The paragraphs cited below from The Secret Doctrine (I, 181) are replete with occult facts, although unfortunately many students have construed them so literally as to miss the major part of H.P.B.'s intent. Having in mind the seven or more classes of peregrinating monads, they then come upon her reference to "a triple evolutionary scheme," and wonder if this is not a contradiction. There is no contradiction of any kind.
It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Upadhis; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections on the field of Cosmic Illusion of ATMA the seventh, the ONE REALITY.
1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with: --
2. The Intellectual, represented by the Manasa-Dhyanis (the Solar Devas, or the Agnishwatta Pitris) the "givers of intelligence and consciousness" to man and: --
3. The Physical, represented by the Chhayas of the lunar Pitris, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the "growth" (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and -- owing to the accumulation of experiences -- of the finite into the INFINITE, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.
Each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or "Logoi." Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosm of the great Macrocosm; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is.
When we consider the evolution of man through the ages, it is as correct to say that all his seven principles and his various monads evolve as it is to say that his evolution takes place as a "triple evolutionary scheme," to wit, his spirit evolves, his soul evolves, his body evolves. It will be seen that in the above extract H.P.B. was simply dividing the seven monadic classes into three general groups: (a) those monads which are typically spiritual in swabhava and in position on the ladder of life; (b) those which are, by swabhava and evolutionary unfolding, intellectual or typically manasic; and (c) the group which aggregatively are the monads more or less completely sunken in the material or physical realms of nature.
Thus then, the human constitution is divisible into three monadic groups: an upper duad, an intermediate duad, and a lower triad (cf. Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, ch. XLVI). The two highest monadic classes -- those farthest advanced in evolutionary growth -- form what H.P.B. describes as the spiritual or the monadic, corresponding to the upper duad (atma-buddhi) in the human constitution.
The second group, corresponding to the intermediate duad (manas-kama) in man, comprises the two particularly manasic classes of monads: the typical solar devas or agnishwatta pitris, otherwise the manasa-dhyanis; and the lower solar devas which are the higher lunar pitris. In other words, these latter are agnishwatta pitris of a lower class, albeit of solar characteristics, which were evolving intellectual monads of lower degree on the moon.
Thirdly, the three monadic classes of the lowest group form what H.P.B. calls the physical, and correspond to the lower triad (the vital-astral-physical) in the human constitution. These three classes consist partly of monads typically terrestrial because closely connected by karmic destiny with globe D of our planetary chain, and partly of the monadic life-atoms exuded or emanated from the lowest part of the veils of the lunar pitris, which life-atoms in their aggregate are the 'shadows' or chhayas or astral doubles of the lunar pitris, just as man's linga-sarira is his astral double.
Now when the lunar pitris, during the course of their evolutionary growth as the early 'humans' on this globe D in the present round, clothed themselves in these astral veils -- the thickened effusion of their own vitality pouring forth from the auric egg -- these chhayas or astral bodies served as the original 'physical' bodies of the 'human' stock in the first root-race. The terrestrial life-atoms collected around these chhayas and thus aided in the consolidating process of the 'human' linga-sarira in those earliest times of human evolution on this globe during this fourth round. Hence our present physical bodies or sthula-sariras are the thickened and concreted chhayas of the lunar pitris.
We see that the three periodical upadhis mentioned above are the three groups of monads corresponding to the spirit, soul and body of man, the union of these three streams in him making him the complex being he now is. While "each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or 'Logoi,' "nevertheless in our system they are "inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point."
From the foregoing the distinction between agnishwatta pitris and lunar pitris should be clearer. The agnishwatta pitris are those monads which in former planetary chains rose from unself-conscious god-sparks into the human status, and passing through the human status attained manasic divinity. On the other hand, the lunar pitris, often called the barhishads, although in essence solar devas precisely like the agnishwatta pitris, had not yet reached the 'human' status on the moon, but they have attained it on our present planetary chain -- hence the lunar pitris are now we humans.
For the bulk of mankind this great event took place during the third root-race, when the manasaputras or 'sons of mind' awakened the latent intellectual and psychical faculties in the then relatively unself-conscious human stock of that root-race, it being their karmic obligation so to do. These manasaputras or agnishwattas thereafter continued their evolution in their own realms, while the lunar pitris, being thus stimulated or awakened, pursued their evolutionary course from about the middle of the third root-race onwards as self-conscious thinking individuals.
