EVOLUTION OF SEX.
Without going very far back in the cycle of evolution, it may be stated that there was an epoch when human beings were bisexual. The memory of this state is preserved in many religion myths. We shall only refer to the account of Ardhanarisvara, the bisexual Lord among the Brahmans. By the Western people this knowledge is to be found in the Jewish Scriptures, if they will only have the eyes to see. "Male and female created he them and blessed them, and called their name Adam" (Gen. V. 2)
Until towards the latter part
race , the only discernible germs of sex were
confined to the
mental plane. A tendency in individuals towards the general and the
developed the man, and a tendency towards the particular and the
to the evolution of the woman. If we eliminate the minor difference
sexes, this is observed to be the basic distinction; in fact the minor
differences are produced by the pressure of the mental attributes
seeking expression on the physical plane. As a rule, the man has more
for abstract, and the woman for concrete thought. It is a safe guide in
predicting the next following incarnation of a human being to bear this
mind. No amount of cultivation of abstract thought will, however,
unless an adept, to transcend the average of the race. On reaching the
male attributes female incarnation will become a necessity. A man to be
perfected requires to develop in himself all the peculiar excellences
woman, in addition to his own; and similarly, a woman, those of the man.
In the light of esoteric teaching, a deeper truth will be
discovered in what would otherwise be meaningless. "And the Lord
God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took
one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib
which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman." (Gen.
In obedience to the necessity of fully realizing all the possibilities in Nature the sexes differentiated. Each of the two sets of mental attributes mentioned above demanded development to their fullest extent. By the cultivation of one particular set entities determined their sex. Organs unused began to disappear and others became invigorated by exercise. This evolution of sex if often referred to as the "fall into generation", which dates from the time when man became an eating animal. With the differentiation of sex came the sexual instinct and reproduction of the species as now prevalent.
The sexual feeling in its incipiency was but an undefined instinct, and when it had become pronounced, it was gratified as naturally and without forethought as any other physiological craving. The greatest curse which attends the exercise of this function among us, as all people of uncorrupted sensibility know, is the absence of natural consent of the pair. In the earlier stages, when disguise and pretence did not exist, such a thing was impossible.
As man went on adding layer upon layer of materiality to his life, he lost his spiritual powers. The most valuable one that he thus lost was his ability to develop elemental beings into men. The Kabalists refer to the children of Adam before he knew Eve. These were the elementals who were, by the exertions of man, evolved into humanity, as he, in his turn, had been by the planetary spirits. Having lost the power of creation , the natural law forced man to fall back upon procreation. And until man had departed very far from the original conditions he possessed the earth and all its belongings, and enjoyed them in peace. Women did not cry travailing in birth and in pain to be delivered, but child-bearing was as simple a matter as waking or sleeping, or locomotion from one place to another.
As man's material progress advanced, his inner being became enveloped by the grossness of his outer nature, and each, wrapped up in himself, separated from his fellow-man. The loss of transparency of thought thus brought about affected the sexual relations most detrimentally; whereas before the intercourse between man and woman had been free and harmonious, it now became, through the increasing spiritual obscuration, marred by discord and disharmony. The barrier that was built up by growing materiality between the inner and the outer nature, gave rise for the first time to mistakes of fact in the intercourse of human beings, which finally resulted in the appearance of feelings of doubt and distrust of each other; in fact, to the first notions of untruth. The inability to see the working of another's mind led to frequent conflicts between the statements made by one about one's self, and what another expected of one; hence arose confusion, which in course of time hardened into falsehood and suspicion. Women were originally the equals of men in physical strength as in other qualities; but in particular cases a man stronger than a woman who rejected his addresses, did not hesitate to subjugate her to his passion, through his failure to comprehend a different feeling on her part. This was the first sexual sin. Treading on its steps appeared another and a more grievous one. Wherever there were numerous males equally attracted by the same female, the successful rival had the opportunity of satisfying two passions of his nature at one and the same time — namely, vanity and lust. This caused the sexual passion to strike its root deeper into human nature, and materialized it to a lower point; and the sexual feeling from being an instinct, became a complex passion deep-seated in the mind, and closing it to the inward spiritual light.
