Cyclic Evolution

BCW H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, TPH, 1950-91
Dia Dialogues of G. de Purucker, TUP, 1948
ET The Esoteric Tradition, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1940
FEP Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1979
FSO Fountain-Source of Occultism, G. de Purucker, TUP, 1974
HPBM     H.P. Blavatsky: The Mystery, G. de Purucker, PLP, 1974
ITT In The Temple, G. de Purucker, PLP, 1994
Key The Key to Theosophy, H.P. Blavatsky, TUP, 1972 (1889)
ML2 The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, TUP, 2nd ed., 1975
MLC The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, TPH, chron. ed., 1993
OG Occult Glossary, G. de Purucker, TUP, 2nd ed., 1996
SD The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky, TUP, 1977 (1888)
SOP Studies in Occult Philosophy, G. de Purucker, TUP, 1945

    ‘Evolution  As the word is used in theosophy it means the “unwrapping,” “unfolding,” “rolling out” of latent powers and faculties native to and inherent in the entity itself, its own essential characteristics, or more generally speaking, the powers and faculties of its own character: the Sanskrit word for this last conception is svabhava. Evolution, therefore, does not mean merely that brick is added to brick, or experience merely topped by another experience, or that variation is superadded on other variations – not at all: for this would make of man and of other entities mere aggregates of incoherent and unwelded parts, without an essential unity or indeed any unifying principle.
    ‘In theosophy evolution means that man has in him (as indeed have all other evolving entities) everything that the cosmos has because he is an inseparable part of it. He is its child; one cannot separate man from the universe. Everything that is in the universe is in him, latent or active, and evolution is the bringing forth of what is within ...
    ‘There are no limits in any direction where evolution can be said to begin, or where we can conceive of it as ending; for evolution in the theosophical conception is but the process followed by the centers of consciousness or monads as they pass from eternity to eternity, so to say, in a beginningless and endless course of unceasing growth. ...
    ‘The key to the meaning of evolution, therefore, in theosophy is the following: the core of every organic entity is a divine monad or spirit, expressing its faculties and powers through the ages in various vehicles which change by improving as the ages pass. These vehicles are not physical bodies alone, but also the interior sheaths of consciousness which together form man’s entire constitution extending from the divine monad through the intermediate ranges of consciousness to the physical body. The evolving entity can become or show itself to be only what it already essentially is in itself – therefore evolution is a bringing out or unfolding of what already preexists, active or latent, within.’ (OG 48-50)

    ‘Evolution is not merely an automatic response to external stimuli, but it is first of all action from within, unceasing attempts in self-expression; and each response to the external stimuli, which the natural environment provides, gives opportunity for a larger and fuller measure of self-expression.’ (MiE 149)

    ‘The whole effort of evolution ... is not merely to bring out that which is within each [divine] seed, but also that each individual monad, and each ego, and each soul, shall gather up from the matter in which it works other less progressed entities which become parts of itself, and shall carry them along with it on the arc of the evolutionary journey upwards.’ (FEP 162)

    ‘[T]he whole course of evolution is the raising up unto ever higher standards of self-expression, of the spiritual grandeur within, of all the entities and beings which form the hierarchical hosts of the boundless universe. Everything helps everything else; nothing and no entity lives unto itself alone; every entity and everything is but a part of another entity still more grand, still more sublime.’ (HPBM 148)

    ‘The urge behind evolution [is] the divine hunger in the universe to grow greater, to advance, to grow ... It is innate in the universe. Why this is so, no one can say. Perhaps the gods do not know. All we men can say is that it is so. Everything grows and yearns to grow greater, to become grander, to rise, to advance, to evolve; and the objective is to become one self-consciously with the boundless – something which can never be reached! Therein is infinite beauty, for there is no final ending for growth ...
    ‘What we may call a blind striving or struggle for betterment in the atoms, becomes in man a self-conscious yearning to grow, . . . and this same urge becomes in the gods a divine knowledge that they are parts of the universe and are growing to take a vaster self-conscious part in the universal labor.’ (SOP 568-9)

