THEOSOPHY, Vol. 67, No. 1, November, 1978
(Pages 6-11; Size: 17K)
CONTINENTS AND RACES(1)
AT the beginning of every new ROUND, after a period of "obscuration," the earth casts off, or is supposed to cast off, her old skins as the Serpent does: therefore she is called "the Queen of the Serpents," and "the mother of all that moves." The "Seven Skins," in the first of which she now stands, refer to the seven geological changes which accompany and correspond to the evolution of the Seven Root-Races of Humanity. The Secret Doctrine maintains that, notwithstanding the general cataclysms and disturbances of our globe, ... physical Humanity has existed upon it for the last 18,000,000 years. This period was preceded by 300,000,000 years of the mineral and vegetable development.
That worlds (also Races) are periodically destroyed by fire (volcanoes and earthquakes) and water, in turn, and renewed, is a doctrine as old as man. Manu, Hermes, the Chaldees, all antiquity believed in this. Twice already has the face of the globe been changed by fire, and twice by water, since man appeared on it. As land needs rest and renovation, new forces, and a change for its soil, so does water. Thence arises a periodical redistribution of land and water, change of climates, etc., all brought on by geological revolution, and ending in a final change in the axis. There is a secular change in the inclination of the earth's axis, and its appointed time is recorded in one of the great Secret Cycles.
Which means again, that our globe is subject to seven periodical entire changes which go pari-passu with the races. For the Secret Doctrine teaches that, during this Round, there must be seven terrestrial pralayas, three occasioned by the change in the inclination of the earth's axis. It is a law which acts at its appointed time, and not at all blindly, as science may think, but in strict accordance and harmony with Karmic law. In Occultism this inexorable law is referred to as "the great ADJUSTER."
Cyclic pralayas so-called are but obscurations, during which periods Nature, i.e., everything visible and invisible on a resting planet -- remains in statu quo. Nature rests and slumbers, no work of destruction going on on the globe even if no active work is done. All forms, as well as their astral types, remain as they were at the last moment of its activity. The "night" of a planet has hardly any twilight preceding it. It is caught like a huge mammoth by an avalanche, and remains slumbering and frozen till the next dawn of its new day -- a very short one indeed in comparison to the "Day of Brahma." It is not the physical organisms that remain in statu quo, least of all their psychical principles, during the great cosmic or even Solar pralayas, but only their Akasic or astral "photographs." But during the minor pralayas, once overtaken by the "Night," the planets remain intact, though dead....
The face of the Globe was completely changed each time; the survival of the fittest nations and races was secured through timely help; and the unfit ones -- the failures -- were disposed of by being swept off the earth. Such sorting and shifting does not happen between sunset and sunrise, as one may think, but requires several thousands of years before the new house is set in order.
The Sub-races are subject to the same cleansing process, as also the side-branchlets (the family-Races). Observe the Sidereal year, equal to 26,868 of our solar years ... the weal and woe of nations is intimately connected with the beginning and close of this sidereal cycle.
We believe in the seven "continents," four of which have already lived their day, the fifth still exists, and two are to appear in the future. We believe that each of these is not strictly a continent in the modern sense of the word, but that each refers to the geographical names given (i.) to the dry lands covering the face of the whole earth during the period of a Root-Race, in general; and (ii.) to what remained of these after a geological (race) Pralaya; and (iii.) to those localities which will enter, after the future cataclysms, into the formation of new universal "continents," peninsulas, or dwipas -- each continent being, in one sense, a greater or smaller region of dry land surrounded with water.
It is averred in Occultism that the land or island, which crowns the North Pole like a skull-cap, is the only one which prevails during the whole Manvantara of our "Round." All the central continents and lands will emerge from the sea bottom many times in turn, but this land will never change.
Northern Asia is as old as the Second Race. One may even say that Asia is contemporary with man, since from the very beginnings of human life its root-continent, so to speak, already existed; that part of the world now known as Asia being only cut off from it in a later age, and divided by the glacial waters.