Thenceforth man required satisfaction of both these cravings from the woman, and she, degraded from the natural condition, had to adjust herself to the altered state. Man, whose vanity was only for the time gratified by the ownership of the woman, demanded constant humiliation on her part to feed its fire. One of the forms that this feeling took was the seemingly unselfish desire of man to save the woman from bodily weariness; but the true origin of this trait of man's character will be found, on reflection, to be his sexual tyranny. The reaction on women of this feeling produced, if possible, more disastrous results than on man. At the altar of his vanity she had to sacrifice truth and pretend an unwillingness to his embrace, when victory over no rivals ministered to that passion. She became weaker by the continuance of the tyranny which debarred her from strong physical exertion, and motherhood, which, as we have said, was perfectly painless in the beginning, became attended with suffering and even death. It must not be imagined that in those days the evils here mentioned had matured their growth, or attained anything like the rank proportions of the present day. Primitive people lived a simpler life; they knew but the germs of the evil which has developed to such frightful extent, and has become a blot on our civilization. Among the present inhabitants of the earth, those who have most preserved the simplicity of primitive times are freest from those poisonous effects of over-indulgence which destroy the so-called civilized life.
The "fall into generation" separated man more widely from the nature-spirits whom it was his duty to raise into humanity, and intensified their hostility toward him. The effect of this hostility upon the woman was more calamitous than upon the man, on account of her greater weakness, especially at the times of her trial and suffering.
The attentive student of the rites, ceremonies, and religious superstitions prevalent among different nations, will note the universality of the belief that the woman with child is more in need of protection against evil influences than any other. Woman thus lost the position she once held, and in the subsequent history of the world her condition has never improved, the vantage-ground lost by her in the beginning has never been recovered, and never will be until man's spiritual nature reasserts itself and successfully overthrows his material inclinations. There can be no complete redemption for woman until this hour arrives and a school of philosophy, demanding no other sacrifice than that of self to soul, effects a reform in the inner man by uniting itself with the most practical careers and callings; till then the door will remain closed through which alone woman can be ushered into freedom. Her liberation does not depend upon laws and enactments any more than did her subjection in the first instance.
All systems of ecclesiasticism, the monstrous offspring of the selfishness of man and his religious instinct, have denied women spiritual equity; the injustice of the sex reached its culmination in the enthronement of a personal God, with a Son to share His glory, but wifeless, motherless and daughterless. The materiality of man is nowhere so emphatically expressed as in his conception of a Supreme Father. He has eliminated from his ideal God all the attributes of woman; in his miraculously begotten Son alone are to be found some of the finer elements of womanhood. Although the Mohammedan religion is the only one which has expressly refused immortality to women, yet all the modern religions, in their ideal heaven which is to be the reward of a holy life, have very seldom even an obscure corner for her; she must unsex herself before she can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The accepted theory of the relation between the sexes has, for the Christian world, been based upon the teachings of St. Paul; and as those teachings have been taken in a literal and not an occult sense, the greatest injustice has been done to the teacher and his teachings, and the saddest wrongs have resulted to the world. It is always easier for a man to believe that which fits in with his own preconceived ideas than to accept with equanimity what is opposed to his expectation, and the slavery imposed by custom upon woman was his precedent in this instance.
True, the Jewish prophet taught his people that it was not good for man to be alone, but the mysticisms of the Kabala have been materialized to suit so many needs and occasions, that it is not easy to trust to the written word of to-day; the real significance of the admonition is wholly incomprehensible to the world at large. Materialism has sealed from view the doctrines of the Kabala, and what remains for the practical uses of religious teachers are only such simple truths as those which, by reason of their simplicity, cannot be distorted to suit various interpretations.