    ‘Evolution takes place on every one of the planes which form the inner constitution of every composite being or entity; and we have, therefore, (a) divine evolution; (b) spiritual evolution; (c) intellectual evolution; (d) the evolution of the psycho-mental human soul; (e) astral evolution; and (f) evolution of the physical body. This is but another way of saying that man is a microcosm or little world containing in himself hosts of inferior entities through which he manifests himself, each one of which inferior entities is a learning and evolving being; even as the macrocosmos or great world of the universe contains in itself its own hosts of learning and evolving beings and entities in their almost endless series of hierarchies.
    ‘Moreover, evolution is teleologic, that is to say, it is purposive, working towards a destined end. But this purposiveness in evolution, this inherent urge or drive to betterment, is in the entity itself, and is not imposed upon it from without, either by a god or gods existing outside of and separate and different from the evolving entity, or, on the other hand, by physical nature alone. Nevertheless, all these hierarchies exist each within the vital compass or sphere of a still larger and grander hierarchy, so that the encompassing influences of these larger hierarchies flow constantly through the minor hierarchies which each such larger unit contains. Thus is nature in all her divisions and compartments mysteriously and most wonderfully and inextricably interlinked and interlocked and interworking and interblending.
    ‘Physical nature furnishes one phase of the environment or fields of possible experience within which the various hosts of monadic essences work; and it is in these physical fields of experience that the various races of physical bodies which biological science calls by various names such as classes, orders, families, genera, and species, of physical living beings, exist, and are the means for the continuous self-expression of the evolving hosts of monads or consciousness-centers.
    ‘It is the realization of this inner focus of energy, inherent as an individual in every evolving unit, which is lacking in the scientific conception of evolution – an ignorance likewise of the existence of inner and invisible spheres in which the physical world is rooted, and from which the forces which infill this physical universe flow.’ (ET 287-8)

    ‘Involution  The reverse process or procedure of evolution. As evolution means the unfolding, the unwrapping, the rolling forth, of what already exists and is latent, so involution means the inwrapping, the infolding, the ingoing of what previously exists or has been unfolded, etc. Involution and evolution ... are two names for two phases of the same procedure of growth, and are eternally coactive and interactive. As an example, the so-called descent of the monads into matter means an involution or involving or infolding of spiritual potencies into material vehicles which coincidently and contemporaneously, through the compelling urge of the infolding energies, unfold their own latent capacities, unwrap them, roll them forth; and this is the evolution of matter. Thus what is the involution of spirit is contemporaneously and pari passu the evolution of matter. Contrariwise, on the ascending or luminous arc when the involved monadic essences begin to rise towards their primordial spiritual source they begin to unfold or unwrap themselves as previously on the descending arc they had infolded or inwrapped themselves. But this process of unfolding or evolution of the monadic essences is contemporaneous with and pari passu with the infolding and inwrapping, the involution, of the material energies and powers.
    ‘Human birth and death are outstanding illustrations or examples of the same thing. The child is born, and as it grows to its full efflorescence of power it evolves or rolls forth certain inherent characteristics or energies or faculties, all derived from the human being’s svabhava or ego. Contrariwise, when the decline of human life begins, there is a slow infolding or inwrapping of these same facilities which thus seem gradually to diminish. These facilities and energies thus evolved forth in earth-life are the working of the innate spiritual and intellectual and psychical characteristics impelling and compelling the vehicular or body sides of the human constitution to express themselves as organs becoming more and more perfect as the child grows to maturity.
    ‘After death the process is exactly the reverse. The material or vehicular side of the being grows less and less strong and powerful, more and more involved, and becoming with every step in the process more dormant. But contemporaneously and coincidently the distinctly spiritual and intellectual powers and faculties themselves become released from the vehicles and begin to expand into ever larger efflorescence, attaining their maximum in the devachan.’ (OG 71-3)

