The following is a compilation of references to and quotations from the Manava Dharma Shastra (“Laws of Manu”) by H. P. Blavatsky in her various writings. The two primary sources, from which the vast majority of the following selections are drawn, are Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888).

Blavatsky draws from four translations—two English (Jones, Burnell) and two French (Jacolliot, Deslongchamps)—from which she sometimes quotes verse translations and sometimes portions of commentary from those translators or their editors. Of these she favored the notes and translations by Burnell’s editor Edward W. Hopkins, saying that he “seems to have intuitionally entered far deeper into the spirit of the philosophy than has the translator of the ‘Ordinances of Manu,’ the late Dr. Burnell” (SD 1:334). Blavatsky referred to W. Jones’s translation as “incomplete” and Jacolliot’s as “more or less careless” (IU 2:260). She refers her readers to Deslongchamps’ translation once, but without comment upon it (IU 1:590fn). She does not seem to refer directly to the translation by Bühler in Max Müller’s Sacred Books of the East series. In addition to quoting from these sources, Blavatsky also provides numerous verse translations that appear to be her own renderings. In some instances she quotes from one of the above translations but with slight alterations, thus showing distinctions in how she understood the meaning of the verses as compared to that of the translators. Much of the “commentary” included in this compilation is also her own explanations.

As one will notice, Blavatsky’s focus was aimed primarily at the first chapter of the Manava Dharma Shastra, which deals with Manu’s “Cosmogenesis.” Many of the most salient verses in that chapter have been either translated or commented on by her. This chapter ought to be compared closely with the Stanzas of Dzyan and Blavatsky’s commentary thereon as found in Volume 1 of The Secret Doctrine.

—Jon Fergus, Compiler


Black represents translations/renditions by HPB.

Dark Green represents translations by William Jones, as quoted by HPB.
Green represents translations by either Louis Jacolliot or Loiseleur Deslongchamps, as quoted by HPB (tr. from the French)
Lime Green represents translations by A. Coke Burnell and/or his editor Edward W. Hopkins, as quoted by HPB.

Blue represents comments by HPB.
Light Blue represents comments by others.

Red represents comments and notes by the Editor of this compilation.

Introductory Comments

The following illustrated some of HPB’s views on the age of the text:

[First, see Isis Unveiled, 1:585 etc. for an extended discussion on the age of the “Laws of Manu.”]

In the oldest documents now in our possession—the Vedas and the older laws of Manu—we find many magical rites practiced and permitted by the Brahmans.72

72. See the Code published by Sir William Jones, chap. ix., p. 11. [IU 1:18 & fn]

The Manava Dharma Sastra, embodying the Hindu system of cosmogony, is recognized as next to the Vedas in antiquity; and even Colebrooke assigns the latter to the fifteenth century b.c. [IU 1:588]

As, however, neither the Ṛgveda nor Manu [Manusmṛti]—both preceding Vaivasvata’s “deluge,” that of the bulk of the Fourth Race—mention this deluge, it is evident that it is not the “great” deluge, nor that which carried away Atlantis, nor even the deluge of Nōaḥ, which is meant here. [SD 1:67-68]

We must remember . . . that the peoples of Southwestern and Western Asia, including the Medes, were all Aryans. It is yet far from being proved who were the original and primitive masters of India. That this period is now beyond the reach of documentary history, does not preclude the probability of our theory that it was the mighty race of builders, whether we call them Eastern Æthiopians, or dark-skinned Aryans (the word meaning simply “noble warrior,” a “brave”). They ruled supreme at one time over the whole of ancient India, enumerated later by Manu as the possession of those whom our scientists term the Sanscrit-speaking people. [IU 2:435]

When criticizing Brahmanism, “Aleph” is dead right, only he should know that the Brahmans in Vedic times knew neither castes nor widows from Malabar. His questionnaire under the letter N proves to me conclusively that he has read Jacolliot and that he judges India according to the twenty-one volumes of a writer, more prolific and charming than accurate. The Brahmanism of which he speaks did not exist in the age of the Rishîs and it has been definitely shown that the Brahmans have embellished their laws of Manu in the post-Mahâbhâratean period. During the Vedic age widows remarried quite peacefully and the castes were invented but in the Kali-yuga, for reasons as occult as they were just, from the standpoint of the prosperity and the health of the races. . . . It is wrong to say that these institutions have been established during the reign of Esotericism. It is the loss of the keys to symbolism and to the laws of Manu which has produced all the errors and all the abuses that have infiltrated into Brâhmanism. . . . [“Misconceptions: A Response to Various Criticisms” in Revue Du Mouvement Social, Le Lotus, September, 1887]

This fable [of the deluge] which mentions the earliest avatar—the Matsya—relates to another yuga than our own, that of the first appearance of animal life; perchance, who knows, to the Devonian age of our geologists? It certainly answers better to the latter than the year 2348 b.c.! Apart from this, the very absence of all mention of the deluge from the oldest books of the Hindus suggests a powerful argument when we are left utterly to inferences as in this case.

“The Vedas and Manu,” says Jacolliot, “those monuments of the old Asiatic thought, existed far earlier than the diluvian period; this is an incontrovertible fact, having all the value of an historical truth, for, besides the tradition which shows Vishnu himself as saving the Vedas from the deluge—a tradition which, notwithstanding its legendary form, must certainly rest upon a real fact—it has been remarked that neither of these sacred books mention the cataclysm, while the Pûranas and the Mahâbhârata, and a great number of other more recent works, describe it with the minutest detail, which is a proof of the priority of the former. The Vedas certainly would never have failed to contain a few hymns on the terrible disaster which, of all other natural manifestations, must have struck the imagination of the people who witnessed it.”

“Neither would Manu, who gives us a complete narrative of the creation, with a chronology from the divine and heroical ages, down to the appearance of man on earth—have passed in silence an event of such importance.”

Manu (book i., sloka 35), gives the names of ten eminent saints whom he calls pradjâpatis (more correctly pragâpatis), in whom the Brahman theologians see prophets, ancestors of the human race, and the Pundits simply consider as ten powerful kings who lived in the Krita-yug, or the age of good (the golden age of the Greeks).

The last of these pragâpatis is Brighou.

“Enumerating the succession of these eminent beings who, according to Manu, have governed the world, the old Brahmanical legislator names as descending from Brighou: Swârotchica, Ottami, Tamasa, Raivata, the glorious Tchâkchoucha, and the son of Vivasvat [1:62], every one of the six having made himself worthy of the title of Manu (divine legislator), a title which had equally belonged to the Pradâpatis, and every great personage of primitive India. The genealogy stops at this name.

“Now, according to the Pûranas and the Mahâbhârata it was under a descendant of this son of Vivaswata, named Vaivaswata that occurred the great cataclysm, the remembrance of which, as will be seen, has passed into a tradition, and been carried by emigration into all the countries of the East and West which India has colonized since then. . . .

“The genealogy given by Manu stopping, as we have seen, at Vivaswata, it follows that this work (of Manu) knew nothing either of Vaivaswata or the deluge.”1755

1755. “Fétichisme, Polythéisme, Monothéisme,” pp. 170, 171.

The argument is unanswerable; and we commend it to those official scientists, who, to please the clergy, dispute every fact proving the tremendous antiquity of the Vedas and Manu. . . . [IU 2:427-428 & fn]

Yâjñavalkya (Dharma-Śâstra, I,3-5) mentioned it [Gautama’s Dharma-śâstra] as the eighteenth in merit of the twenty codes enumerated by him, of which the first is that of Manu and the last that of Vasishtha. The author of the Parâśara Code said (in Stenzler’s Sanskrit Preface, where he cites Yâjñavalkya): “The laws of the various yugas differ among themselves.” The books of the laws of Manu belong to the Krita Yuga, those of Gautama to the Tretâ, those of Sankhya and Likhita to the Dvâpara and those of Parâśara to the Kali-yuga. . . .

