The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd 1980
London, Adyar - India, Wheaton USA
Second Edition (revised) 1990
(page numbers refer to those in the printed version)
11 One Fundamental Law
15 Four Basic Ideas
19 Three Fundamental Propositions
27 Six Numbered Items
37 Five Proven Facts
43 Three New Propositions
47 The Secret Doctrine: Conclusion
55 Isis Unveiled: A Ten-Point Summary
61 Appendix A: The Secret Doctrine and its study - 'Bowen Notes'
68 Appendix B: Glossary
The particular task that Madame Blavatsky undertook in her writings was to bring to the attention of the western world the teachings of the Wisdom tradition, the Sacred Science of the east. Repeatedly she affirmed both the antiquity and the universality of these teachings, known since the early centuries of our era as Theosophy. For herself she claimed only the role of writer and transmitter.
The way in which she saw her task is plainly stated in the Preface to her greatest work, The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888;
These truths are in no sense put forward as a revelation; nor does the author claim the position of a revealer of mystic lore, now made public for the first time in the world's history. For what is contained in this work is to be found scattered throughout thousands of volumes embodying the scriptures of the great Asiatic and early European religions, hidden under glyph and symbol, and hitherto left unnoticed because of this veil. What is now attempted is to gather the oldest tenets together and to make of them one harmonious and unbroken whole.
The work of collecting and publishing all Madame Blavatsky's writings is now nearing completion, to make a total of some nineteen or twenty substantial volumes. The compiler of these Collected Writings, her great-nephew Boris de Zirkoff, informs the reader that a letter published in the New York Daily Graphic on 30 October 1874 was the first article definitely known to be from her pen. In 1877 her first major work, Isis Unveiled, appeared in two large volumes. It was followed eleven years later by the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine. Her last books, The Voice of the Silence and The Key to Theosophy, were published in 1889. If one bears in mind her long and frequent travels and the poor state of her health, with periods of severe illness, this enormous literary output in under seventeen years - and in a language that was not her own - seems little less than miraculous. It is to be noted that, although some letters and articles are awaiting publication in the Collected Writings, the great books have been continuously in print throughout the hundred or so years that have elapsed since their first appearance.
With such a mass of material, in which the topics range from Biblical symbolism to Darwinian theory, from an examination of antediluvian flora and fauna to quotations from the sacred texts of Hinduism and the Kabalah, as well as from 19th century philosophers, theologians and scientists, it would be difficult if not impossible for the reader to extract the essential framework of the theosophical system. However, Madame Blavatsky herself comes to the student's rescue by setting out here and there in numbered statements the principles on which that system is based. The collection of these statements presented here is intended to serve as an Ariadne's thread through the vast labyrinth of information, description, explanation, criticism, commentary and personal instruction that constitutes her well-nigh inexhaustible gift to posterity.
Where should the student begin? During Madame Blavatsky's last years, there gathered round her in London a group of earnest members of The Theosophical Society who applied themselves seriously to the study of The Secret Doctrine, questioning her and pressing her for further elucidation of the teaching. Happily for us, much of this oral instruction was taken down and later published in the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, now forming the second half of Volume X of the Collected Writings. In addition to this, there is a small but invaluable collection of notes written down at the time by one member of the group, Commander Robert Bowen, and brought to light some forty years later by his son, Captain P.G. Bowen. Initially printed in 1932 in Theosophy in Ireland, these notes have since been published separately as a booklet entitled Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy; they are reproduced herein Appendix A.
It is from these notes that we learn not only the way in which, in her view, one should approach the study, the attitude and expectations one should bring to it, but further, the order in which the essential statements are to be taken before embarking on the whole work. In addition, she places before the student the basic ideas which he should keep permanently in mind. Her presentation of these ideas, together with the sections of the work to which she calls especial attention, form the greater part of this present collection.
