THE WISDOM AND THE WAY
By Eric McGough
These are the full session notes from the Theosophical audio course – seven pages.
For details of this audio course and others in this series, click –
North Wales Centre for Theosophy.
SESSION THREE - ANTHROPOGENESIS.
Anthropogenesis is the teaching relating to the origins and development of humanity. However, as we shall see, this includes the whole of nature, from the mineral to the vegetable and the animal, as well as humanity.
In the Secret Doctrine, HP Blavatsky refers to these as kingdoms. She says that there are seven kingdoms, each representing a distinct life-wave evolving in our earth system. Of the seven kingdoms the human is the most advanced, having passed through the stages of growth of the other six prior to reaching the human stage.
(The Wisdom Teaching reveals that our Earth is a being with seven vehicles or globes from the physical to the spiritual, the same in constitution as ourselves, only of a higher stage of evolution. This system of globes is called a chain. The seven life-waves referred to above cycle round the system occupying each globe in turn over a vast time scale.)
In addition to the four physical kingdoms there are three Elemental Kingdoms working at the subtler levels of etheric, astral and mental matter. Properly speaking, these are on the involutionary arc or path of descent, while the four physical are on the path of return or evolutionary arc.
The Ancient Wisdom explains the involutionary/evolutionary process differently to Darwinian Theory. The main difference is that where it agrees with Darwin from the point of view of the development of forms through an evolutionary process, thereby leading to successively superior physical forms, it does so only within each of the separate kingdoms. Further more, Darwin takes no account of the spirit or life principle using the forms as vehicles of experience. From the point of view of the Wisdom Teaching, the forms evolve in tandem with the vivifying spiritual life. The materialistic basis of physical science is like a blindfold, so that scientists can not see the form as it truly is – an effect in matter caused by the need of spirit to experience within the deepest restriction possible. When the spirit is withdrawn the form returns to its constituent parts.
A useful metaphor is that of a wave – When we observe the movement of a wave, on a lake for instance, the wave appears to be travelling along the surface. Yet the fact is that the water that forms the wave is only going up and down. An even clearer example of this is the so-called Mexican wave performed by spectators in stadiums. What we are seeing is the movement of the performance from one spectator to the next and so on. In the case of the water, it is the current that is moving along, and in the case of physical forms it is the life-wave that causes each to be born in turn as it continues along its evolutionary journey.
All seven life-waves pass through all kingdoms of nature. The human life-wave has been through them all, being the leading wave in the whole process. But it must be stressed that each life-wave spends the whole duration of a chain developing in a particular kingdom. Therefore, for example, the life-wave now working through the present animal kingdom will not move to the human stage until the start of the next planetary chain. It will take all of the rounds of this chain for the animal life-wave to separate out into individual spiritual units from the original group souls of the many and varied species of the animal kingdom. Such is the requirement for graduation from animal expression to human expression – the development of individualisation. Humans help in this process through association with the higher mammals and in particular with the domesticated groups.
Each kingdom is a separate expression of spirit but all of them are interdependent upon each other. The basic elements of each kingdom are born out of the experience and work of the previous one. Therefore, the vegetable kingdom is composed of chemicals and elements formed in the mineral kingdom. The forerunner of cellular growth seen in plant life is developed in the mineral kingdom in the action, reaction, and catalytic combination of chemicals, and blueprinted in the evolution of crystal growth, which is the highest stage of mineral evolution. In this way the basic design and material of all of the kingdoms are developed in embryonic form in the preceding kingdom. We can see the pre-human development in the animal kingdom to such an extent that material science believes us to be higher animals. Such is not the case though, and Darwin’s missing link is an irritating stumbling block to science in that misconceived theory.
This is an area that is most interesting from the point of view of Occult Science but it requires far too deep a study for it to be appropriate in this basic course. Suffice it at this point to say that each kingdom is a distinct division of the ‘One Evolving Spirit’, and that though distinct one from another they work as one harmonic whole in a symbiotic relationship. How could we humans live on this planet without the other kingdoms supplying all of our basic survival materials?
Part of this co-operation between the kingdoms is the exchange of energy at many levels. And here it is necessary to make a very important point – life must feed on life. There is nothing else that it can feed on. Everywhere, on every hand, there is energy of one form or another cycling and re-cycling through the kingdoms. Without this constant exchange the structure of life would collapse.
