Each race develops one of the seven principles of man
within the limits of the Ring. The fourth race based its civilization upon the
development of the fourth principle, physical desire and all its endeavours had
for their object the gratification of the sensual nature. Our fifth race will
not have run its course without evolving a civilization in which all the
intellectual faculties (the fifth principle in man) will attain their highest
development in this
The sixth race will be highly spiritual, and before its close all human beings
will attain "enlightenment". The perfection of the seventh-race men
is simply inconceivable to us, for among their adepts will abide a planetary
The civilization of the Aryans was an entirely different evolution from the one which preceded it. The Aryans did not come in contact with the Atlanteans until after they had developed a civilization of their own to a very considerable degree. It is proposed in this chapter to put together a few facts connected with the origin and infancy of this civilization, which, though subsequently a great deal influenced by the fourth race, had to grow by its own inherent vitality until the Aryan people were dispersed in different directions.
The fifth Race has already evolved five sub-races; the
first being the Indian Aryans, and the last the principal European peoples. In
the evolutionary progress of a human being he has to pass, generally speaking, through
all the races and sub-races during the
but there are exceptions which, though comparatively few, are absolutely
numerous. It is not necessary, for instance, that a Brahman should incarnate
himself as a European to complete his progress, if he should be able to develop
in himself all the peculiar excellences of the European without such
incarnation. As a matter of fact, within the limits of the same race, an
individual by his own exertions may govern his incarnations without being an
adept, who, of course, is the master of his future within limits which need not
here be discussed. The Aryans being the fifth race of the present Ring, it is
clear that they occupy a very important position in the chain of races, of
which the first three prepared the ground for the appearance of more perfect types.
The fourth race marked the turning-point from the period of ignorant innocence
to that of responsible knowledge, for when humanity shall have passed through
its present cycle of material progress it will reach a height of perfection
which it has never before attained. The fifth race, succeeding, as it does, the
fourth, the turning-point, will, before its course is run, show a positive
advance of mankind, by uniting material and spiritual excellence to a very
remarkable degree; an advance of which the first glimpse was given in the
civilization of the Indian Aryans. But when the tide of evolution begins to
ascend the cycle, much higher peaks of perfection, better fitted to resist the
influence of time, will be scaled. No race of people which has existed on our
planet possessed for us so great an importance as the earliest of the Aryan
Indo-Aryan civilization was in a way unique. The Indian Aryans attained a high standard of material development while retaining a large share of the spiritual consciousness of their ancestors, the third race. They combined the material civilization of the Atlanteans with the higher spirituality of the preceding period.
The cradle of the early Aryan race was Central Asia, from whence they dispersed and overran different parts of the globe. It is from this dispersion that the true history of the Aryan race dates, for then began its large growth, its greater development its progress in arts and industries, which we mistakenly suppose are new to our day and evolved by our needs. But this breaking-up of the ancestral life-habits, which led to the greatest prosperity of the race, ultimately resulted in its ruin, or rather its cyclic obscuration. What led to the dispersion of the Aryan people and the breaking-up of their ancestral home?
The immediate cause was over-production, for when the pressure became great the people began to separate and to seek new homes, and finally this once united people ultimately scattered themselves over the face of the earth. This division and dispersion brought about what was not known among the Aryans in previous ages, the shedding of a fellow-creature's blood, and people who were originally one, having grown aliens and strangers, engaged in resisting mutual encroachments. The progress of these events was accelerated by the undeveloped state of the faculty of memory in the earlier times. Once out of the ancestral home, a tribe knew its brothers no more. The multiplicity of wants produced by this change brought about discontent and dissatisfaction. The separation from the happy home of their youth caused the first note of woe to be sounded by the wandering tribes in the midst of their long and wearisome marches. Those who settled in colder climes made demands upon those who stayed in Central Asia; while those who emigrated into the torrid zones fell victims to disease, and first experienced sorrow from the untimely death of friends; then, with the appearance of poverty the "Golden Age" came to an end.
