THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 7, May, 1959
(Pages 316-322; Size: 21K)
OUR EVOLVING PLANET(1)
SOME teachings of The Secret Doctrine concerning our earth, contrasted with the teachings of Science in this generation, can not fail to be of interest. Selections from the former are here collated, as there is no dearth of scientific reporting in modern journalism.
Eastern Occultism enumerates seven interpenetrating globes in our planetary chain, and refers to our earth as "the fourth world," the lowest of the chain, above which run upward on both its sides the six globes, three on each side. It is a Vedic teaching that "there are three earths corresponding to three heavens, and our earth (the fourth) is called Bhumi." The esoteric meaning and allusion to it in the Vedas is that it refers to our planetary chain, three "earths" on the descending arc, and three "heavens" -- which are the three earths or globes also, only far more ethereal -- on the ascending or spiritual arc. By the first three we descend into matter, by the other three we ascend into Spirit; the lower one, Bhumi, our earth, forming the turning point, so to say, and containing potentially as much of Spirit as it does of Matter.
The above is described diagrammatically, wherein are shown seven planes, corresponding to the seven states of consciousness in man. The three upper are the three higher planes of consciousness (in Kosmos). These are revealed and explained in both the Kabalistic and the Eastern schools only to the Initiates. The lower ones represent the four lower planes (of the seven massed globes), the lowest being our plane, or the visible Universe. Our Globe is at the bottom of the arc of descent, where the matter of our perception exhibits itself in its grossest form. Our planet is adapted to the peculiar state of its human stock, that state which enables us to see with our naked eye the sidereal bodies which are co-essential with our terrene plane and substance, just as their respective inhabitants, the Jovians, Martians and others can perceive our little world: because our planes of consciousness, differing as they do in degree but being the same in kind, are on the same layer of differentiated matter.
The ordinary man has no experience of any state of consciousness other than that to which the physical senses link him. Men dream; they sleep the profound sleep which is too deep for dreams to impress the physical brain; and in these states there must still be consciousness. How, then, while the mysteries remain unexplored can we hope to speculate with profit on the nature of globes which, in the economy of nature, must needs belong to states of consciousness other and quite different from any which man experiences here? And this is true to the letter. For even great adepts (those initiated, of course), trained seers though they are, can claim thorough acquaintance with the nature and appearance of planets and their inhabitants belonging to our solar system only. They know that almost all the planetary worlds are inhabited; but can have access to -- even in spirit -- only those of our system. And they are aware how difficult it is, even for them, to put themselves into full rapport even with the planes of consciousness within our system, but differing from the states of consciousness possible on this globe. That is, on the three planes of the chains of spheres beyond the earth. Such knowledge and intercourse are possible to them because they have learned how to penetrate to planes of consciousness which are closed to the perception of ordinary man. But were they to communicate their knowledge, the world would be no wiser, because it lacks that experience of other forms of perception which alone could enable them to grasp what was told them. Still the fact remains that most of the planets, as the stars beyond our system, are inhabited, a fact which has been admitted by the men of science themselves.
Every world has its parent star and sister planet. Thus Earth is the adopted child and younger brother of Venus, but its inhabitants are of their own kind. Mercury is the elder brother of the Earth. The Moon is Earth's satellite, but this does not invalidate the theory that she (the Moon) has given to the Earth all but her corpse. Mercury and Venus have no satellites, but they had "parents" just as the Earth had. Both are far older than the Earth, and, before the latter reaches her seventh round, her mother Moon will have dissolved into thin air, as the "moons" of the other planets have or have not, as the case may be, since there are planets that have several moons -- a mystery again which no dipus of astronomy has solved.
That which is called "wheel" is the symbolical expression for a world or globe, which shows that the ancients were aware that our Earth was a revolving globe, not a motionless square -- as some Christian Fathers taught. The "Great Wheel" is the whole duration of our Cycle of being, or Maha Kalpa, i.e., the whole revolution of our special chain of seven planets or Spheres from beginning to end; the "Small Wheels" meaning the Rounds, of which there are also seven. When evolution has run downward into matter, from planet or globe A to planet G, or Z, as the Western students call it, it is one Round. In the middle of the fourth revolution, which is our present "round," "evolution has reached its acme of physical development, crowned its work with the perfect physical man, and from this point begins its work spirit-ward." 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. In the Stanzas, the phrase "Older Wheels" refers to the worlds or globes of our chain as they were during the previous rounds. The previous globes disintegrate, and reappear transformed and perfected, for a new phase of life (in the next succeeding round). In the Kabala, worlds are compared to sparks which fly from under the hammer of the great Architect -- LAW, the law which rules all the smaller Creators.
