Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy by G. de Purucker

Copyright © 1979 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.


Chapter Twenty-Five

The Mysteries of Septenary Nature. Correspondences: Globes, Elements, Human Principles. The Seven Sacred Planets of the Ancients. Racial Time Periods and Catastrophes.

But upon this one of those more antient priests [of Egypt] exclaimed, O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children, nor is there any such thing as an aged Grecian among you! But Solon, when he heard this — What (says he) is the motive of your exclamation? To whom the priest: — Because all your souls are juvenile; neither containing any antient opinion derived from remote tradition, nor any discipline hoary from its existence in former periods of time. But the reason of this is the multitude and variety of destructions of the human race, which formerly have been, and again will be: the greatest of these indeed arising from fire and water; but the lesser from ten thousand other contingencies. . . . But whatever has been transacted either by us, or by you, or in any other place, beautiful or great, or containing any thing uncommon of which we have heard the report, every thing of this kind is to be found described in our temples, and preserved to the present day. — Plato, Timaeus, pp. 466-7 (Thomas Taylor, trans.)

LET US OPEN our study this evening by reading from the first volume of The Secret Doctrine, pages 611-12, section 15, entitled "Gods, Monads, and Atoms":

The exact extent, depth, breadth, and length of the mysteries of Nature are to be found only in Eastern esoteric sciences. So vast and so profound are these that hardly a few, a very few of the highest Initiates — those whose very existence is known but to a small number of Adepts — are capable of assimilating the knowledge. Yet it is all there, and one by one facts and processes in Nature's workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unravelling its arcana. It is at the close of great Cycles, in connection with racial development, that such events generally take place. We are at the very close of the cycle of 5,000 years of the present Aryan Kaliyuga; and between this time and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death-blow. . . .

. . . From the very beginning of AEons — in time and space in our Round and Globe — the Mysteries of Nature (at any rate, those which it is lawful for our races to know) were recorded by the pupils of those same now invisible "heavenly men," in geometrical figures and symbols. The keys thereto passed from one generation of "wise men" to the other.

At our last meeting we discussed a diagram showing the Syrian views, from an exoteric standpoint, of the external and internal structure of the kosmos; and some of you, who perhaps observed carefully, will have noticed that this diagrammatic hierarchy seemed to be represented as all on one plane. Now that is true, in a certain sense; but there is much in connection with that fact that we could not then and now cannot speak of, for the simple reason that we have not as yet laid the foundations for properly understanding it. Let it then suffice this evening to say that, as a matter of real fact, the hierarchies interact and intermingle — cross each other in all directions, as it were.

As remarked in a former study, the direction of our evolution is "outwards" at first, and "inwards" secondly. On descending the shadowy arc or the arc of matter in the beginning of the manvantara of this our planetary chain, the direction which we followed, as members of our planetary life-wave, was from within outwards, i.e., from inner planes, from inner worlds, constantly proceeding "downwards" — that is, into ever-increasing materiality; and when we reached the middle of the fourth round on this our globe, which is the central or turning point of the manvantara of this planetary chain, the impulse slackened and finally reached its close in what we call the fourth root-race, the Atlantean race. Thereafter the reverse process began its action, and progress, advancement, development, retraced its steps, as it were, in a spiral, the direction thenceforward being from without inwards, or an ascent in ever-increasing spirituality. This process of a primal descent into materiality, followed by a reascent into spirituality, is the course followed not merely in the construction, development, and consummation of the destiny of a planetary chain, and of all planetary chains, but also is the course followed in the larger cycles of evolution, such as the solar kalpas, for instance, which comprise, each one, seven of the planetary manvantaras. Seven planetary manvantaras make one solar kalpa; in other words, seven Days of Brahma or seven planetary cycles, each cycle consisting of seven rounds, form one solar kalpa (or manvantara).

In order to assist our minds in understanding our study this evening, in order to help us in conceiving the idea, let us draw seven circles representing seven globes: three on the downward cycle or shadowy arc, one at the bottom or turning point, and three on the ascending or luminous arc or cycle. We may number with the letters of the alphabet.

diagram: planetary globes

Now these circles represent, if you will, the globes of the planetary chain, and the evolution of the life-wave beginning on globe A and running there through its appointed cycles, completing them, and then entering B; after completing its course on B, then entering C; and then, on ending its course for the round on C, entering D, where we are now, and also in the fourth round. We are thus halfway around the course for our round, the fourth, and somewhat more, because we are the fifth root-race of our globe D, on which seven root-races must run their course.

