THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 10, August, 1959
(Pages 460-466; Size: 20K)

THE HUMAN CYCLE(1)

NOW that scientists have studied nature in the length, breadth, and thickness of her physical frame, it is time to remove the skeleton to the second plane and search within the unknown depths for the living and real entity, for its SUB-stance --the noumenon of evanescent matter. It is only by acting on such lines that some of the truths, now called exploded superstitions, will be discovered to be facts and the relics of ancient knowledge and wisdom. One of such "degrading" beliefs, in the opinion of the all-denying skeptic, is found in the idea that Kosmos, besides its objective planetary inhabitants, its humanities in other inhabited worlds, is full of invisible, intelligent Existences. The so-called Arch-Angels, Angels, and Spirits, of the West, copies of their prototypes, the Dhyan Chohans, the Devas and Pitris, of the East, are no real Beings, but fictions. On this point materialistic science is inexorable.

To support its position, science upsets its own axiomatic law of uniformity in the laws of nature, that of continuity, and all the logical sequence of analogies in the evolution of being. The masses of the profane are asked, and made to believe, that the accumulated testimony of history, which shows even the atheists of old, such as Epicurus and Democritus, believing in gods, was false; and that the philosophers like Socrates and Plato, asserting their existence, were mistaken enthusiasts and fools. But it would be a miracle indeed, quite an abnormal fact in the realm of probabilities and logic, were the handful of negators to be the sole custodian of truth, while the million-strong hosts of believers in gods, angels, and spirits, in Europe and America alone -- namely, Greek and Latin Christians, Theosophists, Spiritualists, Mystics, etc., would be no better than deluded fanatics and hallucinated mediums, and often no higher than the victims of deceivers and impostors! However varying in their external presentations and dogmas, beliefs in the hosts of invisible Intelligences of various grades have all the same foundation. The exact extent, depth, breadth, and length of the mysteries of nature are to be found only in the Eastern esoteric sciences.

The Secret Doctrine teaches that its adepts, the "Serpents of Wisdom," have preserved their records well, and the history of human evolution is traced in heaven even as it has been traced on underground walls; that Humanity and the stars are bound together indissolubly, because of the Intelligences that rule the latter. The whole of antiquity believed, with good reason, that Humanity and its races are all intimately connected with the planets, and these with the Zodiacal signs. The whole world's history is recorded in the signs of the Zodiac. It teaches that there are seven chief groups of Dhyan Chohans, or Archangels, which groups will be found in every religion, for they are the primeval Seven Rays. Humanity, occultism teaches us, is divided into seven distinct groups and their sub-divisions, mental, spiritual, and physical. Hence the seven chief planets are the spheres of the indwelling seven spirits under each of which is born one of the human groups which is guided and influenced thereby.

"The Army of the Voice, the Divine Septenary," corresponds to the actual types into which humanity may be divided; for humanity, as a whole, is in reality a materialized though as yet imperfect expression thereof. "After due allowance for the imagery of personified Powers, we must admit the existence of these Entities, 'the Primordial Seven' if we would not reject the existence of spiritual humanity within physical mankind. For the hosts of the Sons of Light and 'Mind-born Sons' of the first manifested Ray of the UNKNOWN ALL, are the very root of spiritual man." The Doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god, the Spiritual primeval INTELLIGENCES must pass through the human stage. And when we say human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any world, i.e., to those Intelligences that have reached the appropriate equilibrium between matter and spirit, as we have now, since the middle point of the fourth root-race of the fourth round was passed. Each entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience.

Thus it is taught that the "Son" of the immaculate Celestial Virgin (or the undifferentiated cosmic protyle, Matter in its infinitude) is born again on Earth as the Son of the terrestrial Eve, our mother Earth, and becomes Humanity as a total, past, present, and future. ... Above, the Son is the whole Kosmos; below, he is MANKIND.

There are three chief groups of "Builders," the first of which rebuild every "System" after the Night of Brahma; the second group is the Architect of our planetary chain exclusively; and the third, the progenitor of our Humanity -- the Macrocosmic prototype of the microcosm. The Planetary Spirits (the Dhyan Chohans) are the informing spirits of the Stars in general, and of the Planets especially. They rule the destinies of men who are born under one or other of their constellations; the second and third groups pertaining to other systems have the same function, and all rule various departments in nature.

