CYCLES MARK EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES AND PROGRESS .DOC
Jul 27, 2006 11:57 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Re: CYCLES MARK EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES AND PROGRESS
7/27/2006 11:53 AM
As we approach the question of the influence of cycles , here are some
interesting views presented by THEOSOPHY .
CYCLES - WHAT ARE THEY ?
The doctrine of Cycles is one of the most important in the whole
theosophical system, though the least known, and of all, the one most
infrequently referred to. This incompleteness and want of accurate knowledge
have been due to the lack of belief in spiritual things and the desire to
square everything with materialistic science.
A cycle is a ring or turning, as the derivation of the word indicates. By
analogy it is found that certain events recur which are similar to earlier
ones. The best terms in existence may be found in the Sanskrit
astronomical and astrological texts and are: Yuga, Kalpa, Manvantara, but of
these Yuga comes nearest to cycle, as it is lesser in duration than the
The beginning of a cycle must be a moment, and that added to other moments
makes a day, and those added together constitute months, years, decades, and
centuries. Beyond this the West hardly goes.
It recognizes the moon cycle (monthly of 4 weeks, and that of Meton, the
ancient Greek of about 19 Ό years), and the great sidereal one (the annual
Sun year, and, the Zodiacal Year of 25,868 solar years), but, it looks at
both and upon the others as mere periods of time.
If we are to consider them as but lengths of time there is no profit except
to the dry student or to the astronomer. And in this way today they are
regarded by some European and American thinkers, who say cycles exist but
have no very great bearing on human life and certainly no bearing on the
actual recurrence of events or the reappearance on the stage of life of
persons who once lived in the world.
The theosophical theory is distinctly otherwise.
Not only are the cycles named actual physical facts in respect to time, but
they and other periods have a very great effect on human life and the
evolution of the globe with all the forms of life thereon. Starting with the
moment and proceeding through a day, this theory erects the cycle into a
comprehensive ring which includes all in its limits.
The moment being the basis, the question to be settled in respect to the
great cycles is, When did the first moment come?
VIBRATION IS THE KEY
The ancient theosophists held the beginning of our Worlds cycle to be that
of the first moment of the solidification of this globe. Then the mass of
matter involved attained a certain and definite rate of vibration. This
will hold through all variations in any part of it until its hour for
dissolution comes. These rates of vibration are what determine the different
cycles, and, contrary to the ideas of western science, the doctrine is that
the solar system and the globe we are now on, will come to an end when the
force behind the whole mass of seen and unseen matter has reached its limit
of duration under Cyclic Law.
REINCARNATION AND NATIONAL CYCLES
Reincarnation being the great law of life and progress, it is interwoven
with that of the cycles and karma. These three work together, and in
practice, it is almost impossible to disentangle reincarnation from cyclic
Individuals and nations in definite streams return in regularly recurring
periods to the earth, and thus bring back to the globe the arts, the
civilization, the very persons who once were on it at work. And as the units
in nation and race are connected together by invisible strong threads, large
bodies of such units moving slowly but surely all together reunite at
different times and emerge again and again together into new race and new
civilization as the cycles roll their appointed rounds.
Therefore the souls who made the most ancient civilizations will come back
and bring the old civilization with them in idea and essence, which, being
added to what others have done for the development of the human race in its
character and knowledge, will produce a new and higher state of
civilization. This newer and better development will not be due to books, to
records, to arts or mechanics, because all those are periodically destroyed
so far as physical evidence goes. But the Soul, ever retaining in immortal
Manas the knowledge it once gained, and always pushing to completer
development the higher principles and powers, the essence of progress
remains, and will as surely come out as the sun shines.
Along this road are the points when the small and large cycles of Avatars
[divine incarnations] bring out for man's benefit the great characters who
mold the race from time to time.
Individual cycles are those of reincarnation, of moods and emotional
sensations, and of sensitivity to impression.
The length of the individual reincarnation cycle for the general mass of men
is fifteen hundred years, and this in its turn gives us a large historical
cycle related closely to the progress of civilization. For as the masses of
persons return from Devachan, it must follow that the Roman, the Greek, the
old Aryan, and other Ages will be seen again and can to a very great extent
be plainly traced.
The CYCLE OF AVATARS [PROPHETS, GREAT TEACHERS]
The Cycle of Avatars includes several smaller ones. The greater are those
marked by the appearance of Rama and Krishna among the Hindus, of Menes
among the Egyptians, of Zoroaster among the Persians, and of Gautama Buddha
to the Hindus and other nations of the East.