Each of these globes, furthermore is builded out of, and has its correspondence with, what the ancients called the elements, that is to say, the bases of the seven principles of nature. They are furthermore called "rudiments," not in the sense of something incomplete, but in the original sense of root-things, originants. The Sanskrit word for the principles is tattwa, meaning "a reality," not the uttermost reality, the Absolute of any hierarchy, but its root-differentiations in manifestation; and the word for the elements is bhuta, each element springing from its predecessor or superior and giving life and birth to another, its inferior. The ancients always reckoned four elements, and sometimes five; our School reckons seven in all. The usual enumeration of the ancients is as follows: aether, fire, air, water and, lastly, earth. The last two principles to be enumerated, and the last two elements, the bases of the former two, have been given no names exoterically, because they are not yet known by our present senses. Human consciousness does not yet recognize them, but they are recognized, taught of, and named, in the esoteric philosophy nevertheless; and they are called, for the second, anupapadaka-tattwa, a Sanskrit word very difficult to explain in English. The general meaning is that it does not proceed from anything else, i.e., "parentless." It proceeds from itself. Finally, the first of all the seven, the uppermost on the descending arc of nature, is called adi-tattwa or "original tattwa," for the principle; and adi-bhuta for the corresponding element, because it belongs to the same plane of being of the kosmos as the principle adi-tattwa, but in a somewhat lower degree, being the base or vehicle of the former, the principle.

These elements, of course, are not the familiar things which we know under these names — fire, water, air, or earth — but these familiar things are their correspondences on our earth, in a mystic sense. Now, although the seven globes of the planetary chain are not the seven elements respectively, each to each, yet each globe is builded up out of them all and, furthermore, one of the seven elements predominates in each one of the globes respectively. All this will be elucidated in our future studies, when we come to study the lokas and talas. For instance, on globe A: the fire-quality would not be our material earth-fire; it would there be the spirit of fire, so to say, the root of fire, because in the esoteric philosophy "fire" is not merely the result of combustion, according to modern scientific ideas, but is an actual element, a rudiment, a base. And similarly with air, proceeding from fire, born from fire; and similarly with the element water, proceeding from air, born from it; and again earth born from water, i.e., the element water.

It is likewise the old Stoic doctrine, that the elements give birth one to another. Manifestation begins on the spiritual plane, and as the life impulses reach forth into grosser forms, into matter (to use the popular expression), the succeeding elements (bases, rudiments) are born, each one from the preceding one, and from all preceding ones. For instance, earth is born not merely from the element water, but likewise from fire, and air. Furthermore, the seven rounds of a planetary chain, the seven globes of a planetary chain, and the seven root-races of any globe thereof, has each its predominating correspondence with one of these seven elements. Please understand that we mean not at all the familiar things we know on our earth by those names, but the bases, the originants, the "spirits" of them: the causes, the tattwas, the real things which produce what we see here on our earth.

Furthermore, the seven sacred planets are, each one of them, a manifestation, an incorporealization, of the powers of one of the seven solar logoi, or spiritual forces of our solar kosmos, of which force-elements we may see a faint manifestation or, if you will, an adumbration, in the seven colors of the solar spectrum. We reserve further clearer explanation of this for future studies.

Please note also that our own human seven principles correspond each one, respectively and relatively, with one of these elements. The seven principles and elements of man are a duplication in him of the seven principles and elements of the kosmos. The seven elements, or bases, or rudiments, are the seven vehicles of the seven principles of the kosmos. These elements are at the same time substance and energy or force, because energy and substance fundamentally are the same thing. Matter and force are fundamentally the same thing. It is, as it were, the upper and the lower side, the inward and outward, the impulse and its results or fruits.

And furthermore, with regard to the seven sacred planets mentioned above: when the esoteric science of the ancients spoke of seven sacred planets, certain ones especially were designated because, as a matter of fact, each of the planets known to us is itself connected with seven other planets which are to it its seven sacred planets. Our earth is not one of the seven sacred planets of the ancients. Those seven sacred planets were Saturn; Jupiter; Venus; Mercury; the planet very near to the sun, at present invisible but suspected, and called by some modern astronomers Vulcan; a sixth which we merely mention, at present; and a seventh sometimes seen near the moon — by those who "have eyes to see"!

It will be recollected that it was remarked at a former study that the Vulcan-planet was first discovered, or supposed to be discovered, on March 26th, 1859, when it was seen in transit across the solar disk, and astronomers since then have searched for it and have not been able to find it. The teaching with reference to that planet, the highest (in one sense) of our seven sacred planets, is this, that it became invisible to our physical senses at about the middle point of the third root-race; but as we have now reached again, on the upward arc, the plane corresponding to the degree of plane-development of the third root-race, in a relatively short cyclic period it should begin again to show itself; but even today, while it might be generally invisible on account of what we may call its ethereality, if searched for by telescope it might nevertheless be seen, under favorable conditions, crossing the solar disk. And why? Because the truly indescribable brilliance of the sun throws anything that appears before it into visibility, so to speak, as a darker body, and it could thus be seen as such a shadowy body crossing the solar disk. At least that is one reason, probably, why astronomers have searched for this planet and have — or have not yet — found it.