Since traditions and even Chronicles of dynasties of divine Kings, of gods reigning over men followed by dynasties of Heroes or Giants, existed in the annals of every nation, it is difficult to understand how all the peoples under the sun, some of whom are separated by vast oceans and belong to different hemispheres, such as the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans, as well as the Chaldeans, could have worked out the "fairy tales" in the same order of events. Thus, "the 'Watchers' reign over man during the whole period of Satya Yuga and the smaller subsequent yugas, down to the beginning of the third root race, after which it is the Patriarchs, Heroes, and the Manes, the incarnated Dhyanis of a lower order, up to King Menes and the human kings of other nations: all were recorded carefully." The Secret Doctrine says that the Dhyani-Buddhas (or the Planetary Spirits) of the two higher groups, namely, the "Watchers" or the "Architects," furnish the many and various races with divine kings and leaders. It is the latter who taught Humanity their arts and sciences, and the former who revealed to the incarnated Monads that had just shaken off their vehicles of the lower kingdoms -- and who had, therefore, lost every recollection of their divine origin.

"The Watchers descended on Earth and reigned over men -- 'who are themselves'." It is pretty well established that Christ, the Logos, or the God in Space and the Saviour on earth, is but one of the echoes of the same antediluvian and sorely misunderstood wisdom. The history begins by the descent on earth of the "Gods" who incarnate in Mankind, and this is the Fall. For over sixteen centuries the new masks, forced on the faces of the old gods, have screened them from public curiosity, but they have finally proved a misfit. Yet the metaphorical Fall, and as metaphorical atonement and crucifixion, led Western humanity through roads knee-deep in blood. Worse than all, they led it to believe in the dogma of the evil spirit distinct from the spirit of all good, whereas the former lives in all matter and pre-eminently in man. Finally, it created the God-slandering dogma of hell and eternal perdition; it spread a thick film between the higher intuition of man and divine verities; and most pernicious of all it made people remain ignorant of the fact that there were no fiends, no dark demons in the Universe before man's own existence on this, and probably on other, earths. Henceforth the people were led to accept as the problematical consolation for this world's sorrows, the thought of original sin.

The "Fallen Angels," so-called, are Humanity itself. Humanity, "of the Earth earthy," was not destined to be created by the angels of the first divine Breath. Therefore the latter 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 natures, and no more. Subservient to eternal law, the pure gods could only project out of themselves shadowy men, a little less ethereal and spiritual, less divine and perfect, than themselves, but shadows still. The first humanity, therefore, was a pale copy of its progenitors: too material, even in its ethereality, to be a hierarchy of gods; too spiritual and pure to be Men, endowed as it is with every negative perfection. This is the humanity of form.

Earth's humanity develops fully only in the fourth, our present Round. Up to this fourth life-cycle, it is referred to as "humanity" only for lack of a more appropriate term. Like the grub which becomes chrysalis and butterfly Man, or rather that which becomes Man, passes through all the forms and kingdoms during the first round and through all the human shapes during the two following rounds. Arrived on our earth at the commencement of the fourth in the present series of life-cycles and races, Man is the first form that appears thereon, being preceded only by the mineral and vegetable kingdoms -- even the latter having to develop and continue its further evolution through man. During the three rounds to come, humanity, like the globe on which it lives, will be ever tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan Chohanic Host. Man tends to become a God, and then -- God, like every other atom in the Universe.

There is a perfect analogy between the processes of nature in the Kosmos and in the individual man. Man lives through his life-cycle, and dies. His "higher principles," corresponding in the development of a planetary chain to the cycling Monads, pass into Devachan, which corresponds to the "Nirvana" and states of rest intervening between two chains or planetary evolutions. The man's lower "principles" are disintegrated in time and are used by nature again for the formation of new human principles, and the same process takes place in the disintegration and formation of Worlds. Analogy is thus the surest guide to the comprehension of the Occult teachings.