[“Theosophy and Spiritism,” Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d’Études Psychologiques, July 15, 1883]

In the words of Prof. Max Müller:—“The Code of Manu is almost the only work in Sanskrit literature which, as yet, has not been assailed by those who doubt the antiquity of everything Indian. No historian has disputed its claim to that early date which had, from the first, been assigned to it by Sir William Jones.” (p. 61, Hist. of Anc. Sans. Lit.) And now, pray, what is this extremely “early date”? “From 880 to 1280 B.C.,”—we are told. We will then, for the present purpose, accept this authoritative conclusion. Several facts, easily verifiable, have to be first of all noticed: (1st) Manu in his many enumerations of Indian races, kingdoms and places, never once mentions Bengal: the Aryan Brahmans had not yet reached in the days when his Code was compiled the banks of the Ganges nor the plains of Bengal. It was Arjuna who went first to Banga (Bengal) with his sacrificial horse (Yavanas are mentioned in Râjadharma Anuśâsana Parva as part of the tribes peopling it) . (2) In the Ayun a list of the Hindu kings of Bengal is given. Though the date of the first king who reigned over Banga cannot be ascertained, owing to the great gaps between the various dynasties; it is yet known that Bengal ceased to be an independent Hindu kingdom from 1230 after Christ. Now if, disregarding these gaps, which are wide and many, we make up the sum of only those chronological periods of the reign of the several dynasties that are preserved by history, we find the following:—

Kshatriya families of Kings reigned for a period of 2,418 years.
Kaista Kings ” ” ” 250 ”
Of the Adisur family ” ” ” 714 ”
Of the Bhupal family ” ” ” 689 ”
The Vaidya Rajas ” ” ” 137 ”
Of the Pala dynasty (from 855 to 1040, A.D.) 185 ”
Years 4,393

If we deduct from this sum 1230, we have 3163 years B.C. of successive reigns. If it can be shown on the unimpeachable evidence of the Sanskrit texts that some of these reigns happened simultaneously, and the line cannot therefore be shown as successive (as was already tried) well and good. Against an arbitrary chronology set up with a predetermined purpose and theory in view, there will remain but little to be said. But if this attempt at reconciliation of figures is shown simply as in every other case claimed upon “critical, internal evidence,” then, in the presence of these 3163 years of an unbroken Hindu line of powerful and mighty kings the Orientalists will have to show, a very good reason why the authors of the Code of Manu seem entirely ignorant even of the existence of Bengal—if its date has to be accepted as not earlier than 1280 B.C.! A scientific rule, which is good enough to apply to the case of Pânini, ought to be valid in other chronological speculations. Or, perhaps, this is one of those poor rules which will not “work both ways”? [“Was Writing Known Before Panini?,” by A Chela, Theosophist, October, 1883]

On Manu’s teaching of evolution:

It has been repeatedly stated that evolution as taught by Manu and Kapila was the groundwork of the modern teachings, but neither Occultism nor Theosophy has ever supported the wild theories of the present Darwinists—least of all the descent of man from an ape. [SD 1:186]

The day may come, then, when the “Natural Selection,” as taught by Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer, will form only a part, in its ultimate modification, of our Eastern doctrine of Evolution, which will be Manu and Kapila esoterically explained. [SD 1:600]

The present work [The Secret Doctrine] is written on the records of Cis-Himalayan Secret Teachings, and Brahmanical esoteric philosophy [i.e. as contained in Manu] may now differ in form as the Kabala does. But they were identical in hoary antiquity. [SD 2:308fn; see 1:33-36 & 1:61-63 below for the context of this statement]

In man as in nature, it is, according to the cis-Himalayan esoteric philosophy (which is that of the original Manu Cosmogony), the septenary division that is intended by Nature herself. [SD 2:574]

[Quote from Crookes:] “As a remaining alternative, we have suggested their [the elements’] origin by a process of evolution like that of the heavenly bodies according to Laplace, and the plants and animals of our globe according to Lamarck, Darwin, and Wallace.”619

619. And to Kapila and Manu—especially and originally. [SD 1:585 & fn]

[Quote from Ernst Haeckel:] “. . . In place of an arbitrary act of operation, we have a necessary law of Evolution . . . .” (So had Manu and Kapila, and, at the same time, guiding, conscious and intelligent Powers). [SD 2:652]

Therefore, when we read “Force and Matter,” and find that Emperor of Materialists, Büchner, repeating after Manu and Hermes, that “the plant passes imperceptibly into the animal, and the animal into man” (p. 85 [Force and Matter, 1864]), we need only add “and man into a spirit,” to complete the Kabalistic axiom. [SD 2:718]

“In the tenth chapter of my [Wallace’s] Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection I have pointed out what I consider to be some of these residual phenomena; and I have suggested that they may be due to the action of some of the various intelligences above referred to. I maintained, and still maintain, that this view is one which is logically tenable, and is in no way inconsistent with a thorough acceptance of the grand doctrine of evolution through Natural Selection.”

Would not one think he hears in the above the voices of Manu, Kapila and many other philosophers of old India, in their teachings about the creation, evolution and growth of our planet and its living world of animal as well as human species? Does the great modern scientist speak less of “spirits” and spiritual beings than Manu, the antediluvian scientist and prehistoric legislator? Let young and sceptical India read and compare the old Âryan ideas with those of modern mystics, theosophists, spiritualists, and a few great scientists, and then laugh at the superstitious theories of both. [“Magic,” Dekkan Star, March 30, 1879]

What we again object to is that the ingenious evolutionist not only purposely neglects, but in several places actually sneers at the idea of a spiritual evolution, progressing hand in hand with the physical, though he might have done it as scientifically as he did the rest and—more honestly. He would thereby have missed, perhaps, the untimely praises of the protoplasmic Huxley, but won for his Anthropogeny the thanks of the public. Per se, the theory of evolution is not new, for every cosmogony—even the Jewish Genesis, for him who understands it—has it. And Manu who places special creation with periodical revolutions or Pralayas, followed, many thousands of years ago, the chain of transformation from the lowest animal to the highest—man, even more comprehensively if less scientifically (in the modern sense of the word) than Haeckel. [“An Old Book and a New One,” Theosophist, December, 1879]

According to his [Prof. Tay’s] opinion, the total cooling off of our planet will bring with it unavoidable death. Animal and vegetable life, which will have, previous to that event, shifted its quarters from the northern and already frozen regions to the equator, will then finally and for ever disappear from the surface of the globe, without leaving behind any trace of its existence. [etc.] . . . Further on, the learned astronomer depicts the last year of the expiring globe in the very words of a Hindu philosopher depicting the Pralaya:—“Cold and death blow from the northern pole, and spread along the entire face of the earth, nine-tenths of which have already expired. Life, hardly perceptible, is all concentrated at her heart—the equator, in the few remaining regions which are yet inhabited, and where reigns a complete confusion of tongues and nationalities. [etc.] . . . The words may not be precisely those of the learned professor, for they are utilized from notes taken in a foreign language; but the ideas are literally his. The picture is indeed gloomy. But the ideas, based upon scientific, mathematical deductions are not new, and we have read in a Hindu author of the pre-Christian era a description of the same catastrophe as given by Manu in a language far superior to this one. The general reader is invited to compare, and the Hindu reader to see in this, one more corroboration of the great wisdom and knowledge of his forefathers, who anticipated the modern researches in almost everything. [“The Pralaya of Modern Science,” Theosophist, October, 1880]

On Manu’s teachings on the periods of time:

Such computations as are given in Manu and the Purânas—save trifling and most evidently intentional exaggerations—are, as already stated, almost identical with those taught in esoteric philosophy. [SD 2:67]

That worlds (also Races) are periodically destroyed by fire (volcanoes and earthquakes) and water, in turn, and renewed, is a doctrine as old as man. Manu, Hermes, the Chaldees, all antiquity believed in this. [SD 2:725]

On the Number 7:

If the Hindus will think of their Manu and recall what the old Sastras contain, beyond doubt they will find the origin of all this symbolism. Nowhere did the number seven play so prominent a part as with the old Aryas in India. We have but to think of the seven sages—the Sapta-Rishis; the Sapta-Lokas—the seven worlds; the Sapta-Puras—the seven holy cities; the Sapta-Dvipas—the seven holy islands; the Sapta-Samudras—the seven holy seas; the Sapta-Parvatas—the seven holy mountains; the Sapta-Aranyas—the seven deserts; the Sapta-Vrikshas—the seven sacred trees; and so on, to see the probability of the hypothesis. The Aryas never borrowed anything, nor did the Brahmans, who were too proud and exclusive for that. Whence, then, the mystery and sacredness of the number seven. [“The Number Seven,” Theosophist, June, 1880]

On Manu’s teachings on married life:

How wise and grand, how far-seeing and morally beneficent are the laws of Manu on connubial [married] life, when compared with the licence tacitly allowed to man in civilized countries. That those laws have been neglected for the last two millenniums does not prevent us from admiring their forethought. The Brahmin was a grihasta, a family man, till a certain period of his life, when, after begetting a son, he broke with married life and became a chaste Yogi. His very connubial life was regulated by his Brahmin astrologer in accordance with his nature. Therefore, in such countries as the Punjâb, for instance, where the lethal influence of Mussulman, and later on of European, licentiousness, has hardly touched the orthodox Aryan castes, one still finds the finest men—so far as stature and physical strength go—on the whole globe; whereas the mighty men of old have found themselves replaced in the Deccan, and especially in Bengal, by men whose generation becomes with every century (and almost with every year) dwarfed and weakened. [SD 2:411fn]

To state at least one detail concerning these mysterious “Sons of God” in plain words. It is from them, these Brahmaputras, that the high Dwijas, the initiated Brahmins of old justly claimed descent, while the modern Brahmin would have the lowest castes believe literally that they issued direct from the mouth of Brahmâ. This is the esoteric teaching, which adds moreover that, although these descendants (spiritually of course) from the “sons of Will and Yoga,” became in time divided into opposite sexes, as their “Kriyasakti” progenitors did themselves, later on; yet even their degenerate descendants have down to the present day retained a veneration and respect for the creative function, and still regard it in the light of a religious ceremony, whereas the more civilized nations consider it as a mere animal function. Compare the western views and practice in these matters with the Institutions of Manu in regard to the laws of Grihasta and married life. The true Brahmin is thus indeed “he whose seven forefathers have drunk the juice of the moon-plant (Soma),” and who is a “Trisuparna,” for he has understood the secret of the Vedas. [SD 1:209-210]