With regard to the seventh mentioned above, which is the "lowest" of our seven sacred planets, the one esoterically spoken of as near the moon, that planet is in its last or seventh round, and is therefore dying. The probability is that it also, to our present physical senses, is more or less ethereal, and therefore practically invisible, except under certain very favorable conditions. Before our planet shall have reached its last or seventh round, our moon will have disintegrated into stellar dust, but by that time this secret or Mystery-planet near the moon and now dying will be dead, and will be to us as a moon; not a true moon in the sense of our lunar mother, but rather a satellite. It will appear to us as a moon; and, indeed, will be a "moon," because it will be a dead body.

There is a great deal that simply cannot be said — at least not yet — about these seven sacred or Mystery-planets. But we have pointed out before that the seven principal dhyani-chohans, or lords of meditation, are very intimately connected, each to each, respectively, with the seven Mystery-planets or sacred planets, that is, the seven which are the sacred planets for the earth. There are many other planets in our solar system, but only seven of that number are our seven sacred planets.

Each other planet, Jupiter, let us say for instance, has its own seven sacred planets, and all belonging to our solar system, but not all of them would necessarily be our seven sacred planets. Yet each one, by the interconnection or intermingling of the elements of kosmic construction, each one of them, I say, is a solar locus.

Here again is something that we must touch upon before we pass on farther.

Man is higher than the globe be lives on. Man is higher than the sun. You and I sitting here, occupy a status spiritually higher than the sun, although it is the spiritual and vital locus of the solar system. The sun we see is not the true sun. The sun we see is merely the focus of the titanic forces playing on the other side, through it. And man is higher than it, and yet comes from it, from the inner side of it, so to say. Further, as pointed out in another study, do not be carried away by scientific theories, for science is absolutely no criterion of spiritual knowledge, which is, as yet, far beyond its scope or reach. Our physical bodies, i.e., the body of each one of us, is a kosmos, even, relatively speaking, a universal kosmos. Modern science is beginning to suspect this truth, and the scientists now speak of the atom, formed of its electrons and protons, as composing a miniature solar system. There is no particle of substance or matter which is free from life, barren of intelligent life and lives; and there are beings in and on the electrons of the atoms of our body which are higher than the personal self of us is. A sublime thought to think about! We have, indeed, higher responsibilities inherent in us than we dream of. Our body, in very truth, is a temple of life.

I have received a letter from a friend which is well worth reading at this point. I cite a portion of it with an included quotation concerning the planet Vulcan:

"Seeliger has conclusively shown that there is enough of the cosmic dust which forms the Zodiacal Light to account for all the discrepancies in the movements of Mercury," and so make a Vulcan unnecessary.

This was written about twelve years ago, and was supposed to settle the whole difficulty of Mercury's 42 seconds per century change in perihelion position.

Note first: the perturbations in the movements of Mercury were first explained by an unknown planet called Vulcan. Well, Vulcan could not be found again, so the theorists said that it must be cosmic dust which produces these perturbations. Second theory: I quote again from the letter:

Then comes friend Einstein and starts explaining it in an entirely different way, and "cosmic dust" in its turn is scientifically made away with. Then comes Professor Poor of Columbia University and shows that Einstein's theory about Mercury upsets the positions of the other planets more than it helps Mercury — so there you are!

I admire their wonderful ingenuity in making theories for the marvels they have discovered under the limited conditions at their disposal, but we certainly must keep an open mind on the things which are subject to such various interpretations.

Very well put. It covers the ground very neatly.

We are nearing the conclusion of our study for this evening, but meanwhile there is a matter which requires some treatment before we close, and that is with regard to the root-races of any globe of our planetary chain. Take the races, for instance, of our own globe D of our planetary chain, globe D being the lowest in the chain, as you know. Now these root-races occupy vastly more time in their evolution than is commonly supposed. Time runs into millions of years for any and for each root-race. It is supposed by some who have not read H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine with attention that our root-race, the fifth, is only about one million years old now. That idea is not true, and H. P. Blavatsky says nothing of the sort. In volume II, page 435, she says that our fifth root-race is about one million years old, as a race sui generis and quite free from its parent-stem. How many more million years did it require to reach even that point, born as a root-race at about the central point of the mother-race? It required millions of years for our race to reach the central point of its career, where we are now. Our great racial catastrophe, which will come upon us as their own came in due time upon all other former root-races, and as such a catastrophe will come upon the two races which are to succeed our fifth race, i.e., the sixth and seventh root-races, has not yet reached us, but it is coming.

