Let me open this evening with the following mythological allegory. It seems that when the gods were young, Man had the audacity to claim kinship with them. However the gods found that in his case, was just, and they were greatly alarmed at the prospect of losing their supremacy. He must be prevented from storming the gates of heaven. So they stole his godhood, the spark of divinity he possessed, and tried to find a safe place to hide it. But no satisfactory place was found, either in heaven or on the earth. And so the great Brahm, the father of the gods, was appealed to. He said: “Give it to me, and I will put it where Man will not easily find it, that will be within Man himself”. “But exactly where?”, asked the gods. “That is my secret”, said the great father: “And always will be, until Man discovers it for himself.” In the course of my remarks this evening I hope to show how pertinent to our subject are the thoughts of this little allegory.

I wonder if we realise clearly the extent to which we are captives of the thought-life of our era; we’re not unique in this regard, for every age suffers from the illusion of the rightness of their time and the strangeness of other eras. All this has its plus and minus aspects, we enjoy so many privileges and freedoms, we have to hand perhaps as never before in known history an infinitude of facts on every conceivable topic. Nonetheless we are captive to the thought boundaries of our time. The onrush of the Dark Ages after centuries of classical culture was like pulling down the shade between the West and the thought life of proceeding times. Nearly all the great libraries were wantonly burned and many of the artefacts destroyed. Europe sank into an intellectual somnolence. With the Renaissance the revival of learning and the Reformation, light began to dawn in our western consciousness. We must not forget that in the meantime in other parts of the world, including the near and far east and the Americas there had occurred a galaxy of brilliant religious, intellectual and material flowerings.

The awakening of the West was characterised by several trends. Science achieved a fresh start; astronomy, physics, mathematics, chemistry, followed by geology, medicine, and anthropology. The education of those times was centred in the writings of the Classical world, the Greek and Roman philosophers, historians and scientists. At Oxford and Cambridge lectures were given in Latin and Greek. At the beginning of the last century, the Industrial Revolution began to take shape, that is the application of science to technology, especially in the area of manufacturing.

As science and technology predominated, the classical wisdom began to disappear in schools and universities; our modern education does not include it. The average young person today knows little if anything about Homer or Aescalus, Plato or Plutarch. With the appearance of Darwin’s theory of evolution it seemed that science and religion were on a collision course. The religious philosophy of the Christian movement, which survived the Dark Ages, had been stripped of much of its more philosophical tenets. It had settled into rigid dogmas such as the Creation story, when God had created the world and all that is in it some six to eight thousand years ago. Such beliefs could not be reconciled with the torrent of information about the history of Earth that was emerging. This lead to a sort of dualism, an armed truce, which allowed Science to explain the Cosmos in physical terms and Religion the privilege to do the same from the spiritual point of view.

All this may sound like a rather long-winded way of considering the subject of Atlantis and other Lost Lands, but our understanding of the possibility of previous continents with their humanities, requires us to take a long look at present religious and scientific dogmas. But a scientific outlook has prevailed in these matters. What does that imply? First, that the universe and all it contains must be described in purely physical terms, second, that any explanations of the cosmic process must be physical explanations only. These are the strictures Science has put upon itself; it has every right to put these strictures upon itself, but in all honesty one has to ask: “Can the universe, including our earth with all its teaming life, be explained in physical terms only?” – it can be described, but can it be explained? As if to say that if there are spiritual energies, consciousness, laws, beings, that these can be disregarded as having no tangible effect upon the cosmic process.

As applied to Man, such ideas would mean that the individual person dies when the body dies, Man survives only in his offspring. Evolution thus is a matter of improved genetic transmission from generation to generation, stimulated by genetic mutation, acted upon by natural selection. When someone inquires: “What is the universe, what is Man, what is life?”, he is referred not to philosophy, not to religion, as in former times, but to science. And science maintains that organic life is the only living material in the cosmos. Only plants, animals and men are alive, our beautiful planet, our glorious sun, the all-embracing universe itself, these are essentially astrophysical phenomena, they are not living, they do not have consciousness.

