The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky — Vol. 2
Vol. 2, Page 289 THE “THIRD EYE.”
The Races with the “Third Eye.”
The subject is so unusual, the paths pursued so intricate, so full of dangerous pitfalls prepared by adverse theories and criticism, that good reasons have to be given for every step taken. While turning the light of the bull’s eye called esotericism on almost every inch of the occult grounds travelled over, we have also to use its lens to throw into stronger objectivity the regions explored by exact science; this, not only in order to contrast the two, but to defend our position.*
It may be complained by some that too little is said of the physical, human side of the extinct races, in this history of their growth and evolution. Much more might be said assuredly, if simple prudence did not make us hesitate at the threshold of every new revelation. That, which finds its possibility and landmarks in the discoveries of modern science, is given; all that of which exact knowledge knows nothing and upon which it is unable to speculate — and therefore denies as facts in nature — is withheld.
But even such statements as these — e.g., that of all the mammalians, man was the earliest; that it is man who is the indirect ancestor of the Ape; and that he was a kind of a Cyclops in days of old — will all be contested, yet, scientists will never be able to prove — except to their own satisfaction — that it was not so. Nor can they admit that the first two races of men were too ethereal and phantom-like in their constitution, organism, and shape, even to be called physical men. For, if they do, it will be found that this is one of the reasons why their relics can never be expected to be exhumed among other fossils. Nevertheless all this is maintained. Man was the store-house, so to speak, of all the seeds of life
* For suggestiveness, we would recommend a short article in the Theosophist of August, 1887, “Esoteric Studies.” Its author expounds therein quite an occult theory, though to the world a new idea: “the progress of the Monad concurring with the retrogression of Form” (666), i.e., “with decrease of the vis formativa.” He says, “Who knows what shape vehicled the Ego in remote rings (Rounds, or races?) . . . ? May not man’s type have been that of the Simiadae in its variety? Might not the monkey-kingdom of Ramayana fame rest on some far-off tradition relating to a period when that was the common lot, or rather aspect, of man?” . . . and winds up a very clever, though too short, exposition of his theory by saying that which every true occultist will endorse: “With physico-ethereal man there must be involution of sex. As physico-astral man depended on entities of the sub-human class (evolved from animal prototypes) for rebirth, so will physico-ethereal man find among the graceful, shapely orders issuing from the air-plane, one or more which will be developed for his successive embodiments when procreated forms are given — a process which will include all mankind only very gradually. The (pre?) Adamic and post-Adamic races were giants; their ethereal counterparts may possibly be liliputians — beauteous, luminous, diaphanous — but will assuredly be giants in mind” (p. 671, art. by Visconde de Figaniere, F.T.S.).
Vol. 2, Page 290 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
for this Round, vegetable and animal alike.* As En-Soph is “One, notwithstanding the innumerable forms which are in him” (“Zohar,” i. 21a), so is man, on Earth the microcosm of the macrocosm. “As soon as man appeared, everything was complete. . . . for everything is comprised in man. He unites in himself all forms (Ibid., iii. 48a).” “The mystery of the earthly man is after the mystery of the Heavenly Man” (ii. 76a). The human form — so called, because it is the vehicle (under whatever shape) of the divine man — is, as so intuitionally remarked by the author of “Esoteric Studies,”† the new type, at the beginning of every Round, “as man never can be, so he never has been, manifested in a shape belonging to the animal kingdom in esse.” The author proceeds, “he never formed part of that kingdom. Derived, only derived, from the most finished class of the latter, a new human form must always have been the new type of the cycle. The human shape, in one ring (?), as I imagine, becomes cast-off clothes in the next; it is then appropriated by the highest order in the servant-kingdom below.”
If the idea is what we understand it to mean — for the “rings” spoken of throw some confusion upon it — then it is the correct esoteric teaching. Having appeared at the very beginning, and at the head of sentient and conscious life, man (the astral, or the “Soul,” for the Zohar, repeating the archaic teaching, distinctly says that “the real man is the Soul, and his material frame no part of him”) — man became the living and animal Unit, from which the “cast-off clothes” determined the shape of every life and animal in this Round.‡
Thus, he “created” for ages the insects, reptiles, birds, and animals, unconsciously to himself, from his remains and relics from the Third and the Fourth Rounds. The same idea and teaching are as distinctly given in the Vendidad of the Mazdeans, as they are in the Chaldean and the Mosaic allegory of the Ark, all of which are the many national versions of the original legend given in the Hindu Scriptures. It is found in the allegory of Vaivasvata Manu and his Ark with the Seven Rishis, as in that of the Rishis, each of whom is shown the father and
* It may be objected that this is a contradiction. That, as the first Root-Race appeared 300,000,000 years after the vegetation had evolved, the seed of vegetable life could not be in the First Race. We say it could; for up to man’s appearance in this Round, the vegetation was of quite another kind than it is now, and quite ethereal, this for the simple reason that no grass or plants could have been physical, before there were animal or other organisms to breathe out the carbonic acid which vegetation has to imbibe for its development, its nutrition and growth. They are inter-dependent in their physical and achieved forms.
† “Visconde de Figaniere, F.T.S.” (The Theosophist, Aug. 1887, page 676.)
‡ It is stated in the Zohar that the “primordial worlds” (sparks) could not continue because man was not as yet. “The human form contains everything; and as it did not as yet exist, the worlds were destroyed.”