When criticizing Brahmanism, “Aleph” is dead right, only he should know that the Brahmans in Vedic times knew neither castes nor widows from Malabar. . . . The Brahmanism of which he speaks did not exist in the age of the Rishîs and it has been definitely shown that the Brahmans have embellished their laws of Manu in the post-Mahâbhâratean period. During the Vedic age widows remarried quite peacefully and the castes were invented but in the Kali-yuga, for reasons as occult as they were just, from the standpoint of the prosperity and the health of the races. . . . India has never condescended to preach the God-misfortune, nor asceticism as understood by “Aleph.” This is proven by the law of Manu which enjoins marriage to the Grihastha Brâhmana, before he becomes an ascetic Brâhmana. The greatest misfortune for a Brâhmana is not to have a son, and marriage is obligatory barring the exceptional cases when the child is destined to become a Brahmachârin, a Yogi celibate, for occult reasons which cannot be enumerated here. Esotericism has never proscribed sexual or marital functions created by nature herself. Esotericism works in, with, for nature, and condemns but immorality, abuse and excess. [“Misconceptions: A Response to Various Criticisms” in Revue Du Mouvement Social, Le Lotus, September, 1887]

Translations and Commentary

If one turns to the “Laws (or Ordinances) of Manu,” one finds the prototype of all these ideas [relating to “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”]. Mostly lost (to the Western world) in their original form, disfigured by later interpolations and additions, they have, nevertheless, preserved quite enough of their ancient Spirit to show its character. [SD 1:333 etc.]


[Note: Burnell gives the opening verses thus:

1. The great Seers having approached Manu seated intend, having reverenced him, duly spoke this speech.

2. Lord! deign to tell us truly in order the rules of all the castes, and of all the castes that arise between (them).

3. For thou, Lord, alone knowest the true sense of the objects of this universal, self-existent system, unattainable by (simple) reason, not to be reasoned out.

4. He whose glory is unmeasured, being duly questioned by those magnanimous ones, having saluted all the great Seers, answered them:]


[Note: preceding verse 2 there is another verse included in several MSS., which does not appear in most translated versions of the Manava-Dharma-Sastra (see Olivelle’s Critical Edition, p. 383). This verse has a direct connection with the substance of the Stanzas of Dzyan included in Vol. 2, of Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. Here is that verse, along with our translation:

jarāyujāṇḍajānāṃ ca tathā saṃsvedajodbhidām
bhūtagrāmsya sarvasya utpattaṃ pralayaṃ tathā // Manu_1.2x

[Tell me of] the womb-born, the egg-born and likewise the sweat-born and the sprout-born—the origin and dissolution of all races and beings.

[Note: this verse may suggest that some parts of the original text are not extant, as one would expect Manu to answer this query. Blavatsky’s suggestion that there is an “original” Manu teaching on evolution which is not included in the present text may be supported by the existence of this verse. See also Aitareya Upanishad 3:3 for a similar verse.]


āsīd idaṃ tamobhūtam aprajñātam alakṣaṇam
apratarkyam avijñeyaṃ prasuptam iva sarvataḥ // Manu_1.5

tataḥ svayaṃbhūr bhagavān avyakto vyañjayann idam
mahābhūtādi vṛttaujāḥ prādur āsīt tamonudaḥ // Manu_1.6

“This universe,” says Manu, “existed only in the first divine idea, yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, indefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep; then the sole self-existing Power himself undiscerned, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or dispelling the gloom.” [IU 1:271fn]

1:5-9 (Partial)

“Removing the darkness, the Self-existent Lord” [1:6] (Vishnu, Narayana, etc.) becoming manifest, and “wishing to produce beings from his Essence, created, in the beginning, water alone. In that he cast seed. . . . . That became a golden Egg.” [1:8-9] [SD 1:333etc.]

Whence this Self-existent Lord? It is called this, and is spoken of as “Darkness, imperceptible, without definite qualities, undiscoverable as if wholly in sleep.” [1:5]

1:5a & 6-7

When Swayambhuva, the “Lord who exists through himself,” feels impelled to manifest himself, he is thus described in the Hindu sacred books. [IU 2:225]

āsīd idaṃ tamobhūtam aprajñātam alakṣaṇam
apratarkyam avijñeyaṃ prasuptam iva sarvataḥ // Manu_1.5

tataḥ svayaṃbhūr bhagavān avyakto vyañjayann idam
mahābhūtādi vṛttaujāḥ prādur āsīt tamonudaḥ // Manu_1.6

yo ‘sāv atīndriyagrāhyaḥ sūkṣmo ‘vyaktaḥ sanātanaḥ
sarvabhūtamayo ‘cintyaḥ sa eva svayam udbabhau // Manu_1.7

“The thought concealed as yet the world in silence and darkness. . . . Then the Lord who exists through Himself, and who is not to be divulged to the external senses of man; dissipated darkness, and manifested the perceptible world.”

“He that can be perceived only by the spirit, that escapes the organs of sense, who is without visible parts, eternal, the soul of all beings, that none can comprehend, displayed His own splendor.” [IU 2:116]


tataḥ svayaṃbhūr bhagavān avyakto vyañjayann idam
mahābhūtādi vṛttaujāḥ prādur āsīt tamonudaḥ // Manu_1.6

yo ‘sāv atīndriyagrāhyaḥ sūkṣmo ‘vyaktaḥ sanātanaḥ
sarvabhūtamayo ‘cintyaḥ sa eva svayam udbabhau // Manu_1.7

so ‘bhidhyāya śarīrāt svāt sisṛkṣur vividhāḥ prajāḥ
apa eva sasarjādau tāsu vīryam avāsṛjat // Manu_1.8

“When the dissolution—Pralaya—had arrived at its term, the great Being—Para-Atma or Para-Purusha—the Lord existing through himself, out of whom and through whom all things were, and are and will be . . . resolved to emanate from his own substance the various creatures.” [IU 1:XVI]

“When the dissolution [Pralaya] had arrived at its term, the great Being [Param-Âtma, or Para-Purusha], the Lord existing through himself, out of whom and through whom all things were, and are, and will be, . . . resolved to emanate from his own substance the various creatures.”*
* Mânava-Dharma-Sâstra, Bk. I, Slokas 6-8. [“Nirvana-Moksha,” SD Vol. 3; see CW 14:412]

1:5-8 (Paraphrased Summary)

“It is the germ (which the Divine Spirit produced from its own substance) which never perishes in the being, for it becomes the soul of Being, and at the period of pralaya (dissolution) it returns to absorb itself again into the Divine Spirit, which itself rests from all eternity within Swayambhuva, the ‘Self-Existent’.” [IU 2:270-271]


In one of the oldest philosophies and religious systems of prehistoric times, we read that at the end of a Mahâ-Pralaya (general dissolution) the Great Soul, Param-Âtmâ, the Self-Existent, that which can be “apprehended only by the suprasensual,” becomes “manifest of itself.”*

* See Mânava Dharma Shastra (Laws of Manu), ch. i, 5-8, et seq.

[“Old Philosophers and Modern Critics,” Lucifer, August, 1892]


apa eva sasarjādau tāsu vīryam avāsṛjat // Manu_1.8

“The first germ of life was developed by water and heat.” [IU 1:620]


so ‘bhidhyāya śarīrāt svāt sisṛkṣur vividhāḥ prajāḥ
apa eva sasarjādau tāsu vīryam avāsṛjat // Manu_1.8

tad aṇḍam abhavad dhaimaṃ sahasrāṃśusamaprabham
tasmiñ jajñe svayaṃ brahmā sarvalokapitāmahaḥ // Manu_1.9

Having been impelled to produce various beings from his own divine substance, he first manifested the waters which developed within themselves a productive seed.

The seed became a germ bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; and in that egg he was born himself, in the form of Brahma, the great principle of all the beings. [IU 2:225-226]

When Sephira emerges like an active power from within the latent Deity, she is female; when she assumes the office of a creator, she becomes a male; hence, she is androgyne. She is the “Father and Mother Aditi,” of the Hindu Cosmogony. After brooding over the “Deep,” the “Spirit of God” produces its own image in the water, the Universal Womb, symbolized in Manu by the Golden Egg. [IU 2:267-268]

According to Manu, Hiranyagarbha is Brahmâ the first male formed by the undiscernible Causeless cause in a “Golden Egg resplendent as the Sun,” as states the Hindu Classical Dictionary. [SD 1:89]


āpo narā iti proktā āpo vai narasūnavaḥ
tā yad asyāyanaṃ pūrvaṃ tena nārāyaṇaḥ smṛtaḥ // Manu_1.10

In Manu it is “Nara, or the Spirit of God, which moves on Ayana (Chaos, or place of motion), and is called Narayana, or moving on the waters. [IU 2:214 & fn]

In this water (or primeval chaos) the “Infinite” androgyne, which, with the Eternal Cause, forms the first abstract Triad, rendered by Aum, deposited the germ of universal life. It is the Mundane Egg, in which took place the gestation of Purusha, or the manifested Brahma. The germ which fecundated the Mother Principle (the water) is called Nara, the Divine Spirit or Holy Ghost,1476 and the waters themselves, are an emanation of the former, Nari, while the Spirit which brooded over it is called Narayana.1477

1476. . . . “The waters are called nara, because they were the production of Nara, the Spirit of God” (“Institutes of Manu,” i. 10).