But here is the clincher, in so far as our subject tonight is concerned, if you were to ask a scientist, an anthropologist, say, about the possibility of civilisations on continents now sunk beneath the oceans he would probably reply in this fashion: “the most reliable estimate shows civilised man to be 10 to 15,000 years old at the very outset, and there is no record of any major submergences of land masses during that time. It is true that most of the ancient peoples believed in the fabled Atlantis and Lemuria, both now beneath the ocean. But civilised man has simply not appeared on the scene in those earlier periods. Such old legends and myths are simply superstitious imaginings coming down to us from the childhood of our race”.

I believe “present day conceits” are perhaps the greatest barrier to understanding older cultures – we should be more open to the way other peoples have thought – every age believes that “now at last we know how it all happened”, having downgraded or even disregarded different types of evidence that may be staring us in the face. We shall have to rise above these limitations if we wish to know the mysteries of our ancient past or the intricacies of the ancient mind.

Another more specific reason why it is sometimes difficult for researchers to understand ancient civilisations is, I believe, because these older peoples taught, almost without exception, that this is a living universe, that life is everywhere, in the atom and the sun, in the wind and the majestic oceans. Today we hold that this is a dead universe, life an accidental by-product of matter that has somehow struggled forth. We desperately need a broader definition of LIFE, for it would give us a perspective on our place in the universe and on this earth, and enlarge our concept of the history of Man and the planet that has nurtured him.

If our universe is a living being and our sun and earth also we see, then, ourselves as children of the living Cosmos, blood of its blood and life of its life. This implies that there are beings above Man and beings below the plant kingdom, if Man enshrines a divine spark we can truly believe we were present when the earth was born and the Morning Stars sang together as it says in the book of Job. We would realise that hierarchies of beings superior to us, Gods, if you like, form the inner fabric of the Cosmos. Without their guiding and sustaining influence, Nature would become a meaningless chaos.

Now the story of Man cannot be understood without considering the birth of the planet of which he is an inseparable part. As Man and the other kingdoms achieved their evolution, so does earth achieve its form and its reimbodiment, the elemental forces, the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms, and the kingdoms of the gods, all are essential to one another and to the whole. We are to earth what cells, the lifeforce, and thoughts are to Man. Thus from the very beginning of our planet’s reimbodiment, all the kingdoms were present, not as they now are, but as seeds about to unfold.

So let us for a few moments consider the roughest outlines the manner in which the Ancients described the birth of worlds, which they looked upon as Cosmic beings, whether speaking of universes, suns, or planets. When such a birth commences, as is the case with Man, there is no form, the energies and characteristics of the systems of worlds about to come forth have been inrolled, dormant, sleeping for ages. The Hindus and other cultures give figures for the lifespan of planets and suns and other cosmic entities. Planets they said live for 4,320,000,000 years, a figure not far from the present scientific estimate, and this lifespan is called their Manvantara. The time spent in it’s rest period or death or pralaya as it is called in Sanskrit, is also given as 4,320,000,000 years. When the time arrives for our world to re-awaken, it does so on a very ethereal level. First the godlike beings and the elemental forces issue forth, laying the ethereal pattern for the inner and outer aspects of the earth-to-be. This is followed by the awakening of the lower kingdoms, human, animal, vegetable, laying the tracks, so to say, all this still on higher planes. The life of a planet takes place in a series of pulsations or rounds, there are seven such rounds. We are presently in the fourth round, the most material of our planetary life-cycle. Henceforward our earth will grow increasingly less material until the end of its lifespan. As the lesser kingdoms build for themselves more and more appropriate bodies to work through, the earth itself assumes its shape, its circulations, and its energy flow, inner and outer, that we associate with this living planet of ours of which we are, the lesser lives, are the living parts.

