The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
August 2000 Vol. 3 Issue 6
In the working out of human progress, the whole mass of mankind does not reach the same level of attainment at the same time. This accounts for the confusing archaeological finds of high and low grade civilizations in the same geological strata. The ancient record also explains the finding of superimposed cities, where the lower levels show that a higher degree of culture preceded later levels of more primitive conditions. In different parts of the globe, at the same time, there have been cave-dwellers, lake-dwellers, tribes of wandering hunters, pastoral peoples, and flourishing civilizations, all rounding out their separate careers.
Evolution is but another word for cyclic law. The race does not move en masse in an end-on evolution. That fact is evident in watching the same tide of human development which is both ebbing and flowing at different places of the modern world. In fact, if this modern world were suddenly overwhelmed by a cataclysm and preserved in status quo, like Pompeii, the far distant archaeologist would find a buried past as paradoxical as the present excavators do in looking backward.
Just as our rotating earth swings us around from one morning to the next, so the rounds of whole civilizations come and go, flourish and fade away, again and again. Each reincarnating ego is attracted back to earth karmically at the time, to the place, and in the conditions where it can take the next step on its journey of becoming humanly perfect. How rapidly and how far each one will go in one lifetime depends upon himself. Conditions which are stumbling blocks to a weak character may be used as stepping stones by another of strong will and courage. Each person is reborn with the character which he has made for himself, and each life holds opportunities for bringing out more of his own inner power and knowledge.
It is perfectly natural that certain larger or smaller numbers of the human race should be karmically grouped together according to their general status of evolution. The karmic law makes no mistakes in grouping individuals together in any stage of any kind of a culture. The greatest and the least of them, as well as the general average of individuals, are more or less closely linked by their personal, national, and racial karma. – Lydia Ross
There are many wondrous, ancient structures found throughout the world, including Stonehenge, Carnac, the Indian mounds, and the pyramids of Mexico, Peru, and Egypt. Who built these structures and why? Theosophy teaches that these structures were built by the descendants of the Atlantean race, some as long as 75,000 years ago. Some of the structures were built to preserve knowledge of fundamental natural laws, such as the Great Pyramid of Cheops. This is a record in stone of the "principles of geometry, mathematics, astrology and astronomy." Other structures were used as centers from which the Mysteries were taught. In order to preserve the ancient knowledge and protect its fidelity, highly spiritual masters taught the Mysteries to worthy pupils usually in secret locations.
The Mysteries were divided into the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The Lesser Mysteries taught the mystical causes behind the many branches of art and science. The Greater Mysteries were progressive steps of self-purification and discipline, with the goal of controlling all aspects of one's nature. In the final test, or initiation, the initiate separated his soul from his body and traveled through the other planes to learn their true nature first hand. A successful initiate became at one with his inner god and threw off the selfish outer self. His lower self "died" and he was "born again" as a god. This initiation process lasted 14 days, and the most important initiations occurred during the equinoxes and solstices. Thus the "tombs" of many the ancient civilizations were really initiation chambers, aligned to certain compass points to aid the initiate who seeks to find his way though the spheres on his voyage of trial and discovery. – M. J. O'Day
Monthly Discussion Group
We will be discussing "Mysteries of Humanity's Past." How much do we know about humanity's past? What are the meanings of ancient monuments and symbols? Where does the impulse for civilization come from? How old is mankind? Is human history cyclical or linear? Have there been prehistoric civilizations? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
September 14 – What Is Theosophy?
Old-fashioned science used to place the origin of civilization, and of the Indo-European folk especially, in Higher Asia, on what are now the great plateaus of Central Asia. And that in a sense is quite true; but the subject is not so simple as that. Before our present fifth race was formed as a race sui generis, that is to say, a race of its own type and kind, distinct from the fourth root-race, its predecessor, it had had an evolution of millions of years, while the Atlantean root-race was slowly going to pieces. I have often wondered if some day the science of the future will not be able to discover in a certain vast tract of land in Central Asia – now a howling wilderness of sand and stone and alternating cold and heat – remains of peoples who were more civilized than we are today, more advanced in invention, more advanced in discovery, more advanced in philosophy, science, and religion, than we are now, far more.
Where is this Central Asian tract? If you take a map of Asia, and on it find Persia, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Bokhara, and Turkestan, the Sea of Aral, and the Caspian, and to the east the Pamir and the Hindu Kush, and the Tien Shan, the Altyn Tagh, etc. – an enormous tract of country, most of it desert waste – there you will find the seat from which we came as a racial stock. The time was when that land was covered with highly developed civilizations succeeding each other in time. Hundreds of wonderful cities flourished there. The land was green and fertile, it was an aggregate of beautiful countries. And it was out of this cradle of our race, as a race sui generis, please, from its northern parts, that later descended into the Indian peninsula those peoples who call themselves "Aryans," the "High Caste," who later were divided into four castes: Brahmanas, Kshattriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras. From the southeastern parts came later the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Medes and the Persians; and the peoples of Europe, Greeks, Romans, especially. And on the outskirts and all surrounding these highly civilized tracts of land, immense in extent, there were outlying peoples. These last were remnants of the Atlanteans, like the Chinese, the people of Japan, the Javanese, the Siamese, and the Tibetans. They all migrated after a while and changed their seats, but at that time they were the surrounding folk in various grades of civilization. On the outskirts of the more highly civilized peoples were some of their own off-shoots, later sub- and sub-sub-races to come, then in their infancy and childhood. They became the Celtic peoples and the Teutons of Europe and the West of Europe. But at that time Europe was largely under water. The Alps were rising: only the peaks and a certain amount of the foot-hills of the Alps were as yet above the sea.
But what was the date of all this? you may ask. When lived this wonderful group of peoples, of highly civilized folk, with their many, many inventions that we have not found out yet? Three million, 800 odd thousand years ago. As the climate changed, as the land rose, as the seas receded, as the deserts began to encroach upon the stretches of the cultivable land, the peoples found the climate becoming impossible. They migrated in turn, in surges; they spread over the newly risen lands to the west and to the east, and Europe was born.
Of course they mixed; miscegenation proceeded apace, producing stocks as we have today. There is no such thing as a pure race on the face of the globe. We are all mixed. We simply differ from each other because of isolation.
But please do not suppose that this tract of Central Asian lands I speak of was the only habitable land on the surface of our globe. On the other side of the globe there were vast tracts of land which were inhabited by fairly civilized peoples in some cases, others by barbarians. For example, the great Island in the Indian Ocean later called by the Hindus Daitya, and inhabited by what they called Rakshasas, was in existence simultaneously with these early Indo-European peoples who migrated from this wonderful tract of land in Central Asia. Furthermore, modern Ceylon is the northernmost headland of what was a vast island of enormous extent, now submerged.