1477. Narayana, or that which moves on the waters. [IU 2:267 & fns]

“Waters” and “water” stand as the symbol for Akâsa, the “primordial Ocean of Space,” on which Narâyana, the self-born Spirit, moves: reclining on that which is its progeny (See Manu). [SD 1:457fn]

But there is, directly following these verses [1:5-10], something more important for us, as it corroborates entirely our esoteric teachings. From verse 14 to 36, evolution is given in the order described in the Esoteric philosophy. This cannot be easily gainsaid. Even Medhâtithi, the son of Viraswâmin, and the author of the Commentary, “the Manubhâsya,” whose date, according to the western Orientalists, is 1,000 a.d., helps us with his remarks to the elucidation of the truth. He showed himself either unwilling to give out more, because he knew that truth which has to be kept from the profane, or else he was really puzzled. Still, what he does give out makes the septenary principle in men and nature plain enough.

Let us begin with Chapter I. of the “Ordinances” or “Laws” after the Self-existent Lord, the unmanifesting Logos of the Unknown “Darkness,” becomes manifested in the golden Egg [see 1:59]. It is from this “Egg,” from— [see 1:11 tr. Burnell] [SD 1:333etc.]


yat tat kāraṇam avyaktaṃ nityaṃ sadasadātmakaṃ
tadvisṛṣṭaḥ sa puruṣo loke brahmeti kīrtyate // Manu_1.11

“Of him who is and yet is not, from the not-being, Eternal Cause, is born the being Pouroucha.”

Pouroucha is the “divine male,” the second god, and the avatar, or the Logos of Para-Brahma and his divine son, who in his turn produced Viradj, the son, or the ideal type of the universe. [IU 2:270]

“Of him who is and yet is not, from the not-being, Eternal Cause, is born the Being-Purusha.” [SD 1:344]

[The above two translations seem to be HPB drawing from either Jacolliot or Deslongchamps, hence the initial spelling of “Pouroucha”; but the words here are not an English rendering of their French, but seem to be HPB’s version of the verse.]

That which is the indiscrete (undifferentiated) cause, eternal, which Is and Is not, from It issued that male who is called in the world Brahmâ. . . . .

Here we find, as in all genuine philosophical systems, even the “Egg” or the Circle (or Zero), boundless Infinity, referred to as It, and Brahmâ, the first unit only, referred to as the male god, i.e., the fructifying Principle. It is or 10 (ten) the Decade. On the plane of the Septenary or our World only, it is called Brahmâ. On that of the Unified Decade in the realm of Reality, this male Brahmâ is an illusion. [SD 1:333etc.]


tasminn aṇḍe sa bhagavān uṣitvā parivatsaram
svayam evātmano dhyānāt tad aṇḍam akarod dvidhā // Manu_1.12

“In that egg, the great Power sat inactive a whole year of the Creator, at the close of which, by his thought alone, he caused the egg to divide itself.” [IU 2:267]

1:11b-13 (Paraphrased)

tasminn aṇḍe sa bhagavān uṣitvā parivatsaram
svayam evātmano dhyānāt tad aṇḍam akarod dvidhā // Manu_1.12

tābhyāṃ sa śakalābhyāṃ ca divaṃ bhūmiṃ ca nirmame
madhye vyoma diśaś cāṣṭāv apāṃ sthānaṃ ca śāśvataṃ // Manu_1.13

Having dwelt in that Egg for a whole divine year, he “who is called in the world Brahmâ,” splits that Egg in two, and from the upper portion he forms the heaven, from the lower the earth, and from the middle the sky and “the perpetual place of waters.” [SD 1:333etc.]


“The Universe lives in, proceeds from, and will return to, Brahma (Brahmā)”: for Brahma (neuter), the unmanifested, is that Universe in abscondito, and Brahmā, the manifested, is the Logos, made male-female30 in the symbolical orthodox dogmas.

30. See Manu’s account of Brahmā separating his body into male and female, the latter the female Vāc, in whom he creates Virāj, and compare this with the esotericism of Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of Genesis. [SD 1:9 & fn]

Thus in Manu Brahmâ (the Logos also) is shown dividing his body into two parts, male and female, and creating in the latter, who is Vâch, Viraj, who is himself, or Brahmâ again . . . [SD 1:137]


udbabarhātmanaś caiva manaḥ sadasadātmakam
manasaś cāpy ahaṃkāram abhimantāram īśvaram // Manu_1.14

mahāntam eva cātmānaṃ sarvāṇi triguṇāni ca
viṣayāṇāṃ grahītṝṇi śanaiḥ pañcendriyāṇi ca // Manu_1.15

“He (the Supreme) drew from his own essence the immortal breath which perisheth not in the being, and to this soul of the being he gave the Ahancara (conscience of the ego) sovereign guide.” Then he gave to that soul of the being (man) “the intellect formed of the three qualities, and the five organs of the outward perception.” [IU 1:XIX]


udbabarhātmanaś caiva manaḥ sadasadātmakam
manasaś cāpy ahaṃkāram abhimantāram īśvaram // Manu_1.14

“From Self (âtmanah) he created mind, (1) which is and is not; (2) and from mind, Ego-ism (Self-Consciousness) the ruler; (3) the Lord.”

(1.) The mind is Manas. Medhâtithi, the commentator, justly observes here that it is the reverse of this and shows already interpolation and rearranging; for it is Manas that springs from Ahamkara or (Universal) Self-Consciousness, as Manas in the microcosm springs from Mahat, or Maha-Buddhi (Buddhi, in man). For Manas is dual, and as shown and translated by Colebrooke, “is serving both for sense and action, is an organ by affinity, being cognate with the rest.” “The rest” means, here, that Manas, our fifth principle (the fifth, because the body was named the first, which is the reverse of the true philosophical order)329 is in affinity both with Atma-Buddhi and with the lower four principles. Hence, our teaching: namely, that Manas follows Atma-Buddhi to Devachan, and that the lower (dregs, the residue of) Manas remains with Kama rupa, in Limbus, or Kama-loka, the abode of the “Shells.”

(2.) Such is the meaning of Manas, which “is, and is not.”

(3.) Medhâtithi translates it as “the one conscious of the I,” or Ego, not “ruler,” as the Orientalists do. Thus they translate verse 16:

329. Vide A. Coke Burnell’s translation, edited by Ed. W. Hopkins, Ph.D. [SD 1:333 etc.]


teṣāṃ tv avayavān sūkṣmān ṣaṇṇām apy amitaujasām
saṃniveśyātmamātrāsu sarvabhūtāni nirmame // Manu_1.16

“He also, having made the subtle parts of those six (the Great Self and the five organs of sense) of unmeasured brightness, to enter into the elements of Self (Atmamâtrâsu) created all beings.”

When, according to Medhâtithi, it ought to read mâtrâ-Chit instead of “Atmamâtrâsu,” and thus be made to say:

“He having pervaded the subtle parts of those six, of unmeasured brightness, by elements of self, created all beings.”

This latter reading must be the correct one, since he, the Self, is what we call Atmâ, and thus constitutes the seventh principle, the synthesis of the “six.” Such is also the opinion of the editor of Mânava-dharma Shâstra [E. Hopkins], who seems to have intuitionally entered far deeper into the spirit of the philosophy than has the translator of the “Ordinances of Manu,” the late Dr. Burnell. For he hesitates little between the text of Kulluka and the Commentaries of Medhâtithi. Rejecting the tanmâtra, or subtle elements, and the âtmamâtrâsu of Kulluka, he says, applying the principles to the Cosmic Self: “The six appear rather to be the manas plus the five principles of Ether, air, fire, water, earth”; “having united five portions of these six with the spiritual element (the seventh) he (thus) created all existing things”; âtmamâtra is therefore the spiritual atom as opposed to the elementary, not reflective “elements of himself.” Thus he corrects the translation of verse [17] [SD 1:333 etc.]


yan mūrtyavayavāḥ sūkṣmās tānīmāny āśrayanti ṣaṭ
tasmāc charīram ity āhus tasya mūrtiṃ manīṣiṇaḥ // Manu_1.17

“17. As the subtle elements of bodily forms of This One depend on these six, so the wise call his form çarira” (sharira)

—and he says that “Elements” mean here portions or parts (or principles), which reading is borne out by verse 19, which says: [SD 1:333 etc.]


teṣām idaṃ tu saptānāṃ puruṣāṇāṃ mahaujasām
sūkṣmābhyo mūrtimātrābhyaḥ saṃbhavaty avyayād vyayam // Manu_1.19

“19. This non-eternal (Universe) arises then from the Eternal, by means of the subtle elements of forms of those seven very glorious principles” (purusha).