Vol. 2, Page 291 MAZDEAN SYMBOLISM.
progenitor of specified animals, reptiles, and even monsters (See Vishnu and other Puranas). Open the Mazdean Vendidad, at Fargard ii., at verse 27 (73) and read the command of Ormazd to Yima, a Spirit of the Earth, who symbolizes the three races, after telling him to build a vara (“an enclosure,” an argua or vehicle). . . .
“Thither (into the vara) thou shalt bring the seeds of men and women, of the greatest, best, and finest kinds on this earth; thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every kind of cattle,” etc., etc.; and v. 28 (74) . . . . “all those seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the vara.” Those “men” in the “Vara” are the “Progenitors,” the heavenly men or Dhyani, the future Egos who are commissioned to inform mankind. For “Vara,” or the “Ark” (or again the Vehicle) simply means man.* Verse 30 says: . . . . “thou shalt seal up the vara (after filling it up with the seeds), and thou shalt make a door and a window self-shining within,” which is the Soul. And when Yima inquires of Ahura Mazda how he shall manage to make that vara, he is answered: “Crush the earth . . . and knead it with thy hands, as the potter does when kneading the potter’s clay” (31).
The Egyptian ram-headed god makes man of clay on a potter’s wheel, and so in Genesis do the Elohim fashion him out of the same material.
When the “Maker of the material world” (Ahura Mazda) is asked, furthermore, what is to give light “to the Vara which Yima made,” he is told that “There are uncreated lights and created lights” and that “there” (in Airyana Vaego, where Vara is built), “the stars, the moon, and the Sun are only once (a year) seen to rise and set” and a year seems only as a day (and night) a clear reference to the “land of the Gods” or the (now) polar regions. Moreover another hint is contained in this verse: a distinct allusion to the “uncreated lights” which enlighten man within — his principles. Otherwise, no sense or reason could be found in Ahura Mazda’s answer (V. 40), which is forthwith followed by Verse 41 saying that “Every fortieth year, to every couple (hermaphrodite) two are born, a male and female, ”† the latter being a distinct echo of the Secret Doctrine, of a Stanza which says —
* This is the meaning when the allegory and symbol are opened and read by means of the human key, or the key to terrestrial anthroposophy. This interpretation of the “ark” symbolism does not in the least interfere with its astronomical, or even theogonic keys; nor with any of the other six meanings. Nor does it seem less scientific than the modern theories about the origin of man. As said, it has seven keys to it, like the rest.
† Vendidad Sadah, See also Bund. XV.; and J. Darmesteter’s translation of the Vendidad. “Sacred Books of the East.”
Vol. 2, Page 292 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
“At the expiration of every forty (annual) Suns, at the end of every fortieth Day, the double one becomes four; male and female in one, in the first and second and the third. . . . . .”
Which is clear, since “every sun” meant a whole year, the latter being composed of one day then, as in the arctic circle it is now composed of six months. According to the old teaching, the axis of the earth gradually changes its inclination to the ecliptic, and at the period referred to, this inclination was such that a polar day lasted during the whole period of the earth’s revolution about the sun, when a kind of twilight of very short duration intervened; after which the polar land resumed its position directly under the solar rays. This may be contrary to astronomy as now taught and understood: but who can say that changes in the motion of the earth, which do not take place now, did not occur millions of years back?
Returning once more to the statement that Vara meant the man of the Fourth Round, as much as the Earth of those days, the moon, and even Noah’s ark, if one will so have it — this is again shown in the dialogue between Ahura Mazda and Zarathustra. Thus when the latter asks —
V. 42. “O Maker of the Material World, thou Holy One! Who is he who brought the law of Mazda into the Vara which Yima made?”
“Ahura Mazda answered: ‘It was the bird Karshipta, O holy Zarathustra.’ . . . .”
“The bird Karshipta dwells in the heavens: were he living on the earth he would be king of birds. He brought into the var of Yima, and recites the Avesta in the language of birds.” (Bund. xix and xxiv.)
This again is an allegory and a symbol misunderstood by the Orientalists only, who see in this bird “an incarnation of lightning,” and say its song was “often thought to be the utterance of a god and a revelation,” and what not. Karshipta is the human mind-soul, and the deity thereof, symbolized in ancient Magianism by a bird, as the Greeks symbolized it by a butterfly. No sooner had Karshipta entered the Vara or man, than he understood the law of Mazda, or Divine Wisdom. In the “Book of Concealed Mystery” it is said of the tree, which is the tree of knowledge of good and evil: “In its branches (of the tree) the birds lodge and build their nests,” or the Souls and the Angels have their place!”* Therefore, with the Kabalists it was a like symbol. “Bird” was a Chaldean, and has become a Hebrew synonym and symbol for Angel, a Soul, a Spirit, or Deva; and the “Bird’s Nest” was with both Heaven, and is God’s bosom in the Zohar. The perfect Messiah enters Eden “into that place which is called the Bird’s Nest” (Zohar, ii., 8b).
* See “Kabbalah Unveiled” by S. McGregor Mathers, p. 104.
Vol. 2, Page 293 ANGELS CALLED BIRDS.
“Like a bird that is flying from its nest, and that is the Soul from which the Shekeenah (divine wisdom or grace) does not move away” (Zohar, iii., 278a; Myer’s Qabbalah, 217). “The Nest of the eternal Bird, the flutter of whose wings produces life, is boundless space,” says the Commentary, meaning Hansa, the bird of Wisdom.