During the Second Race more land emerged from under the waters as a continuation of the "head" from the neck. Beginning on both hemispheres, on the line above the most northern part of Spitzbergen on Mercator's Projection, on our side, it may have included, on the American side, the localities that are now occupied by Baffins Bay and the neighboring islands and promontories. There it hardly reached, southward, the 70th degree of latitude; here --it formed the horseshoe continent of which the commentary speaks; of the two ends of which, one included Greenland with a prolongation which crossed the 50th degree a little south west, and the other Kamschatka, the two ends being united by what is now the northern fringe of the coasts of Eastern and Western Siberia. This broke asunder and disappeared.
The ever-blooming lands of the Second Continent (Greenland, among others) were transformed, in order, from Edens with their eternal spring, into hyperborean Hades. This transformation was due to the displacement of the great waters of the globe, to oceans changing their beds; and the bulk of the Second Race perished in this first great throe of the evolution and consolidation of the globe during the human period.
The earliest pioneers of the Fourth Race were not Atlanteans. In those days large portions of the future continent of Atlantis were yet part and parcel of the Ocean floors. "Lemuria," as we have called the continent of the Third Race, was then a gigantic land. It covered the whole area of space from the foot of the Himalayas, which separated it from the inland sea rolling its waves over what is now Tibet, Mongolia, and the great desert of Schamo (Gobi); from Chittagong, westward to Hardwar, and eastward to Assam. From thence, it stretched South across what is known to us as Southern India, Ceylon, and Sumatra; then embracing on its way, as we go South, Madagascar on its right hand and Australia and Tasmania on its left, it ran down to within a few degrees of the Antarctic Circle; when, from Australia, an inland region on the Mother Continent in those ages, it extended far into the Pacific Ocean. It stretched, during the Third Race, east and west, as far as where the two Americas now lie, and since the present Australia is but a portion of it, as are also a few surviving islands sown hither and thither on the face of the Pacific and a large bit of California, which belonged to it.
The sinking and transformation of Lemuria beginning nearly at the Arctic Circle (Norway), the Third Race ended its career in Lanka, or rather on that which became Lanka with the Atlanteans. The small remnant now known as Ceylon is the Northern highland of ancient Lanka, while the enormous island of that name was, in the Lemurian period, the gigantic continent described. Lemuria was not submerged by a flood, but was destroyed by volcanic action, and afterwards sank.
The Commentary tells us that the Third Race was only about the middle point of its development when:-- "The axle of the Wheel tilted. The Sun and Moon shone no longer over the heads of that portion of the SWEAT BORN. ... This was the third pralaya of the races." The Third race almost utterly disappeared, carried away by the fearful geological cataclysms of the Secondary age, leaving behind it but a few hybrid races.
The Atlantic portion of Lemuria was the geological basis of what is generally known as Atlantis. The latter, indeed, must be regarded rather as a development of the Atlantic prolongation of Lemuria, than as an entirely new mass of land upheaved to meet the special requirements of the Fourth Root-Race. ... no hard and fast line can be drawn where a new order ends and another begins. Continuity in natural processes is never broken.
Thus the Fourth Race Atlanteans were developed from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian Third Race Men, centered, roughly speaking, toward a point of land in what is now the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Their continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were upheaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the true home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans. After this consummation was once attained it follows, as stated on the highest "occult" authority, that "Lemuria should no more be confounded with the Atlantis Continent, than Europe with America." That not only the last island of Atlantis, spoken of by Plato, but a large continent, first divided, and then broken later on into seven peninsulas and islands (called dwipas,) preceded Europe, is sure. It covered the whole of the North and South Atlantic regions, as well as portions of the North and South Pacific, and had islands even in the Indian Ocean (relics of Lemuria).
