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The Ancient Wisdom

By A Besant

Building A Cosmos

It is not possible, at our present stage of evolution, to do more than roughly indicate a few points in the vast outline of the kosmic scheme in which our globe plays a part. By “ a kosmos “ is here meant a system which seems, from out standpoint, to be complete in itself, arising from a single LOGOS, and sustained by His Life. Such a system is our solar system, and the physical sun may be considered to be the lowest manifestation of the LOGOS when acting as the centre of His kosmos; every form is indeed one of His concrete manifestations, but the sun is His lowest manifestation as the life-giving, invigorating, all-pervading, all controlling, regulative, coordinating, central power. 

Says an occult commentary : 

“Surya (the sun), in its visible reflection, exhibits the first or lowest state of the seventh, the highest state of the Universal PRESENCE, the pure of the pure, the first manifested Breath of the ever unmanifested SAT (Be-ness). All the central physical or objective Suns are in their substance the lowest state of the first Principle of the BREATH, (Secret Doctrine; I, 330, Adyar Ed.), 

are in short, the lowest state of the “Physical Body” of the LOGOS.” 

All physical forces and energies are but transmutations of the life poured forth by the sun, the Lord ( Page312) and Giver of life to his system. Hence in many ancient religions the sun stood as the symbol of the Supreme God – the symbol, in truth, the least liable to misconstruction by the ignorant. Mr. Sinnett well says :

“The solar system is indeed an area of Nature including more than any but the very highest beings whom our humanity is capable of developing are in position to investigate. Theoretically we may feel sure – as we look up into the heavens at night – that the whole solar system itself is but a drop in the ocean of the kosmos, but that drop is in its turn an ocean from the point of view of the consciousness of such half-developed beings within it as ourselves, and we can only hope at present to acquire vague and shadowy conceptions of its origin and constitution. Shadowy, however, though these may be, they enable us to assign the subordinate planetary series, in which our own evolution is carried on, to its proper place in the system of which it is a part, or at all events to get a broad idea of the relative magnitude of the whole system, of our planetary chain, of the world in which we are at present functioning, and of the respective periods of evolution in which as human beings we are interested. “ 

For in truth we cannot grasp our own position intellectually without some idea – however vague it may be – of our relation to the whole; and while some student are content to work within their own sphere of duty and to leave the wider reaches of life until they are called to function in them, others feel the need of a far-reaching scheme in which they have their place, and take an intellectual delight in soaring upwards to obtain a bird’s-eye view of the whole field of evolution. This need has been (Page 313) recognised and met by the spiritual Guardians of humanity in the magnificent delineation of the kosmos from the standpoint of the occultist traced by their pupil and messenger, H.P.Blavatsky, in The Secret Doctrine, a work that will become ever more and more enlightening as students of the Ancient Wisdom themselves explore and master the lower levels of our evolving world. 

The appearance of the LOGOS, we are told, is the herald of the birth-hour of our kosmos. 

“When He is manifest, all is manifested after Him; by His manifestation this All becomes manifest.” (Mundakopanishad, II, ii, 10). 

With Himself He brings the fruits of a past kosmos – the mighty spiritual Intelligences who are to be His co-workers and agents in the universe now to be built. Highest of these are “the Seven,” often Themselves spoken of as Logoi, since each in His place is the centre of a distinct department in the kosmos, as the LOGOS is the centre of the whole. The commentary before quoted says: 

The seven Beings in the Sun are the Seven Holy Ones, Self-born from the inherent power in the matrix of Mother-substance …The energy from which they sprang into conscious existence in every Sun is what some people call Vishnu, which is the Breath of the Absoluteness. We call it the one manifested Life – itself a reflection of the Absolute. (Secret Doctrine, I , 331, Adyar ed.)

This “one manifested Life” is the LOGOS, the manifested God. (Page 314) From this primary division our kosmos takes its sevenfold character, and all subsequent divisions in their descending order reproduce this seven-keyed scale. Under each of the seven secondary Logoi come the descending hierarchies of Intelligences that form the governing body of His kingdom . 