Commenting upon which, according to Medhâtithi, the Editor [E. Hopkins] remarks that “the five elements plus mind (Manas) and Self-Consciousness (Ahamkara)330 are meant”; “subtle elements,” as before (meaning) “five portions of form” (or principles). For verse 20 shows it, when saying of these (five elements, or “five portions of form” (rupa, plus Manas and Self-Consciousness) that they constitute the “seven purusha,” or principles, called in the Purânas the “Seven Prâkritis.”

330. Ahamkara, as universal Self-Consciousness, has a triple aspect, as also Manas. For this conception of “I,” or one’s Ego, is either sattwa, “pure quietude,” or appears as rajas, “active,” or remains tamas, “stagnant,” in darkness. It belongs to Heaven and Earth, and assumes the properties of either.

Moreover, these “five elements” or “five portions” are spoken of in verse 27 as “those which are called the atomic destructible portions”—therefore “distinct from the atoms of the nyâya.”

This creative Brahmâ, issuing from the mundane or golden egg, unites in himself both the male and the female principles. He is, in short, the same as all the creative Protologoi. Of Brahmâ, however, it could not be said, as of Dionysos: “πρωτόγονον διφυῆ τρίγονον Βακχεῖον ῞Ανακτα ῞Αγριον ἀρρητὸν κρύφιον δικέρωτα δίμορφν”—a lunar Jehovah—Bacchus truly, with David dancing nude before his symbol in the ark—because no licentious Dionysia were ever established in his name and honour. All such public worship was exoteric, and the great universal symbols were distorted universally, as those of Krishna are now by the Vallabachâryas of Bombay, the followers of the infant god. But are these popular gods the true Deity? Are they the Apex and synthesis of the sevenfold creation, man included? Never! Each and all are one of the rungs of that septenary ladder of Divine Consciousness, pagan as Christian. For Ain-Soph also is said to manifest through the Seven Letters of Jehovah’s name who, having usurped the place of the Unknown Limitless, was given by his devotees his Seven Angels of the Presence—his Seven Principles. Yet they are mentioned in almost every school. In the pure Sankhya philosophy mahat, ahamkara and the five tanmâtras are called the seven Prakritis (or Natures), and they are counted from Maha-Buddhi or Mahat down to Earth. (See Sánkhya Karika III. and Commentaries.) [SD 1:333-335 & fns]

1:5-20 (Paraphrased Summary)

[The first part in the following seems to be a paraphrase; second part is 1:20 from W. Jones; footnote quotation seems to be another paraphrase, possibly a rendering into English from the French of either Jacolliot or Deslongchamps given the use of the French “boue.]

The evolution of species, and the successive appearance of various new types is very distinctly shown in Manu.

“From earth, heat, and water, are born all creatures, whether animate or inanimate, produced by the germ which the Divine Spirit drew from its own substance. Thus has Brahma established the series of transformations from the plant up to man, and from man up to the primordial essence. . . . Among them each succeeding being (or element) acquires the quality of the preceding; and in as many degrees as each of them is advanced, with so many properties is it said to be endowed.1489

1489. “When this world had emerged from obscurity, the subtile elementary principles produced the vegetable germ which at first animated the plants; from the plants, life passed through the fantastic organisms which were born in the ilus (boue) of the waters; then through a series of forms and different animals, it at length reached man” (“Manu,” book i.; and “Bhagavatta”). Manu is a convertible type, which can by no means be explained as a personage. Manu means sometimes humanity, sometimes man. The Manu who emanated from the uncreated Swayambhuva is, without doubt, the type of Adam Kadmon. The Manu who is progenitor of the other six Manus is evidently identical with the Rishis, or seven primeval sages who are the forefathers of the post-diluvian races. He is—as we shall show in Chapter VIII.—Noah, and his six sons, or subsequent generations are the originals of the post-diluvian and mythical patriarchs of the Bible. [IU 2:271 & fn]


ādyādyasya guṇaṃ tv eṣām avāpnoti paraḥ paraḥ
yo yo yāvatithaś caiṣāṃ sa sa tāvad guṇaḥ smṛtaḥ // Manu_1.20

“Each being acquires the qualities of the one which immediately precedes it, in such a manner that the farther a being gets away from the primal atom of its series, the more he is possessed of qualities and perfections.” [IU 1:620-621]


The prototypes of nearly all the biblical personages are to be sought for in the early Pantheon of India. It is the “Mind-born” Sons of Brahmâ, or rather of the Dhyâni-Pitarah (the “Father-Gods”), the “Sons of Light,” who have given birth to the “Sons of Earth”––the Patriarchs. For if the Rig-Veda and its three sister Vedas have been “milked out from fire, air and sun,” [1:23] or Agni, Indra, and Surya, as Manu-Smriti tells us, the Old Testament was most undeniably “milked out” of the most ingenious brains of Hebrew Kabalists, partly in Egypt and partly in Babylonia––“the seat of Sanskrit literature and Brâhman learning from her origin,” as Colonel Vans Kennedy truly declared. [“Hermetic and Kabalistic Doctrines,” SD Vol. 3; see CW 14:92]


dvidhā kṛtvātmano deham ardhena puruṣo ‘bhavat
ardhena nārī tasyāṃ sa virājam asṛjat prabhuḥ // Manu_1.32

“The Sovereign Master who exists through himself, divides his body into two halves, male and female, and from the union of these two principles is born Viradj, the Son.” [IU 2:116]

“Having divided his body in two parts, the Supreme Wisdom became male and female.” [IU 2:156fn]

How close is the identity between Brahmâ-Prajâpati and Jehovah-Sephiroth, between Brahmâ-Virâj and Jehovah-Adam, the Bible and the Purânas compared can alone show. Analysed and read in the same light, they afford cogent evidence that they are two copies of the same original—made at two periods far distant from each other. Compare once more in relation to this subject Genesis ch. 4. verses 1 and 26 and Manu I., and they will both yield their meaning. In Manu (Book I. 32) Brahmâ, who is also both man and god, and divides his body into male and female, stands in his esoteric meaning, as does Jehovah or Adam in the Bible, for the symbolical personification of creative and generative power, both divine and human. [SD 2:126]

1:33 & 36a

tapas taptvāsṛjad yaṃ tu sa svayaṃ puruṣo virāṭ
taṃ māṃ vittāsya sarvasya sraṣṭāraṃ dvijasattamāḥ // Manu_1.33

ete manūṃs tu saptān yān asṛjan bhūritejasaḥ
devān devanikāyāṃś ca maharṣīṃś cāmitaujasaḥ // Manu_1.36

Ildabaoth is a copy of Manu. The latter boasts, “Oh, best of twice-born men! Know that I (Manu) am he, the creator of all this world, whom that male Virâj . . . spontaneously produced. He first creates the ten lords of Being, the Prajâpatis, who, as verse 36 says . . . “produce seven other Manus.” [SD 1:449]


Manu declares himself created by Virâj,1088 or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity),1089 which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity: that Logos or Universal Monad (collective Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centres of activity—progenitors of the numberless Solar systems as well as of the yet undifferentiated human monads of planetary chains as well as of every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is “Swayambhûva,” the self-born, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhûva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity. (SeeThe Manus and the Manvantaras Explained by a Western Mystic and Mathematician.”)

1088. See preceding foot-note. [i.e. see footnote 1083; see 1:33-36]

1089. See Manu I., 32, 33. Vaiswanara is, in another sense, the living magnetic fire that pervades the manifested solar system. It is the most objective (to us the reverse) and ever present aspect of the one life, for it is the Vital Principle. (See Theosophist, July, 1883, p. 249). It is also a name of Agni. [IU 2:271 & fn]


ahaṃ prajāḥ sisṛkṣus tu tapas taptvā suduścaram
patīn prajānām asṛjaṃ maharṣīn ādito daśa // Manu_1.34

“Viradj begins the work of creation by producing the ten Pradjapati, ‘the lords of all beings.’” [IU 2:270]


marīcim atryaṅgirasau pulastyaṃ pulahaṃ kratum
pracetasaṃ vasiṣṭhaṃ ca bhṛguṃ nāradam eva ca // Manu_1.35

Manu (book i., sloka 35), gives the names of ten eminent saints whom he calls pradjâpatis (more correctly pragâpatis), in whom the Brahman theologians see prophets, ancestors of the human race, and the Pundits simply consider as ten powerful kings who lived in the Krita-yug, or the age of good (the golden age of the Greeks). The last of these pragâpatis is Brighou. [IU 2:427]


1083. The fact that Manu himself is made to declare that he was created by Virâj, and that he then produced the ten Prajâpatis, who again produced seven Manus, who in their turn gave birth to seven other Manus (Manu, I., 33-36) relates to other still earlier mysteries, and is at the same time a blind with regard to the doctrine of the Septenary chain, and the simultaneous evolution of seven humanities, or Men. . . . [“The Septenary Principle in Esotericism,” Theosophist, July, 1883, reproduced on SD 2:308fn; see 1:61-63 for the paragraph linked to this footnote in the SD.]