The subject of woman, as connected with Aryan life, has so much practical importance, even at this late day, as to call for consideration at some length here. The position of womankind in the East has been a never-ending theme for lamentation; but without being guilty of the absurdity of upholding that position as perfect, a remark may be ventured that the legal status of the Hindu and Mohammedan women is equal if not superior, to that of their Christian sisters, and curiously enough, the Mohammedan law is the most liberal in this respect, despite the fact that the Koran robs a woman of her soul. This is, perhaps, a grim irony, showing the inefficacy of legislative enactment, when not supported by the prevailing moral standard. Whatever the position of the Hindu woman of the present day may be, it is certain that there was a time, of which some record is preserved in the Sama-Veda, when spiritually or otherwise there was no difference made by the Aryans between the sexes. Merit, says a Sanscrit poet, is to be respected in the meritorious, and not age or sex. Salic law, both political and spiritual, was the growth of a minor cycle of descent which overwhelmed mankind with barbarism.
During the period of Aryan history we have referred to, the woman was entitled to the Brahmanical thread as a mark of equality with her brother; she had the right to study and teach the Vedas, both of which privileges she has since been deprived of, and degraded to the level of a low-born Sudra. It was optional with women in those days, and even at a much later period, to marry or choose a life of celibacy; and even marriage very frequently meant nothing more than a spiritual companionship, a kind of union which was not entirely unknown during the Middle Ages in Europe. Mention is, no doubt, to be found in the Brahmanical writings of the wives of the ancient sages. But it is erroneous to take the statements literally and conclude that a married life is compatible with spiritual development, the fact being that in many cases the wives mentioned were merely pupils, not necessarily of the female sex. Some light will be thrown on the subject when we consider what Solomon means by the "nuptial compact" between him and his God. The allegory of Krishna having married sixteen hundred damsels carried away from King Naraka (hell) will also be intelligible when rightly read. In the larger class of cases, the wives were in reality female disciples, of whom the number was not restricted, and hence the erroneous charge of polygamy sometimes brought against the ancient adepts of India. A notable instance of spiritual union of this kind occurs in the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, where the sage Yaguavalkya instructs his two wives, Gargi and Maitreyi, on the nature of Nirvana and other sacred mysteries. It is to be remarked, by the way, that although Yagnavalkya is said to have had two wives, no mention is to be found of his children. The esoteric teachers know that not only was Yagnavalkya an adept himself, but so were his two wife-pupils. The great prevalence of celibacy during the period of India's spiritual growth is shown by the famous legislator Manu having laid down a positive injunction for Brahmans to marry and beget a child — in later times two children — before adopting the religious life; it was considered no violation of the marital duty to sever the marriage bond, but not necessarily spiritual companionship, on the birth of the child. Among the superior castes the term of a man's life was divided into three parts; the first twenty-five years to be devoted to study, the next twenty-five to worldly work, and the rest of the life to the pursuit of spiritual knowledge in retirement.
In later ages, when material progress rendered these regulations obsolete, and the marriage bond more lasting, marital rights and duties were founded upon strictly scientific principles. Social and religious regulations were framed with a view of protecting married life from sensual excesses, and securing a certain independence to woman from sexual tyranny. So long as the popular mind at all retained the high standard of spirituality the wife had the right to put an end to the marriage relation by adopting the religious life. Certain astronomical, astrological, and physiological considerations always governed the connubial rites. The great harm to sexual morality, resulting from the promiscuous association of men with women undergoing certain physiological changes, cannot be over-estimated. The infringement of the wise rule which separated women from all men, during this period, has not only blunted the moral sensibilities of men and women, but is a constant torture to all finer natures; and persons at all gifted with clairvoyant perceptions find the influences surrounding women during the period under notice particularly distressing. Even in the present day, the domestic life of the Hindus is so regulated that women in such a state are protected against influences sent out by men to which they are peculiarly susceptible. But mankind in general, ignorant of those subtle forces which govern its well-being, brings upon itself consequences which are as far-reaching as they are hurtful.