Every monad, of whatever class, and no matter what may be its state in evolution at any time, is in its essence a non-fully expressed divinity or god. Therefore we, having now in our constitution these different monads, are very composite beings, each one of these monads being itself a learning, growing entity, destined in future ages, if at present below the human status, to become a man; and if above the human, to go still higher.
In the future, and following nature's rule of action, it is we who will at the end of the seventh round become manasaputras or agnishwattas of one of the lower classes of this group; and, when our planetary chain imbodies itself anew, it is we who shall then perform the role of illuminating or awakening those monads which now amongst us have not yet evolved forth the human status, being at present the higher groups of animals.
I have touched upon the manner in which the lunar pitris, during the first root-race on this globe D during this fourth round, exuded or projected their shadows or chhayas, which were nothing more than their astral bodies, the vital-astral and quasi-physical forms in which they were then imbodying themselves. This exuding simply means that the lunar pitris had reached the point in their evolution when their astral vehicles were more or less fully developed, so that they formed actual bodies in and through which the lunar monads worked, exactly as our human monads today live in and work through our present physical bodies. Once this stage in the evolving of the lunar pitris had been reached, and once their chhayas or astral bodies had become concrete enough to manifest in the 'physical' world, from that moment the terrestrial matter and forces of this globe aided in the thickening of these chhayas. This process continued until actual physical bodies were produced, which steadily became grosser and heavier until the middle point of the fourth root-race -- the most material point possible in this fourth round. From that time on our bodies have been very slowly but continuously etherealizing themselves, so that we of the fifth root-race have bodies less gross than those of the Atlanteans or fourth root-race. This process of the etherealizing of our sthula-sariras will go on without interruption, so that at the end of the seventh root-race on this globe D during this fourth round, our physical bodies will be closely akin in texture and appearance to the quasi-astral bodies of the first root-race.
When H.P.B. speaks of the astral doubles of the lunar pitris being exuded or projected, she uses this graphic expression for the reason that a man's astral and physical vehicles are more or less doubles or reflections of what the inner man is. Thus, our physical bodies are but the feeble reflections of what we as human egos really are. It is utterly erroneous to consider this phrase astral doubles to mean that the lunar pitris detached from themselves astral forms which, thus separated, evolved into human beings.
Now, how can we relate the above to the statement in The Secret Doctrine (II, 1), that seven groups of humanity appear simultaneously? (7)
As regards the evolution of mankind, the Secret Doctrine postulates three new propositions, which stand in direct antagonism to modern science as well as to current religious dogmas: it teaches (a) the simultaneous evolution of seven human groups on seven different portions of our globe; (b) the birth of the astral, before the physical body: the former being a model for the latter; and (c) that man, in this Round, preceded every mammalian -- the anthropoids included -- in the animal kingdom.
This refers to the fact that human evolution opened on this globe D in this fourth round by the simultaneous appearance, on seven different parts of the land surrounding the north pole, of seven embryonic astral 'humanities,' these being the seven classes of lunar pitris. It is from these original humanities, forming the beginnings of the first root-race on this globe in this round, that all the later human races came. These astral humanities had their geographical zones on what H.P.B. calls "the Imperishable Sacred Land," the first continent, surrounding and including the north pole and extending, like the leaves of a lotus, somewhat southwards from the pole in seven different zones. These primordial life centers or simultaneous races were as distinct as the seven globes of the planetary chain are from each other. The esoteric doctrine thus teaches a polygenetic and not a monogenetic origin for mankind. (8)
There are, strictly speaking, ten classes of pitris: three arupa or relatively formless, called the agnishwatta or kumara class who were solar beings; and the other seven, the rupa, or those having form, who were the lunar pitris. Of these seven classes, the three highest were also relatively arupa, while four were distinctly rupa. It is the lunar pitris who, coming to this globe from the preceding globe C of our planetary chain, appeared -- when the time for human evolution on this globe began -- on the north pole in their seven classes, awakening the sishtas or seeds of the humanities left on this globe D when the preceding round, ages and ages previously, had ended.
It is not quite accurate to speak of these seven astral humanities as seven races, for this word races in this instance could be misleading. I would liefer speak of them as seven embryonic astral mankinds, each one of them being the production of one of the seven classes of the lunar pitris. It was especially the four lowest classes of lunar pitris which gave to these original mankinds their physical form.