Among These we hear of the Lipika, who are the Recorders of the karma of that kingdom and of all entities therein; of the Maharajas or Devarajas, who superintend the working out of karmic law; and of the vast hosts of the Builders, who shape and fashion all forms after the Ideas that dwell in the treasurehouse of the LOGOS, in the Universal Mind, and that pass from Him to the Seven, each of whom plans out His own realm under that supreme direction and all-inspiring life, giving to it, at the same time, His own individual colouring. H. P. Blavatsky calls these Seven Realms that make up the solar systems the seven Laya centres; she says :

The seven Laya centres are the seven Zero points, using the term Zero in the same sense that chemists do, to indicate a point at which, in Esotericism, the scale of reckoning of differentiation begins. From the Centres – beyond which Esoteric philosophy allows us to perceive the dim metaphysical outlines of the “Seven Sons” of Life and Light, the seven Logoi of the Hermetic and all other philosophies – begins the differentiation of the elements which enter into the constitution of our Solar System.(Secret Doctrine, I , 195, Adyar Ed.)

This realm is a planetary evolution of a stupendous character, the field in which are lived out the stages of life of which a physical planet, such as Venus, is but a transcient embodiment. We may speak of the Evolver and Ruler of this realm as a planetary (Page 315) Logos, so as to avoid confusion. He draws from the matter of the solar system, outpoured from the central LOGOS Himself, the crude materials He requires, and elaborates them by His own life-energies, each planetary Logos thus specialising the matter of His realm from a common stock. (See in chapter I, on “The Physical Plane” the statement on the evolution of matter.)

The atomic state in each of the seven planes of His kingdom being identical with the matter of a subplane of the whole solar system, continuity is thus established throughout the whole. As H. P. Blavatsky remarks, atoms change “their combining equivalents on every planet,” the atoms themselves being identical, but their combinations differing. She goes on : - 

“Not alone the elements of our planet, but even those of all its sisters in the solar system, differ as widely from each other in their combinations, as from the cosmic elements beyond our solar limits…Each atom has seven planes of being, or existence, we are taught. ( Secret Doctrine, Volume1, pages 166 and174, of the 1893 edition or Volume 1, 199, page 205, of the Adyar edition.)

The sub-planes, as we have been calling them, of each great plane. On the three lower planes of His evolving realm the planetary Logos establishes seven globes or worlds, which for convenience’ sake, following the received nomenclature, we will call globes A,B,C,D,E,F,G.

These are the Seven small wheels revolving, one giving birth to the other spoken of in Stanza vi, of the Book of Dzyan: He builds them in the likeness of the older wheels, placing them on the imperishable centres. (Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 64, of the 1893 edition or Volume 1, page 249, of the Adyar edition.) (Page 316)

Imperishable, since each wheel not only gives birth to its successor, but is also itself reincarnated at the same centre, as we shall see. 

These globes may be figured as disposed in three pairs on the arc of an ellipse, with the middle globe at the mid-most and lowest point; for the most part globes A and G – the first and seventh – are on the Arupa levels of the mental plane; globes B and F – the second and sixth – are on the rûpa levels; globes C and E – the third and fifth – are on the astral plane; globe D – the fourth – is on the physical plane. These globes are spoken of by H. P. Blavatsky as “graduated on the four lower planes of the world of formation,”( Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 221, of the1893 edition or Volume 1, page 249, of the Adyar edition- the note is important, that the archetypal world is not the world as it existed in the mind of the planetary Logos, but the first model which was made.) i.e., the physical and astral planes, and the two subdivisions of the mental (rûpa and arûpa). They may be figured : - as 

Image 3

(Page 317) This is the typical arrangement, but it is modified at certain stages of evolution. These seven globes form a planetary ring or chain, and – if for a moment we regard the planetary chain as a whole, as, so to say, an entity, a planetary life or individual – that chain passes through the seven globes as a whole form its planetary body, and this planetary body disintegrates and is reformed seven times during the planetary life. The planetary chain has seven incarnations, and the results obtained in one are handed on to the next.

Every such chain of worlds is the progeny and creation of another lower and dead chain – its reincarnation, so to say. (Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 176, of the 1893 Edition or Volume 1, page 207, of the Adyar Edition.) 

These seven incarnations (technically called “manvantaras”) make up “the planetary evolution,” the realm of the planetary Logos. As there are seven planetary Logoi, it will be seen that seven of these planetary evolutions, each distinct from the others, make up the solar system. (Mr. Sinnett calls these “seven schemes of evolution”). In an occult commentary this coming forth of the seven Logoi from the one, and of the seven successive chains of seven globes each, is described:

From one light seven lights; from each of the seven, seven times seven. ( Secret Doctrine, Volume1, page 147, of the 1893 Edition or Volume 1, page 180, of the Adyar edition.) 