Ancient philosophy called the Earth the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and man the outcome of the two. Every symbol, in every national religion, may be read esoterically, and the proof furnished for its being read correctly by transliterating it into its corresponding numeral and geometric forms -- by the extraordinary agreement of all -- however much the glyphs and symbols may vary among themselves. For in origin, those symbols were all identical. Take, for instance, the opening sentences in various cosmogonies: in every case it is either a circle, an egg, or a head. Darkness is always associated with this first symbol and surrounds it, as shown in the Hindu, the Egyptian, the Chaldeo-Hebrew and even the Scandinavian systems ... all these being connected with the primeval wisdom ... and all having an identical meaning and relating to the primordial Archetypal Man (Adam Kadmon) the creative origin of all things, which is composed of the Host of Cosmic Powers -- the Creative Dhyan Chohans, beyond which is darkness.
The Egg was incorporated as a sacred sign in the cosmogony of every people on the earth, and was revered both on account of its form and its inner mystery. From the earliest mental conceptions of man, it was known as that which represented most successfully the origin and secret of being. The gradual development of the imperceptible germ within the closed shell; the inward working, without any apparent outward interference of force, which from a latent nothing produced an active something, needing nought save heat; and which, having gradually evolved into a conscious, living creature, broke its shell, appearing to the outward senses of all as a self-generated and self-creating being -- must have been a standing miracle from the beginning. The secret teaching explains the reason for this reverence by the Symbolism of the prehistoric races. The "First Cause" had no name in the beginning. Later it was pictured in the fancy of the thinkers as an ever invisible, mysterious Bird that dropped an Egg into Chaos, which Egg became the Universe. It typifies the great Circle, itself a symbol for the universe and its spherical bodies. The second reason for its having been chosen as the symbolical representation of the Universe, and of our earth, was its form. It was a circle and a sphere, and the ovi-form shape of our globe must have been known from the beginning of symbology since it was so universally adopted.
"In the beginning, before Mother became Father-Mother (or the androgynous potency of all things), the fiery Dragon moved in the infinitudes alone." The Aitareya Brahmana calls the Earth Sarparajni, "the Serpent Queen," and "the Mother of all that moves." Before our globe became egg-shaped (and the Universe also) "a long trail of Cosmic dust (or fire-mist) moved and writhed like a serpent in Space." This is the precedent cometary condition of the earth. The "Spirit of God moving on Chaos" was symbolized by every nation in the shape of a fiery serpent with its tail in its mouth -- which symbolizes not only Eternity and Infinitude, but also the globular shape of all the bodies formed within the Universe from that fiery mist. Thus it is stated, the Universe, as well as the Earth and Man, cast off periodically, serpent-like, their old skins, to assume new ones after a time of rest.
When a planetary chain is in its last round, its Globe I or A before finally dying out sends all its energy and "principles" into a neutral centre of latent force, a "laya centre," and thereby informs a new nucleus of undifferentiated substance or matter, i.e., calls it into activity or gives it life. For planetary chains have their "Days" and their "Nights," periods of activity or life, and of inertia or death -- and behave in heaven as do men on earth. They generate their likes, get old, and become personally extinct, their spiritual principles living in their progeny as a survival of themselves. Thus the Moon. It is now the cold residual quantity, the shadow dragged after the new body, into which her living powers and "principles" are transfused. She is doomed for long ages to be ever pursuing the Earth, to be attracted by and to attract her progeny.
In the first round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives -- i.e., formed into a sphere -- had no solidity, nor qualifications, save a cold brightness, nor form nor colour. The earth, we are told, is built up for the first round by the "Devourers" which disintegrate and differentiate the germs of other lives in the elements; pretty much, it must be supposed, as in the present stage of the world, the aerobes do, when, undermining and loosening the chemical structure in an organism, they transform animal matter and generate substances that vary in their constitutions. When the "Devourers" (the atoms of the fire-mist of Science) have differentiated the "fire-atoms" by a peculiar process of segmentation, the latter become life-germs, which aggregate according to the laws of cohesion and affinity. Then the life-germs produce lives of another kind, which work on the structure of our globes. According to the Commentary: "Every visible thing in this Universe was built up by such LIVES, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter." "Who forms Manu (the Man) and who forms his body? The LIFE and the LIVES." But here Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly man, the real and non-dying EGO in us, which is the direct emanation of the "One Life" or the Absolute Deity. "Fire alone is ONE, on the plane of the One Reality. On that of manifested, hence illusive being, its particles are fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume."
