nature to the solar ray of which he was an incarnation, and thereupon was inspired and taught by his own solar divinity some of the secrets of the universe. (return to text)