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The Secret Doctrine

By Helena P. Blavatsky

Book II-Part I- The Chronology Of The Brahmins

No greater riddle exists in science, no problem is more hopelessly insoluble, than the question: How old -- even approximately -- are the Sun and Moon, the Earth and Man? What does modern science know of the duration of the ages of the World, or even of the length of geological periods?

Nothing; absolutely nothing.

If one turns to science for chronological information, one is told by those who are straightforward and truthful, as for instance Mr. Pengelly, the eminent geologist, "We do not know."* One will learn that, so far, no trustworthy numerical estimate of the ages of the world and man could be made, and that both geology and anthropology are at sea. Yet when a student of esoteric philosophy presumes to bring forward the teachings of Occult Science, he is at once sat upon. Why should this be so, since, when reduced to their own physical methods, the greatest scientists have failed to arrive even at an approximate agreement?

It is true that science can hardly be blamed for it. Indeed, in the Cimmerian darkness of the prehistoric ages, the explorers are lost in a labyrinth, whose great corridors are doorless, allowing no visible exit into the Archaic past. Lost in the maze of their own conflicting speculations, rejecting, as they have always done, the evidence of Eastern tradition, without any clue, or one single certain milestone to guide them, what can geologists or anthropologists do but pick up the slender thread of Ariadne where they first perceive it, and then proceed at perfect random? Therefore we are first told that the farthest date to which documentary record extends is now generally regarded by Anthropology as but "the earliest distinctly visible point of the pre-historic period." (Encyclopaedia Britannica.)

At the same time it is confessed that "beyond that period stretches back a vast indefinite series of prehistoric ages." (Ibid.)

It is with those specified "Ages" that we shall begin. They are "prehistoric" to the naked eye of matter only. To the spiritual eagle eye of the seer and the prophet of every race, Ariadne's thread stretches beyond that "historic period" without break or flaw, surely and steadily, into the very night of time; and the hand which holds it is too mighty to drop it, or even let it break. Records exist, although they may be rejected as fanciful by the profane; though many of them are tacitly accepted by philosophers and men of great learning, and meet with an unvarying refusal only from the official and collective body of orthodox science. And since the latter refuses to give us even an approximate idea of the duration of the geological ages -- save in a few conflicting and contradictory hypotheses -- let us see what Aryan philosophy can teach us.

Such computations as are given in Manu and the Puranas -- save trifling and most evidently intentional exaggerations -- are, as already stated, almost identical with those taught in esoteric philosophy. This may be seen by comparing the two in any Hindu calendar of recognised orthodoxy.

The best and most complete of all such calendars, at present, as vouched for by the learned Brahmins of Southern India, is the already mentioned Tamil calendar called the "Tirukkanda Panchanga," compiled, as we are told, from, and in full accordance with, secret fragments of Asuramaya's data. As Asuramaya is said to have been the greatest astronomer, so he is whispered to have also been the most powerful "Sorcerer" of the "WHITE ISLAND, which had become BLACK with sin," i.e., of the islands of Atlantis.

The "White Island" is a symbolical name. Asuramaya is said to have lived (see the tradition of Jhana-bhaskara) in Romaka-pura in the West: because the name is an allusion to the land and cradle of the "Sweat-born" of the Third Race. That land or continent had disappeared ages before Asuramaya lived, since he was an Atlantean; but he was a direct descendant of the Wise Race, the Race that never dies. Many are the legends concerning this hero, the pupil of Surya (the Sun-God) himself, as the Indian accounts allege. It matters little whether he lived on one or another island, but the question is to prove that he was no myth, as Dr. Weber and others would make him. The

[[Vol. 2, Page]] 68 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
fact of "Romaka-pura in the West" being named as the birth-place of this hero of the archaic ages, is the more interesting because it is so very suggestive of the esoteric teaching about the "Sweat-born" Races, the men born from the pores of their parents. "ROMAKUPAS" means "hair-pores" in Sanskrit. In Mahabharata XII. 10,308, a people named Raumyas are said to have been created from the pores of Virabhadara, the terrible giant, who destroyed Daksha's sacrifice. Other tribes and people are also represented as born in this way. All these are references to the later Second and the earlier Third Root Races.