It is during the so-called Eocene period that the continent to which the Fourth Race belonged, and on which it lived and perished, showed the first symptoms of sinking. And it was in the Miocene age, that it was finally destroyed -- save the little island mentioned by Plato. "The final disappearance of the largest continent of Atlantis was an event coincident with the elevation of the Alps," a master writes. Pari passu as one portion of the dry land of our hemisphere disappeared, some land of the new continent emerged from the seas. It is on this colossal cataclysm, which lasted during a period of 150,000 years, that traditions of all the "Deluges" are built, the Jews building their version on an event which took place later in "Poseidonis." Atlantis was the name given to those portions of the submerged Fourth-Race continent which were "beyond the pillars of Hercules," and which happened to keep above water after the general cataclysm. The last remnant of these -- Plato's Atlantis, or the "Poseidon" (another substitute or rather a translation of the real name) -- was the last of it some 11,000 years ago.
The Eastern portion perished soon after the upheaval of the two Americas. ... America, the "new" world -- is thus, though not much, older, still it is older than Europe, the "old world."
All such Cataclysms are periodical and cyclical. The Second Flood -- the so-called "universal" -- which affected the Fourth Root Race ... is that flood which was first perceived by geology. ... the geological cataclysm which swept away nearly all the Fourth Race to make room for the Fifth. Most of Asia issued from under the waters after the destruction of Atlantis; Africa came still later, while Europe is the Fifth and the latest -- portions of the two Americas being far older. The Initiates who recorded the Vedas -- or the Rishis of our Fifth Race -- wrote at a time when Atlantis had already gone down. Atlantis is the fourth continent that appeared but the third that disappeared.
For 1,000,000 of years are allowed for our present Root-race (the Fifth) and about 850,000 years since the submersion of the last large island (part of the Continent), the Ruta of the Fourth Race, or the Atlanteans; while Daitya, a small island inhabited by a mixed race, was destroyed about 270,000 years ago, during the glacial period or thereabouts. The earliest Palæolithic men in Europe were of pure Atlantean and "Africo"-Atlantean stocks. The pure Atlantean stocks -- of which the tall quaternary cave-men were, in part, the direct descendants -- immigrated into Europe long prior to the Glacial Period. Europe in the quaternary epoch was very different from the Europe of today, being then only in process of formation. It was united to N. Africa -- or rather what is now N. Africa -- by a neck of land running across the present Straits of Gibraltar -- N. Africa thus constituting a species of extension of Spain, while a broad sea washed the great basin of the Sahara. Of the great Atlantis, the main bulk of which sank in the Miocene, there remained only Ruta and Daitya and a stray island or so. The Atlantean connections of the forefathers of the Palæolithic cave-men are evidenced by the upturning of fossil skulls (in Europe) reverting closely to the West Indian Carib and ancient Peruvian type -- a mystery indeed to all those who refuse to sanction the "hypothesis" of a former Atlantic continent to bridge the ocean. As to the African tribes -- themselves diverging offshoots of Atlanteans modified by climate and conditions -- they crossed into Europe over the peninsula which made the Mediterranean an inland sea. Fine races were many of these European cave-men; the Cro-Magnon, for instance. But, as was to be expected progress is almost non-existent through the whole of the vast period allotted by Science to the Chipped Stone-Age.
Neolithic man was a fore-runner of the great Aryan invasion, and immigrated from quite another quarter -- Asia, and in a measure Northern Africa. When geology shall have found out how many thousands of years ago the disturbed waters of the Indian Ocean reached the highest plateaux of Central Asia, when the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf made one with it, then only will they know the age of the Aryan Brahminical nation, and the time of its descent into the plains of Hindostan, which it did millenniums later.
The duration of the periods that separate, in space and time, the Fourth from the Fifth Race in the historical or even the legendary beginnings of the latter -- is too tremendous for us to offer, even to a Theosophist, any more detailed accounts of them. During the course of the post-diluvian ages -- marked at certain periodical epochs by the most terrible cataclysms -- too many races and nations were born, and have disappeared almost without leaving a trace, for any one to offer any description of the slightest value concerning them.
THE CONTRASTS OF INCARNATION
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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from The Secret Doctrine.
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