The effects of temperance and vegetarianism on sensual propensities are well known, and a reference to India almanacs will show how food is to be regulated during the days on which a man is permitted sexual relations. An elaborate account of the inner married life of the Aryans is not in place here; it is enough to say that marriage was looked upon as a sacrament, for the ideal was that no man was to marry mainly with the desire of gratifying his sexual nature. And no marriage could be consummated until the man had satisfied his conscience that sexual instinct was not the influence which attracted him to his wife. We do not mean to say that these wise regulations are observed in their entirety in the present day, but the ideal is still preserved. The complicated motives governing society were not elements which entered into the social economy of those days, and considerations which have degraded marriage from a psychic union to the level of a civil contract were then unknown; hence marriage was a purer institution, offering fewer temptations for selfish wrong-doing and bartering in flesh. The apotheosis of the brute part of man's nature was reached when society unmasked itself, and made marriage dissolvable on either of the parties refusing to submit to sexual outrage. This is the culmination of materialism. People seem to forget that there can be as much immorality in the married state as outside of it, if not more. If a commission where issued by the civilized world to examine into married relations, the physical and moral evils produced by legalized immorality would be found to stagger belief. Let any experienced physician investigate the subject, and the disclosures would be humiliating to self-respecting men and women. The ephemeral process of courtship, which precedes modern marriages, even at its best, is but conventional; and is made to serve a purpose requiring deep scientific considerations for its proper attainment. Among the Brahmans in the earlier period, and to a large extent even in the present day, marriages were regulated by considerations which will be regarded as highly scientific by those who have any knowledge of the secret sciences, especially astrology. According to the physical and mental peculiarities which the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of birth indicates, men and women are divided into four classes, technically called "castes" — Brahman, Kshetriya, Vaisya, and Sudra, according as spiritual, martial, commercial, or servile idiosyncrasies predominate in them. From another point of view, a classification into three is made — Deva, Man and Rakshasa. A man belonging to a superior caste could take a wife from the inferior castes, but not vice versa. Again, a Deva could marry a female belonging to the class Man; but not a male of the latter class a female of the former, nor could a marriage take place between the Rakshasa and either of the other two classes. There are many more rules founded upon astrological and other considerations of too technical a character to be entered into here. Chiromancy, a science of different bodily marks, also contributed to the determination of suitable matches.
It is not compatible with the design of this book to give a detailed account of each step of retiring spirituality. With early man the animal passions were not sufficiently developed to produce great evils. In the first place, he was a healthy being, with all the functions working together harmoniously, producing no jar or friction; hence all propensities, generated by a diseased condition of the nerves were unknown to him. The effect of fresh air and proper food, and freedom from anxiety, upon the moral character is readily admitted. The happy, free existence of early man, enabling him to derive enjoyment from everything around, left no room for the growth of that wearisomeness which lies at the bottom of all artificial cravings and misuse. But when the conditions of life began to change, and man, no longer the simple child of nature, began to develop new circumstances by the exercise of his personal will, excesses resulted. By slow degrees he was obliged to find artificial habitations; and the grouping together of numbers, producing unhealthy mesmeric and atmospheric conditions, brought on injurious results, the immediate effect of which was over-population — the greatest curse that has fallen on humanity. The statesman and the economist will labour in vain for the removal of this evil until man's nature is purified and woman's is exalted.
The subjection of woman and interference with her liberty of person and of conscience, are the principal causes which have sapped the foundations of existence, made the world a prison-house for humanity, and given to disease, want, and death, such sure hold of the race, that it has required man's entire strength and time to fight them, and has left him no leisure to confront the higher problems of being. The truth should be shown to all willing eyes, and man's awakened conscience trusted to work out his own salvation. To this end an attempt has been made herein to thrown some light on the sphere women ought properly to occupy; but the subject has by no means been exhausted: we hope, however, that enough has been said to lead to its thoughtful consideration. Increased practice of celibacy is the only means for any real advancement of the race; the celibacy which is not the result of restraint, but the outcome of a spiritual growth, producing deep conviction and general elevation of character.