    ‘Svabhava has two general philosophical meanings: first, self-begetting, self-generation, self-becoming, the general idea being that there is no merely mechanical or soulless activity of nature in bringing us into being, for we brought ourselves forth, in and through and by nature, of which we are a part of the conscious forces, and therefore are our own children. The second meaning is that each and every entity that exists is the result of what he actually is spiritually in his own higher nature: he brings forth that which he is in himself interiorly, nothing else. A particular race, for instance, remains and is that race as long as the particular race-svabhava remains in the racial seed and manifests thus. Likewise is the case with a man, a tree, a star, a god ... Svabhava, in short, may be called the essential individuality of any monad, expressing its own characteristics, qualities, and type, by self-urged evolution.’ (OG 170)

    ‘When any entity or being awakens into manifestation, the process commences in every case by the beginning of emanation from within the hitherto “sleeping” divine entity. [Emanation] signifies flowing out from, much as thought flows out from the mind, or a river flows out from its originating spring. Emanation is continuously in process throughout the entire life-term of any manifesting entity, great or small; and indeed every evolutionary advance is a growth achieved because of the emanating or flowing forth of powers, attributes, and faculties from the entity’s inner being.
    ‘We may think of emanation and evolution as being almost if not exactly identical. In fact they are merely two manners of viewing the same process, whether cosmic or infinitesimal. Evolution signifies unfolding and thus releasing what is already pre-existent as unmanifested power and faculty within the entity. When emanation on any planet begins, at the same instant evolution likewise commences. Otherwise stated, once a quality or faculty begins to flow forth from the essence of the monad, from that instant it likewise begins to unfold its swabhava or characteristic attributes.’ (FSO 103)

    ‘We find nature repeating herself everywhere, although such repetition of course is not merely a running in the same old ruts on each recurrence of the cyclic activity; for each recurrence is of course the expression of a modification, more or less great, of what has preceded. Day succeeds night, winter succeeds summer, the planets circulate around the suns in regular and periodical courses; and these are but familiar examples of cyclical activity.
    ‘Cycles in nature show the time periods of periodic recurrence along and in which any evolving entity or thing expresses the energies and powers which are itself, so that cycles and evolution are like the two sides of a coin ...; but back of this apparently double but actually single process always lie profound karmic causes.’ (OG 32-3)

    ‘The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our “universe” is only one of an infinite number of universes, all of them “sons of necessity,” because links in the great cosmic chain of universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.
    ‘The appearance and disappearance of the universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of “the great breath,” which is eternal, and which, being motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute – abstract space and duration being the other two.’ (SD 1:43)

* * *

    ‘[T]here are two interacting energy-substance lines in the kosmos, which together comprise the totality of all evolutionary processes: first, the lower, the kosmokratores, or world builders; and second, the higher, the intelligences impelling the former into action and overseeing their evolutionary ways. The second class [comprises] the hierarchy of compassion.
    ‘Now these two lines of action, or classes, may also be called (a) the left-hand or matter-side, and (b) the right-hand or spirit-side, i.e., (a) the builders, the kosmokratores, who are in fact (in one sense) the lower principles of (b) the dhyani-buddhas, who ... are of the inner kosmos, as the kosmokratores or builders, also called planetary spirits or dhyani-chohans of a lower grade, are of the outer or material kosmos ...’ (FEP 334)
    ‘[T]he action and interaction of these two lines of energy supply the motive forces behind evolution, behind progress; and the course which evolution takes really arises in, springs out from, and is inaugurated by, the impulses at the opening of the manvantaric cycle given to the dark or matter-side of existence by the dhyani-chohans, ... the higher parts or entities of [the] hierarchy of compassion. It is the keynotes furnished by them, the primal and original impulses depending of course upon destiny (or karma), which give the originating plan and the driving power behind everything that happens in that manvantara throughout its cycle of evolution until its close ...’ (FEP 321-2)

