THEOSOPHY, Vol. 65, No. 3, January, 1977
(Pages 77-81; Size: 14K)
WITH the Brahmins the Pitris are very sacred, because they are the Progenitors, or ancestors of men -- the first Manushya on this Earth -- and offerings are made to them by the Brahmin when a son is born unto him. They are more honoured and their ritual is more important than the worship of the gods.
May we not now search for a philosophical meaning in this dual group of progenitors?
The Pitris being divided into seven classes, we have here the mystic number again. Nearly all the Purânas agree that three of these are arupa, formless, while four are corporeal; the former being intellectual and spiritual, the latter material and devoid of intellect. It is the Hosts of the four material classes who create men simultaneously on the seven zones.
Now, with regard to the seven classes of Pitris, each of which is again divided into seven, a word to students and a query to the profane. That class of the "Fire Dhyanis," which we identify on undeniable grounds with the Agnishwattas, is called in our school the "Heart" of the Dhyan-Chohanic Body; and it is said to have incarnated in the third race of men and made them perfect. The esoteric Mystagogy speaks of the mysterious relation existing between the hebdomadic essence or substance of this angelic Heart and that of man, whose every physical organ, and psychic, and spiritual function, is a reflection, so to say, a copy on the terrestrial plane of the model or prototype above. Why, it is asked, should there be such a strange repetition of the number seven in the anatomical structure of man? Why should the heart have four lower "cavities and three higher divisions," answering so strangely to the septenary division of the human principles, separated into two groups, the higher and the lower; and why should the same division be found in the various classes of Pitris, and especially our Fire Dhyanis? For, as already stated, these Beings fall into four corporeal (or grosser) and three incorporeal (or subtler) "principles," or call them by any other name you please. Why do the seven nervous plexuses of the body radiate seven rays? Why are there these seven plexuses, and why seven distinct layers in the human skin?
As the Commentary, broadly rendered, says:
1. "Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in Space strives in its efforts towards self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the 'HEAVENLY MAN.' ... Its (the atom's) involution and evolution, its external and internal growth and development, have all one and the same object -- man; man, as the highest physical and ultimate form on this earth; the MONAD, in its absolute totality and awakened condition -- as the culmination of the divine incarnations on Earth."
2. "The Dhyanis (Pitris) are those who have evolved their BHUTA(doubles) from themselves, which RUPA (form) has become the vehicle of monads (seventh and sixth principles) that had completed their cycle of transmigration in the three preceding Kalpas (Rounds). Then, they (the astral doubles) became the men of the first Human Race of the Round. But they were not complete, and were senseless."
The Pitris shoot out from their ethereal bodies, still more ethereal and shadowy similitudes of themselves, or what we should now call "doubles," or "astral forms," in their own likeness. This furnishes the Monad with its first dwelling, and blind matter with a model around and upon which to build henceforth. But Man is still incomplete.
This has a very occult meaning, however. There are seven classes of Pitris enumerated in the Purânas -- but only three classes are composed of the progenitors (from pitar father) of primeval man; one class creates the form of man -- nay, is, or rather becomes, that form (or physical man) itself; the other two are the creators of our souls and minds. It is a very complicated tenet.
The Pitris are lunar deities and our ancestors, because they created the physical man. The Agnishwatha, the Kumara (the seven mystic sages), are solar deities, though the former are Pitris also; and these are the "fashioners of the Inner Man."
Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give: the one builds his external form; the other gives him its essence, which later on becomes the Human Higher Self owing to the personal exertion of the individual; but they could not make men as they were themselves -- perfect, because sinless; sinless, because having only the first, pale shadowy outlines of attributes, and these all perfect -- from the human standpoint -- white, pure and cold as the virgin snow. Where there is no struggle, there is no merit. Humanity, "of the Earth earthy," was not destined to be created by the angels of the first divine Breath: therefore they are said to have refused to do so, and man had to be formed by more material creators, who, in their turn, could give only what they had in their own natures, and no more.
The "Fathers," the lower Angels, are all Nature-Spirits and the higher Elementals also possess an intelligence of their own: but this is not enough to construct a THINKING man. "Living Fire" was needed, that fire which gives the human mind its self-perception and self-consciousness, or Manas; and the progeny of Parvaka and Suchi are the animal electric and solar fires, which create animals, and could thus furnish but a physical living constitution to that first astral model of man.
The number seven does not imply only seven Entities, but seven groups or Hosts, as explained before. The highest group, the Asuras born in Brahmâ's first body -- which turned into "Night" -- are septenary, i.e., divided like the Pitris into seven classes, three of which are arupa (bodiless) and four with bodies. They are in fact more truly our Pitris (ancestors) than the Pitris who projected the first physical men.