Gautama Buddha is the last of the great Avatars, and is in a larger cycle
than is Jesus of the Jews, for the teachings of the latter are the same as
those of Buddha and tinctured with what Buddha had taught to those who
instructed Jesus. [ISIS UNVEILED II 123-4, 290]
Another great Avatar is yet to come, corresponding to Buddha and Krishna
combined. Krishna and Rama were of the military, civil, religious, and
occult order; Buddha of the ethical, religious, and mystical, in which be
was followed by Jesus; Mohammed was a minor intermediate one for a certain
part of the race, and was civil, military, and religious.
In these cycles we can include mixed characters who have had great influence
on nations, such as King Arthur, Pharaoh, Moses, Charlemagne reincarnated as
Napoleon Bonaparte, Clovis of France reborn as Emperor Frederic III of
Germany, and Washington the first President of the United States of America
where the root for the new race is being formed.
WHEN CYCLES INTERSECT
Man is a great dynamo, making, storing, and throwing out energy, and when
masses of men composing a race thus make and distribute energy, there is a
resulting dynamic effect on the material of the globe which will be powerful
enough to be distinct and cataclysmic.
Man is especially affected by invisible cycles which are spiritual, psychic,
and moral. Out of these, grow national, racial, and individual cycles. Race
and national cycles are historical.
WHY CYCLES END
We do not admit that the ending of the force is the withdrawal of the force
at work which is that of man himself, considered as a spiritual being. When
he is done using the globe, he leaves it, and then with him goes out the
force holding all together; the consequence is dissolution by fire or water
or what not, these phenomena being simply effects and not causes.
CATACLYSMS, DELUGES SHIFTING OF CONTINENTS
At the intersection of the great cycles, dynamic effects follow and alter
the surface of the planet by reason of the shifting of the poles of the
globe or other convulsion. This is not a theory generally acceptable, but we
hold it to be true.
That there have been vast and awful disturbances in the strata of the world
is admitted on every hand and now needs no proof; these have been due to
earthquakes and ice formation so far as concerns geology; but in respect to
animal forms the cyclic law is that certain animal forms now extinct and
also certain human ones not known, but sometimes suspected, will return
again in their own cycle; and certain human languages now known as dead will
be in use once more at their appointed cyclic hour.
In regard to great cataclysms occurring at the beginning and ending of large
and important cycles, the main laws governing the effects are those of Karma
and Reembodiment, or Reincarnation, proceeding under cyclic rule. Not only
is man ruled by these laws, but every atom of matter as well, and the mass
of matter is constantly undergoing a change at the same time as does man. It
must therefore exhibit alterations corresponding to those through which the
thinker is going.
On the physical plane effects are brought out through the electrical and
other fluids acting with the gases on the solids of the globe. At the change
of a great cycle they reach what may be termed the exploding point and cause
violent convulsions of the following classes: (a) Earthquakes, (b) Floods,
(c) Fire, (d) Ice.
Earthquakes may be brought on according to this philosophy by two general
causes; first, subsidence or elevation under the earth-crust due to heat and
steam, second, electrical and magnetic changes which affect water and earth
at the same time. These last have the power to instantaneously make the
earth fluidic without melting it, thus causing immense and violent
displacements in large or small waves. And this effect is sometimes seen now
in earthquake districts when similar electrical causes are at work in a
Floods of general extent are caused by displacement of water from the
subsidence or elevation of land, and, by those combined with electrical
changes which induces a copious discharge of moisture. The latter is not a
mere emptying of a cloud, but a sudden turning of vast bodies of fluids and
solids into water.
Universal fires come on from electrical and magnetic changes in the
atmosphere by which the moisture is withdrawn from the air and the latter
turned into a fiery mass; and, secondly, by the sudden expansion of the
solar magnetic center into seven such centers, thus burning the globe. This
latter phenomenon, it is prophecized will bring our Earth to its end. [S D
Ice cataclysms come on not only from the sudden alteration of the poles but
also from lowered temperature due to the alteration of the warm fluid
currents in the sea and the hot magnetic currents in the earth, the first
being known to science, the latter not. The lower stratum of moisture is
suddenly frozen, and vast tracts of land covered in a night with many feet
of ice. This can easily happen to the British Isles if the warm currents of
the ocean are diverted from its shores.