    ‘The One is infinite and unconditioned. It cannot create, for it can have no relation to the finite and conditioned. If everything we see, from the glorious suns and planets down to the blades of grass and the specks of dust, had been created by the Absolute Perfection and were the direct work of even the first energy that proceeded from It, then every such thing would have been perfect, eternal, and unconditioned like its author. The millions upon millions of imperfect works found in nature testify loudly that they are the products of finite, conditioned beings – though the latter were and are dhyani-chohans, archangels, or whatever else they may be named. In short, these imperfect works are the unfinished production of evolution, under the guidance of the imperfect gods. ... This imperfection is one of the arguments of the secret science in favour of the existence and activity of these “powers.” ’ (BCW 14:216-7)

    ‘ “Nature” is imperfect, hence of necessity makes “mistakes,” because its action derives from hosts of entities at work – what we see around us all the time is proof of it. ... If [nature] had sprung from the “hands of the immutable deity,” ... it would be a perfect work. It is much to the contrary, as we know, and its imperfections or “mistakes” arise from the fact that the beings existing in and working in and controlling and making nature extend in endless hierarchies from the inmost of the inmost, from the highest of the highest, downwards for ever, upwards for ever, in all degrees of imperfection and of perfection ...’ (FEP 57)

    ‘The universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man – the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm – is the living witness to this universal law and to the mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man’s external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with the external or manifested universe. The whole kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of hierarchies of sentient beings, each having a mission to perform, and who . . . are the agents of karmic and cosmic laws. They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence . . . For each of these beings either was or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (manvantara).’ (SD 1:274-5)

    ‘The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the “survival of the fittest,” though so cruel in their immediate action – all are working toward the grand end. The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called “unconscious nature” is in reality an aggregate of forces manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (elementals) guided by high planetary spirits, (dhyan chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS, and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the universe and its immutable LAW.’ (SD 1:277-8)

    ‘The secret doctrine teaches no atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. . . .
    ‘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, while furnishing the plan, 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 dhyan-chohans and the other forces. . . .
    ‘[The dhyani-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 dhyan-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.’ (SD 1:279-80)

* * *

    ‘[Theosophists] have nothing whatever against the physical side of the theory of evolution ... What we object to is the utter unconcern [for] the other side of the theory ... the evolution of spirit, silently developing and asserting itself more and more with every newly perfected form.’ (BCW 2:185)

    ‘[A]ll things had their origin in spirit – evolution having originally begun from above and proceeded downward, instead of the reverse, as taught in the Darwinian theory.’ (SD 2:170/190)

    ‘The universe was evolved out of its ideal plan, upheld through eternity in the unconsciousness of that which the Vedantins call Parabrahm. . . . 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 [physical and spiritual] forces, 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, not in their ideal form. They existed as ideas, in the eternity, and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. 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,” i.e., objectivising 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 upadhi, or basic mould was ready, the natural terrestrial forces began to work on those supersensuous moulds ...’ (SD 1:281-2)

    ‘There can be no objective form on earth (nor in the universe either), without its astral prototype being first formed in space. From Phidias down to the humblest workman in the ceramic art – a sculptor has had to create first of all a model in his mind, then sketch it in one and two dimensional lines, and then only can he reproduce it in a three dimensional or objective figure. And if human mind is a living demonstration of such successive stages in the process of evolution – how can it be otherwise when NATURES MIND and creative powers are concerned?’ (SD 2:660fn)

    ‘Of itself, [natural selection] can produce nothing, and only operates on the rough material presented to “it.” The real question at issue is: what CAUSE – combined with other secondary causes – produces the “variations” in the organisms themselves. ... Mere variability of type, apart from the supervisory presence of a quasi-intelligent impulse, is powerless to account for the stupendous complexities and marvels of the human body for instance. ... It is an abuse of the reader’s intelligence to write, as does Haeckel, of blind indifferent cells, “arranging themselves into organs.” ...
    ‘Those purely secondary causes of differentiation, grouped under the head of sexual selection, natural selection, climate, isolation, etc., etc., ... only come into operation after the physicalization of the primeval animal root-types out of the astral. Darwinism only meets evolution at its midway point – that is to say when astral evolution has given place to the play of the ordinary physical forces with which our present senses acquaint us. But even here the Darwinian theory ... is inadequate to meet the facts of the case. The underlying physiological variation in species – one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary – is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a REFLECTION of the divine and dhyan-chohanic wisdom.’ (SD 2:648-9)