It is Adam Kadmon who is the (Sephirothal) tree, and it is he who becomes the “Tree of knowledge of good and evil” esoterically. And that “tree hath around it seven columns (seven pillars) of the world, or Rectores”; the same “Progenitors” or “Sephiroth” again “operating through the respective orders of Angels in the spheres of the seven planets,” etc., one of which orders begets giants (Nephilim) on Earth.
It was the belief of entire antiquity, Pagan and Christian, that the earliest mankind was a race of giants. Certain excavations in America in mounds and in caves, have already yielded in isolated cases groups of skeletons of nine and twelve feet high.* These belong to tribes of the early Fifth Race, now degenerated to an average size of between five and six feet. But we can easily believe that the Titans and Cyclopes of old really belonged to the Fourth (Atlantean) Race, and that all the subsequent legends and allegories found in the Hindu Puranas and the Greek Hesiod and Homer, were based on the hazy reminiscences of real Titans — men of a superhuman tremendous physical power, which enabled them to defend themselves, and hold at bay the gigantic monsters of the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic times — and of actual Cyclopes — three-eyed mortals.
It has been often remarked by observant writers, that the “origin of nearly every popular myth and legend could be traced invariably to a fact in Nature.”
In these fantastic creations of an exuberant subjectivism, there is always an element of the objective and real. The imagination of the masses, disorderly and ill-regulated as it may be, could never have conceived and fabricated ex nihilo so many monstrous figures, such a wealth of extraordinary tales, had it not had, to serve it as a central nucleus, those floating reminiscences, obscure and vague, which unite the broken links of the chain of time to form with them the mysterious, dream foundation of our collective consciousness.†
* Darwinian Evolutionists who are so wont to refer to the evidence of reversion to type — the full meaning of which, in the case of human monsters, is embraced in the esoteric solution of the embryological problem — as proof of their arguments, would do well to inquire into those instances of modern giants who are often 8, 9, and even 11 feet high. Such reversions are imperfect, yet undeniable reproductions of the original towering man of primeval times.
† See “Mythical Monsters,” by Ch. Gould, from whose interesting and scientific volume a few passages are quoted further on. See in Mr. Sinnett’s “Occult World,” the description of a cavern in the Himalayas filled with relics of human and animal giant bones.
Vol. 2, Page 294 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
The evidence for the Cyclopes — a race of giants — will be pointed out in forthcoming Sections, in the Cyclopean remnants, so called to this day. An indication that, during its evolution and before the final adjustment of the human organism — which became perfect and symmetrical only in the Fifth Race — the early Fourth Race may have been three-eyed, without having necessarily a third eye in the middle of the brow, like the legendary Cyclops, is also furnished by Science.
To the Occultists who believe that spiritual and psychic involution proceeds on parallel lines with physical evolution; that the inner senses — innate in the first human races — atrophied during racial growth and the material development of the outer senses; to the student of Esoteric symbology, finally, this statement is no conjecture or possibility, but simply a phase of the law of growth, a proven fact, in short. They understand the meaning of this passage in the Commentaries which says: —
“There were four-armed human creatures in those early days of the male-females (hermaphrodites); with one head, yet three eyes. They could see before them and behind them.* A Kalpa later (after the separation of the sexes) men having fallen into matter, their spiritual vision became dim; and coordinately the third eye commenced to lose its power. . . . When the Fourth (Race) arrived at its middle age, the inner vision had to be awakened, and acquired by artificial stimuli, the process of which was known to the old sages.† . . . The third eye, likewise, getting gradually petrified,‡ soon disappeared. The double-faced became the one-faced, and the eye was drawn deep into the head and is now buried under the hair. During the activity of the inner man (during trances and spiritual visions) the eye swells and expands. The Arhat sees and feels it, and regulates his action accordingly. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
* Viz., the third eye was at the back of the head. The statement that the latest hermaphrodite humanity was “four-armed,” unriddles probably the mystery of all the representations and idols of the exoteric gods of India. On the Acropolis of Argos, there was a [[Zoanon]], a rudely carved wooden statue (attributed to Daedalus), representing a three-eyed colossus, which was consecrated to Zeus Triopas (three-eyed). The head of the “god” has two eyes in its face and one above on the top of the forehead. It is considered the most archaic of all the ancient statues (Schol. Vatic. ad Eurip. Troad. 14).
† The Inner sight could henceforth be acquired only through training and initiation, save in the cases of “natural and born magicians,” sensitives and mediums, as they are called now.
‡ This expression “petrified” instead of “ossified” is curious. The “back eye,” which is of course the pineal gland, now so-called, the small pea-like mass of grey nervous matter attached to the back of the third ventricle of the brain, is said to almost invariably contain mineral concretions and sand, and “nothing more.” (Vide Infra.)
Vol. 2, Page 295 OCCULT PHYSIOLOGY.
The undefiled Lanoo (disciple, chela) need fear no danger; he who keeps himself not in purity (who is not chaste) will receive no help from the ‘deva eye.’ ”
Unfortunately not. The “deva-eye” exists no more for the majority of mankind. The third eye is dead, and acts no longer; but it has left behind a witness to its existence. This witness is now the pineal gland. As for the “four-armed” men, it is they who become the prototypes of the four-armed Hindu gods, as shown in a preceding footnote.