The earth is passing through the "habitable phase" only for the present order of things, and as far as our present mankind is concerned with its actual "coat of skin," and phosphorus for bones and brain. How long has it taken the world to become what it is? If it can be said of cosmic dust that some of it comes to the present day which has "never belonged to the earth before," how much more logical to believe, as the Occultists do, that through the countless ages and millions of years that have rolled away, since that dust aggregated and formed the globe we live on around its nucleus of intelligent primeval substance -- many Humanities, differing from our present mankind as greatly as the one which will evolve millions of years hence will differ from our races, appeared but to disappear from the face of the earth, as our own will. Those primeval and far distant Humanities, having, as geologists think, left no tangible relics of themselves, are denied. All trace of them is swept away, and therefore they have never existed. Yet their relics -- a very few of them truly -- are to be found, and they have to be discovered by geological research.

We are cycling back and cycling forward, i.e., having lost in spirituality that which we acquired in physical development until almost the end of the fourth race, we (mankind) are as gradually and imperceptibly losing now in the physical all that we regain once more in the spiritual re-evolution. This process must go on until the period which will bring the sixth root-race on a parallel line with the spirituality of the second, long-extinct mankind. For the Humanities developed co-ordinately, and on parallel lines with the four Elements, every new race being physiologically adapted to meet the additional element. Our fifth race is rapidly approaching the fifth element -- call it interstellar ether, if you will -- which has more to do, however, with psychology than with physics.

In our present all-material fifth race, the earthly spirit of the fourth is still strong in us, but we are approaching the time when the pendulum of evolution will direct its swing decidedly upwards, bringing humanity back on a parallel line with the primitive third root-race in spirituality. During its childhood, mankind was composed wholly of that Angelic Host, who were the indwelling Spirits that animated the monstrous and gigantic tabernacles of clay of the fourth race. The "tabernacles" have improved in symmetry and form, growing and developing with the globe that bore them; but the physical improvement took place at the expense of the spiritual inner man and nature. The three middle principles in earth and man became with every race more material: the Soul stepping back to make room for the physical intellect; the essence of elements becoming the material and composite elements now known.

Great intellect and too much knowledge are a two-edged weapon in life, and instruments for evil as well as for good. When combined with selfishness, they will make of the whole of humanity a footstool for the elevation of him who possesses them, and a means for the attainment of his objects; while, applied to altruistic humanitarian purposes, they may become the means of the salvation of many. At all events, the absence of self-consciousness and intellect will make of man an idiot, a brute in human form. If one breaks the laws of harmony, or as a theosophical writer expresses it, "the laws of life," one must be prepared to fall into the chaos one has oneself produced. For, according to the same writer, "the only conclusion one can come to is that these laws of life are their own avengers; and consequently that every avenging Angel is only a typified representation of their re-action." Therefore, if any one is helpless before these immutable laws, it is not ourselves, the artificers of our destinies, but rather those angels, the guardians of harmony. Karma-Nemesis is no more than the spiritual, dynamical effects of causes produced and forces awakened into activity by our own actions. It is a law of occult dynamics that "a given amount of energy expended on the spiritual or astral plane is productive of far greater results than the same amount expended on the physical objective plane of existence."

Humanity is the child of cyclic destiny, and not one of its units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its co-operative work with nature. Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cyclic pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun to, change, each tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favored groups -- the failures of nature -- will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind. Such is the course of nature under the sway of Karmic Law; of the ever present and the ever-becoming Nature.

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 way 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. This state will last till man's spiritual intuitions are fully opened, which will not happen before we fairly cast off our thick coats of matter; until we begin acting from within, instead of ever following impulses from without, namely those produced by our physical senses and gross selfish body. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. Like Visvakarman, man 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."


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:

"THE ADVENTURER RETURNS"

The hero may have to be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance from without. That is to say, the world may have to come and get him. For the bliss of the deep abode is not lightly abandoned in favor of the self-scattering of the wakened state. "Who having cast off the world," we read, "would desire to return again? He would be only there." And yet, in so far as one is alive, life will call. Society is jealous of those who remain away from it, and will come knocking at the door. If the hero -- like Muchukunda -- is unwilling, the disturber suffers an ugly shock; but on the other hand, if the summoned one is only delayed -- sealed in by the beatitude of the state of perfect being (which resembles death) -- an apparent rescue is effected, and the adventurer returns. 


--JOSEPH CAMPBELL

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HUMANITY--THE IMPERFECT EXPRESSION

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