From Swayambhuva Manu (in Manu, Book I.), from whom descended the seven primitive Manus or Prajapati, each of whom gave birth to a primitive race of men, down to the Codex Nazareus, in which Karabtanos or Fetahil (blind concupiscent matter) begets on his Mother, “Spiritus,” seven figures, each of which stands as the progenitor of one of the primæval seven races—this doctrine has left its impress on every Archaic Scripture. [SD 1:248]

1:34, 36 & 16, 27

This dual system was brought, together with the Decade, by Pythagoras from India. That it was that of the Brachmans and Iranians, as they are called by the ancient Greek philosophers, is warranted to us by the whole range of Sanskrit literature, such as the Purânas and the laws of Manu. In these “Laws” or “Ordinances of Manu,” it is said that Brahmâ first creates “the ten lords of Being,” [1:34] the ten Prajâpati or creative Forces; which ten produce “seven” other Manus [1:36], or, rather, as some MSS. have it, Munin, instead of Manûn=“devotees,” or holy Beings, which are the Seven Angels of the Presence in the Western religion. This mysterious number Seven, born from the upper triangle , the latter itself born from the apex thereof, or the Silent Depths of the unknown universal soul (Sigè and Bythos), is the sevenfold Saptaparna plant, born and manifested on the surface of the soil of mystery, from the threefold root buried deep under that impenetrable soil. This idea is fully elaborated in Vol. I. § “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought,” which the reader has to notice carefully, if he would grasp the metaphysical idea involved in the above symbol. In man as in nature, it is, according to the cis-Himalayan esoteric philosophy (which is that of the original Manu Cosmogony), the septenary division that is intended by Nature herself. The seventh principle (purusha) alone is the divine Self, strictly speaking; for, as said in Manu, “He (Brahmâ) having pervaded the subtle parts of those six of unmeasured brightness,” [1:16] created or called them forth to “Self”-consciousness or the consciousness of that One Self. Of these six, five elements (or principles, or Tattva, as Medhâtithi, the commentator thinks) “are called the atomic destructible elements; [1:27] they are described in the above-named section. [SD 2:573-574]


In Book I., of the Hindu Genesis, or Book of Creation of Manu, the Pitris are called the lunar ancestors of the human race. They belong to a race of beings different from ourselves, and cannot properly be called “human spirits” in the sense in which the spiritualists use this term. This is what is said of them:

yakṣarakṣaḥpiśācāṃś ca gandharvāpsaraso ‘surān
nāgān sarpān suparṇāṃś ca pitṝṇāṃś ca pṛthaggaṇam // Manu_1.37

“Then they (the gods) created the Jackshas, the Rakshasas, the Pisatshas,1080 the Gandarbas1081 and the Apsaras, and the Asuras, the Nagas, the Sarpas and the Suparnas,1082 and the Pitris—lunar ancestors of the human race.

1080. Pisatshas, dæmons of the race of the gnomes, the giants and the vampires.

1081. Gandarbas, good dæmon, celestial seraphs, singers.

1082. Asuras and Nagas are the Titanic spirits and the dragon or serpent-headed spirits. [IU 2:107 & fns]

The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the human kind or Adamic race; the spirits of human races which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically, as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies. In Manava-Dharma-Sastra they are called the Lunar ancestors. [IU 1:XXXVIII]


tamasā bahurūpeṇa veṣṭitāḥ karmahetunā
antaḥsaṃjñā bhavanty ete sukhaduḥkhasamanvitāḥ // Manu_1.49

“Plants and vegetation reveal a multitude of forms because of their precedent actions; they are surrounded by darkness, but are nevertheless endowed with an interior soul, and feel equally pleasure and pain.” [IU 2:263]


etadantās tu gatayo brahmādyāḥ samudāhṛtāḥ
ghore ‘smin bhūtasaṃsāre nityaṃ satatayāyini // Manu_1.50

“These are the transformations declared, from the plant up to Brahma, which have to take place in his world.” [IU 1:620-621]

“Such, from Brahma down to the vegetables, are declared the transmigrations which take place in this world.” [IU 2:260 & fn]


evaṃ sarvaṃ sa sṛṣṭvedaṃ māṃ cācintyaparākramaḥ
ātmany antardadhe bhūyaḥ kālaṃ kālena pīḍayan // Manu_1.51

“After having produced the universe, He whose power is incomprehensible vanished again, absorbed in the Supreme Soul. . . . . [IU 1:XVII]


tamo ‘yaṃ tu samāśritya ciraṃ tiṣṭhati sendriyaḥ
na ca svaṃ kurute karma tadotkrāmati mūrtitaḥ // Manu_1.55

Having retired into the primitive darkness, the great Soul remains within the unknown, and is void of all form. . . . . [IU 1:XVII]


yadāṇumātriko bhūtvā bījaṃ sthāsnu cariṣṇu ca
samāviśati saṃsṛṣṭas tadā mūrtiṃ vimuñcati // Manu_1.56

“When having again reunited the subtile elementary principles, it introduces itself into either a vegetable or animal seed, it assumes at each a new form.” [IU 1:XVII]


evaṃ sa jāgratsvapnābhyām idaṃ sarvaṃ carācaram
saṃjīvayati cājasraṃ pramāpayati cāvyayaḥ // Manu_1.57

“It is thus that, by an alternative waking and rest, the Immutable Being causes to revive and die eternally all the existing creatures, active and inert” [IU 1:XVII]

1:61 & 63

svāyaṃbhuvasyāsya manoḥ ṣaḍvaṃśyā manavo ‘pare
sṛṣṭavantaḥ prajāḥ svāḥ svā mahātmāno mahaujasaḥ // Manu_1.61

svāyaṃbhuvādyāḥ saptaite manavo bhūritejasaḥ
sve sve ‘ntare sarvam idam utpādyāpuś carācaram // Manu_1.63

“From this Manu Swayambhouva (the minor, and answering to Adam Kadmon) issued from Swayambhouva, or the Being existing through himself, descended six other Manus (men typifying progenitors), each of whom gave birth to a race of men. . . . These Manus, all powerful, of whom Swayambhouva is the first, have each, in his period—antara—produced and directed this world composed of movable and unmovable beings.” [IU 1:590]

From the well-known hymn To Time, in the Atharva-Veda (xix. 53) . . .down to Manu, “the first and the seventh man,” the Vedas, the Upanishads, and all the later systems of philosophy teem with allusions to this number [seven]. Who was Manu, the son of Swayambhuva? The secret doctrine tells us that this Manu was no man, but the representation of the first human races evolved with the help of the Dhyan-Chohans (Devas) at the beginning of the first Round. But we are told in his Laws (Book 1. 80) that there are fourteen Manus for every Kalpa or “interval from creation to creation” (read interval from one minor “Pralaya” to another) and that “in the present divine age there have been as yet seven Manus.” . . . [“The Septenary Principle in Esotericism,” Theosophist, July, 1883]

[The following applies to the above translated verses, from IU 1:590]

“Isis Unveiled” may appear very puzzling and contradictory to those who know nothing of Occult Sciences. To the Occultist it is correct, and while perhaps left purposely sinning (for it was the first cautious attempt to let into the West a faint streak of Eastern esoteric light), it reveals more facts than were ever given before its appearance. Let any one read these pages and he may comprehend. The “six such races” in Manu refer to the sub-races of the fourth race (p. 590). [Historical Difficulty—Why?, Question 6, “Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s ‘Esoteric Buddhism’, Theosophist, October, 1883]


We are told in the Sacred Hindu scriptures that the first Manu produced six other Manus (seven primary Manus in all), and these produced in their turn each seven other Manus1083 (Bhrigu I., 61-63)—the production of the latter standing in the occult treatises as 7 × 7. [SD 2:308 & fn; see 1:33-36 for footnote]

1:64b, 66a, 67a

In “Manu,” the divisions of time are given thus:

nimeṣā daśa cāṣṭau ca kāṣṭhā triṃśat tu tāḥ kalā
triṃśat kalā muhūrtaḥ syād ahorātraṃ tu tāvataḥ // Manu_1.64

pitrye rātryahanī māsaḥ pravibhāgas tu pakṣayoḥ
karmaceṣṭāsv ahaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ śuklaḥ svapnāya śarvarī // Manu_1.66

daive rātryahanī varṣaṃ pravibhāgas tayoḥ punaḥ
ahas tatrodagayanaṃ rātriḥ syād dakṣiṇāyanam // Manu_1.67

“The day and the night are composed of thirty Mouhourta. A mouhourta contains thirty kalas. [. . .] A month of the mortals is of thirty days, but it is but one day of the pitris. . . . A year of the mortals is one day of the Devas.” [IU 2:464fn]

1:68 etc.