Such is the mystery of the human eye that, in their vain endeavours to explain and account for all the difficulties surrounding its action, some scientists have been forced to resort to occult explanations. The development of the Human eye gives more support to the occult anthropology than to that of the materialistic physiologists. “The eyes in the human embryo grow from within without” out of the brain, instead of being part of the skin, as in the insects and cuttlefish. Professor Lankester, thinking the brain a queer place for the eye, and attempting to explain the phenomenon on Darwinian lines, suggests the curious view that “our” earliest vertebrate ancestor was a transparent creature and hence did not mind where the eye was! And so was man “a transparent creature” once upon a time, we are taught, hence our theory holds good. But how does the Lankester hypothesis square with the Haeckelian view that the vertebrate eye originated by changes in the epidermis? If it started inside, the theory goes into the waste-basket. This seems to be proved by embryology. Moreover, Professor Lankester’s extraordinary suggestion — or shall we say admission? — is rendered perhaps necessary by evolutionist necessities. Occultism with its teaching as to the gradual development of senses “from within without,” from astral prototypes, is far more satisfactory: The third eye retreated inwards when its course was run — another point in favour of Occultism.
The allegorical expression of the Hindu mystics when speaking of the “eye of Siva,” the Tri-bochana (“three-eyed”), thus receives its justification and raison d’etre — the transference of the pineal gland (once that “third eye”) to the forehead, being an exoteric licence. This throws also a light on the mystery — incomprehensible to some — of the connection between abnormal, or Spiritual Seership, and the physiological purity of the Seer. The question is often asked, “Why should celibacy and chastity be a sine qua non rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and occult powers?” The answer is contained in the Commentary. When we learn that the “third eye” was once a physiological organ, and that later on, owing to the gradual
Vol. 2, Page 296 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
disappearance of spirituality and increase of materiality (Spiritual nature being extinguished by the physical), it became an atrophied organ, as little understood now by physiologists as the spleen is — when we learn this, the connection will become clear. During human life the greatest impediment in the way of spiritual development, and especially to the acquirement of Yoga powers, is the activity of our physiological senses. Sexual action being closely connected, by interaction, with the spinal cord and the grey matter of the brain, it is useless to give any longer explanation. Of course, the normal and abnormal state of the brain, and the degree of active work in the medulla oblongata, reacts powerfully on the pineal gland, for, owing to the number of “centres” in that region, which controls by far the greater majority of the physiological actions of the animal economy, and also owing to the close and intimate neighbourhood of the two, there must be exerted a very powerful “inductive” action by the medulla on the pineal gland.
All this is quite plain to the Occultist, but is very vague in the sight of the general reader. The latter must then be shown the possibility of a three-eyed man in nature, in those periods when his formation was yet in a comparatively chaotic state. Such a possibility may be inferred from anatomical and zoological knowledge, first of all; then it may rest on the assumptions of materialistic science itself.
It is asserted upon the authority of Science, and upon evidence, which is not merely a fiction of theoretical speculation this time, that many of the animals — especially among the lower orders of the vertebrata — have a third eye, now atrophied, but necessarily active in its origin.* The Hatteria species, a lizard of the order Lacertilia, recently discovered in New Zealand (a part of ancient Lemuria so called, mark well), presents this peculiarity in a most extraordinary manner; and not only the Hatteria punctata, but the chameleon, certain reptiles, and even fishes. It was thought, at first, that it was no more than the prolongation of the brain ending with a small protuberance, called epiphysis, a little bone separated from the main bone by a cartilage, and found in every animal. But it was soon found to be more than this. It offered — as its development and anatomical structure showed — such an analogy with that of the eye, that it was found impossible to see in it any-
* “Deeply placed within the head, covered by thick skin and muscles, true eyes that cannot see are found in certain animals,” also, says Haeckel: “Vertebrate . . . blind moles and field mice, blind snakes and lizards. . . . They shun daylight . . . dwelling under the ground. They were not originally blind but have evolved from ancestors that lived in the light and had well-developed eyes. The atrophied eye beneath the opaque skin may be found in these blind beings in every stage of reversion.” (“Sense Organs,” Haeckel.) And if two eyes could become so atrophied in lower animals, why not one eye — the pineal gland — in man, who is but a higher animal in his physical aspect?
Vol. 2, Page 297 THE CYCLOPS, NO MYTH.
thing else. There were and are palaeontologists who feel convinced to this day that this “third eye” has functioned in its origin, and they are certainly right. For this is what is said of the pineal gland in Quain’s Anatomy (Vol. II., ninth edit., pp. 830-851. “Thalamencephalon” Interbrain): —
“It is from this part, constituting at first the whole and subsequently the hinder part of the anterior primary encephalic vesicle, that the optic vesicles are developed in the earliest period, and the fore part is that in connection with which the cerebral hemispheres and accompanying parts are formed. The thalamus opticus of each side is formed by a lateral thickening of the medullary wall, while the interval between, descending towards the base, constitutes the cavity of the third ventricle with its prolongation in the infundibulum. The grey commissure afterwards stretches across the ventricular cavity. . . . . The hinder part of the roof is developed by a peculiar process, to be noticed later, into the pineal gland, which remains united on each side by its pedicles to the thalamus, and behind these a transverse band is formed as posterior commissure.
“The lamina terminalis (lamina cinerea) continues to close the third ventricle in front, below it the optic commissure forms the floor of the ventricle, and further back the infundibulum descends to be united in the sella turcica with the tissue adjoining the posterior lobe of the pituitary body.