Strange as it might seem, this separation and dispersion of the people gave rise to the music and poetry of our race. These arts first appeared amongst that branch of the Aryan race which wandered northwards. Their great longing for home stirred their souls to the utmost depths, and poured itself forth in rude, archaic minstrelsy. The growth of music and poetry was assisted by war, which followed in the track of the dispersion of the race and necessitated rallying cries during battle.
The influence of this change of surroundings was not less marked on religion. Music and poetry gave quite a new colouring to the expression of spiritual thought. The higher perceptions of man had been blunted, and ordinarily he could grasp things spiritual only with the help of his imagination. This circumstance rendered poetry the fitting vehicle of religious feeling; by the alliance poetry gained, and religion lost a great deal in spirituality. At the period we are dealing with, ideas, like men, began to be clothed; and metaphor, to the ancient people a reality and not a mere figure of speech, became the language of daily life.
Before leaving this part of the subject we must guard against an erroneous impression that might otherwise be formed. It must not be supposed that the above account is chronological; that the retrogression of the Aryans began immediately after the dispersion of the early Aryan people. It was necessary to anticipate some facts connected with that event, to render the picture a little more complete. In reality a period of great prosperity and glory intervened between the break-up of the ancestral home of the early Aryans and their final decline. Of the various branches of the Aryan race it is not our purpose to speak here, but only of that larger and more important family which made the glory of India, and whose representatives still people that country. The early India settlers were the flower of the Aryan race; they reached a pitch of civilization which has not been equalled, and of whose true greatness the first glimpses are but just bursting upon the world. These Aryans were the embodiment of the highest development recorded on this planet. And when all the proof on this point is given to the world, the true significance of the philosophy dimly outlined by the custodians of Ancient Wisdom under the guise of Theosophy will be properly apprehended.
The Indo-Aryans had condensed to a remarkable degree the knowledge achieved by their predecessors, and evolved for themselves many truths ignored to-day save by the few who are in advance of this cycle and are crying aloud in the wilderness the old, old message to a heedless and distrustful world. They were intuitive at first rather than intellectual; and not until the growth of the latter faculty had almost superseded the former were they materialized to the extent of feeling distrust in their own higher nature.
Even in its early periods Aryan life was mostly pastoral; it is erroneous to conclude that our early ancestors lived by hunting. They were not what we may term a hardy people, for they had not the inclinations which conduce to develop hardihood. They were wanting in what we nineteenth-century people call aggressive energy. Physically the Aryan of the period with which we are dealing was superior to his present representative. His body was free from disease, and not subject to untimely death; while the natural term of his life was a great deal longer than it is now. The complexion of the early Indian Aryans was not like that of the present generation of Hindus — various shades of brown — almost pure white, with slight tinge of gold. Taken altogether, the epoch which witnessed their rise and development will stand for all ages as the most remarkable era known in the history of the world.
It is noteworthy how little of the history of this wonderful people should be generally known. The question is surrounded by obscurity, and but for the presence of the English in India, long periods, and perhaps ages, might have elapsed before the West recognized the gems of wisdom they have left behind. The revival of learning now beginning in India is due in the main to the influence of England.
The contact with a liberal foreign thought introduced into India has resulted in rousing among its people a more profound and more thoughtful interest in the ancient literature of their country. The first question asked by the foreign investigator of India's condition was, "What is your record? who were your ancestors?" The bewildered people looked around in amazement for some fitting proof to show that they were the unworthy descendants of mighty forefathers.
But time is a healer as well as an avenger. The neglect which has followed the degeneration of this people, though long-continued and well-nigh hopeless, is to be atoned for before long. A spirit of inquiry has been infused into a people who have too long submitted to the domination of superstition and priestcraft.
The revival has begun; a new light, so small and distant to the eyes now, is bursting upon the Eastern sky. Under the benign influence of a philosophy which embodies in it the very soul of Truth, there will be a Renaissance of this great and never-to-be forgotten people. Soon all India will be Aryan in thought and life; so mighty will this revival be, that the most distant lands will echo the awakening shout. The interest excited in the Aryan people of the East and their literature is in no danger of dying. The intermixture of European with Eastern thought will keep the flame alive, and the presence of the English in India will steadily add to its splendour.
strikethrough: original text by authors, HPB corrected
underline: HPB's alternative text