The following figures are from the calendar just referred to; a footnote marks the points of disagreement with the figures of the Arya Samaj school: --

I. From the beginning of cosmic evolution,* up
to the Hindu year Tarana (or 1887) .................... 1,955,884,687 years.
II. The (astral) mineral, vegetable and animal
kingdoms up to Man, have taken to evolve** ........ 300,000,000 years.
III. Time, from the first appearance of
"Humanity" (on planetary chain)..........................1,664,500,987 years.***
IV. The number that elapsed since the "Vaivasvata Manvantara"* -- or the human period --
up to the year 1887, is just ......................... 18,618,728 years.
V. The full period of one Manvantara is ..... 308,448,000 years.
VI. 14 "Manvantaras" plus the period of one Satya Yuga make ONE DAY OF BRAHMA, or
complete Manvantara and make ................. 4,320,000,000 years.
Therefore a Maha-Yuga consists of ............. 4,320,000 years.**
The year 1887 is from the commencement of
Kali-Yuga ..................................................... 4,989 years.
To make this still clearer in its details, the following computations by Rao Bahadur P. Sreenivas Row, are given from the "Theosophist" of November, 1885.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Mortal years.
360 days of mortals make a year ........................................... 1
Krita Yuga contains ................................................. 1,728,000
Treta Yuga contains ................................................. 1,296,000
Dwapara Yuga contains .............................................. 864,000
Kali Yuga contains ...................................................... 432,000
The total of the said four Yugas constitute a
Maha Yuga ............................................................... 4,320,000
Seventy-one of such Maha-Yugas form the
period of the reign of one Manu .......................... 306,720,000
The reign of 14 Manus embraces the duration
of 994 Maha-Yugas, which is equal to .............. 4,294,080,000
[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------
* VAIVASVATA Manu is the one human being -- some versions add to him the seven Rishis -- who in the Matsya Avatar allegory is saved from the Deluge in a boat, like Noah in the Ark. Therefore, this Vaivasvata Manvantara would be the "post-Diluvian" period. This, however, does not refer to the later "Atlantean" or Noah's deluge, nor to the Cosmic Deluge or Pralaya of obscuration, which preceded our Round, but to the appearance of mankind in the latter Round. There is a great difference made, however, between the "Naimitika," occasional or incidental, "Prakritika," elemental, "Atyantika," the absolute, and "Nitya," the perpetual Pralaya; the latter being described as "Brahma's contingent recoalescence of the Universe at the end of Brahma's DAY." The question was raised by a learned Brahmin Theosophist: "Whether there is such a thing as Cosmic Pralaya; because, otherwise, the Logos (Krishna) would have to be reborn, and he is Aja (unborn)." We cannot see why. The Logos is said to be born only metaphorically, as the Sun is born daily, or rather a beam of that Sun is born in the morning and is said to die when it disappears, whereas it is simply reabsorbed into the parent essence. Cosmic Pralaya is for things visible, not for the Arupa, formless, world. The Cosmic or Universal Pralaya comes only at the end of one hundred years of Brahma; when the Universal dissolution is said to take place. Then the Avyaya, say the exoteric scriptures, the eternal life symbolized by Vishnu, assuming the character of Rudra, the Destroyer, enters into the Seven Rays of the Sun and drinks up all the waters of the Universe. "Thus fed, the seven solar Rays dilate to seven Suns and set fire to the whole Cosmos. . . . ."

** Since a Maha-Yuga is the 1,000th part of a day of Brahma.

Add Sandhis, i.e., intervals between the reign of each Manu, which amount
to six Maha-Yugas, equal to ................................................................................................... 25,920,000
The total of these reigns and interregnums of 14 Manus, is 1,000 Maha-Yugas,
which constitute a Kalpa, i.e., one day of Brahma ............................................................ 4,320,000,000
As Brahma's Night is of equal duration, one Day and Night of Brahma would contain .... 8,640,000,000
360 of such days and nights make one year of Brahma make ....................................... 3,110,400,000,000
100 such years constitute the whole period of Brahma's age, i.e., Maha-Kalpa ...... 311,040,000,000,000
These are the exoteric figures accepted throughout India, and they dovetail pretty nearly with those of the Secret works. The latter, moreover, amplify them by a division into a number of esoteric cycles, never mentioned in Brahmanical popular writings -- one of which, the division of the Yugas into racial cycles, is given elsewhere as an instance. The rest, in their details, have of course never been made public. They are, nevertheless, known to every "Twice-born" (Dwija, or Initiated) Brahmin, and the Puranas contain references to some of them in veiled terms, which no matter-of-fact Orientalist has yet endeavoured to make out, nor could he if he would.

