THEOSOPHY, Vol. 66, No. 8, June, 1978
(Pages 235-238; Size: 12K)
(Number 2 of a 6-part series)



OUR Earth, as the visible representative of its invisible superior fellow globes, its "lords" or "principles" has to live, as have the others, through seven Rounds. During the first three, it forms and consolidates; during the fourth it settles and hardens; during the last three it gradually returns to its first ethereal form; it is spiritualised, so to say.

Its Humanity develops fully only in the Fourth -- our present Round. Up to this fourth Life-Cycle, it is referred to as "humanity" only for lack of a more appropriate term. Now every "Round" (on the descending scale) is but a repetition in a more concrete form of the Round which preceded it, as every globe -- down to our fourth sphere (the actual earth) -- is a grosser and more material copy of the more shadowy sphere which precedes it in their successive order, on the three higher planes.

Every life-cycle on Globe D (our Earth) is composed of seven root-races. They commence with the Ethereal and end with the spiritual on the double line of physical and moral evolution -- from the beginning of the terrestrial round to its close.

The Grand Cycle includes the progress of mankind from the appearance of primordial man of ethereal form. It runs through the inner cycles of his (man's) progressive evolution from the ethereal down to the semi-ethereal and purely physical: down to the redemption of man from his coat of skin and matter, after which it continues running its course downward and then upward again, to meet at the culmination of a Round, when the manvantaric "Serpent swallows its Tail" and seven minor cycles are passed.

Every "Round" brings about a new development and even an entire change in the mental, psychic, spiritual and physical constitution of man, all these principles evoluting on an ever ascending scale.

The humanities developed coordinately, and on parallel lines with the four Elements, every new Race being physiologically adapted to meet the additional element. Each Element adds to its own characteristics, those of its predecessor; as each Root-Race adds the characterizing sense of the preceding Race.

In this Round no units of either of the kingdoms are animated any longer by monads destined to become human in their next stage, but only by the lower Elementals of their respective realms. The last human Monad incarnated before the beginning of the 5th Root-Race. The cycle of metempsychosis for the human monad is closed, for we are in the Fourth Round and the Fifth Root-Race. It can never be too often repeated, that the full-blown human Monads have to be first disposed of, before the new crop of candidates appears on this Globe at the beginning of the next cycle.

There must be a limited number of Monads evolving and growing more and more perfect through their assimilation of many successive personalities, in every new Manvantara. This is absolutely necessary in view of the doctrines of Rebirth, Karma, and the gradual return of the human Monad to its source -- absolute Deity. Thus, although the hosts of more or less progressed Monads are almost incalculable, they are still finite, as is everything in this Universe of differentiation and finiteness.

With regard to the pre-human period, all that can be said, at present, is, that even up to the appearance of the "Mindless" First Race, the Earth was not without its inhabitants. More may be said: that which Science -- recognizing only physical man -- has a right to regard as the prehuman period, may be conceded to have extended from the First Race down to the first half of the Atlantean race, since it is only then that man became the "complete organic being he is now." And therefore it is, that, after this central turning-point has been passed in the Great Cycle -- i.e., after the middle point of the Fourth Race in the Fourth Round on our Globe -- no more Monads can enter the human kingdom. The door is closed for this Cycle and the balance struck.

As to the question of the four distinct races of mankind that preceded our Fifth Race, there is nothing mystical in it, except the ethereal bodies of the first races; and it is a matter of legendary, nevertheless, very correct history. If the materialised forms, which are sometimes seen oozing out of the bodies of certain mediums could, instead of vanishing, be fixed and made solid -- the creation of the first Race would become quite comprehensible.

The first race of men were, then, simply the images, the astral doubles, of their Fathers, who were the pioneers, or the most progressed Entities from a preceding though lower sphere, the shell of which is now our Moon. Evolutionary law compelled the lunar "Fathers" to pass, in their monadic condition, through all the forms of life and being on this globe; but at the end of the Third Round, they were already human in their divine nature, and were thus called upon to become the creators of the forms destined to fashion the tabernacles of the less progressed Monads, whose turn it was to incarnate.

The First Race was simply composed of the astral shadows of the creative progenitors, having of course neither astral nor physical bodies of their own -- this Race never died. Its "men" melted gradually away, becoming absorbed in the bodies of their own "sweat-born" progeny, more solid than their own. The old form vanished and was absorbed by, disappeared in, the new form, more human and physical. Thus the first sub-races of the Second Race were born at first by the process described on the law of analogy; while the last began gradually, pari passu with the evolution of the human body, to be formed otherwise. The process of reproduction had seven stages also in each Race, each covering æons of time.

There was no death in those days of a period more blissful than the Golden Age; but the first, or parent material was used for the formation of the new being, to form the body and even the inner or lower principles or bodies of the progeny. Death came only after man had become a physical creature.... The men of the First Race and also of the Second, dissolved and disappeared in their progeny. Till then there had been no regular death, but only a transformation, for men had no personality as yet. They had monads -- breaths of the ONE Breath, and as impersonal as the source from which they proceeded. They had bodies, or rather shadows of bodies, which were sinless, hence Karmaless. Therefore, as there was no Kamaloka -- least of all Nirvana or even Devachan -- for the "souls" of men who had no personal Egos, there could be no intermediate periods between the incarnations. Like the Phoenix, primordial man resurrected out of his old into a new body. Each time, and with each new generation, he became more solid, more physically perfect, agreeably with the evolutionary law, which is the Law of Nature. Death came with the complete physical organism, and with it -- moral decay.

The state of mental torpor and unconsciousness of the first two races, and of the first half of the Third Race, is symbolized, in the second chapter of Genesis, by the deep sleep of Adam. It was the dreamless sleep of mental inaction, the slumber of the Soul and Mind, which was meant by that "sleep" and not at all the physiological process of differentiation of sexes. The History of the Races begins at the separation of the Sexes, when the preceding egg-bearing androgynous race perished rapidly, and the subsequent sub-races of the Third Root-Race appeared as an entirely new race physiologically. The first two races of men were too ethereal and phantom-like in their constitution, organism, and shape, even to be called physical men. The Atlanteans were really the first purely human and terrestrial race -- those that preceded it being more divine and ethereal than human and solid. Immense periods of time must have elapsed since the separation of the sexes, without mentioning the First or even the Second Root-Races. As these must remain beyond the comprehension of minds trained in Western thought, it is found useless to speak in detail of the First and Second, and even of the Third Race in its earliest stage. One has to begin with the latter, when it reached its full human period.

(To be continued)

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


Theosophy endeavors to present to man what his real nature is; that he is first, last, and all the time SPIRIT. Spirit means Life and Consciousness -- the power to see, to know, to experience. We all have that. That is common to all of us. It is not separate in itself -- it is the One Life in all beings of every grade. But we, as individuals, have evolved into individuals from the great Ocean of Life. We are Individualized Spirit, and so we each have a separate individual existence, which is continuous. In that sense we are an evolution, but an evolution of Spirit, not Matter -- an evolution of Knowledge, not of form only. This has been obtained through observation and experience; whatever differences exist are because of more or less experience, or a better adaptation and application of it; there is no difference in the Source or Potentialities of any being. 


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(1) NOTE.--This is the second part of a six-part series on the Races of Mankind, collated from The Secret Doctrine and various articles by H.P.B.
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