Isis Unveiled is admittedly a diffuse and disorderly compilation, displaying extraordinary erudition in a woman who had had no formal education and whose travelling library seems to have consisted of no more than two or three dozen volumes. It is a mass of curiosities, of information and critical commentary on a truly vast range of subjects, of profound knowledge of the occult tradition in its many forms, but the material is presented in some confusion and often in a sharply polemic tone which declares its contemporary setting. At the end of Volume II, Madame Blavatsky summarizes in ten numbered items the essential elements of the teaching she has sought to lay before the reader. Although this was her first attempt to set out an orderly statement of the fundamental principles of the esoteric philosophy enunciated in her work, the relevant passage is here given last, for the reason that, as will be seen, she had not at that time clearly distinguished between the broad principles and the secondary material, that is, the working out of the principles in particulars. In speaking of her occult instructors she used the name of Masters, because it was from them, as she explicitly states in The Key to Theosophy, that she derived all her knowledge of the theosophical system. Nevertheless, it was left entirely to her to use the knowledge communicated to her as best she could, organizing the material and developing literary skills in the doing.
In preparing the passages for this collection, the three editions of The Secret Doctrine in current use have been consulted, and references are given to all three, in date order, thus: First Edition 1888/Third Edition 1893/Adyar 6-vol. Editions. As the aim here is to present the basic teaching in the most readable form, some discretion has been exercised in modifying the use of punctuation, capital letters and italics, where this has been thought appropriate to facilitate first acquaintance with the text. Each extract is preceded by an introductory note, and a Glossary of terms is given in Appendix B.
The listing of those ideas that must be recognized as fundamental to the theosophical system is to some extent arbitrary. So we find that Madame Blavatsky presents the student of Theosophy with three fundamental propositions, four basic ideas, a summary of six numbered points, a further five proven facts, and the ten items recapitulating the essentials of Isis Unveiled. Yet, above and beyond all lists and enumerations of principles, there must ever be the affirmation of the ONE - the nameless Reality from which and in which all things have their being. As there can be no understanding of Theosophy without constant reference back to this fundamental Unity, the unequivocal statement of the Unity has been placed first in this selection of extracts.
NOTE: Esoteric philosophy insists that beneath the manifold world of our experience there is a single Reality, the source and cause of all that ever was, is and is to be. The great exponent of the Vedic tradition, Shri Shankaracharya, puts it simply: no matter what shape may be given to the moulded clay, the reality of the object remains always the clay, its name and form being but transitory appearances. So likewise all things, having issued from the One Supreme, are themselves that Supreme in their essential nature. From highest to lowliest, from vastest to most minute, the infinite phenomena of the manifested universe are the One, clothed in name and form.
This teaching of the fundamental Unity is the hallmark of the theosophical system. It follows that no doctrine based on an ultimate duality - of spirit and matter for ever separate, of God and man as essentially distinct, of good and evil as eternal realities - can have a place in Theosophy.
ONE FUNDAMENTAL LAW:
The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature - from star to mineral atom, from the highest Dhyaan Chohan to the smallest infusorium, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual or physical worlds - this unity is the one fundamental law in Occult Science.
The Secret Doctrine
v1 p120 First Edition 1888
v1 p145 Third Edition 1893
v1 p179 Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: In the course of the oral instruction given to her students in London and recorded in Commander Bowen's notes (see Appendix A), Madame Blavatsky repeated many times that the study of The Secret Doctrine could not give a final and complete picture of the universe. It is meant, she said, to 'LEAD TOWARDS THE TRUTH'. As an aid to progressive understanding, she then outlined four basic ideas which the student should never lose from view. Being given spontaneously, these ideas are presented in simpler language than in the great works and may therefore serve as a preparation for some of the more complex phraseology of the fuller statements.
Observe the following rules:--
No matter what one may study in the SD, let the mind hold fast, as the basis of its ideation, to the following ideas:
(a) The FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. This unity is a thing altogether different from the common notion of unity - as when we say that a nation or an army is united; or that this planet is united to that by lines of magnetic force or the like. The teaching is not that. It is that existence is ONE THING, not any collection of things linked together. Fundamentally there is ONE Being. The BEING has two aspects, positive and negative. The positive is Spirit, or CONSCIOUSNESS. The negative is SUBSTANCE, the subject of consciousness. This Being is the Absolute in its primary manifestation. Being absolute there is nothing outside it. It is ALL-BEING. It is indivisible, else it would not be absolute. If a portion could be separated, that remaining could not be absolute, because there would at once arise the question of COMPARISON between it and the separated part. Comparison is incompatible with any idea of absoluteness. Therefore it is clear that this fundamental ONE EXISTENCE, or Absolute Being, must be the Reality in every form there is.