These sacred astronomical cycles are of immense antiquity, and most of them pertain, as stated, to the calculations of Narada and Asuramaya. The latter has the reputation of a giant and a sorcerer. But the antediluvian giants (the Gibborim of the Bible) were not all bad or Sorcerers, as Christian Theology, which sees in every Occultist a servant of the Evil one, would have it; nor were they worse than many of "the faithful sons of the Church." A Torquemada and a Catherine de Medicis certainly did more harm in their day and in the name of their Master than any Atlantean giant or demigod of antiquity ever did; whether his name was Cyclops, or Medusa, or yet the Orphic Titan, the anguipedal monster known as Ephialtes. There were good "giants" in days of old just as there are bad "pigmies" now; and the Rakshasas and Yakshas of Lanka are no worse than our modern dynamiters, and certain Christian and civilised generals during modern wars. Nor are they myths. "He who would laugh at Briareus and Orion ought to abstain from going to, or even talking of, Karnac or Stonehenge," remarks somewhere a modern writer.

As the Brahmanical figures given above are approximately the basic calculations of our esoteric system, the reader is requested to carefully keep them in mind.

In the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" one finds, as the last word of science, that the antiquity of man is allowed to stretch only over "tens of thousands of years."* It becomes evident that as these figures may be made to fluctuate between 10,000 and 100,000, therefore they mean very little if anything, and only render still denser the darkness surrounding the question. Moreover, what matters it that science places the birth of man in the "pre- or post-glacial drift," if we are told at the same time that the so-called "ice age" is simply a long succession of ages which "shaded without abrupt change of any kind into what is termed the human or Recent period . . . the overlapping of geological periods having been the rule from the beginning of time." The latter "rule" only results in the still more puzzling, even if strictly scientific and correct, information, that "even to-day man is contemporary with the ice-age in the Alpine valleys and in the Finmark."**

Thus, had it not been for the lessons taught by the Secret Doctrine, and even by exoteric Hinduism and its traditions, we should be left to this day to float in perplexed uncertainty between the indefinite ages of one school of science, the "tens of thousands" of years of the other, and the 6,000 years of the Bible interpreters. This is one of the several reasons why, with all the respect due to the conclusions of the men of learning of our modern day, we are forced to ignore them in all such questions of pre-historic antiquity.

Modern Geology and Anthropology must, of course, disagree with our views. But Occultism will find as many weapons against these two sciences as it has against astronomical and physical theories, in spite of Mr. Laing's assurances that*** "in (chronological) calculations of this sort, concerning older and later formations, there is no theory, and they are based on positive facts, limited only by a certain possible (?) amount of error either way," occultism will prove, scientific confessions in hand, that geology is very much in error, and very often even more so than Astronomy. In this very passage by Mr. Laing, which gives to Geology pre-eminence for correctness over Astronomy, we find a passage in flagrant contradiction to the admissions of the best Geologists themselves. Says the author --

"In short, the conclusions of Geology, at any rate up to the Silurian period,**** when the present order of things was fairly inaugurated, are approximate (truly so) facts and not theories, while the astronomical conclusions are theories based on data so uncertain, that while in some cases they give results incredibly short . . . in others they give results almost incredibly long."

After which, the reader is advised that the safest course "seems to be to assume that Geology really proves the duration of the present order of things to have been somewhere over 100 millions of years," as "Astronomy gives an enormous though unknown time in the past, and to come in the future, for the birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death of the Solar System, of which our Earth is a small planet now passing through the habitable phase." (p. 49.)

Judging from past experience, we do not entertain the slightest doubt that, once called upon to answer "the absurd unscientific and preposterous claims of exoteric (and esoteric) Aryan chronology," the scientist of "the results incredibly short," i.e., only 15,000,000 years, and the scientist, who "would require 600,000,000 years," together with those who accept Mr. Huxley's figures of 1,000,000,000 "since sedimentation began in Europe" (World Life), would all be as dogmatic one as the other. Nor would they fail to remind the Occultist and the Brahmin, that it is the modern men of science alone who represent exact science, whose duty it is to fight inaccuracy and superstition.

The earth is passing through the "habitable phase" only for the present order of things, and as far as our present mankind is concerned with its actual "coats of skin" and phosphorus for bones and brain.