    ‘The difference [between Darwinism and the theosophical teaching of evolution] is the contrast between evolving spirits building themselves bodies in the material worlds through which they express themselves, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the materialistic teaching that matter unaided and mistakenly supposed to be insensate or dead produces from its own inherent capacities spirituality, the noble powers of the intellect, the delicacy of the psychological nature, and the wonder and to science deeply mysterious adaptations which physical bodies exemplify and display in such profusion.’ (ET 299fn)

    ‘A beast no more develops mechanically into a man than do pieces of ivory, cupfuls of polish, and pieces of wood and rolls of wire, naturally fall together and take proper form and “transform” themselves into a piano. Impossible! What makes a piano is the architect of it, the man, the thinker; so evolution is the working upon and in matter of the spiritual entity which takes and forms and urges onwards the material vehicles in which it is.’ (FEP 336)

    ‘[Mutations] are caused by the fact that the evolving entity had accumulated . . . a habit or set of habits which remain latent for periods more or less indefinite. . . . [W]hen the environmental circumstances are appropriate for their manifestation, as in all other cases of suddenly appearing variations, out they come, and to all appearances a new species has started its evolutionary course.’ (MiE 134)

    ‘[The ladder of life] is obviously discontinuous; none of the steps of this ladder melts into the next . . . Biologists [found] that each of [the] great groups below man – the backboneless animals or invertebrates, and the vertebrates or backboned animals such as the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and the mammals – did not graduate into each other. Between these various groups there were vast hiatuses without known connecting links; and researchers hunted long and vainly for “missing links” ...
    ‘The problem is cleared up when we remember that evolution is continuous for each stock along its own particular pathway. Instead of there being one ladder of life, leading up to man who is the crown of that ladder, as it were, there are many such ladders of life, each such being composed of one of the great groups of animate entities.’ (MiE 73, 77)

    ‘Research has shown that instead of its being the highest of any subphylum passing to the lowest of any higher subphylum, it is almost invariably the lowest representative in each phylum which are most alike in primitive features ... This is because, springing from one common source, they naturally approximate both in type and character the farther back we can trace them. ... What is this common point of departure? It is the human stock.’ (MiE 75-6)
    ‘[M]an retains more of the basal mammalian features or characters in his body, that is, in his muscles, and in his skeleton, than any other animal now living on earth does; ... the apes and monkeys have wandered far afield in that respect, far more so than man has wandered from the primitive mammalian stock, which was early man himself. ...
    ‘[A]ll developments of the beast stocks away from the primitive human strain may be said to be specializations, as they diverged more and more widely from the main trunk, each following its own genealogical branching. Their opportunity, indeed their capacity, to forge ahead along psychological lines was limited, though there were infinite possibilities in the way of physiological variations for them to pursue.
    ‘Meanwhile the human race, most primitive of all, retained its comparative simplicity of bodily structure and function, because it was not solely concerned with mere experimentation and adaptation along physical lines. Once it had built for itself a suitable vehicle, it abandoned that line of evolution as a distinct line of evolution for its own sake, in order to bring into outer expression the far more important inner psychological, intellectual, and indeed spiritual factors locked within it.’ (MiE 93, 132)