The birth of a world is directly analogous to the birth of a human being. Just imagine, out of a single cell or vital centre, sometimes termed in Hindu nomenclature a laya centre – through this centre flow all the living forces that will produce in time an adult human being with all his or her inner and outer circulation, intelligence, feeling, consciousness – it’s astounding, isn’t it, that all this unfolding from within or rather through a microscopic germ-cell, a human being reincarnates, not by happenstance but by law, following steps and stages laid down in the inner fabric of the human stock ages and ages ago when Man was evolving his present form from the astral globular shape it once had.

Earth achieves its expression by means of all its lesser lives, just as Man achieves his physical incarnation by means of all his atoms, molecules, compounds, cells, all contributing to form the fluids, tissues and organs of his bodily phases, all energised by the life-forces or pranas and infilled with emotional and mental activities and all these in turn energised by the indwelling consciousness. And so it is with the planet, as it’s kingdoms alter and evolve, grow more material, so does earth achieve the various phases of its reimbodiment.

All this presupposes that there is an enduring part that lives in each person, each plant, each atom, something that survives and gradually evolves through repeated reimbodiments something within, in the case of Man a higher self or reincarnating ego in which is stored the wisdom of experience. Evolution, thus, is the process by which the potentials of this divine essence may unfold. We humans have unfolded that which makes us human, the animals are at the animal stage. Someday in some future planetary cycle the higher animals may develop from within themselves that which will make it the natural step to slip over into the human kingdom, as many did in the early part of the present planetary cycle or reimbodiment, according to HP Blavatsky.

Evolution from the Theosophical point of view extends through repeated reimbodiments or reincarnations, not only the human kingdom, but among animals, plants, even atoms and worlds – it’s not scientific heresy to describe that a sun is born, lives and dies. The only heresy might be to describe, as we do, that the sun will in time be reborn, with its worlds visible and invisible, just as Man has his invisible parts, so also the sun with its planetary and other worlds and their inhabitants.

From the standpoint of the reincarnationalist, Mankind is very, very old indeed, millions of years old. His civilisations stretch back into legendary times. If we would study comparatively the myths and epics of Mankind and give some credence to them we would find these old accounts describing civilisations on continents now sunken. They contain many types of suggestive material that should be taken seriously, not always literally but in the spirit of them, the essence. These legends are the only memory we have of these older periods obscured by intervening catastrophes. They have survived with all the races by oral tradition, but any records would have been destroyed in the often violent inter-regnums that have come in between.

HP Blavatsky held that these old myths were designed by teachers, adepts, who wove into them the teachings of the ancient wisdom. They may therefore be interpreted on many levels, she mentions 7 ways or avenues of understanding locked up in them, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, physical and so forth.

The ancients divided human history into many cycles related to the cosmic clock, root-races, sub-races, family races, tribes, nations, cycles of 500, 1000, many thousands of years. Let us go briefly into this subject. One of the ways by which the Hindus calculated the races and their subdivisions was to start with a figure for the ideal life of a human being, some 72 years, so on as follows. 7 generations of men make up a nation, a cycle of some 500 years. 7 of these nations in turn go to form a tribal race which endures some 3600 years. 7 tribal races form what HP Blavatsky termed a national race, enduring for a processional cycle of 25,920 years. The term “national race” is misleading, she not referring to a nation as we normally use that word, but a whole conjures of nations within the span of 7 tribal races. 7 of these national races constitute a family race which endures 180,000 years and 7 such family races form a sub-race and 7 sub-races form a root-race – complicated, isn’t it?

We are presently in the 5th root race which is nearing its mid-point or iron age or Kali Yuga, the 4th race which preceded us was termed by the Greeks the Atlantean Race, and the 3rd root race was called Lemuria, a word devised by a scientist named Sklater? who in his efforts to trace the origin of the Lemur, an ape-like creature, found they existed in Madagascar but also in South East Asia. He concluded that a continent must formerly have existed where the Indian Ocean now is and he named this sunken continent “Lemuria”.