We are ready to concede the 100 millions of years offered by Geology, since we are taught that our present physical mankind -- or the Vaivasvata humanity -- began only 18 millions of years ago. But Geology has no facts to give us for the duration of geological periods, as we have shown, no more indeed than has Astronomy. The authentic letter from Mr. W. Pengelly, F.R.S., quoted elsewhere, says that: "It is at present, and perhaps always will be, IMPOSSIBLE to reduce, even approximately, geological time into years or even into millenniums." And having never, hitherto, excavated a fossil man of any other than the present form -- what does Geology know of him? It has traced zones or strata and, with these, primordial zoological life, down to the Silurian. When it has, in the same way, traced man down to his primordial protoplasmic form, then we will admit that it may know something of primordial man. If it is not very material "to the bearings of modern scientific discovery on modern thought," whether "man has existed in state of constant though slow progression for the last 50,000 years of period of 15 millions, or for the last 500,000 years of a period of 150 millions" ("Modern Science, etc." p. 49), as Mr. S. Laing tells his readers, it is very much so for the claims of the Occultists. Unless the latter show that it is a possibility, if not a perfect certainty, that man lived 18 millions of years ago, the Secret Doctrine might as well have remained unwritten. An attempt must, therefore, be made in this direction, and it is our modern geologists and men of science generally who will be brought to testify to this fact in the third part of this volume. Meanwhile, and notwithstanding the fact that Hindu Chronology is constantly represented by the Orientalists as a fiction based on no "actual computation,"* but simply a "childish boasting," it is nevertbeless often twisted out of recognition to make it yield to, and fit in with, Western theories. No figures have ever been more meddled with and tortured than the famous 4, 3, 2, followed by cyphers of the Yugas and Maha-Yugas.

As the whole cycle of prehistoric events, such as the evolution and transformation of Races and the extreme antiquity of man, hangs upon the said Chronology, it becomes extremely important to check it by other existing calculations. If the Eastern Chronology is rejected, we shall at least have the consolation of proving that no other -- whether the figures of Science or of the Churches -- is one whit more reliable. As Professor Max Muller expresses it, it is often as useful to prove what a thing is not as to show what it may be. And once we succeed in pointing out the fallacies of both Christian and scientific computations -- by allowing them a fair chance of comparison with our Chronology -- neither of the two will have a reasonable ground to stand upon, in pronouncing the esoteric figures less reliable than its own.

We may here refer the reader to our earlier work "Isis Unveiled," Vol. I., p. 32, for some remarks concerning the figures which were cited a few pages back.

To-day a few more facts may be added to the information there given, which is already known to every Orientalist. The sacredness of the cycle of 4320, with additional cyphers, lies in the fact that the figures which compose it, taken separately or joined in various combinations, are each and all symbolical of the greatest mysteries in Nature. Indeed, whether one takes the 4 separately, or the 3 by itself, or the two together making 7, or again the three added together and yielding 9, all these numbers have their application in the most sacred and occult things, and record the workings of Nature in her eternally periodical phenomena. They are never erring, perpetually recurring numbers, unveiling, to him who studies the secrets of Nature, a truly divine System, an intelligent plan in Cosmogony, which results in natural cosmic divisions of times, seasons, invisible influences, astronomical phenomena, with their action and reaction on terrestrial and even moral nature; on birth, death, and growth, on health and disease. All these natural events are based and depend upon cyclical processes in the Kosmos itself, producing periodic agencies which, acting from without, affect the Earth and all that lives and breathes on it, from one end to the other of any Manvantara. Causes and effects are esoteric, exoteric, and endexoteric, so to say.

In Isis Unveiled we wrote that which we now repeat: -- "We are at the bottom of a cycle and evidently in a transitory state. Plato divides the intellectual progress of the universe during every cycle into fertile and barren periods. In the sublunary regions, the spheres of the various elements remain eternally in perfect harmony with the divine nature, he says; 'but their parts,' owing to a too close proximity to earth, and their commingling with the earthly (which is matter, and therefore the realm of evil), 'are sometimes according, and sometimes contrary to (divine) nature.' When those circulations -- which Eliphas Levi calls ' currents of the astral light' -- in the universal ether which contains in itself every element, take place in harmony with the divine spirit, our earth and everything pertaining to it enjoys a fertile period. The occult powers of plants, animals, and minerals magically sympathize with the ' superior natures,' and the divine soul of man is in perfect intelligence with these 'inferior' ones. But during the barren periods, the latter lose their magic sympathy, and the spiritual sight of the majority of mankind is so blinded as to lose every notion of the superior powers of its own divine spirit. We are in a barren period: the eighteenth century, during which the malignant fever of scepticism broke out so irrepressibly, has entailed unbelief as an hereditary disease upon the nineteenth. The divine intellect is veiled in man; his animal brain alone philosophizes." And philosophizing alone, how can it understand the "SOUL DOCTRINE"?

In order not to break the thread of the narrative we shall give some striking proofs of these cyclic laws in Part II., proceeding meanwhile with our explanations of geological and racial cycles.




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