    ‘[T]he human type is the repertory of all potential organic forms, and the central point from which these latter radiate.’ (SD 2:683)
    ‘Just as we are children of the gods, so are the beasts, the higher beasts, the mammalians especially, our off-throwings or offsprings ... [I]t was man who threw off at various periods during his long past aeonic evolution the root-types which later specialized into the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Indeed, the same thing is true of the mineral kingdom, but in the first round ...’ (ET 332-3)
    ‘[W]hen the word “man” is used in this way it does not mean man as he now is, but that particular stream of astral monadic essences who inform “man” even at the present time.’ (Dia 2:198)
    ‘Man ... holds within himself the history of all inferior types. ... Every inferior or subordinate stock was originated as the vital off-throwings of man, these off-throwings being composed of cells of man’s [former ethereal, ovoid] body. ... It was these buds ... which originated all the stocks below the mammalia in the preceding globe-round or great tidal wave of life, hundreds of millions of years ago. ...
    ‘The mammalia, however, were the off-throwings from man in the present great globe-round or great tidal wave of life, and had their origin from prehuman man in the very early part of the Mesozoic, and very probably in the last part of the preceding or Paleozoic era ... They were originally buds or offspring from [the early] mindless and imperfect human stock; ... the human spiritual entity was not yet then dominant in the human bodies of that time, and could not fully hold in abeyance the vital potencies of the cells which composed those buds ...
    ‘The apes and the monkeys sprang from man likewise, but in another manner. The monkeys were born from the mindless human race which ... in many cases allied themselves with animal beings who also originally had sprung from the human stock ... [T]his occurred during the Mesozoic or Secondary era ... At a later date, toward the end of the great fourth stock-race, during the Miocene epoch, ... some of [the] degenerate Atlantean or fourth-race men repeated “the sin of the mindless” with the lower simian stock then existing; and this second and still more shameful union originated the anthropoid apes. Hence it is small wonder that they resemble man, their half-parent, in so many particulars ...’ (MiE 140-1, 151-2)

* * *

    ‘[H]umanity [is] an emanation from divinity on its return path thereto.’ (Key 217)

    ‘Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called evil in nature. The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from nature. ... [T]he origin of every evil whether small or great is in human action, in man whose intelligence makes him the one free agent in nature.’ (ML2 56-7; MLC 273-4)

    ‘[T]he work of evolution begins on the descending arc and works its way upwards through the ascending arc. From this it follows that the force directed towards spirit is the one which must, though not without hard struggle, ultimately prevail. This is the great directing energy of nature ... If an individual attempts to move in a direction other than that in which nature is moving, that individual is sure to be crushed, sooner or later, by the enormous pressure of the opposing force. We need not say that such a result would be the very reverse of pleasurable. The only way therefore, in which happiness might be attained, is by merging one’s nature in great mother nature, and following the direction in which she herself is moving: this again, can only be accomplished by assimilating man’s individual conduct with the triumphant force of nature, the other force being always overcome with terrific catastrophes. The effort to assimilate the individual with the universal law is properly known as the practice of morality. Obedience to this universal law, after ascertaining it, is true religion, which has been defined by Lord Buddha “as the realization of the true.” ’ (BCW 5:340-1)

    ‘[The universe] manifests periodically, for purposes of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the ever-becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite universe, passing from the formless and the intangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, reascending at each new period higher and nearer the final goal; that each atom, we say, may reach through individual merits and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditioned ALL. But between the alpha and the omega there is the weary “road” hedged in by thorns, that “goes down first, then –
                    Winds up hill all the way
                    Yes, to the very end. ...”
    ‘Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested space – the pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the “god” has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. [H]e has to sacrifice himself to himself in order to redeem all creatures, to resurrect from the many into the One Life. Then he ascends into heaven indeed; where, plunged into the incomprehensible absolute being and bliss of paranirvana, he reigns unconditionally, and whence he will re-descend again at the next “coming” ...’ (SD 1:268)

    ‘[P]ersonal virtue could claim no merit, unless it had passed through the furnace of temptation. Nothing is eternal and unchangeable, save the concealed Deity. Nothing that is finite – whether because it had a beginning, or must have an end – can remain stationary. It must either progress or recede; and a soul which thirsts after a reunion with its spirit, which alone confers upon it immortality, must purify itself through cyclic transmigrations onward toward the only land of bliss and eternal rest, called ... by the Buddhists, “nirvana.” ’ (Key 112)