On this physical globe of ours, in this 4th round, a number of activities took place involving the various kingdoms of nature, first the mineral kingdom was dominant, undergoing cycle after cycle, millions of years of vulcanism, metamorphism and sedimentary activity. As mineral activity began to subside the vegetal kingdom or lifewave swept in, eventually choking the earth almost with its greenery, depositing over 100s of millennia the fossil fuel from which we benefit even today. Overlapping and eventually superseding the plant domination of earth, there commenced the influx of the animal lifewave, the era of huge prehistoric creatures continued for millions of years, finally giving way to the human lifewave.

According to HP Blavatsky, the first two races of men were more astral than physical, that is they were ethereal, not physical, and their lifespan was much longer than the 3rd, 4th, and 5th races. During these earliest races, Man’s bodily phases were in the processes of being evolved. All this is described in Blavatsky’s marvellous book, the Secret Doctrine, as well as in the Puranas of India and in other ancient writings including the Zend Avensta.

The first root race is described as having its home at the North Pole. This continent is sometimes called “The Sacred Imperishable Land”, for by tradition it will endure for the entire span of the 7 root races. As the millions of years rolled by, the first root race blended into the 2nd race which inhabited the continent described by Blavatsky as the “Horseshoe Continent” centred in the northern edge of eastern and western Siberia, with one arm extending through Greenland and the other southward through Kanchatka. This continent eventually broke asunder and disappeared.

By the middle of the 3rd or Lemurian root race the process of evolving Man’s body was completed and several remarkable events took place. There occurred the division into the two sexes, remembered in the Bible, the Popul Vu of Central America, in fact in nearly all the religions and mythologies throughout the world. It is worth recounting another important event that took place just before following the middle of the 3rd or so-called Lemurian race. Physical man was ready, and the time arrived for his inner nature, in particular his mind, to be awakened. This was achieved by the incarnation in Man of his own higher self, thus enflaming his nascent mind into self-consciousness, a characteristic which differentiates Man from the higher animals. The Hindus term this event “the descent of the Manisuptras” or sons of mind. Among the Greeks you will remember how Prometheus stole the fire from the gods, the fire of mind, and brought it to Man for which he was punished by Zeus, chained to Mt. Caucasus. He was eventually freed by Heracles who symbolically represented perfected Man, for it is only as Man perfects himself that he will free his inner god or higher self.

The Christian traditions treated this same event in a most interesting manner, we have Adam and Eve representing the human race, living in the garden of Eden, a mindless life. Comes now Lucifer, the so-called Fallen Angel – what a marvellous word is Lucifer, meaning “Light Bringer” – comes now Lucifer to the garden who tempts Eve with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and she and Adam did eat thereof. Thus early humanity achieved self-conscious mind through the intercession of higher beings, the Promethean Lucifer. After this awakening there could no longer be an Eden, for Man now had the power to choose, he knew right from wrong, he was responsible, he could sow and reap karma in a far more potent manner than heretofore.

Nearly all traditions speak of this era as the time when divine instructors lived among men, impressing on their plastic minds certain root ideas that remain to this day. They also taught Man the arts and sciences; you’ve probably all of you read these legends and mythologies which speak of this. These superior beings or adepts are sometimes termed “divine kings” who ruled by the right of their own effulgent divine nature. But the cycle was still on its downward swing into matter and gradually as the 4th race came on these instructors withdrew, at the same time founding the Mystery Schools which preserved this noble wisdom. Tradition has it that these schools exist even today, although in our times they’re not as openly professed as they were in the classical world of the West and in other places.

The 3rd or Lemurian continent included portions of what is now eastern Africa. It was a gigantic continent stretching across the Indian Ocean to Australia, somewhat upward into the western Pacific and eastward as far as the two Americas now lie. It has now in the main disappeared, except for islands such as Madagascar and Ceylon in the Indian Ocean, Australia in the Pacific with its own lifeforms, its own marvellous peoples dating from that time, the native peoples of Australia. Also New Zealand is part of the ancient Lemurian continent, and Easter Island with its statues standing on their magnificent and far older cyclopean granite bases is also part of ancient Lemuria. Blavatsky said that vulcanism broke up and destroyed the 3rd race continent, large portions of which later sank.