ASTRONOMICAL AND SOLAR CYCLES
The great Sidereal year is the period taken by the equinoctial points to
make in their precession a complete revolution of the heavens. It is
composed of 25,868 solar years almost. It is said that the last sidereal
year ended about 9,868 years ago, at which time there must have been on this
earth a violent convulsion or series of such, as well as a redistribution of
The completion of this grand period brings the earth into newer spaces of
the cosmos, not in respect to its own orbit, but by reason of the actual
progress of the sun in an orbit of its own that cannot be measured by any
observer of the present day, but which is guessed at by some and the center
of which is located in one of the constellations.
But man is also affected by astronomical cycles because he is an integral
part of the whole, and these cycles mark the periods when mankind as a whole
will undergo a change.
THE GREAT ZODIACAL CLOCK
In the sacred books of all nations these are often mentioned, and are in the
Bible of the Christians, as, for instance, in the story of Jonah in the
belly of the whale. This is an absurdity when read as history, but not so as
an astronomical cycle. "Jonah" is in the constellations, and when that
astronomical point which represents man reaches a point in the Zodiac which
is directly opposite the belly of Cetus or the whale on the other side of
the circle, by what is known as the process of opposition, then Jonah is
said to be in the center of the fish and is "thrown out" at the expiration
of the period when that man-point has passed so far along in the Zodiac as
to be out of opposition to the whale.
Similarly as the same point moves thus through the Zodiac it is brought by
opposition into the different constellations that are exactly opposite from
century to century while it moves along. During these progresses, changes
take place among men and on earth, and those are exactly marked by the
constellations when those are read according to the right rules of
It is not claimed that the conjunction causes the effect, but that ages ago
the Masters of Wisdom worked out all the problems in respect to man and
found in the heavens the means for knowing the exact dates when certain
cyclic events are sure to recur. Then, by imprinting in the minds of older
nations the symbology of the Zodiac, they were able to preserve both the
record and the prophecy.
In the same way that a watchmaker can tell the hour by the arrival of the
hands or the works of the watch at certain fixed points, the Sages can tell
the hour for events by the Zodiacal clock.
This may not be admitted, or believed today, but it will be well understood
in future centuries, and as the nations of the earth have similar symbols
for the Zodiac in general, and as the records of races long dead have the
same, it is not likely that the vandal-spirit of fanatics and dogmatists
will be able to completely efface this valuable heritage of our evolution.
In Egypt, for example, the Denderah Temple has an ancient Zodiac [S D II
431-3] that tells the same tale as that one left to us by the old
civilization of the American continent, and all of these are from the same
source, they are the work of the Sages who come at the beginning of the
great human cycle and give to man when he begins his toilsome ascent up the
road of development, those great symbols and ideas of an astronomical
character which will last through all the cycles.
Both Egyptians and Greeks had their cycles, but, Theosophy states they
derived them from the Indian Sages. The Chinese always were a nation of
astronomers, and have recorded observations reaching far back, but as they
belong to an old race which is doomed to extinction -- strange as the
assertion may appear -- their conclusions will not be correct for the Aryan
On the coming of the Christian era a heavy pall of darkness fell on the
minds of men in the West, and India was for many centuries isolated so as to
preserve these great ideas during the mental night of Europe. This isolation
was brought about deliberately as a necessary precaution taken by that great
Lodge, because its Adepts, knowing the cyclic laws perfectly, wished to
preserve philosophy for future generations. For this reason the Brahmanical
cycles are given, since they tally almost exactly with the correct periods
known to the great Occultists.
A period or exhibition of universal manifestation is called a Brahmanda,
that is a complete life of Brahma. Brahma's life is made of his days, and
years, which, being cosmical are each of immense duration. His day is as
man's 24 odd hours long, his year 360 odd days, the number of his years is
Considering our Globe -- since we are concerned with no other -- its
government and evolution proceed under Manu or man, and from this is derived
the term Manvantara or "between two Manus."
The course of evolution is divided into four Yugas for every race in its own
time and way. These Yugas do not affect all mankind at one and the same
time, as some races are in one of the Yugas while others are in a different
cycle. The American Indian, for instance, is in the end of his stone age,
while the Aryans are in quite a different state. These four Yugas are:
Krita, or Satya, the golden; Treta; (silver) Dvapara, (bronze); and Kali or
the black iron age. The present age for the West and India is Kali Yuga,
especially in respect to moral and spiritual development. The first of these
is slow in comparison with the rest, and the present -- Kali -- is very
rapid, its motion being accelerated.