Taking up the incarnations of the chain, the (Page 318) manvantaras, we learn that these also are subdivisible into seven stages; a wave of life from the planetary Logos is sent round the chain, and seven of these great life-waves, each one technically spoken of as “a round,” complete a single manvantara. Each globe has thus seven periods of activity during a manvantara, each in turn becoming the field of the evolving life. 

Looking at a single globe we find that during the period of its activity seven root-races of a humanity evolve on it, together with six other non-human kingdoms interdependent on each other. As these seven kingdoms contain forms at all stages of evolution, as all have higher reaches stretching before them, the evolving forms of one globe pass to another to carry on their growth when the period of activity of the former globe comes to an end, and go on - from globe to globe to the end of that round; they further pursue their course round after round to the close of the seven rounds or manvantara after manvantara till the end of reincarnations of their planetary chain is reached, when the results of that planetary evolution are gathered up by the planetary Logos. Needless to say that scarcely anything of this evolution is known to us; only the salient points in the stupendous whole have been indicated by the Teachers.

Even when we come to the planetary evolution in which our own world is a stage, we know nothing of the processes through which its seven globes (Page 319) evolved during its first two manvantaras; and of its third manvantara we only know that the globe which is now our moon was globe D of that planetary chain. This fact, however, may help us to realise more clearly what is meant by these successive reincarnations of a planetary chain. The seven globes which formed the lunar chain passed in due course through their sevenfold evolution; seven times the life-wave, the Breath of the planetary Logos, swept round the chain, quickening in turn each globe into life.

It is as though that Logos in guiding His kingdom turned His attention first to globe A, and thereon brought into successive existence the innumerable forms that in their totality make up a world; when evolution had been carried to a certain point, He turned His attention to globe B, and globe A slowly sank into a peaceful sleep. Thus the life wave was carried from globe to globe, until one round of the circle was completed by globe G finishing its evolution; then there succeeded a period of rest, (technically called a pralaya), during which the external evolutionary activity ceased.

At the close of this period, external evolution recommenced, starting on its second round and beginning as before on globe A. The process is repeated six times, but when the seventh, the last round, is reached, there is a change. Globe A, having accomplished its seventh life-period, gradually disintegrates, and the imperishable laya centre state supervenes; from that, at the dawn of the succeeding manvantara a new globe A (Page 320) is evolved – like a new body – in which the “principles” of the preceding planet A take up their abode. This phrase is only intended to convey the idea of a relation between globe A of the first manvantara and globe A of the second, the nature of that connection remains hidden.

Of the connection between globe D of the lunar manvantara – our moon – and globe D of the terrene manvantara – our earth – we know little more, and Mr. Sinnett has given a convenient summary of the slender knowledge we possess in The system to which we belong. He says:-

The new earth nebula was developed round a centre bearing pretty much the same relation to the dying planet that the centres of the earth and moon bear to one another at present. But in the nebulous condition this aggregation of matter occupied an enormously greater volume than the solid matter of the earth now occupies. 

It stretched out in all directions so as to include the old planet in its fiery embrace. The temperature of the new nebula appears to be considerable higher than any temperatures we are acquainted with, and by this means the old planet was superficially heated afresh in such

a manner that all atmosphere, water, and volatilisable matter upon it was brought into the gaseous condition and so became amenable to the new centre of attraction set up at the centre of the new nebula.

In this way the air and seas of the old planet were drawn over into the constitution of the new one, and thus it is that the moon in its present state is an arid, glaring mass, dry and cloudless, no longer habitable, and no longer required for the habitation of any physical beings. When the present manvantara is nearly over, during the seventh round, its disintegration will be completed and the matter which it still holds together will resolve into meteoric dust.(Op .cit., Page 19) 

In the third volume of The Secret Doctrine, in which are printed some of the oral teachings given by H.P.Blavatsky to her more advanced pupils, it is stated:

At the beginning of the evolution of our globe, the moon was much nearer to the earth, and larger than it is now. It has retreated from us, and shrunk much in size.(The moon gave all her principles to the earth.) A new moon will appear during the seventh round, and our moon will finally disintegrate and disappear. (Op. Cit. III, 562, 1893 Ed.)