The Atom, the Man, the God, are each separately, as well as all collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis, that is their REAL INDIVIDUALITY. It is this idea which must be held always in the background of the mind to form the basis for every conception that arises from study of the SD. The moment one lets it go (and it is most easy to do so when engaged in any of the many intricate aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy) the idea of SEPARATION supervenes, and the study loses its value.
(b) The second idea to hold fast is that THERE IS NO DEAD MATTER. Every last atom is alive. It cannot be otherwise, since every atom is itself fundamentally Absolute Being. Therefore there is no such thing as "spaces" of Ether, or aakaasha, or call it what you like, in which angels and elementals disport themselves like trout in water. That's a common idea. The true idea shows every atom of substance, no matter of what plane, to be in itself a LIFE.
(c) The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the MICROCOSM. As he is so, then all the Hierarchies of the Heavens exist within him. But in truth there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm but ONE EXISTENCE. Great and small are such only as viewed by a limited consciousness.
(d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesizes all the others.
As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great, so is the Small; as it is above, so it is below; there is but ONE LIFE AND LAW; and he that worketh it is ONE. Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer; nothing is GREAT, nothing is Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the Divine Economy.
No matter what one takes as study in the SD, one must correlate it with those basic ideas.
NOTE: In the Bowen notes, Madame Blavatsky advises the student that 'the first thing to do, even if it takes years, is to get some grasp of the "Three Fundamental Principles" given in Proem' - the masterly prelude to The Secret Doctrine. The statement of the three principles is introduced with a similar insistence on their primary importance, and again, in concluding their presentation, Madame Blavatsky affirms that these are the foundation ideas of the theosophical tradition.
The Secret Doctrine is in large part a commentary on selected stanzas from an ancient work, the Book of Dzyan. Following modern usage, the title of her book is always given in italics, while her references to the age-old esoteric philosophy are left as in the original edition, with initial capitals, the Secret Doctrine.
The Secret Doctrine
v1 p13-30 First Edition 1888
v1 p42-48 Third Edition 1893
v1 p79-85 Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: The study of the Three Fundamental Propositions, advises Madame Blavatsky, should be followed by that of the numbered items in the Summing Up at the end of Volume I (Part I). It would seem to have been her intention to gather together in a few orderly paragraphs the essential features of the Secret Doctrine so far presented. She begins, however, in the first of the numbered paragraphs, with a reference back to the Introductory section of the work, in which she had assembled a great range of evidence that establishes beyond doubt the existence of an esoteric tradition. Furthermore, arriving at the sixth numbered paragraph, she refuses to confine herself to mere recapitulation, and adds a considerable amount of explanatory information about those Hierarchies of Beings through whose agency `the Universe is worked and guided'. Even so, she reverts more than once to the fundamental law of the whole system, the essential Oneness of existence.
The Secret Doctrine
v1 p272-278 First Edition 1888
v1 p293-298 Third Edition 1893
v1 p316-320 Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: Once again, Madame Blavatsky seeks to emphasize certain important aspects of the teaching, underlining what has already been explained and expanding the statement of fundamentals with further commentary and quotation. So to the six numbered paragraphs of the Summing Up are added five more items which are introduced as "proven facts".
The words in square brackets [ ] are given thus in the text, being Madame Blavatsky's clarification of the quoted passages.
Whatever may be the destiny of these actual writings in a remote future, we hope to have so far proven the following facts:
1. The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the sense underlying the Sanskrit word nastika, a rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every occultist is a Nastika.
2. It admits a Logos, or a collective "Creator" of the Universe; a Demi-urgos, in the sense implied when one speaks of an architect as the "creator" of an edifice, whereas that architect has never touched one stone of it, but, furnishing the plan, has left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no personal Deity - i.e., an imperfect, extra-cosmic God, but only the aggregate of the Dhyaan Chohans and the other forces.
3. The Dhyaan Chohans are dual in their character, being composed of (a) the irrational brute energy inherent in matter, and (b) the intelligent Soul, or cosmic Consciousness, which directs and guides that energy, and which is the Dhyaan Chohanic Thought reflecting the Ideation of the Universal Mind. This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect, and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding Intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures - therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working Powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with Nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Kaarana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through the "still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls, making their Spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.
