“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
— Hamlet (I, v, 166-167)
There is an esoteric theory of evolution based on the writings of Madame H.P. Blavatsky and her school of Theosophy. It is such a vast and comprehensive vision of human consciousness that it is nearly impossible to grasp its full scope and meaning. This essay is a very, very brief and simplistic explanation of this grand evolutionary scheme. It is short and concise. It is in relatively plain English although perhaps used somewhat creatively. Give it a go…You’ve really got nothing to lose and just as even a grain of salt in the soup changes the flavor, so after reading this essay your consciousness may have a slightly different fragrance.
Man is a term derived from the ancient Sanskrit Manas. Sanskrit is a now defunct east Indian language particularly effective in representing theosophical ideas. English on the other hand, is quite limited; but, we work with what we have. Manas best equates to what today we would call Mind. Mind is considered to be an evolutionary consciousness. This consciousness underlies all manifest forms from the sand on the seashore to the stars in the heavens. Every molecule, every cell, every atom, all subatomic particles, are energized and permeated by this consciousness, by Mind, Manas.
Human beings are considered, from the theosophical perspective, the planetary apex of Mind Consciousness. However, Mind Consciousness is in process and modern human beings are, so to speak, an unfinished product. The teleological path of Mind Consciousness is a highly structured schemata which encompasses an incredibly vast scope of time well beyond the comprehension of modern human beings. The evolutionary thrust of Mind Consciousness is from total and utter unconsciousness through conscious differentiation and individuation to full conscious awareness of itself, in all its varied and multi-complex forms, as universal, boundless and completely unrestricted consciousness. This vast path of evolution occurs in stages called Rounds or Periods in which are a series of Races or Forms. Currently, Theosophists consider modern Man to be in the 5th Race of the 4th Round. Man achieves total, complete awareness of itself as unbridled universal consciousness in the 7th Race of the 7th Round.
Think of an Olympic race track with 7 lanes. Within each lane are 7 sub-lanes. Imagine a person running one lap in the first sub-lane of the first main lane, and then another lap in the second sub-lane, and then a lap in the third sub-lane. After the 7th sub-lane of the first main lane, they go to the second main lane of the Olympic race track, and go round sub-lane one, then two, then three….up through seven. And then they go into lane 3 and through those races and then lane 4 and through those races and then lane 5 (5th Round) and through those Races (sub-lanes). 6th Round, 7 races. 7th Round, 7 races.
Each race encompasses thousands and thousands of years gradually giving rise to the next. These years are measured in terms of Ages and Eons and Epochs. The term “race” is used in a very general sense of biological “stock.” One of the great problems of conveying esoteric theosophical information is the language and the definition of terms.
Each Round exists for several hundred thousand years, gradually giving rise to the next through series of geologically slow destructions and creations, alterations and mutations. Each new Round (lane) begins when the Race completes its 7th Race (sub-lane). So, in several million years, Mind Consciousness, i.e., Man, will have completed its sojourn through the 7th Race (sub-lane) of this 4th Round (Lane) and begin the 1st Race of the 5th Round; or, to use the race track analogy, Man will then begin with sub-lane one of the fifth lane. We’re currently in the 5th sub-lane of the 4th lane.
The culmination of this grand evolutionary journey is the 7th Race of the 7th Round at which time Mind Consciousness has manifested a material form, ie, bodies, capable of perceiving itself as universal awareness at which time any semblance of individual selfhood is completely dissolved. Modern Man, i.e., human beings, are currently enmeshed in an awareness of division and duality, which makes possible the sense of a distinct conscious self. The awareness of individual selfhood is possible only by contrast to that which is perceived to be “not self.” which comes about through a consciousness of division and duality, i.e., individuality. This is the very nature of this grand 4th Round. The major theme of the 4th Race too is Individuality (i.e., in division and duality). The major theme of the 7th Race is systemic and wholistic (vs. division and duality of the 4th). However, even the 7th Race of the 4th Round is still heavily colored by Individual Mind Consciousness as the entire 4th Round is boxed into the necessary and required phase of Individuation with its associated themes of separation, alienation and conflict. It is not until the 7th Race of the 7th Round that Unified Consciousness has truly and completely flowered, as a feature of humanity, several millions of years hence through innumberable permutations. The personal life we live today, is rooted in Mind Conscousness.
Modern human beings are the manifested form of Man/Manas/Mind in its current expression – 4th Round, 5th Race. According to theosophical thought, simian stock, such as the great apes, are considered “cast off” forms of earlier Mind Consciousness. They are the remnant manifestations from the previous 4th Race of this 4th Round. They are, so to speak, yesterday’s manifestations. That is, modern human beings do not come from apes; rather, apes come from Manas, Mind, as do we, and all sentient beings. According to theosophical thought, and contrary to popular belief, apes actually come from Man. According to theosophists, all material and sentient forms of life are manifestations of Mind, or Manas, or Man. In the1st Race of this 4th Round, mineral form was the apex of this manifestation; in the 2nd Race of this 4th Round, it was plant life and in the 3rd Race, animal life. Mind Consciousness is evolving, adapting and changing its forms of expression as it develops towards what is traditionally referred to as ‘Bliss.’
Modern human beings represent the apex of this Mind Consciousness in the 4th Round, 5th Race. “Human beings,” millions of years hence as Mind Consciousness manifests itself in its 4th Round, 6th Race expression, would look upon modern humans today as we look upon apes.
According to theosophists, Mind Consciousness is only recently entered into the 5th Race of this 4th Round. There continues to be 4th race momentum in the beginning of the 5th race period. The general theme of the 5th Race is a greater emphasis on social and cultural interaction over purely individualistic endeavors. Our dawning recognition of our “global village” is but a superficial precursor to this growing theme. The 6th Race emphasizes service and stewardship while the 7th emphasizes conscious ecological interactions amongst a myriad of interrelated systems. The general themes of each of these Races, and Rounds, can be perceived in operation even today because, ultimately, Mind is a whole system. It is only our current 5th Race 4th Round brain that perceives the world in division and duality, compartments and fragments. But, in truth, consciousness is a wholistic, systemic, ecological, unified field encompassing all the qualities of all the Races and Rounds in much the same way white light contains all colors and a drop of sea water contains the whole ocean.
Mind, Manas, Man is an indestructible consciousness imbibed with universal energy and cosmic intelligence giving rise to myriad forms through eons of time. These forms rise and fall, adapt, change and mutate. Destruction of one form is merely the precursor for the creation of new forms guided by a teleological force striving towards ever increasing whole consciousness, sometimes described as ‘a circle without center.’
At this point, if you got this far, you may be scratching your head and perhaps asking, so what? There is little if any practical benefit from this information. However, it can give support to Plato’s statement, from The Republic (Book X), “No human thing is of serious importance” which perhaps can help you more easily let go of serious yet superficial burdens you may be carrying which in turn can help lighten your load…and that could be a good thing.