Every new Round develops one of the Compound Elements, as now known to Science -- which rejects the primitive nomenclature, preferring to subdivide them into constituents. If Nature is the "Ever-Becoming" on the manifested plane, then those Elements have to be regarded in the same light. They have to evolve, progress, and increase to the Manvantaric end. Thus the first round, we are taught, developed but one Element, and a nature and humanity in what may be called one aspect of Nature -- called by some, very unscientifically, though it may be so de facto, "One-dimensional Space." However it is only towards the end of the first Round that it evolved one Element which from its inorganic, so to say, or simple essence became now in our (fourth) round the fire we know throughout the system. The second round brought forth and developed two elements, Fire and Air. Its humanity, adapted to this condition of Nature, if we can give the name Humanity to beings living under conditions unknown to men, was -- to use again a familiar phrase in a strictly figurative sense (the only way in which it can be used correctly) -- "a two-dimensional species." The second round brings into manifestation the second element, Air, that element, the purity of which would ensure continuous life to him who would use it. There have been two occultists only in Europe who have discovered and even partially applied it in practice, though its composition has always been known among the highest Eastern Initiates. The ozone of modern chemists is poison compared with the real universal solvent which could never be thought of unless it existed in nature.
From the second round, Earth, hitherto a foetus in the matrix of Space, began its real existence; it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle. The second corresponds to the sixth (principle); the second is life continuous, the other, temporary. The third round developed the third principle -- Water; while the fourth transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on. "Bhumi" has reached her fourth principle. Earth will reach her true ultimate form -- (inversely in this to man) -- her body shell -- only toward the end of the manvantara after the Seventh Round. Eugenius Philalethes was right when he assured his readers on his word of honour that no one had yet seen the Earth (i.e., MATTER in its essential form). Our globe is, so far, in its Kamarupic state -- the astral body of desires of Ahamkara, dark Egotism, the progeny of Mahat, on the lower plane.
"The spirit of Fire (or Heat) which stirs up, fructifies, and develops into concrete form everything (from its ideal prototype), which is born of WATER or primordial Earth, evolved Brahma" -- with the Hindus. Fire by friction was the first mystery of nature, the first and chief property of matter that was revealed to man. For all we know, FIRE may have been pure AKASHA, the first Matter of the Magnum Opus of the Creators and "Builders;" AIR, simply Nitrogen, "the breath of the Supporters of the Heavenly Dome," as the Mahometan mystics call it; WATER, that primordial fluid which was required, according to Moses, to make a living soul with.
The Earth, such as we know it now, had no existence before the fourth round, hundreds of millions of years ago, the commencement of our geological earth. The globe was "fiery, cool and radiant as its ethereal men and animals during the first round," says the Commentary, uttering a contradiction or paradox in the opinion of our present Science; "luminous and more dense and heavy during the second round; watery during the third." The centers of consciousness (destined to develop into humanity as we know it) of the third round arrived at a perception of the third Element Water. Those of the fourth round have added earth as a state of matter to their stock as well as the three other elements in their present transformation. In short, none of the so-called elements were, in the three preceding rounds, as they are now.
On our way upward on the ascending arc, Evolution spiritualizes and etherealizes, so to speak, the general nature of all, bringing it on to a level with the plane on which the twin globe on the opposite side is placed (vide diagram, p. 200, Vol. I.); the result being that when the seventh globe is reached (in whatever round) the nature of everything that is evolving returns to the condition it was in at its starting point -- plus, every time, a new and superior degree in the states of consciousness.
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:
Needless to say, we are not the architects of the world, we have not made nature. It is spread out there before us, a picturesque collection of heterogeneous, wholly dissimilar objects, here seas, there mountains or deserts, plants or animals. Nature revels in their various shapes and colours. That is what we see, the picture as it hangs before our sight. Faced with this variegated scene, this multiplicity of things, the eye is very well pleased, the artist entranced. The inquisitive intellect is, however, on the contrary, extremely ill it ease, confused, restless. As a picture this world of ours is no doubt satisfactory enough, these green fields, rushing rivers, grazing cattle, flying birds. You might even go so far in enthusiastic moments as to call it charming or sublime. But all these forms and colours, these endless differences, cannot by the inquiring mind be simply taken for granted. They have to be accounted for. How have they arisen?
--W. MACNEILE DIXON
OUR INVISIBLE ANCESTORS
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