"When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are ... but enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret". Matt. VI, 5, 6.
Our Father is within us "in secret", our Seventh Principle in the "inner chamber" of our soul-perception. The Kingdom of God and of Heaven is within us, says Jesus, not outside. Why are Christians so absolutely blind to the self-evident meaning of the words of wisdom they delight in mechanically repeating?
4. Matter is eternal. It is the upaadhi, or physical basis, for the One Infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations. Therefore the esotericists maintain that there is no inorganic or "dead" matter in Nature, the distinction between the two made by Science being as unfounded as it is arbitrary and devoid of reason. Whatever Science may think, however - and exact science is a fickle dame, as we all know by experience - Occultism knows and teaches differently, as it has done from time immemorial, from Manu and Hermes down to Paracelsus and his successors.
Thus Hermes the Thrice Great, Trismegistus, says:
Oh my son, matter becomes; formerly it was, for matter is the vehicle of becoming. Becoming is the mode of activity of the uncreate and foreseeing God. Having been endowed with the germ of becoming, [objective] matter is brought into birth, for the creative force fashions it according to the ideal forms. Matter not yet engendered had no form; it becomes when it is put into operation.
The Virgin of the World
To this the late Dr. Anna Kingsford, the able translator and compiler of the Hermetic Fragments, remarks in a footnote; "Dr. Menard observes that in Greek the same word signifies to be born and to become. The idea here is that the material of the world is in its essence eternal, but that before creation or 'becoming' it is in a passive and motionless condition. Thus it 'was' before being put into operation; now it 'becomes', that is, it is mobile and progressive". And she adds the purely Vedantic doctrine of the Hermetic philosophy that "Creation is thus the period of activity [Manvantara] of God, who, according to Hermetic thought [or which, according to the Vedantin], has two modes - Activity or Existence, God evolved (Deus explicitus), and Passivity of Being [Pralaya], God involved (Deus implicitus). Both modes are perfect and complete, as are the waking and sleeping states of man. Fichte, the German philosopher, distinguished Being (Sein) as One, which we know only through existence (Dasein) as the Manifold. This view is thoroughly Hermetic. The 'Ideal Forms' ....are the archetypal or formative ideas of the Neo-Platonists, the eternal and subjective concepts of things subsisting in the Divine Mind prior to 'creation' or becoming."
Or as in the philosophy of Paracelsus:
"Everything is the product of one universal creative effort ....There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and consequently the whole world appears to be a living organism".
5. The universe was evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld through Eternity in the unconsciousness of that which the Vedantins call Parabrahman. This is practically identical with the conclusions of the highest western philosophy, "the innate, eternal and self-existing Ideas" of Plato, now reflected by Von Hartmann. The "Unknowable" of Herbert Spencer bears but a faint resemblance to that transcendental Reality believed in by occultists, often appearing merely a personification of a "force behind phenomena" - an infinite and eternal Energy, from which all things proceed, whereas the author of the Philosophy of the Unconscious has come (in this respect only) as near to solution of the great Mystery as mortal man can. Few have been those, whether in ancient or mediaeval philosophy, who have dared to approach the subject or even hint at it. Paracelsus mentions it inferentially, and his ideas are admirably synthesized by Dr. F. Hartmann in his Paracelsus.