TABLE --------------------------------------------------------- Mortal
360 (odd) mortal days make ------------------------------------- 1
Krita Yuga has -------------------------------------------
Treta Yuga has -------------------------------------------
Dvapara Yuga has ------------------------------------------ 864,000
Kali Yuga has ----------------------------------------------
Maha Yuga, or the four preceding, has -----------------4,320,000
71 Maha Yugas form the reign of one Manu, or ----306,720,000
14 Manus are ---------------------------------------
Add the dawns or twilights between each Manu ----- 25,920,000
These reigns and dawns make 1,000 Maha Yugas,
a KALPA, or Day of Brahma ----- 4,320,000,000
Brahma's Night equals his Day & Night together- 8,640,000,000
360 of these Days make Brahma's Year ------- 3,110,00,000,000
100 of these Years make Brahma's Life -- 311,040,000,000,000
( 311 trillion and 40 billion years )
The first 5000 years of Kali Yuga will end between the years 1897 and 1898.
This Yuga began about 3102 years before the Christian era, at the time of
Krishna's death. As the period of 1897-98 is recent, in retrospect, we have
had an opportunity of seeing whether the close of the five thousand year
cycle was preceded or followed by any convulsions or great changes
political, scientific, moral or physical, or all of these combined.
Cyclic changes are now proceeding as year after year the souls from prior
civilizations are being incarnated in this period when liberty of thought
and action are not so restricted in the West as they have been in the past
by dogmatic religious prejudice and bigotry. And at the present time we are
in a cycle of transition, when, as a transition period should indicate,
everything in philosophy, religion, and society is changing. In a transition
period the full and complete figures and rules respecting cycles are not
given out to a generation which elevates money above all thoughts and scoffs
at the spiritual view of man and nature.
[Extracted in part from the OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY -- W Q Judge]
THE word "evolution" is the best word from a theosophical standpoint to use
in treating of the genesis of men and things, as the process which it
designates is that which has been always stated in the ancient books from
whose perusal the tenets of the wisdom religion can be gathered. In the
Bhagavad Gita we find Krishna saying that "at the beginning of the day of
Brahma all things come forth from the non-developed principle, and at the
coming on of Brahma's night they are resolved into it again," and that this
process goes on from age to age. This exactly states evolution as it is
defined in our dictionaries, where it is said to be a process of coming
forth or a development. The "days and nights of Brahma" are immense periods
of time during which evolution proceeds, the manifestation of things being
the "day" and their periodical resolution into the Absolute the "night."
If, then, everything is evolved, the word creation can only be properly
applied to any combination of things already in existence, since the
primordial matter or basis cannot be created.
The basis of the theosophical system is evolution, for in theosophy it is
held that all things are already in esse, being brought forth or evolved
from time to time in conformity to the inherent law of the Absolute. The
very next question to be asked is, What is this inherent law of the
Absolute? as nearly as can be stated. Although we do not and cannot know the
Absolute, we have enough data from which to draw the conclusion that its
inherent law is to periodically come forth from subjectivity into
objectivity and to return again to the former, and so on without any
cessation. In the objective world we have a figure or illustration of this
in the rising and setting of the sun, which of all natural objects best
shows the influence of the law.
It rises, as H. P. Blavatsky says, from the (to us) subjective, and at night
returns to the subjective again, remaining in the objective world during the
day. If we substitute, as we must when attempting to draw correspondences
between the worlds, the word "state" for locality or place, and instead of
the sun we call that object "the Absolute," we have a perfect figure, for
then we will have the Absolute rising above the horizon of consciousness
from the subjective state, and its setting again for that consciousness when
the time of night arrives that is, the night of Brahma. This law of
periodicity is the same as that of the cycles, which can be seen governing
in every department of nature.
But let us assume a point of departure so as to get a rapid survey of
evolution theosophically considered. And let it be at the time when this
period of manifestation began. What was projected into the objective world
at that time must have been life itself, which under the action of the law
of differentiation split itself up into a vast number of lives, which we may
call individual, the quantity of which it is not possible for us of finite
mind to count. In the Hindu system these are called Jivas and Jivatman.
Within these lives there is contained the entire plan to be pursued during
the whole period of manifestation, since each life is a small copy of the
great All from which it came. Here a difficulty arises for studious minds,
calling for some attention, for they may ask "What then do you do with that
which we call 'matter', and by and through which the lives manifest
The reply is that the so-called matter is an illusion and is not real
matter, but that the latter--sometime known in Europe as primordial
matter--cannot be seen by us. The real matter is itself only another form of
the life first thrown out, but in a less perfect state of differentiation,
and it is on a screen of this real matter that its inner energies project
pictures which we call matter, mistaking them for the real. It may then be
further asked, "Have we not been led to suppose that that which we supposed
was matter but which you now say is an illusion is something absolutely
necessary to the soul for acquiring experience of nature?"
