The present writers are bound to disclaim all pretence of having delineated more than the broad features of the subjects treated of in these pages. They are aware, however, that the world, at this late day, expects so little truth about the origin and infancy of man that it extends but a grudging consideration to anything beyond the vaguest surmises and the most shadowy outlines; and is always ready to condemn, what it would call, the credulous temerity of an individual, who ventures accurately to survey regions of investigation which it pronounces unexplorable.
The small band of esoteric teachers, the inheritors of the secret knowledge of the ages, have till lately found silence to be the only means for its preservation. But the time has arrived for the world to receive a portion of their accumulated wealth. The choice, however, of the present method, so different from all preconceived ideas of the fitness of things, is sure to give rise to feelings of a very varied character. The question would naturally suggest itself why the discovery of ancient books and manuscripts, undeniably authentic and plainly historical, should not have been made the occasion for the revival of the forgotten lore, if the present generation is to be at all instructed in the story of the origin and infancy of its ancestors. The allegorical character, however, of ancient writings which renders them unintelligible to all but the initiated reader, prevents such a course being adopted: hence the necessity of the present plan.
It is herein attempted to show mankind of to-day what man was ages before those usually reckoned as the era of his first appearance on earth; and the early conditions of the race and its progressive growth will be found to teem with interest and instruction even in the meagre account that follows.
It will, perhaps, be asked — What is the source of information, who are the Teachers? They are the sages of the East, the inheritors of the knowledge of the Magian, the Chaldean, the Egyptian, and the ancient Rishis of India; from one of whom, a beloved and revered Master, known to many in the West as well as in the East, the present writers have received the instruction, part of which is presented to the world in the following pages. With the accuracy of the information here afforded, if not with its fulness, the writers are satisfied, and they give it with the sincere hope that the world, for its own enlightenment, will extent to it an open-minded and wise consideration, notwithstanding the imperfections which the shortcomings of the writers may have produced.
The writers were perfect strangers to each other until they met last spring, and the circumstances which brought them together will be found narrated in the following prefaces. The mystical student of psychology, who knows the inadequacy of a bare statement of facts for the presentation of psychic incidents, will hardly need an apology for the form in which the narratives are cast.