It is said that the Atlantean or 4th race was the most material of the races, they produced magnificent civilisations but as a race were engrossed in magic, even black magic. Some of this is hinted at by Plato in two Dialogues of his, the Timeus and Creto. As Atlantis approached its midpoint, the seeds of our present or 5th root race began to appear. It is from the midpoint of the previous or parent race that springs the following race. This midpoint is sometimes termed the Iron Age or Kali Yuga, the time when life grows increasingly intense, time presses, and the lower and higher elements separate out; finally the seeds of the race to come are isolated geographically while the old race in ever diminishing numbers, runs out its course. In Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine it is described how the main continent of Atlantis sank several million years ago. Ruta, a huge island in the Pacific, submerged some 850,000 years before our time, and Daitya, a smaller island, sank, she says, 270,000 years ago. The final sinking is that recorded by Plato as having occurred some 9000 BC, the island of Poseidonis, in the Atlantic, a body of land about the size of Ireland. The seeds of our 5th root race had its home in central Asia and in the course of thousands of years the congeries of civilisations flowered there, during the halcyon time of its golden, silver, and part of its bronze age, to use the ancient Greek term. Hesiod of Greece, who lived some 800 BC, wrote that we are now in the 5th race, just entering the Iron Age thereof and I’ll have that book out on the table for after.

It’s an amazing confirmation of what other cultures have also recorded at different parts of the world including India and central America and even amongst some of the American Indians of the south-west.

We are approaching the mid point of our 5th root race and have entered our Kali Yuga or Iron Age which commenced according to the Hindu figures with the death of Krishna in 3,102 BC. The Iron Age is due to last 432,000 years according to the Hindu figures. In the course of time, forerunners of the 6th root race will begin to appear and come along in increasing numbers. In contrast with the 5th root race, where the 5th or mental principle predominated, the 6th race will unfold more of the Buddhic principle or spiritual insight, hence the phrase “the sixth sense”.

Before closing this aspect of our subject it might be interesting to try to figure out just where we are in the 5th race. According to Blavatsky we are in the 4th sub-race, that is nearing the mid-point, and the family race that is now predominating is the Caucasian. The national race to which we belong is the European, which has run through 9,000 of its 25,000 year cycle. The tribal race presently dominating is the Germanic, and of is span of 3600 years it would seem that somewhat over 1000 years have elapsed.

HP Blavatsky and Dr. de Purucker give some examples of the various types of races which may clarify the subject. Examples of the family race would include the original inhabitants of the New World, that is the pre-Inca, pre-Aztec and Mayan peoples. This American family race in its 180,000 year cycle may have included all the lesser cycles, must have included all the lesser cycles that we have discussed. No doubt as the final islands of the Atlantean civilisation began to sink, immigration into the New World may have come from both the Atlantic and the Pacific, bringing an influx of languages and customs, and also the idea appearing of building pyramids was a typically Atlantean thing.

Where according to Dr. Crober?, the north and south America contained more native language families than all the remainder of the world. It is patently absurd to believe that all these diverse peoples could have come across the Berring Straits and worked their way southwards for thousands of miles and still preserve the language diversity that the discoverers of the New World found here.

Examples of a national race of 25,000 year cycle would be the European, now 1/3 done, including all the races of Europe, Poles and Germans, French, Swiss, Russians, English, Scandanavian, Netherlanders and so forth.

A tribal race would be such as the Slavic which would include the Russians, Poles, Czechs, Bulgars and so forth. Another tribal race is the Teutonic such as the Germans, Scandanavians, English, French, plus the Goths and Vizigoths and Vandal strains which settled in Italy and Spain.

Now HP Blavatsky’s teachers mentioned how complex is this subject of cycle. For races overlap races and a new race is born from the midpoint of its parent. This means that the old race and the new co-exist side by side for a time, in other words the transition is not cut and dried but blurred and gradual. All great civilisations result from the mixture of peoples, there is no such thing as a pure race. The English for example, are a mixture of, a wide mixture of indigenous inhabitants, plus the Celts, Romans, Saxons, Norse, Normans, plus others, I’m sure, even those coming into that island were already an admixture from other lands, from heaven knows where. Certainly the Phoenicians were out there, I know that, mining the tin.