It thus becomes clear why the Agnishwatta, devoid of the grosser creative fire, hence unable to create physical man, having no double, or astral body, to project, since they were without any form, are shown in exoteric allegories as Yogis, Kumuras (chaste youths), who became "rebels," Asuras, fighting and opposing gods, etc., etc. Yet it is they alone who could complete man, i.e., make of him a self-conscious, almost a divine being -- a god on Earth. The Barhishad, though possessed of creative fire, were devoid of the higher MAHAT-mic element. Being on a level with the lower principles -- those which precede gross objective matter -- they could only give birth to the outer man, or rather to the model of the physical, the astral man.
We now come to an important point with regard to the double evolution of the human race. The Sons of Wisdom, or the spiritual Dhyanis, had become "intellectual" through their contact with matter, because they had already reached, during previous cycles of incarnation, that degree of intellect which enabled them to become independent and self-conscious entities, on this plane of matter. They were reborn only by reason of Karmic effects. They entered those who were "ready," and became the Arhats, or sages. This needs explanation.
It does not mean that Monads entered forms in which other Monads already were. They were "Essences," "Intelligences," and conscious spirits; entities seeking to become still more conscious by uniting with more developed matter. Their essence was too pure to be distinct from the universal essence; but their "Egos," or Manas (since they are called Manasaputra, born of "Mahat," or Brahmâ) had to pass through earthly human experiences to become all-wise, and be able to start on the returning ascending cycle. The Monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one universal absolute Principle. The entrance into a dark room through the same aperture of one ray of sunlight following another will not constitute two rays, but one ray intensified. It is not in the course of natural law that man should become a perfect septenary being, before the seventh race in the seventh Round. Yet he has all these principles latent in him from his birth. Nor is it part of the evolutionary law that the Fifth principle (Manas), should receive its complete development before the Fifth Round. All such prematurely developed intellects (on the spiritual plane) in our Race are abnormal; they are those whom we call the "Fifth-Rounders." Even in the coming seventh Race, at the close of this Fourth Round, while our four lower principles will be fully developed, that of Manas will be only proportionately so. This limitation, however, refers solely to the spiritual development. The intellectual, on the physical plane, was reached during the Fourth Root-Race. Thus, those who were "half ready," who received "but a spark," constitute the average humanity which has to acquire its intellectuality during the present Manvantaric evolution, after which they will be ready in the next for the full reception of the "Sons of Wisdom." While those which "were not ready" at all, the latest Monads, which had hardly evolved from their last transitional and lower animal forms at the close of the Third Round, remained the "narrow-brained" of the Stanza. This explains the otherwise unaccountable degrees of intellectuality among the various races of men -- the savage Bushman and the European -- even now. Those tribes of savages, whose reasoning powers are very little above the level of the animals, are not the unjustly disinherited, or the unfavoured, as some may think -- nothing of the kind. They are simply those latest arrivals among the human Monads, which were not ready: which have to evolve during the present Round, as on the three remaining globes (hence on four different planes of being) so as to arrive at the level of the average class when they reach the Fifth Round. One remark may prove useful, as food for thought to the student in this connection. The MONADS of the lowest specimens of humanity (the "narrow-brained" savage South-Sea Islander, the African, the Australian) had no Karma to work out when first born as men, as their more favoured brethren in intelligence had. The former are spinning out Karma only now; the latter are burdened with past, present, and future Karma. In this respect the poor savage is more fortunate than the greatest genius of civilized countries.
Had not the "sons of Mahat," speaking allegorically, skipped the intermediate worlds, in their impulse toward intellectual freedom, the animal man would never have been able to reach upward from this earth, and attain through self-exertion his ultimate goal. The cyclic pilgrimage would have to be performed through all the planes of existence half unconsciously, if not entirely so, as in the case of the animals. It is owing to this rebellion of intellectual life against the morbid inactivity of pure spirit, that we are what we are -- self-conscious, thinking men, with the capabilities and attributes of Gods in us, for good as much as for evil. Hence the REBELS are our saviours. Not all men became incarnations of the "divine Rebels," but only a few among them. The remainder had their fifth principle simply quickened by the spark thrown into it, which accounts for the great difference between the intellectual capacities of men and races.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
Woe to the race which does not stop at the crossroads before continuing on its way, which does not make a problem out of its own inner life, which does not feel the heroic necessity of justifying its destiny and of throwing light on its mission in history! The individual cannot get his bearings in the universe except through his race, because he is immersed in it like the drop of water in the passing cloud.
--JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET
HUMAN ORIGINS AND STRUGGLES
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