All the Christian Kabalists understood well the Eastern root idea. The active Power, the "Perpetual Motion of the Great breath", only awakens Kosmos at the dawn of every new Period, setting it into motion by means of the two contrary Forces - the centripetal and the centrifugal forces, which are male and female, positive and negative, physical and spiritual, the two being the one Primordial Force - and thus causing it to become objective on the plane of Illusion. In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the noumenal to the phenomenal plane. Everything that is, was and will be eternally IS, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective but not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, and when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Occultism teaches that no form can be given to anything, either by Nature or by man, whose ideal type does not already exist on the subjective plane; more than this, that no form or shape can possibly enter man's consciousness, or evolve in his imagination, which does not exist in prototype, at least as an approximation. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone, has ever been "created", and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced "becoming", that is to say, objectivizing into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance. Therefore our human forms have existed in the Eternity as astral or ethereal prototypes, according to which models the Spiritual Beings, or Gods, whose duty it was to bring them into objective being and terrestrial life, evolved the protoplasmic forms of the future Egos from their own essence. After which, when this human upaadhi or basic mould was ready, the natural terrestrial forces began to work on these supersensuous moulds, which contained, besides their own, the elements of all the past vegetable and future animal forms of this globe. Therefore man's outward shell passed through every vegetable and animal body before it assumed the human shape. (v1 p282)
The Secret Doctrine
v1 p279-282 First Edition 1888
v1 p300-303 Third Edition 1893
v1 p322-325. Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: The first volume of The Secret Doctrine has as its subject matter the becoming of the Cosmos - "Cosmogenesis". The second volume (Vol. III in the Adyar 6-vol. editions) is concerned with the becoming of Man - "Anthropogenesis". Its first section, like that of the preceding volume, is based on stanzas "drawn from the same Archaic Records as the Stanzas on Cosmogony". As an indication of its main theme, the Preliminary Notes which serve as an introduction to the further stanzas and commentaries are preceded by a passage from Isis Unveiled. Provocative and challenging to the leaders of contemporary scientific and religious thought, the extract prepares the reader for the seemingly revolutionary ideas about the story of Man that are offered in the occult record.
In the Bowen notes, Madame Blavatsky draws the student's attention to these Preliminary Notes, which begin with a statement of three new propositions concerning the evolution of Man.
THREE NEW PROPOSITIONS:
Modern Science insists upon the doctrine of evolution; so do human reason and the Secret Doctrine, and the idea is corroborated by the ancient legends and myths, and even by the Bible itself when it is read between the lines. We see a flower slowly developing from a bud, and the bud from its seed. But whence the latter, with all its predetermined programme of physical transformation, and its invisible, therefore spiritual, forces which gradually develop its form, colour and odour? The word evolution speaks for itself. The germ of the present human race must have pre-existed in the parent of this race, as the seed, in which lies hidden the flower of next summer, was developed in the capsule of its parent flower; the parent may be but slightly different, but it still differs from its future progeny. The antediluvian ancestors of the present elephant and lizard were, perhaps, the mammoth and plesiosaurus: why should not the progenitors of our human race have been the "giants" of the Vedas, the Voluspa, and the Book of Genesis? While it is positively absurd to believe the "transformation of species" to have taken place according to some of the more materialistic views of the evolutionists, it is but natural to think that each genus, beginning with the molluscs and ending with man, has modified from its own primordial and distinctive form.
The Stanzas, with the Commentaries thereon, in this Volume, are drawn from the same Archaic Records as the Stanzas on Cosmogony in Volume I ...
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.
[A footnote to this proposition is indicative of the vast range of ancient traditions from which corroboration of the Archaic Records may be adduced. It reads-]
See Genesis ii, 19. Adam is formed in verse 7, and in verse 19 it is said: "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them". Thus man was created before the animals; for the animals mentioned in Chapter i are the signs of the Zodiac, while the man, "male and female", is not man, but the Host of the Sephiroth, FORCES or Angels, "made in his [God's] image and after his likeness". The Adam, man, is not made in that likeness, nor is it so asserted in the Bible. Moreover, the Second Adam is esoterically a septenary which represents seven men, or rather groups of men. For the first Adam, the Kadmon, is the synthesis of the ten Sephiroth. Of these, the upper Triad remains in the Archetypal World as the future "Trinity", while the seven lower Sephiroth create the manifested material world; and this septennate is the Second Adam. Genesis, and the mysteries upon which it was fabricated, came from Egypt. The "God" of the 1st chapter of Genesis is the Logos, and the "Lord God" of the 2nd chapter the Creative Elohim, the lower Powers. (v2 p1-2)
The Secret Doctrine
v2 p1-2 First Edition 1888
v2 p1 Third Edition 1893
v3 p15 Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: In the Bowen notes (see page 63 below), Madame Blavatsky suggests that an initial study programme should include the Conclusion (Vol. II). From the subject matter to which she there refers - "the times of coming of the Races and Sub-Races" - it is evident that the Conclusion to which the student's attention is directed is the one which occurs at the end of Part I of the second Volume. The passages that follow are selected from that part of the work, which carries the heading 'CONCLUSION'.