Evolution during the lunar manvantara produced seven classes of beings, technically called Fathers, or Pitris, since it was they who generated the beings of the terrene manvantara. These are the Lunar Pitris of the Secret Doctrine. More developed than these were two other classes – variously called Solar Pitris, Men, Lower Dhyanis – too far advanced to enter on the terrene evolution in its early stages, but requiring the aid of later physical conditions for their future growth.

The higher of these two classes consisted of individualised animal-like beings, creatures with embryonic souls, i.e., they had developed the causal body; the second were approaching its formation. Lunar Pitris, the first class, were at the beginning of that approach showing mentality, while the second and third had only developed the kamic principle. 

These seven classes of Lunar Pitris were the product the lunar chain handed on for further development to the terrene, the fourth reincarnation of the planetary chain. (Page 321) As Monads – with the mental principle present in the first, the kamic principle developed in the second and third classes, this germinal in the fourth, only approaching the germ stage in the still less developed fifth, and imperceptible in the sixth and seventh – these entities entered the earth-chain, to ensoul the elemental essence and the forms shaped by the Builders. ( H.P.Blavatsky, in the Secret Doctrine, does not include those whom Mr. Sinnett calls first – and second-class Pitris in the “monads from the lunar chain” : she takes them apart as “men,” as “Dhyan Chohans.” Compare Volume 1, pages 197, 207 and 211 of the 1893 edition; Volume 1, pages 227, 236 and 239 of the Adyar edition)

The nomenclature adopted by me is that of the Secret Doctrine. In the valuable paper by Mrs. Sinnett and Mr. Scott-Elliot on the Lunar Pitris, H.P.B.’s “Lower Dhyanis,” that incarnate in the third and fourth rounds, are taken as the first and second classes of Lunar Pitris; their third class is therefore H.P.B.’s first class, their fourth class her second and so on. There is no difference in the statement of facts, only in nomenclature, but this difference of nomenclature may mislead the student if it be not explained. As I am

using H.P.B’s nomenclature, my fellow-students of the London Lodge and readers of their “Transaction” will need to remember that my first is their third, and so on sequentially.

The “Builders” is a name including innumerable Intelligences, hierarchies of beings of graduated consciousness and power, who on each plane carry out the actual building of forms. The higher (Page 323) direct and control, while the lower fashion the materials after the models provided. And now appears the use of the successive globes of the planetary chain.

Globe A is the archetypal world, on which are built the models of the forms that are to be elaborated during the round; from the mind of the planetary Logos the highest Builders take the archetypal Ideas, and guide the Builders on the arupa levels as they fashion the archetypal forms for the round.

On globe B these forms are reproduced in varied shapes in mental matter by a lower rank of Builders, and are evolved slowly along different lines, until they are ready to receive an infiltration of denser matter; then the Builders in astral matter take up the task, and on globe C fashion astral forms, with details more worked out; when the forms have been evolved as far as the astral conditions permit, the Builders of globe D take up the task of form-shaping on the physical plane, and the lowest kinds of matter are thus fashioned into appropriate types, and the forms reach their densest and most complete condition.

From this middle point onwards the nature of the evolution some what changes; hitherto the greatest attention had been directed to the building of the form; on the ascending arc the chief attention is directed to using the form as a vehicle of the evolving life and on the second half of the evolution on globe D, and on globes E and F the consciousness expresses itself first on the physical and then on the astral and lower mental planes through the equivalents of the forms elaborated on the descending arc.(Page 324) 

On the descending arc the monad impresses itself as best it may on the evolving forms, and these impressions, and so on; on the ascending arc the Monad expresses itself through the forms as their inner ruler. On globe G the perfection of the round is reached, the Monad inhabiting and using as its vehicles the archetypal forms of globe A. 

During all these stages the Lunar Pitris have acted as the souls of the forms, brooding over them, later inhabiting them. It is on the first-class Pitris that the heaviest burden of the work falls during the first three rounds. The second and third-class Pitris flow into the forms worked up by the first; the first prepare these forms by ensouling them for a time and then pass on, leaving them for the tenancy of the second and third classes. By the end of the first round the archetypal forms of the mineral would have been brought down, to be elaborated through the succeeding rounds, till they reach their densest state in the middle of the fourth round. “Fire” is the “element” of this first round.