“The two optic thalami formed from the posterior and outer part of the anterior vesicle, consist at first of a single hollow sac of nervous matter, the cavity of which communicates on each side in front with that of the commencing cerebral hemispheres, and behind with that of the middle cephalic vesicle (corpora quadrigemina). Soon, however, by increased deposit taking place in their interior, behind, below, and at the sides, the thalami become solid, and at the same time a cleft or fissure appears between them above, and penetrates down to the internal cavity, which continues open at the back part opposite the entrance of the Sylvian aqueduct. This cleft or fissure is the third ventricle. Behind, the two thalami continue united by the posterior commissure, which is distinguishable about the end of the third month, and also by the peduncles of the pineal gland. . . . .
“At an early period the optic tracts may be recognised as hollow prolongations from the outer part of the wall of the thalami while they are still vesicular. At the fourth month these tracts are distinctly formed. They subsequently are prolonged backwards into connection with the corpora quadrigemina.
“The formation of the pineal gland and pituitary body presents some of the most interesting phenomena which are connected with the development of the Thalamencephalon.”
The above is specially interesting when it is remembered that, were it not for the development of the hinder part of the cerebral hemispheres backwards, the pineal gland would be perfectly visible on the removal of the parietal bones. It is very interesting also to note the obvious connection to be traced between the (originally) hollow optic tracts and the eyes anteriorly, the pineal gland and its peduncles behind, and all
Vol. 2, Page 298 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
of these with the optic thalami. So that the recent discoveries in connection with the third eye of Hatteria punctata have a very important bearing on the developmental history of the human senses, and on the occult assertions in the text.
It is well known, (and also regarded as a fiction now, by those who have ceased to believe in the existence of an immortal principle in man,) that Descartes saw in the pineal gland the Seat of the Soul. Although it is joined to every part of the body, he said, there is one special portion of it in which the Soul exercises its functions more specially than in any other. And, as neither the heart, nor yet the brain could be that “special” locality, he concluded that it was that little gland tied to the brain, yet having an action independent of it, as it could easily be put into a kind of swinging motion “by the animal Spirits* which cross the cavities of the skull in every sense.”
Unscientific as this may appear in our day of exact learning, Descartes was yet far nearer the occult truth than is any Haeckel. For the pineal gland, as shown, is far more connected with Soul and Spirit than with the physiological senses of man. Had the leading Scientists a glimmer of the real processes employed by the Evolutionary Impulse, and the winding cyclic course of this great law, they would know instead of conjecturing; and feel as certain of the future physical transformations of the human kind by the knowledge of its past forms. Then, would they see the fallacy and all the absurdity of their modern “blind-force” and mechanical processes of nature; realizing, in consequence of such knowledge, that the said pineal gland, for instance, could not but be disabled for physical use at this stage of our cycle. If the odd “eye” in man is now atrophied, it is a proof that, as in the lower animal, it has once been active; for nature never creates the smallest, the most insignificant form without some definite purpose and use. It was an active organ, we say, at that stage of evolution when the spiritual element in man reigned supreme over the hardly nascent intellectual and psychic elements. And, as the cycle ran down toward that point when the physiological senses were developed by, and went pari passu with, the growth and consolidation of the physical man, the interminable and complex vicissitudes and tribulations of zoological development, that median “eye” ended by atrophying along with the early spiritual and purely psychic characteristics in man. The eye is the mirror and also the window of the soul, says popular wisdom,† and Vox populi Vox Dei.
* The “Nervous Ether” of Dr. B. W. Richardson, F.R.S. — the nerve-aura of occultism. The “animal spirits”(?) are equivalent to the currents of nerve-auric compound circulation.
† Let us remember that the First Race is shown in Occult sciences as spiritual within [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 2, Page 299 THE EVOLUTION OF THE EYE.
In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. In the animal, whose form was as ethereal (astrally) as that of man, before the bodies of both began to evolve their coats of skin, viz., to evolve from within without the thick coating of physical substance or matter with its internal physiological mechanism — the third eye was primarily, as in man, the only seeing organ. The two physical front eyes developed* later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrata, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin.† Only the stages of the odd, or primeval eye, in man and brute, are now inverted, as the former has already passed that animal non-rational stage in the Third Round, and is ahead of mere brute creation by a whole plane of consciousness. Therefore, while the “Cyclopean” eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in AEons to come.
This explains why the pineal gland reached its highest development proportionately with the lowest physical development. It is the vertebrata in which it is the most prominent and objective, and in man it is
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] and ethereal without; the second, psycho-spiritual mentally, and ethero-physical bodily; the third, still bereft of intellect in its beginning, is astro-physical in its body, and lives an inner life, in which the psycho-spiritual element is in no way interfered with as yet by the hardly nascent physiological senses. Its two front eyes look before them without seeing either past or future. But the “third eye” “embraces eternity.”
* But in a very different manner to that pictured by Haeckel as an “evolution by natural selection in the struggle for existence” (“Pedigree of Man.” “Sense Organs,” p. 335). The mere “thermal sensibility of the skin,” to hypothetical light-waves, is absurdly incompetent to account for the beautiful combination of adaptations present in the eye. It has, moreover, been previously shown that “natural Selection” is a pure myth when credited with the origination of variations (vide infra, Part III., on Darwinian mechanical causation); as the “survival of the fittest” can only take place after useful variations have sprung up, together with improved organisms. Whence came the “useful variations,” which developed the eye? Only from “blind forces . . . without aim, without design?” The argument is puerile. The true solution of the mystery is to be found in the impersonal Divine Wisdom, in its Ideation — reflected through matter.