    There are ten kingdoms, or classes of monads: three elemental kingdoms, the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms, and three dhyani-chohanic or spiritual kingdoms. (See SOP 161, 184)
1. First elemental kingdom: unindividualized monadic corpuscles, highly fluidic in character.
2. Second elemental kingdom: separation into droplets of quasi-particularized entities.
3. Third elemental kingdom: more highly particularized beings, still bound together by a common vital organic existence.
4. Mineral kingdom: quasi-individualized corpuscles, functioning in organic unity.
5. Vegetable kingdom: pressure towards individualization increases.
6. Beast kingdom: dawning of distinct individualized units.
7. Human kingdom: efflorescence of individuality, dawning of a general consciousness.
8. The Great Ones: full-grown individuality, self-conscious realization of a unifying general consciousness.
9. Quasi-divine beings or lower gods: perfected individuality merging into a general consciousness, dawning of cosmic consciousness.
10. Gods: emergence into conscious realization of cosmic consciousness, without loss of a perfected impersonal individuality. (See ET 940; HPBM 64-5)

    ‘[T]he Kabalists say correctly that “MAN becomes a stone, a plant, an animal, a man, a spirit, and finally God. Thus accomplishing his cycle or circuit and returning to the point from which he had started as the heavenly MAN.” But by “man” the divine monad is meant, and not the thinking entity, much less his physical body.’ (SD 2:186; see MiE 57-8)

    ‘Every monadic essence, every monad, no matter where or in what period of time, is a learning entity, always advancing from the less to the more perfect. In any one cosmic manvantara it begins its evolutionary journey as an unself-conscious god-spark, passing through all the phases and experiences which that particular manvantara contains, and finishes as a fully perfected god.’ (FSO 293)

    ‘[T]he individuals of the kingdoms of the ascending arc are becoming with every important time period more fully self-conscious divine or spiritual egos, and thus their subservience to their hierarch is a gladly willing one; whereas the individuals of the kingdoms of the downward arc are blindly and unconsciously submissive to their respective kingdom-hierarchs because they have not sufficient egoity within themselves to become intellectual rebels as men so often are. This shows how the monad evolves from unself-consciousness into what is often assertive self-consciousness and, as it slowly ascends in evolution, the monad now become man changes his “rebellious” self-consciousness into divine and buddha-like self-forgetful subservience to the divine will of the silent watcher of our hierarchy.’ (FSO 619)

    ‘The planes, or hierarchical system, of our universe comprise seven manifested and three unmanifest planes. As each planetary chain in its new imbodiment takes place on the next higher or cosmic plane, in order to raise an un-self-conscious god-spark to self-conscious divinity there must therefore be seven reimbodiments of any planetary chain in the solar manvantara.’ (Dia 2:306)

    ‘First an unself-conscious god-spark; then, after many revolvings through the lower kingdoms of nature, its inner faculties and powers manifest themselves in the human stage, the spark becoming a man, later on a divinity; and a glorious sun with its attendant family of planets, its own trailing and now partly grown monads; then a galaxy; and then a cluster of galaxies – and where may we place a limiting end to the fundamental monad’s unending growth? There is never an ending, nor, indeed, was there ever a beginning. ...
    ‘The spirit-soul of man, the heart of the heart of him, is essentially one with infinitude. Being co-extensive with boundless space, born of its essence, life of its life, consciousness of its consciousness, it is timeless and deathless, for neither time nor death have sway over infinitude.’ (FSO 640-1)

    ‘When the monadic essence of a man enters, after leaving our own hierarchy of lives, into the more sublime realms of cosmic being, he enters them as an embryo entity, therein beginning his next upward climb on the first round of that new ladder of life until in the course of the revolving ages he shall have climbed higher and higher to the highest rung of that ladder, when again he shall meet face to face with a new and still more sublime mystery, a hierarchy of ineffable experience. And thus it goes onwards forever.’ (ITT 103)

compiled by David Pratt. March 1999.

Evolution in the fourth round

Evolution and design