Another thing: while each root-race is destroyed alternately by fire and by water, let us not forget that the other elements likewise are at work at the same time; but it is fire and water more particularly which affect and cause the displacements of continents or rather their submergence, and the emergence or rising of the new lands. There is an interesting point of our doctrines in this connection, and I now briefly allude to it.

The teaching is that the first, the third, the fifth, and the seventh root-races are what may be called aqueous; and the second, the fourth, and the sixth — those with even numbers — are what we may call the terreous races. In other words, those with uneven numbers, 1, 3, 5, and 7, flourish on our globe at times when the oceans cover more of its surface than does the land; and the conditions are reversed in the second, fourth, and sixth root-races, when there is more land than water on the globe's surface. Fire destroyed the first race, as it destroyed the third race also; water destroyed the second and also the fourth race; and fire will destroy the fifth, water the sixth, and fire again the seventh. Now, geologically speaking, it is this alternation in extent of land or water which brings about this cyclical condition.

Let us try to make this matter a little more clear. The third race perished by fire, which means the action of subterrene earthquakes and of volcanoes' principally, followed by submergence. Now the third race was an aqueous race, that is to say, there was then more water on the face of the earth than land. So today, in our fifth race, at about the middle period of our race's life cycle, there is one-third as much land as water on the surface of the globe, i.e., three times as much water as land. When our root-race shall be drawing towards its end, the coming catastrophe will be shown by immense systemic and minor seismic and volcanic disturbances, announcing the submergence of our continental system and the emergence of new lands for the following sixth root-race, the working of fire. When the Atlantean system fell, when the Atlantean continental system had its catastrophe which slowly overwhelmed it with flood, it was water which caused it. There was then more land than water; nature sought a readjustment, a better balance, and that great system perished by floods. The water came and submerged the land, of course also accompanied by earthquakes and the action of volcanoes. We must not imagine that when a root-race perishes through fire or water as the chief causative agent, that there is then no aqueous or terrene-fire disturbance. On the contrary, fire and water work together, but the one or the other then predominates. The fourth, the Atlantean, was a terreous period, and nature followed her usual course in cases of disturbed equilibrium — "and the waters came and overwhelmed the land." Whence the "waters came" is a most fascinating subject for study, but we have no time to go into it tonight. Ours is an aqueous period; and in due course the waters will slowly tend to disappear, giving place to new lands in the future, the dwelling places to be of the next, the sixth root-race.

Katherine Tingley: I would like to ask Professor de Purucker if he will make an explanation — which I think would be satisfactory to you, and which he could do much better than I — and show what will be the state of civilization, of humanity, at the ending of these different races, when the end comes? How will evolution be marked? Will not those people who will seem to be the "victims" of the terrible catastrophe which comes at the end of every race have the knowledge of the secrets of death, and look upon rebirth as a glorious release?

G. de Purucker: I think certainly so. The end of every race brings with it a perfection of what that race was striving to accomplish. And I dare say that if we could look back and know what took place when the continent of Atlantis sank, we should realize that even those comparatively few, who by death left the physical body during that catastrophe, had the realization that what they had to undergo was no more and no less than merely one form of death inevitable to all men sooner or later. They knew better than we do now, although far more sunken in matter, that life is eternal, for, actually, there is nothing but life everywhere! And their physicians could have told them, and did tell them, for they knew, that every disease of our bodies comes about from an excess of life, particularly what we may call the malignant or wasting diseases. In these cases it is life running riot in the body, and that is what causes death. They knew it better than we.

Furthermore, no one should think that in these racial catastrophes everyone is swept away in a moment in a fearful confusion and chaos, and that there is no hope, and that everything is but wild despair. Not at all. These catastrophes come on slowly. The continents sink through the ages. Man migrates and leaves the sinking lands behind, and moves to higher and better ones, new ones, fresh ones, where new races are born out of what we justly may call the death of the old.

Nothing, I suppose, that I might mention, could equal the horror of the catastrophe of Lisbon years ago, when tens of thousands of people perished in an earthquake; or the fearful catastrophe at Messina, in Sicily, only a few years ago; and other earthquakes and tidal waves which you all may remember. We are in our own great cyclical catastrophe now, though it is but beginning. How much worse is the agony of heart, let us say, of one who is at the bedside of one whom he loves! Ah, there you have anguish! But sudden catastrophes, when they do occur, occur mostly on a relatively small scale. When the races near their ends, the continents sink slowly. There are much worse things than merely losing the physical body, for those whose destiny it is to be in a racial catastrophe. They will know the beautiful secrets of death. At the end of our race we shall know it far better than the Atlanteans did. But not one so perishes individually, unless it is his personal karma. How about the tens of thousands who perish yearly in steamer, train, automobile, mine and various other accidents? Pray reflect.


Chapter 26

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