The esoteric doctrine, then, teaches, like Buddhism and Brahmanism, and even the persecuted Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence exist from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the “day” and the “night” of Brahma. The latter is either “awake” or “asleep.” [IU 2:264]


daivikānāṃ yugānāṃ tu sahasraṃ parisaṃkhyayā
brāhmam ekam ahar jñeyaṃ tāvatīṃ rātrim eva ca // Manu_1.72

“Know that the sum of 1,000 divine ages, composes the totality of one day of Brahma; and that one night is equal to that day.”

One thousand divine ages is equal to 4,320,000,000 of human years, in the Brahmanical calculations.[IU 2:272]


tasya so ‘harniśasyānte prasuptaḥ pratibudhyate
pratibuddhaś ca sṛjati manaḥ sadasadātmakam // Manu_1.74

“At the expiration of each night (pralaya) Brahmâ, having been asleep, awakes, and, through the sole energy of the motion, causes to emanate from itself the spirit, which in its essence is, and yet is not.” [SD 1:447]


tasya so ‘harniśasyānte prasuptaḥ pratibudhyate
pratibuddhaś ca sṛjati manaḥ sadasadātmakam // Manu_1.74

manaḥ sṛṣṭiṃ vikurute codyamānaṃ sisṛkṣayā
ākāśaṃ jāyate tasmāt tasya śabdaṃ guṇaṃ viduḥ // Manu_1.75

ākāśāt tu vikurvāṇāt sarvagandhavahaḥ śuciḥ
balavāñ jāyate vāyuḥ sa vai sparśaguṇo mataḥ // Manu_1.76

vāyor api vikurvāṇād virociṣṇu tamonudam
jyotir utpadyate bhāsvat tad rūpaguṇam ucyate // Manu_1.77

jyotiṣaś ca vikurvāṇād āpo rasaguṇāḥ smṛtāḥ
adbhyo gandhaguṇā bhūmir ity eṣā sṛṣṭir āditaḥ // Manu_1.78

“At the expiration of each night, Brahma, who has been asleep, awakes, and through the sole energy of the motion causes to emanate from himself the spirit, which in its essence is, and yet is not.”

“Prompted by the desire to create, the Spirit (first of the emanations) operates the creation and gives birth to ether, which the sages consider as having the faculty of transmitting sound.

“Ether begets air whose property is tangible, and which is necessary to life. [. . .]

“Through a transformation of the air, light is produced. [. . .]

“From air and light, which begets heat, water is formed, and the water is the womb of all the living germs.”

Throughout the whole immense period of progressive creation, covering 4,320,000,000 years, ether, air, water and fire (heat), are constantly forming matter under the never-ceasing impulse of the Spirit, or the unrevealed God who fills up the whole creation, for he is in all, and all is in him. [IU 2:272]


jyotiṣaś ca vikurvāṇād āpo rasaguṇāḥ smṛtāḥ
adbhyo gandhaguṇā bhūmir ity eṣā sṛṣṭir āditaḥ // Manu_1.78

“Water is born from a transformation of light . . . and from a modification of the water is born the earth.” [IU 2:267]


According to the doctrine of Manu, the universe is subjected to a periodical and never-ending succession of creations and dissolutions, which periods of creation are named Manvantara. [IU 2:270]

In the allegories of the latter [the Puranas], Brahmâ, who is collectively the creative Force of the Universe, is said to be “at the beginning of the Yugas (cycles). . . . Possessed of the desire and of the power to create, and, impelled by the potencies of what is to be created, again and again does he, at the outset of a Kalpa, put forth a similar creation,” (see Vishnu Purâna, Book I. ch. V., closing Sloka. Also “Manava Dharma Shastra” I. 80.) [SD 2:57-58]


arogāḥ sarvasiddhārthāś caturvarṣaśatāyuṣaḥ
kṛte tretādiṣu hy eṣāṃ āyur hrasati pādaśaḥ // Manu_1.83

In the first age, neither sickness nor suffering were known. Men lived four centuries.” [IU 2:467-468]


kurukṣetraṃ ca matsyāś ca pañcālāḥ śūrasenakāḥ
eṣa brahmarṣideśo vai brahmāvartād anantaraḥ // Manu_2.19

etad deśaprasūtasya sakāśād agrajanmanaḥ
svaṃ svaṃ caritraṃ śikṣeran pṛthivyāṃ sarvamānavāḥ // Manu_2.20

“It is from the lips of a messenger of Brahma, who will be born in Kuroukshetra, Matsya, and the land of Pantchola, also called Kanya-Cubja (mountain of the Virgin), that all men on earth will learn their duty.” [IU 2:50]


Pranava, like Om, is a mystic term pronounced by the Yogis during meditation; of the terms called, according to exoteric Commentators, Vyahritis, or “Om, Bhur, Bhuva, Swar ” (Om, earth, sky, heaven)—Pranava is the most sacred, perhaps. They are pronounced with breath suppressed. See Manusmṛti, 2:76-81, and the Mitākṣarā commenting on the Yājñavalkya Smṛti, 1:23. But the esoteric explanation goes a great deal further. [SD 1:432fn]

3:70 etc.

“Sraddha” is a Brahmanical rite, of which there are several kinds. Gautama describes seven kinds of each of the three sorts of Sraddha, generally translated as “devotional rites” to the manes of one’s progenitors. Manu speaks of four varieties—the offering of food to the Viswadharas (gods, collectively, mystic deities), to spirits, to departed ancestors and to guests [3:70]. But Gautama specifies them as offerings to progenitors, on certain eight days of the fortnight, at the full and change of the moon, to Sraddhas generally, and to the manes on the full moon of four different months. It is a very occult rite involving various mystic results.

[On twelve species of Sraddha:] Manu speaks of four only, and Gautama of seven. Twelve species are enumerated only in Nirnaya Sindhu, by Kamalakara (see Asiat. Researches, Vol. VII, 232), a work on religious ceremonies. But all these are exoteric and later rites. [Notes to “The Sraddha,” Lucifer, May, 1888]


ākāśāt tu vikurvāṇāt sarvagandhavahaḥ śuciḥ
balavāñ jāyate vāyuḥ sa vai sparśaguṇo mataḥ // Manu_1.76

“Water ascends toward the sky in vapors; from the sun it descends in rain, from the rain are born the plants, and from the plants, animals.” [IU 1:620-621]


There are seven classes of Pitris, as shown below, three incorporeal and four corporeal; and two kinds, the Agnishwatta and the Barhishad. And we may add that, as there are two kinds of Pitris, so there is a double and a triple set of Barhishad and Agnishwatta. The former, having given birth to their astral doubles, are reborn as Sons of Atri, and are the “Pitris of the Demons,” or corporeal beings, on the authority of Manu (III., 196); while the Agnishwatta are reborn as Sons of Marichi (a son of Brahmâ), and are the Pitris of the Gods (Manu again, Matsya and Padma Purânas and Kulluka in the Laws of the Manavas, III., 195). [SD 2:89]


With the Brahmins the Pitris are very sacred, because they are the Progenitors,801 or ancestors of men—the first Manushya on this Earth—and offerings are made to them by the Brahmin when a son is born unto him. They are more honoured and their ritual is more important than the worship of the gods (See the “Laws of Manu,” Bk. III., verse 203).

801. This was hinted at in Isis Unveiled, Vol. I., p xxxviii., though the full explanation could not then be given: “The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the first human kind or Adamic race; the spirits of human races, which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pigmies. In Manava-Dharma-Sastra they are called the Lunar ancestors.” [SD 2:91 & fn]


vasūn vadanti tu pitṝn rudrāṃś caiva pitāmahān
prapitāmahāṃs tathādityān śrutir eṣā sanātanī // Manu_3.284

[. . . the distinction between gods and ancestors had been lost.] It was lost indeed, and long before the day of Gautama Buddha, who tried to restore Brahmanism to its original purity but—failed, and had to separate the two religious systems. The “Pitris” is a generic and collective name, and man has other progenitors more exalted and spiritual. Manu says (Chap. iii, 284), “The wise [the Initiated Adepts] call our fathers Vasus; our paternal grandfathers, Rudras; our paternal great grandfathers, Adityas; agreeably to a text of the Vedas,” these three classes have a direct reference in Esotericism (a) to the creators of man in his three chief aspects (or principles), and (b) to the three primeval and serial races of men who preceded the first physical and perfect Race, which the Eastern Occultists call the Atlanteans. [Notes to “The Sraddha,” Lucifer, May, 1888]

At any rate, esoteric philosophy identifies the pre-Brahmanical Asuras, Rudras,892 Râkshasas [see also 1:37] and all the “Adversaries” of the Gods in the allegories, with the Egos, which, by incarnating in the still witless man of the Third Race, made him consciously immortal. They are, then, during the cycle of Incarnations, the true dual Logos—the conflicting and two-faced divine Principle in Man.