To this I reply that such is not the case, but that the matter needed for
the soul to acquire experience through is the real unseen matter. It is that
matter of which psychic bodies are composed, and those other "material"
things all the way up to spirit. It is to this that the Bhagavad Gita refers
where it says that spirit (purusha) and matter (prakriti) are coeternal and
not divisible from each other. That which we and science are accustomed to
designate matter is nothing more than our limited and partial cognition of
the phenomena of the real or primordial matter.
This position is not overturned by pointing to the fact that all men in
general have the same cognitions of the same objects, that square objects
are always square and that shadows fall in the same line for all normal
people, for even in our own experience we see that there is such a thing as
a collective change of cognition, and that thus it is quite possible that
all normal people are merely on the single plane of consciousness where they
are not yet able to cognize anything else. In the case of hypnotizing
everything appears to the subject to be different at the will of the
operator, which would not be possible if objects had any inherent actuality
of their own apart from our consciousness.
In order to justify a discussion of the Theosophical system of evolution, it
is necessary to see if there be any radical difference between it and that
which is accepted in the world, either in scientific circles or among
Theologians. That there is such a distinction can be seen at once, and we
will take first that between it and Theology. Here, of course, this is in
respect to the genesis of the inner man more especially, although Theology
makes some claim to know about race descent. The Church either says that the
soul of each man is a special creation in each case or remains silent on the
subject, leaving us, as it was once so much the fashion to say, "In the
hands of a merciful Providence," who after all says nothing on the matter.
But when the question of the race is raised, then the priest points to the
Bible, saying that we all come from one pair, Adam and Eve. On this point
Theology is more sure than science, as the latter has no data yet and does
not really know whether we owe our origin to one pair, male and female, or
Theosophy, on the other hand, differs from the Church, asserting that
Paramatma alone is self-existing, single, eternal, immutable, and common to
all creatures, high and low alike; hence it never was and never will be
created; that the soul of man evolves, is consciousness itself, and is not
specially created for each man born on the earth, but assumes through
countless incarnations different bodies at different times. Underlying this
must be the proposition that, for each Manvantara or period of
manifestation, there is a definite number of souls or egos who project
themselves into the current of evolution which is to prevail for that period
Of course this subject is limitless, and the consideration of the vast
number of systems and worlds where the same process is going on with a
definite number of egos in each, staggers the minds of most of those who
take the subject up. And of course I do not mean to be understood as saying
that there is a definite number of egos in the whole collection of systems
in which we may imagine evolution as proceeding, for there could be no such
definiteness considered in the mass, as that would be the same as taking the
measure of the Absolute. But in viewing any part of the manifestation of the
Absolute, it is allowable for us to say that there are to be found such a
definite number of egos in that particular system under consideration; this
is one of the necessities of our finite consciousness. Following out the
line of our own argument we reach the conclusion that, included within the
great wave of evolution which relates to the system of which this earth is a
part, there are just so many egos either fully developed or in a latent
These have gone round and round the wheel of rebirth, and will continue to
do so until the wave shall meet and be transformed into another. Therefore
there could be no such thing as a special creation of souls for the
different human beings born on this earth, and for the additional reason
that, if there were, then spirit would be made subservient to illusion, to
mere human bodies. So that in respect to theology we deny the propositions,
first, that there is any special creation of souls, second, that there is,
or was, or could be by any possibility any creation of this world or of any
other, and third, that the human race descended from one pair.
In taking up the difference existing between our theory and that of science
we find the task easy. Upon the question of progress, and how progress or
civilization may be attained by man, and whether any progress could be
possible if the theories of science be true, our position is that there
could be no progress if the law of evolution as taught in the schools is
true, even in a material sense. In this particular we are diametrically
opposed to science.
Its assumption is that the present race on the earth may be supposed to
belong to a common stock which in its infancy was rude and barbarous,
knowing little more than the animal, living like the animal, and learning
all it now knows simply by experience gained in its contest with nature
through its development. Hence they give us the paleolithic age, the
neolithic age, and so on. In this scheme we find no explanation of how man
comes to have innate ideas. Some, however, seeing the necessity for an
explanation of this phenomenon, attempt it in various ways; and it is a
phenomenon of the greatest importance. It is explained by theosophy in a way
peculiar to itself, and of which more will be said as we go on.
W.Q.J. Path, August, 1890
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