† Palaeontology has ascertained that in the animals of the Cenozoic age — the Saurians especially, such as the antediluvian Labyrinthodon, whose fossil skull exhibits a perforation otherwise inexplicable — the third, or odd eye must have been much developed. Several naturalists, among others E. Korscheldt, feel convinced that whereas, notwithstanding the opaque skin covering it, such an eye in the reptiles of the present period can only distinguish light from darkness (as the human eyes do when bound with a handkerchief, or even tightly closed), in the now extinct animals that eye functioned and was a real organ of vision.
Vol. 2, Page 300 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
most carefully hidden and inaccessible, except to the anatomist. No less light is thrown thereby on the future physical, spiritual, and intellectual state of mankind, in periods corresponding on parallel lines with other past periods, and always on the lines of ascending and descending cyclic evolution and development. Thus, a few centuries before the Kali yuga — the black age which began nearly 5,000 years ago — it was said (paraphrased into comprehensible sentences):
“We (the Fifth Root-Race) in our first half (of duration) onward (on the now ascending arc of the cycle) are on the mid point of (or between) the First and the Second Races — falling downward (i.e., the races were then on the descending arc of the cycle). . . . . Calculate for thyself, Lanoo, and see.” (Commentary xx.).
Calculating as advised, we find that during that transitional period — namely, in the second half of the First Spiritual ethero-astral race — nascent mankind was devoid of the intellectual brain element. As it was on its descending line, and as we are parallel to it, on the ascending, we are, evolution of root races in the fourth round.
therefore devoid of the Spiritual element, which is now replaced by the intellectual. For, remember well, as we are in the manasa period of our cycle of races, or in the Fifth, we have, therefore, crossed the meridian point of the perfect adjustment of Spirit and Matter — or that equilibrium between brain intellect and Spiritual perception. One important point has, however, to be borne in mind.
Vol. 2, Page 301 THE ODD EYE IS NOW A GLAND.
We are only in the Fourth Round, and it is in the Fifth that the full development of Manas, as a direct ray from the Universal mahat — a ray unimpeded by matter — will be finally reached. Nevertheless, as every sub-race and nation have their cycles and stages of developmental evolution repeated on a smaller scale, it must be the more so in the case of a Root-Race. Our race then has, as a Root-race, crossed the equatorial line and is cycling onward on the Spiritual side; but some of our sub-races still find themselves on the shadowy descending arc of their respective national cycles; while others again — the oldest — having crossed their crucial point, which alone decides whether a race, a nation, or a tribe will live or perish, are at the apex of spiritual development as sub-races.
It becomes comprehensible now why the “odd eye” has been gradually transformed into a simple gland, after the physical Fall of those we have agreed to call the “Lemurians.”
It is a curious fact that it is especially in human beings that the cerebral hemispheres and the lateral ventricles have been developed, and that the optic thalami, corpora quadrigemina, and corpora striata are the principal parts which are developed in the mammalian brain. Moreover it is asserted that the intellect of any man may to some extent be gauged by the development of the central convolutions and the fore part of the cerebral hemispheres. It would seem a natural corollary that if the development and increased size of the pineal gland may be considered to be an index of the astral capacities and spiritual proclivities of any man, there will be a corresponding development of that part of the cranium, or an increase in the size of the pineal gland at the expense of the hinder part of the cerebral hemispheres. It is a curious speculation which would receive a confirmation in this case. We should see, below and behind, the cerebellum which has been held to be the seat of all the animal proclivities of a human being, and which is allowed by science to be the great centre for all the physiologically co-ordinated movements of the body, such as walking, eating, etc., etc.; in front, the fore-part of the brain — the cerebral hemispheres — the part especially connected with the development of the intellectual powers in man; and in the middle, dominating them both, and especially the animal functions, the developed pineal gland, in connection with the more highly evolved, or spiritual man.
It must be remembered that these are only physical correspondences; just as the ordinary human brain is the registering organ of memory, but not memory itself.
This is, then, the organ which gave rise to so many legends and traditions, among others to that of man with one head but two faces. These may be found in several Chinese works, besides being referred to in the
Vol. 2, Page 302 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
Chaldean fragments. Apart from the work already cited — the Shan Hai King, compiled by King Chia from engravings on nine urns made 2,255 B.C., by the Emperor Yu, they may be found in another work, called the “Bamboo Books,” and in a third one, the “Rh Ya” — “initiated according to tradition by Chow Kung, uncle of Wu Wang, the first Emperor of the Chow Dynasty, B.C., 1,122”: — says Mr. Ch. Gould in his “Mythical Monsters.” The Bamboo Books contain the ancient annals of China, found A.D. 279 at the opening of the grave of King Seang of Wai, who died B.C. 295. Both these works mention men with two faces on one head — one in front and one behind (p. 27).
Now that which the students of Occultism ought to know is that the “third eye” is indissolubly connected with Karma. The tenet is so mysterious that very few have heard of it.
The “eye of Siva” did not become entirely atrophied before the close of the Fourth Race. When spirituality and all the divine powers and attributes of the deva-man of the Third had been made the hand-maidens of the newly-awakened physiological and psychic passions of the physical man, instead of the reverse, the eye lost its powers. But such was the law of Evolution, and it was, in strict accuracy, no fall. The sin was not in using those newly-developed powers, but in misusing them; in making of the tabernacle, designed to contain a god, the fane of every spiritual iniquity. And if we say “sin” it is merely that everyone should understand our meaning; as the term Karma* would be the right one to use in this case; while the reader who would feel perplexed at the use of the term “spiritual” instead of “physical” iniquity, is reminded of the fact that there can be no physical iniquity. The body is simply the irresponsible organ, the tool of the psychic, if not of the “Spiritual man.” While in the case of the Atlanteans, it was precisely the Spiritual being which sinned, the Spirit element being still the “Master” principle in man, in those days. Thus it is in those days that the heaviest Karma of the Fifth Race was generated by our Monads.