Enough was said to show that evolution in general, events, mankind, and everything else in Nature, proceeds in cycles. We have spoken of seven Races, five of which have nearly completed their earthly career, and have claimed that every Root-Race, with its sub-races and innumerable family divisions and tribes, was entirely distinct from its preceding and succeeding race. This will be objected to, on the authority of uniform experience in the question of Anthropology and Ethnology. Man was - save in colour and type, and perhaps a difference in facial peculiarities and cranial capacity - ever the same under every climate and in every part of the world, say the Naturalists: ay, even in stature. This, while maintaining that man descends from the same unknown ancestor as the ape, a claim that is logically impossible without an infinite variation of stature and form, from his first evolution into a biped. The very logical persons who maintain both propositions are welcome to their paradoxical views. Once more we address only those who, doubting the general derivation of myths from "the contemplation of the visible workings of external nature" .. think it, "less hard to believe that these wonderful stories of gods and demi-gods, of giants and dwarfs, of dragons and monsters of all descriptions, are transformations, than to believe them to be inventions." It is only such "transformations" in physical nature, as much as in the memory and conceptions of our present mankind, that the Secret Doctrine teaches. It confronts the purely speculative hypotheses of modern Science, based upon the experience and exact observations of barely a few centuries, with the unbroken tradition and records of its Sanctuaries; and brushing away that tissue of cobweb-like theories, spun in the darkness that covers a period of hardly a few milleniums back, and which Europeans call their "History", the Old Science says to us: Listen, now, to my version of the memoirs of Humanity. (v2 p443)
The human Races are born one from the other, grow, develop, become old and die. Their sub-races and nations follow the same rule. If your all-denying modern science and so-called philosophy do not contest that the human family is composed of a variety of well- defined types and races, it is only because the fact is undeniable; no one would say that there was no external difference between an Englishman, an African negro, and a Japanese or Chinaman. On the other hand it is formally denied by most naturalists that mixed human races, ie, the seeds for entirely new races, are any longer formed in our days ...
Nevertheless our general proposition will not be accepted. It will be said that whatever forms man has passed through in the long pre- historic Past, there are no more changes for him (save certain variations, as at present) in the future. Hence that our Sixth and Seventh Root-Races are fictions.
To this it is again answered: How do you know? Your experience is limited to a few thousand years, to less than a day in the whole age of Humanity and to the present types of the actual continents and isles of our Fifth Race. How can you tell what will or will not be? Meanwhile, such is the prophecy of the Secret Books and their no uncertain statements.
Since the beginning of the Atlantean Race many million years have passed, yet we find the last of the Atlanteans, still mixed up with the Aryan element, 11,000 years ago. This shows the enormous overlapping of one race over the race which succeeds it, though in characters and external type the elder loses its characteristics, and assumes the new features of the younger race. This is proved in all the formations of mixed human races. Now, Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our new eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be formed, and that it is in America that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced.
Pure Anglo-Saxons hardly three hundred years ago, the Americans of the United States have already become a nation apart, and, owing to a strong admixture of various nationalities and inter-marriage, almost a race sui generis, not only mentally, but also physically. "Every mixed race, when uniform and settled, has been able to play the part of a primary race in fresh crossings," says de Quatrefages: "Mankind, in its present state, has thus been formed, certainly, for the greatest part, by the successive crossing of a number of races at present undetermined. (The Human Species, page 274)
Thus the Americans have become in only three centuries a "primary race", pro tem., before becoming a race apart, and strongly separated from all other now existing races. They are, in short, the germs of the Sixth sub-race, and in some few hundred years more, will become most decidedly the pioneers of that race which must succeed to the present European or fifth sub-race, in all its new characteristics. After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race; until, in consequence of cataclysms - the first series of those which must one day destroy Europe, and still later the whole Aryan race (and thus affect both Americas), as also most of the lands directly connected with the confines of our continent and isles - the Sixth Root-Race will have appeared on the stage of our Round. When shall this be? Who knows save the great Masters of Wisdom, perchance, and they are as silent upon the subject as the snow-capped peaks that tower above them. All we know is, that it will silently come into existence . . . The Fifth will overlap the Sixth Race for many hundreds of millenniums, changing with it slower than its new successor, still changing in stature, general physique, and mentality, just as the Fourth overlapped our Aryan Race, and the Third had overlapped the Atlanteans.