The congeries of civilisations in China, India, and the Middle East, all resulted from a mixing of racial strains. Our own country and the New World in general is in the process of creating new races of various types, perhaps another family of 180,000 years will arise here, or possibly a cycle of 25,000 years will commence, composed of various tribal and national units each of which will have its day in the sun.

It is well to bear in mind that often as the midpoint of a cycle approaches, especially the midpoint of a larger cycle, that nature conspires to give race a rest, er, to give the Earth a rest. She accomplishes this in all the ways familiar to students of geology, such as soil depletion leading to the creation of deserts, also changes of climate, even submersions of portions of lands, the flooding of others, or the raising of lands and consequent changes of climate. As the European culture approaches its midpoint, HP Blavatsky speaks of such changing occurring in the old one, on a much larger span of years, the lands now occupied by our present 5th root race as it approaches it mid point will unquestionably undergo vast changes, some gradual, some catastrophic, as did the old Atlanteans as described by Plato, whose continents broke up over the long millennia and were replaced by new lands, clean and free of old emanations.

Earth has seen the flowering, many flowerings of Man’s greatness, Earth has had to suffer many of Man’s depredations. But Mother Nature is still in command. In time she will strike her balance, if Man of these deserves, then parts of earth will become unlivable. Think of the titanic forces humankind is sending forth, the diverse forces of our technological civilisation, Man’s hates, antagonisms, jealousies, greed, also great emanations such as the forces of Love, forgiveness, brotherhood, generosity, understanding, nature absorbs it all and will eventually react. No wonder there are times when Earth seems to shake Man like a dog its fleas, because it is the end of a time, and a new time must emerge. Perhaps a glaciation will occur, covering a whole hemisphere under thousands of feet of ice, lying fallow so that it can become revivified. Or portions of continents may slip under the oceans, or others rise.

We can easily see from these remarks how long it will take the human family, with its wide variety of incarnating souls, with their divergent karmas, how long it will take to advance or evolve into more grand and brotherly areas. Here and there as in the past there will be golden ages, but interspersed with darker times, often violent and involving suffering for all concerned. On the positive side we must not ignore the power of spiritual leadership. I personally believe leadership has influenced history enormously, with its power to inspire and to build, or on the negative side to tear down and destroy. But the time will surely arrive when as WQ Judge wrote: “The climate of human life here and there will draw, the time will arrive when the climate of human life will draw into incarnation the old Sunyanis or initiated ones, Adepts, Wise Men, to assist in raising our earth life to a higher level. Meantime, Mankind must reap what it sows, each individual facing himself, for the greatest god in the highest heaven cannot step between Man and his karma, between cause and effect, although the Great Ones, it is said, seek always to ameliorate the situation, as karma permits.

Well we’ve made a long journey here this evening, backward and forward in time, we’ve attempted to show the rise and fall of Man’s cultures against the background of the living Earth and a living Cosmos, guided by superior beings. We have suggested that reincarnation gives us insights into the panorama of history, for it pictures Man as an immortal pilgrim with a spark of the Divine in his heart of hearts. All the potentials of this divine source reside within him, and also in all other beings, and even forces and worlds, in the bird winging its way through the blue sky, in the lightening and the storm, and in our beautiful earth, so patiently nourishing its kingdoms. There is genuine value in looking as history as a stream of individuals like ourselves, flowing out of the legendary past down the centuries to the present. Indeed, reincarnationists believe these ancients were ourselves, and why not, for Man returns again and again to the scenes of his striving, bringing back his genius which is himself, returning with the blemishes and talents, adolescence and maturity which mirror themselves in the rise and fall of civilisations, on continents that appear and disappear as the cycle demands. Waves of cultures sweep in and ebb away. Darker ages succeed those in which the light of progress has shone resplendent, a living tapestry of magic and meaning.

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