As this sentence may again be found puzzling, it is better that it should be explained for the benefit of those who are ignorant of the theosophical teachings.
Questions with regard to Karma and re-births are constantly offered, and a great confusion seems to exist upon this subject. Those who are born and bred in the Christian faith, and have been trained in the idea
* Karma is a word of many meanings, and has a special term for almost every one of its aspects. It means, as a synonym of sin, the performance of some action for the attainment of an object of worldly, hence selfish, desire, which cannot fail to be hurtful to somebody else. Karman is action, the Cause; and Karma again is “the law of ethical causation”; the effect of an act produced egotistically, when the great law of harmony depends on altruism.
Vol. 2, Page 303 THE NUMBER OF MONADS IS LIMITED.
that a new soul is created by God for every newly-born infant, are among the most perplexed. They ask whether in such case the number of incarnating Monads on earth is limited; to which they are answered in the affirmative. For, however countless, in our conceptions, the number of the incarnating monads — even if we take into account the fact that ever since the Second Race, when their respective seven groups were furnished with bodies, several births and deaths may be allowed for every second of time in the aeons already passed — still, there must be a limit. It was stated that Karma-Nemesis, whose bond-maid is Nature, adjusted everything in the most harmonious manner; and that, therefore, the fresh pouring-in, or arrival of new Monads, had ceased as soon as Humanity had reached its full physical development. No fresh Monads have incarnated since the middle-point of the Atlanteans. Hence, remembering that, save in the case of young children, and of individuals whose lives were violently cut off by some accident, no Spiritual Entity can re-incarnate before a period of many centuries has elapsed, such gaps alone must show that the number of Monads is necessarily finite and limited. Moreover, a reasonable time must be given to other animals for their evolutionary progress.
Hence the assertion that many of us are now working off the effects of the evil Karmic causes produced by us in Atlantean bodies. The Law of Karma is inextricably interwoven with that of Re-incarnation.
It is only the knowledge of the constant re-births of one and the same individuality throughout the life-cycle; the assurance that the same Monads — among whom are many Dhyan-Chohans, or the “Gods” themselves — have to pass through the “Circle of Necessity,” rewarded or punished by such rebirth for the suffering endured or crimes committed in the former life; that those very Monads, which entered the empty, senseless shells, or astral figures of the First Race emanated by the Pitris, are the same who are now amongst us — nay, ourselves, perchance; it is only this doctrine, we say, that can explain to us the mysterious problem of Good and Evil, and reconcile man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. Nothing but such certainty can quiet our revolted sense of justice. For, when one unacquainted with the noble doctrine looks around him, and observes the inequalities of birth and fortune, of intellect and capacities; when one sees honour paid fools and profligates, on whom fortune has heaped her favours by mere privilege of birth, and their nearest neighbour, with all his intellect and noble virtues — far more deserving in every way — perishing of want and for lack of sympathy; when one sees all this and has to turn away, helpless to relieve the undeserved suffering, one’s ears ringing and heart aching with the cries of
Vol. 2, Page 304 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
pain around him — that blessed knowledge of Karma alone prevents him from cursing life and men, as well as their supposed Creator.*
Of all the terrible blasphemies and accusations virtually thrown on their God by the Monotheists, none is greater or more unpardonable than that (almost always) false humility which makes the presumably “pious” Christian assert, in connection with every evil and undeserved blow, that “such is the will of God.”
Dolts and hypocrites! Blasphemers and impious Pharisees, who speak in the same breath of the endless merciful love and care of their God and creator for helpless man, and of that God scourging the good, the very best of his creatures, bleeding them to death like an insatiable Moloch! Shall we be answered to this, in Congreve’s words: —
“But who shall dare to tax Eternal Justice?” Logic and simple common sense, we answer: if we are made to believe in the “original Sin,” in one life, on this Earth only, for every Soul, and in an anthropomorphic Deity, who seems to have created some men only for the pleasure of condemning them to eternal hell-fire (and this whether they are good or bad, says the Predestinarian),† why should not every man endowed with reasoning powers condemn in his turn such a villainous Deity? Life would become unbearable, if one had to believe in the God created by man’s unclean fancy. Luckily he exists only in human dogmas, and in the unhealthy imagination of some poets, who believe they have solved the problem by addressing him as —
“Thou great Mysterious Power, who hast involved
The pride of human wisdom, to confound
The daring scrutiny and prove the faith
Of thy presuming creatures! . . . .”
Truly a robust “faith” is required to believe that it is “presumption” to question the justice of one, who creates helpless little man but to “perplex” him, and to test a “faith” with which that “Power,” moreover, may have forgotten, if not neglected, to endow him, as happens sometimes.
Compare this blind faith with the philosophical belief, based on every reasonable evidence and life-experience, in Karma-Nemesis, or the Law of Retribution. This Law — whether Conscious or Uncon-
* Objectors to the doctrine of Karma should recall the fact that it is absolutely out of the question to attempt a reply to the Pessimists on other data. A firm grasp of the principles of Karmic Law knocks away the whole basis of the imposing fabric reared by the disciples of Schopenhauer and Von Hartmann.