The human physical body is not the cause of any of our other bodies or principles. I have often heard it said that the etheric body emanates from the physical, and even that the human aura is radiated from it like a light from a light bulb. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The life-wave that expresses itself through physical life is a spiritual trinity consisting of Spirit (Atma), soul (Buddhi), and mind (higher Manus), which in turn generate the three lower vehicles or the personality – lower mind, emotion (astral), and physical/etheric bodies. The material for these lower bodies is drawn from the substances systemised by the other life-waves, and brought under the will of the human life-wave as it organises it for its own specialised requirements.
As long as we remember to differentiate between the form and the indwelling spirit we will not confuse the order of cause and effect. Scientists look at animals and because they do not see the indwelling spirit they assume that humans are simply a higher form of animal. But this is like seeing the sun rising in the east and setting in the west and assuming therefore that it is circling the earth. Without the full information we will always make incorrect assumptions. The Ancient Wisdom adds such a mass of otherwise unavailable information that knowledge is comparable to an iceberg, with its tip being the observable and its submerged mass being the esoteric or hidden knowledge.
Everything, every form of life including minerals, vegetation, and animals has an underlying spiritual triad. All are ultimately the emanation of a Monad working through Atma, Buddhi, and higher Manus. Yet the human kingdom is uniquely distinct from the others to a remarkable degree. This is because the human has all three aspects of the divine source actively working together.
We can see this on diagram two - the three outpourings - where the first aspect of the Logos flashes down through the planes in the third outpouring (marked as a blue flash at the higher mental level). This ‘infusion’ of the First Logos into the barely human mental sphere, results in a ‘waking up’ at the higher mental level of consciousness and an enhancement of the logical capacity. The human becomes self-aware as an ‘individual’.
This took place when the present human kingdom reached a level of reasoning ability, marked out by its ability to think beyond mere survival needs. Animals species share a group soul or psyche, and gradually break off into smaller and smaller groups, until something like seven animals share a single fragment of the overall group soul. These are usually the higher animals such as those we regard as domesticated - horses, cats, dogs, cows, elephants and so on. In the next planetary chain this life wave receives the first Logos in its now individualised mental capacity. The result is self-awareness. The mental capacity of the Monads has moved from awareness in the animal to individual awareness in the higher animal to individual self-awareness in the human.
Self-awareness is the key factor in evolutionary terms. An aware being, however individual, is only concerned with survival; a self-aware being is also concerned with survival but added to that questions the nature of everything, including itself. Further more, the nature of the first aspect of the Logos is creative. Not in a mechanical sense, such as the third aspect, or a practical sense such as the second aspect, but creative in the highest sense such as in art. Perhaps it is the combination of all three aspects in man that leads him to aspire, to break the boundaries that surround him, and even to dare to see himself as a God or at least a co-creator. In this, he is developing the essential nature of his inner being and fulfilling the purpose of that of which he is the ultimate expression.
We humans still have some way to go in evolutionary terms. We can see the diversity and the complexity of the other kingdoms – the study of which keeps science fully occupied – but the diversity of human individuals gives us a clue as to the eventual product of our life-wave.
There are humans who have reached a higher level of consciousness and are therefore regarded as ‘Masters’. Theosophists know of these great souls because it was two masters that inspired the Theosophical Society in 1875. These were the master Koot Hoomi Lal Singh and the master Morya, both belonging to the Himalayan brotherhood. It is said that masters are so far in advance of the average man or woman that we are like children by comparison. Be that as it may, the fact is that we have a lot to learn and a great deal to change about ourselves if we are to aspire to their level of understanding and awareness.
This little peep at the vast subject of anthropogenesis is in need of much more detail before it could be considered useful study material. However, we will be returning to this aspect of the teachings many times as we continue our studies.
The Theosophical Society in Wales
THE MASTER KOOT HOOMI LAL SINGH - An impression by David Anries 1932.
It has been said that one of Koot Hoomi's previous incarnations was the philosopher/ mathematician Pythagoras.
The Master now resides at high altitude in the Himalayan range, from where he continues to inspire those who are willing to work in the service of humanity.
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