In the second round the first-class Pitris continue their human evolution, only touching the lower stages as the human foetus still touches them today, while the second-class, at the close of the round, have reached the incipient human stage. The great work of the round is bringing down the archetypal forms of vegetable life, which will reach their perfection in the fifth round. “Air” is the second round “element”. (Page 325) 

In the third round the first-class Pitris becomes definitely human in form; though the body is jelly-like and gigantic, it is yet, on globe D, compact enough to begin to stand upright; he is ape-like and is covered with hairy bristles. The third-class Pitris reach the incipient human stage. Second class solar Pitris make their first appearance on globe D in this round, and take the lead in human evolution. The archetypal forms of animals are brought down to be elaborated into perfection by the end of the sixth round, and “water” is the characteristic “element.” 

The fourth round, the middle one of the seven that make up the terrene manvantara, is distinguished by bringing to globe A the archetypal forms of humanity, this round being as distinctively human as its predecessors were respectively animal, vegetable, and mineral. Not ill the seventh round will these forms be fully realised by humanity, but the possibilities of the human form are manifested in the archetypes in the fourth. "Earth” is the “element” of this round, the densest, the most material. The first-class solar Pitris may be said to hover round globe D more or less in this round during its early stages of activity, but they do not definitely incarnate until after the third great out-pouring of life from the planetary Logos in the middle of the third race, and then only slowly, the number increasing as the race progresses, and multitudes incarnating in the early fourth race.

The evolution of humanity on our earth, globe D, offers in a strongly marked form the continual sevenfold diversity already often alluded to. Seven races of men had already shown themselves in the third round, and in the fourth these fundamental divisions became very clear on globe C, where seven races, each with sub-races evolved. On globe D humanity begins with a First Race – usually called a Root Race – at seven different points, “seven of them, each on his lot.” (Book of Dzyan (Stanzas of Dzyan, 3: 13). – Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, page 18, of the 1893, edition– Volume 3, page 29, of the Adyar edition.)

These seven types side by side, not successive – make up the first root-race, and each again has its own seven sub-races. From the first root-race – jelly-like amorphous creatures – evolves the second root-race with forms of more definite consistency, and from it the third, ape-like creatures that become clumsy gigantic men. In the middle of the evolution of this third root-race, called the Lemurian, there come to earth – from another planetary chain, that of Venus, much farther advanced in its evolution – members of its highly evolved humanity, glorious Beings, often spoken of as Sons of Fire, from Their radiant appearance, a lofty order among the Sons of Mind. (Manasaputra. This vast hierarchy of self-conscious intelligences embraces many orders.)

They take up Their abode on earth, as the Divine Teachers of the young humanity, some of them acting as channels for the third outpouring and projecting into animal man the spark of monadic life which forms the causal body. Thus the first, second, and third classes of Lunar Pitris become individualised – the vast (Page 327) bulk of humanity. The two classes of solar Pitris, already individualised – the first ere leaving the lunar chain and the second later – form two low orders of the Sons of Mind; the second incarnate in the third race at its middle point, and the first come in later, for the most part in the fourth race, the Atlantean.

The fifth, or Aryan race, now leading human evolution, was evolved from the fifth sub-race of the Atlantean, the most promising families being in Central Asia, and the new race-type evolved, under the direct superintendence of a Great Being, technically called a Manu. Emerging from Central Asia the first sub-race settled in India, south of the Himalayas, and in their four orders of teachers, warriors, merchants, and workmen, ( Brahmanas, Kshattriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras ) became the dominant race in the vast Indian peninsula, conquering the fourth-race and third-race nations who then inhabited it.

At the end of the seventh race of the seventh round, i.e., at the close of our terrene manvantara, our chain will hand on to its successor the fruits of its life; these fruits will be the perfected divine men, Buddhas, Manus, Chohans, Masters, ready to take up work of guiding evolution under the direction of the planetary Logos, with hosts of less evolved entities of every grade of consciousness, who still need physical experience for the perfecting of their divine possibilities. 

The fifth, sixth, and seventh (Page 328) manvantaras of our chain are still in the womb of the future after this fourth one has closed, and then the planetary Logos will gather up into Himself all the fruits of evolution, and with his children enter on a period of rest and bliss. Of that high state we cannot speak; how at this stage of our evolution could we dream of its unimaginable glory; only we dimly know that our glad spirits shall “enter into the joy of the Lord,” and, resting in Him, shall see stretching before them boundless ranges of sublime life and love, heights and depths of power and joy, limitless as the One Existence, inexhaustable as the One that Is.





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