† The doctrine and theology of Calvinists. “The purpose of God from eternity respecting all events” (which becomes fatalism and kills free will, or any attempt of exerting it for good). . . . . “It is the pre-assignment or allotment of men to everlasting happiness or misery” (Catechism). A noble and encouraging Doctrine this!
Vol. 2, Page 305 THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION.
scious — predestines nothing and no one. It exists from and in Eternity, truly, for it is Eternity itself; and as such, since no act can be co-equal with eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is action itself. It is not the Wave which drowns a man, but the personal action of the wretch, who goes deliberately and places himself under the impersonal action of the laws that govern the Ocean’s motion. Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is man who plans and creates causes, and Karmic law adjusts the effects; which adjustment is not an act, but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its original position, like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with corresponding vigour. If it happen to dislocate the arm that tried to bend it out of its natural position, shall we say that it is the bough which broke our arm, or that our own folly has brought us to grief? Karma has never sought to destroy intellectual and individual liberty, like the God invented by the Monotheists. It has not involved its decrees in darkness purposely to perplex man; nor shall it punish him who dares to scrutinise its mysteries. On the contrary, he who unveils through study and meditation its intricate paths, and throws light on those dark ways, in the windings of which so many men perish owing to their ignorance of the labyrinth of life, is working for the good of his fellow-men. Karma is an Absolute and Eternal law in the World of manifestation; and as there can only be one Absolute, as One eternal ever present Cause, believers in Karma cannot be regarded as Atheists or materialists — still less as fatalists:*
* Some theosophists, in order to make Karma more comprehensible to the Western mind, as being better acquainted with the Greek than with Aryan philosophy, have made an attempt to translate it by Nemesis. Had the latter been known to the profane in antiquity, as it was understood by the Initiate, this translation of the term would be unobjectionable. As it is, it has been too much anthropomorphised by Greek fancy to permit our using it without an elaborate explanation. With the early Greeks, “from Homer to Herodotus, she was no goddess, but a moral feeling rather,” says Decharme; the barrier to evil and immorality. He who transgresses it, commits a sacrilege in the eyes of the gods, and is pursued by Nemesis. But, with time, that “feeling” was deified, and its personification became an ever-fatal and punishing goddess. Therefore, if we would connect Karma with Nemesis, it has to be done in the triple character of the latter, viz., as Nemesis, Adrasteia and Themis. For, while the latter is the goddess of Universal Order and Harmony, who, like Nemesis, is commissioned to repress every excess, and keep man within the limits of Nature and righteousness under severe penalty, Adrasteia — “the inevitable” — represents Nemesis as the immutable effect of causes created by man himself. Nemesis, as the daughter of Dike, is the equitable goddess reserving her wrath for those alone who are maddened with pride, egoism, and impiety. (See Mesomed. Hymn. Nemes., V. 2. Brunck, Analecta II., p. 292; Mythol. de la Grece Antique, p. 304.) In short, while Nemesis is a mythological, exoteric goddess, or Power, personified and anthropomorphised in its various aspects, Karma is a highly philosophical truth, a most divine noble expression of the primitive intuition of man concerning Deity. It is a doctrine which explains the origin of Evil, and [[Footnote continued on next page]]
Vol. 2, Page 306 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
for Karma is one with the Unknowable, of which it is an aspect in its effects in the phenomenal world.
Intimately, or rather indissolubly, connected with Karma, then, is the law of re-birth, or of the re-incarnation of the same spiritual individuality in a long, almost interminable, series of personalities. The latter are like the various costumes and characters played by the same actor, with each of which that actor identifies himself and is identified by the public, for the space of a few hours. The inner, or real man, who personates those characters, knows the whole time that he is Hamlet for the brief space of a few acts, which represent, however, on the plane of human illusion the whole life of Hamlet. And he knows that he was, the night before, King Lear, the transformation in his turn of the Othello of a still earlier preceding night; but the outer, visible character is supposed to be ignorant of the fact. In actual life that ignorance is, unfortunately, but too real. Nevertheless, the permanent individuality is fully aware of the fact, though, through the atrophy of the “spiritual” eye in the physical body, that knowledge is unable to impress itself on the consciousness of the false personality.
The possession of a physical third eye, we are told, was enjoyed by the men of the Third Root-Race down to nearly the middle period of Third Sub-race of the Fourth Root-Race, when the consolidation and perfection of the human frame made it disappear from the outward anatomy of man. Psychically and spiritually, however, its mental and visual perceptions lasted till nearly the end of the Fourth Race, when its functions, owing to the materiality and depraved condition of mankind, died out altogether before the submersion of the bulk of the Atlantean continent. And now we may return to the Deluges and their many “Noahs.”
The student has to bear in mind that there were many such deluges as that mentioned in Genesis, and three far more important ones, which will be mentioned and described in the Section devoted to the subject of pre-historic continents. To avoid erroneous conjectures, however, with regard to the claim that the esoteric doctrine has much in it of the legends contained in the Hindu Scriptures; that, again, the chronology of the latter is almost that of the former — only explained and made clear; and that finally the belief that “Vaivasvata Manu” — a generic name indeed! — was the Noah of the Aryans and his prototype, all this, which is also the belief of the Occultists, necessitates at this juncture a new explanation. (Vide Part III. “Submerged Continents.”)
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] ennobles our conceptions of what divine immutable Justice ought to be, instead of degrading the unknown and unknowable Deity by making it the whimsical, cruel tyrant, which we call Providence.