This process of preparation for the Sixth great Race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races ... But the last remnants of the Fifth Continent will not disappear until some time after the birth of the new Race; when another and new dwelling, the sixth continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the new stranger. To it also will emigrate and settle all those who shall be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster. When this shall be - as just said - it is not for the writer to know. Only, as nature no more proceeds by sudden jumps and starts, than man changes suddenly from a child into a mature man, the final cataclysm will be preceded by many smaller submersions and destructions both by wave and volcanic fires. The exultant pulse will beat high in the heart of the race now in the American zone, but there will be no more Americans when the Sixth Race commences; no more, in fact, than Europeans; for they will have now become a new race, and many new nations. Yet the Fifth will not die, but survive for a while: overlapping the new Race for many hundred thousands of years to come, it will become transformed with it - slower than its new successor - still getting entirely altered in mentality, general physique, and stature. Mankind will not grow again into giant bodies as in the case of the Lemurians and the Atlanteans; because while the evolution of the Fourth Race led the latter down to the very bottom of materiality in its physical development, the present Race is on its ascending arc; and the Sixth will be rapidly growing out of its bonds of matter, and even of flesh. Thus it is the mankind of the New world - one by far the senior of our Old one, a fact men had also forgotten - of Patala (the Antipodes, or the Nether World, as America is called in India), whose mission and Karma it is, to sow the seeds for a forthcoming, grander, and far more glorious Race than any of those we know of at present. The Cycles of Matter will be succeeded by Cycles of Spirituality and a fully developed mind. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts. Humanity is the child of cyclic Destiny, and not one of its Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its co-operative work with nature. Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun, to change, each tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favoured groups - the failures of nature - will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind.
Such is the course of Nature under the sway of KARMIC LAW: of the ever-present and the ever-becoming Nature. For, in the words of a Sage, known only to a few Occultists:- "THE PRESENT IS THE CHILD OF THE PAST; THE FUTURE, THE BEGOTTEN OF THE PRESENT. AND YET, 0 PRESENT MOMENT! KNOWEST THOU NOT THAT THOU HAST NO PARENT, NOR CANST THOU HAVE A CHILD: THAT THOU ART EVER BEGETTING BUT THYSELF? BEFORE THOU HAST EVEN BEGUN TO SAY `I AM THE PROGENY OF THE DEPARTED MOMENT, THE CHILD OF THE PAST,' THOU HAST BECOME THAT PAST ITSELF. BEFORE THOU UTTEREST THE LAST SYLLABLE, BEHOLD! THOU ART NO MORE THE PRESENT BUT VERILY THAT FUTURE. THUS ARE THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE, THE EVER-LIVING TRINITY IN ONE - THE MAHAMAYA OF THE ABSOLUTE IS." ------- (v2 p446)
The Secret Doctrine
v2 p437-446 First Edition 1888
v2 p455-465 Third Edition 1893
v3 p434-444 Adyar 6-vol. Edition
NOTE: It would seem that Madame Blavatsky had constantly in mind, in preparing her first major work for publication, the need to demonstrate to the educated reader of her day that what she had to say was indeed "no new candidate for the world's attention". Each chapter of Isis Unveiled is introduced by a selection of extracts from respected sources ancient and contemporary, which demonstrate that neither the attitudes displayed nor the information given by her were without precedent. The final chapter is headed by several such quotations, of which one is given here. The chapter begins with an attempt to summarize the main features of the oriental philosophy as presented in the two volumes of Isis. However, as indicated earlier, Madame Blavatsky was at this period experimenting with the mass of material at her command and trying to find out how to give it to the world. Consequently, there is no clear sifting of fundamental principles from secondary detail and illustration. The contrast between this first attempt at a numbered summary and the later statements in The Secret Doctrine is striking evidence of her own development as both pupil and teacher.
Vol II 587-590
Published by: The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd 1980, London, Adyar - India, Wheaton USA
Second Edition (revised) 1990