The commonest objection taken against celibacy is that if practised by all it will bring the world to an end; but this objection can only have importance with those who attach an exaggerated value to the present objective life. The termination of the world, by which is meant merely the end of the present transitory state of our consciousness, is by no means a very dreadful calamity. And again the objection is worthless because the apprehended danger, whatever its magnitude, would never occur; as there will always be found a sufficient number to carry on the work of perpetuating the race. There is one contention, however, which requires to be met: some urge it is only the noblest and most unselfish of men who will be moved by the highest instincts of their nature to adopt celibacy and thus leave the least worthy to propagate. Here it is to be pointed out, that this line of argument entirely ignores the dynamic power of thought, which the celibates will bring to bear upon those desirous of issue; and thus the general average of humanity, far from deteriorating, will be likely to improve.
A man who in his own nature realizes the truth, and devotes himself to the mightier questions of life, is looked upon as a useless member of the human family, and is contemptuously ignored by the materialistic utilitarian. But the true worth of such a man is apparent to the spiritual mind; he is a hero among men and a benefactor of his race. The first step he has to take in order to enter upon his work, is to release himself from all physical bondage, and to establish, as the first law of his life, freedom from worldly ties. To him the saying "ye cannot serve God and Mammon" is the first and most important fact, and the second is the renunciation, one after another, of all the delusions with which life is overshadowed. Granting the largest liberty of action to all the world, he seeks for himself the inalienable right of every free spirit — the right to have no other gods than the one he serves, his own conscience. So long as a man is hampered by the indulgence of any weakness, and, above all, when he is guilty of subjugating another human being to sexual selfishness — so long will it be wholly impossible for him to advance his work and spread true wisdom. The chief source of error in all investigations of a spiritual nature in the past, has been due, not so much to the manner of investigating, as to the character of the investigators.
The spiritual wisdom of the world has been the offering of celibates.
The connection between celibacy and spiritual life is not very difficult to see. The married relation which accentuates the difference between man and woman is utterly incompatible with the higher life. Adeptship is the peculiar heritage of the celibate. "He", says the India proverb, "who desires offspring desires death; the immortal must be celibate". Those who are acquainted with what is called the evolution of the astral body know how sexual feeling devours that energy which alone can liberate the astral man from the physical encasement. What man has been, the same and much higher he will be again. Immaculate conception, which is accepted as a dogma by many religions, will certainly be the prevalent mode of reproduction when the higher races appear, races in which all men and women will be "enlightened". This knowledge of spiritual reproduction is one of the highest secrets of Adeptship, but until its day arrives the duty of every spiritual-minded man and woman is to accelerate the advancement of the race by individual purity, which is the first step in the path which leads to Adeptship. The Adepts, in fact, represent to us to-day, not only the spiritual height from which the race descended, but also that other and much loftier height which it will attain. These exalted celibates, the products of no particular age or country, by constant endeavour keep alive the race ideal and possibilities; and the line along which the Adept transmits this knowledge is not hereditary succession, but spiritual propagation, by which the spirit of the Adept master infuses truths into the inner mind of the neophyte.
Is it necessary to say more than this in support of the position assumed? The reader who asks for proofs need only recall the examples of all ages. Spiritual teachers, Pagans and Christians alike, were men free from relationships which, by reason of their injustice to women, were destructive of the highest development of the individual. Who among the prophets of Christianity had not first to free himself form family bondage before he entered upon his work? Who so great an advocate of celibacy as Paul? Who so tender and indulgent in his recognition of man's weakness and sensual nature as he who preached celibacy in these words: "And this I speak for your own profit; not that I cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction"? [ Corinthians vii, 35 ]
MAN: Fragments of a Forgotten History, by: " Two Chelas" in the Theosophical Society: [Mohini Chatterji & Laura C.Holloway]
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