Such was the opening of the drama of present human evolution on this fourth globe in this fourth round. From that time onwards, the seven astral humanities began their evolutionary development as the first root-race, and continued it, each on its own zone, until the time came for the appearance of the second root-race. By then the seven original mankinds had mixed and had disappeared as separate individual humanities. The first root-race then merged itself into and became the second root-race. Already in the first root-race, and among the seven astral embryonic humanities of that very early time, seven grades or differences appeared in evolutionary development from the lowest mankind upwards to the highest or seventh, which even then showed the beginnings of self-conscious and thinking man.
Now these seven primordial humanities were much more ethereal at first than was this globe D on which they appeared, although the globe at that time was considerably more ethereal than now. With the exception of the relatively few who had attained a certain degree of self-consciousness, because belonging to the highest class of the lunar pitris, the great majority of these early seven astral mankinds were unself-conscious and therefore 'mindless.' They were the more or less concreted astral bodies projected by the lunar pitris: boneless, skinless, and without internal organs as we know them. They were embryonic men in a state of consciousness which can be likened only to that of a heavy daydream; likewise they had no moral sense, and in consequence there was no sin among them because there was no conscious mind to imagine sin and to do it. Morally, they were as irresponsible as the just-born child, although the analogy is not very close.
To summarize: the seven embryonic mankinds were actually the astral bodies of the seven classes of the lunar pitris, the lunar monads, each class of which was attracted by karma to its own geographical zone. However, it was only the lowest four classes of lunar pitris which formed and shaped, by projecting their own astral shadows or bodies, the then physical bodies of these earliest humanities.
Thus is a man composite -- composite of the divine grandeur of a galaxy, the solar splendor of the manasa-dhyanis, as well as the transient energies of the lunar pitris. What a pathway we have before us! As humans we are finite entities; our human stage is but a finite event, a transitory phenomenon in the field of endless Duration; as humans we have not been evolving through eternity. Evolution is one of nature's laws, and evolution per se, considered as an abstract idea, is eternal; but no entity, no thing which exists, is eternal.
In the present cosmic manvantara we humans sprang forth as seeds of life, unself-conscious god-sparks, from some entity which had preceded us in evolution and of which we are the offspring, and in which we move and live and have our being. As we ourselves, along with all other entities, evolve into divinity, we too shall cast forth from our being god-sparks, that is, elementals, which in their turn will begin their long pilgrimage through the succeeding manvantara and finally themselves reach divinity.
Even the gods themselves, by contrast with endless Duration, are no more permanent than we are: a flash of life and they are gone, but to reissue forth in the next cosmic manvantara on a higher plane. We, not as men, but as the monadic essence within us, are the children of Eternity, particles of the Boundless. We began in this cosmic manvantara a new life experience, a new pilgrimage in higher spheres and on higher planes, in a nobler world than that in which the monadic essence manifested in the preceding manvantara.
In order to know all about this present universe, this present hierarchy, we must pass through every part of it from the most spiritual to the most material, and then rise along the ascending arc to rebecome what once we were, plus -- and here is the value of evolution -- all the assimilated fruitage of the experiences gained: the strengthening of inner fiber, the bringing out of new treasuries within our essential being.
Reincarnation exemplifies the idea. We have our experiences in one life, evolve a few steps along the path, bring out somewhat of what is locked up within us, take our devachanic rest, and then begin a new period of evolution -- a new incarnation on earth. Here we see precisely the same law: a man in any one incarnation has not been evolving eternally. He is therein a new event, a new production, with its beginning and its end.
This monadic essence of each one of us is a divine thing, is an eternal producer, an inexhaustible fount of life and intelligence and consciousness, all different facets of the same fundamental consciousness-life-substance.
At the end of the preceding mahamanvantara we finished our evolution there as dhyani-chohans, 'lords of meditation,' gods, and went into our paranirvana, the cosmic rest, and passed aeons in that period, only to reissue forth again as unself-conscious god-sparks in the new stage of life, in the new and higher hierarchy -- the child of the preceding hierarchy just as we are children of our own Self.
And such dhyani-chohan, the fruitage of the preceding manvantara, is what we now call our inner god. We are it and yet different from it. We sprang from it as a new seed of individualized life in the beginning of the present mahamanvantara; and it is the destiny of each one of us to become an inner god for some future psychical monad, issuing from the heart of that inner god in the next cosmic manvantara. I am my inner god and yet am its child.