892. Whom Manu calls “our paternal grandfathers” (III., 284). The Rudras are the seven manifestations of Rudra-Siva, “the destroying god,” and also the grand Yogi and ascetic. [SD 2:163-164 & fn]

Therefore, the FLAMES, whose functions are confused in the exoteric books, and who are called indifferently Prajâpati, Pitris, Manus, Asuras, Rishis, Kumâras,1019 etc. etc., are said to incarnate personally in the Third Root-Race and thus find themselves “reborn over and over again.” In the Esoteric doctrine they are generally named the Asuras, or the Asu-ra Devata or Pitar-devata (gods) for, as said, they were first Gods—and the highest—before they became “no-gods,” and had from Spirits of Heaven fallen into Spirits of the Earth—exoterically, note well, in orthodox dogma.

1019. No one of these orders is distinct from the Pitris or Progenitors, as says Manu (iii. 284). “The wise call our fathers Vasus; our paternal grandfathers, Rudras; our paternal great grandfathers, Adityas; agreeably to a text of the Vedas,” or “this is an everlasting Vedic text” in another translation. [SD 2:247-248 & fn]


It is claimed [by Mr. Tremeschini] for the former [Gautama Rishi] that he has written a complete Esoteric Code whose “divine doctrines” agree with, and corroborate those of the Spiritists who believe in, and encourage communication with bhûts and piśachas and call them “immortal spirits,” of the “ancestors.”*

* The reader will please consult what Manu says of the communication with the dead (Bk. IV, 123-24) and his opinion that even the sound of the Sama-Veda is “impure,” aśuchi—since, as Kulluka explains it, it associates with deceased persons. [“A Levy of Arms Against Theosophy,” Theosophist, June, 1883]

If the above-mentioned Sûtra which is in France [Mr. Tremeschini’s ‘code’] treats of and encourages intercourse with the pitris [the deceased ancestors, spirits] and if it be an authentic copy of one of the existing Sûtras, the original must be merely one of the Sûtras of the Sâma-Veda7 treating of Pitris [Manu, IV, 124] whose sound alone is impure [aśuchi] because of its association and communication with the Piśâchas [the ‘Elementaries’ that Mr. T. —— attributes to the Middle Ages]; . . .

The following therefore is what is fully established. The two Gautamas are entirely different personages, and hieratic manuscripts which treat of evocations of the dead are and have been from time immemorial (see the Laws of Manu, IV, 23, etc.) considered of a degrading, polluting and sacrilegious nature. . . . 

5. See the Laws of Manu (1, 64, 73) and the latest book of Monier-Williams, Indian Wisdom, pp. 188 and 229; Sir W. Jones, Colebrooke, etc. [“Theosophy and Spiritism,” Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d’Études Psychologiques, July 15, 1883]


etad vidvanto vidvāṃsas trayīniṣkarṣam anvaham
kramataḥ pūrvam abhyasya paścād vedam adhīyate // Manu_4.125

“Let the Brahmas know the sacred Syllable (Aum), the three words of the Savitri, and read the Vedas daily.” [IU 1:XVII]


dhṛtiḥ kṣamā damo ‘steyaṃ śaucam indriyanigrahaḥ
dhīr vidyā satyam akrodho daśakaṃ dharmalakṣaṇam // Manu_6.92

daśa lakṣaṇāni dharmasya ye viprāḥ samadhīyate
adhītya cānuvartante te yānti paramāṃ gatim // Manu_6.93

“Resignation, the action of rendering good for evil, temperance, probity, purity, repression of the senses, the knowledge of the Sastras (the holy books), that of the supreme soul, truthfulness and abstinence from anger, such are the ten virtues in which consists duty. . . . Those who study these ten precepts of duty, and after having studied them conform their lives thereto, will reach to the supreme condition.” [IU 2:163-164]

“No one who has not practiced, during his whole life, the ten virtues which the divine Manu makes incumbent as a duty, can be initiated into the Mysteries of the council,” say the Hindu books of initiation. [IU 2:98]


The aged Rishi shed some tears, but he ended by giving his consent and began to prepare the sacrificial pyre.*

*Manu (Book X, 105) alluding to this story remarks that Ajigarta, the holy Rishi, committed no sin in selling the life of his son, since the sacrifice preserved his life and that of all the family. This reminds us of another legend, more modern, that might serve as a parallel to the older one. Did not the Count Ugolino, condemned to die of starvation in his dungeon, eat his own children “to preserve for them a father”? The popular legend of Sunahsepha is more beautiful than the commentary of Manu—evidently an interpolation of some Brahmans in falsified manuscripts. [“The Legend of the Blue Lotus,” Le Lotus Bleu, April, 1890]


ādyaṃ yat tryakṣaraṃ brahma trayī yasmin pratiṣṭhitā
sa guhyo ‘nyas trivṛdvedo yas taṃ veda sa vedavit // Manu_11.265

“The holy primitive syllable, composed of the three letters A—U—M., in which is contained the Vedic Trimurti (Trinity), must be kept secret, like another triple Veda.” [IU 2:39]


śubhāśubhaphalaṃ karma manovāgdehasaṃbhavam
karmajā gatayo nṝṇām uttamādhamamadhyamaḥ // Manu_12.3

[See also 12:55] The esoteric meaning of the Laws of Manu (Sec. XII. 3, and XII. 54 and 55), of the verses that state that “every act, either mental, verbal or corporeal, bears good or evil fruit (Karma), the various transmigrations of men (not souls) through the highest, middle and lowest stages, are produced by their actions,” [12:3] and again that “a Brahman-killer enters the body of a dog, bear, ass, camel, goat, sheep, bird, etc.,” [12:55] bears no reference to the human Ego, but only to the atoms of his body, his lower triad and his fluidic emanations. [“Transmigrations of the Life-Atoms,” Theosophist, August, 1883]


sthāvarāḥ kṛmikīṭāś ca matsyāḥ sarpāḥ sakacchapāḥ
paśavaś ca mṛgāś caiva jaghanyā tāmasī gatiḥ // Manu_12.42

“Man will traverse the universe, gradually ascending, and passing through the rocks, the plants, the worms, insects, fish, serpents, tortoises, wild animals, cattle, and higher animals. . . . Such is the inferior degree.” [IU 1:621]

“He (man, before becoming such) will pass successively through plants, worms, insects, fish, serpents, tortoises, cattle, and wild animals; such is the inferior degree.” [IU 2:260]


śvasūkarakharoṣṭrāṇāṃ go’jāvimṛgapakṣiṇāṃ
caṇḍālapukkasānāṃ ca brahmahā yonim ṛcchati // Manu_12.55

[See also 12:3] [. . . the verses that state that . . .] “a Brahman-killer enters the body of a dog, bear, ass, camel, goat, sheep, bird, etc.,” bears no reference to the human Ego, but only to the atoms of his body, his lower triad and his fluidic emanations. [“Transmigrations of the Life-Atoms,” Theosophist, August, 1883]


sarveṣām api caiteṣām ātmajñānaṃ paraṃ smṛtam
tad dhy agryaṃ sarvavidyānāṃ prāpyate hy amṛtaṃ tataḥ // Manu_12.85

“Of all the duties, the principal one is to acquire the knowledge of the supreme soul[*] (the spirit); it is the first of all sciences, for it alone confers on man immortality” (Manu, book xii., sloka 85). [IU 2:116]

[* “Ātmajñānī is the knower of Ātman or the Universal, One Self.”—Voice of the Silence, Fragment 1, Note 9.]


pravṛttaṃ karma saṃsevyaṃ devānām eti sāmyatām
nivṛttaṃ sevamānas tu bhūtāny atyeti pañca vai // Manu_12.90

sarvabhūteṣu cātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani
samaṃ paśyann ātmayājī svārājyam adhigacchati // Manu_12.91

“The man who accomplishes pious but interested acts (with the sole object of his salvation) may reach the ranks of the devas (saints);1188 but he who accomplishes, disinterestedly, the same pious acts, finds himself ridden forever of the five elements” (of matter). “Perceiving the Supreme Soul in all beings and all beings in the Supreme Soul, in offering his own soul in sacrifice, he identifies himself with the Being who shines in his own splendor.”

1188. There is no equivalent for the word “miracle,” in the Christian sense, among the Brahmans or Buddhists. The only correct translation would be meipo, a wonder, something remarkable; but not a violation of natural law. The “saints” only produce meipo. [IU 2:159 & fn]


evaṃ yaḥ sarvabhūteṣu paśyaty ātmānam ātmanā
sa sarvasamatām etya brahmābhyeti paraṃ padam // Manu_12.125

“The man who recognizes the Supreme Soul, in his own soul, as well as in that of all creatures, and who is equally just to all (whether man or animals) obtains the happiest of all fates, that to be finally absorbed in the bosom of Brahma.” [IU 2:116]


This fact of the disappearance of the vehicle of Egotism in the fully developed Yogi, who is supposed to have reached Nirvâna on earth, years before his corporeal death, has led to the law in Manu, sanctioned by millenniums of Brâhmanical authority, that such a Paramâtman should be held as absolutely blameless and free from sin or responsibility, do whatever he may (see last chapter of the Laws of Manu). Indeed, caste itself—that most despotic, uncompromising and autocratic tyrant in India—can be broken with impunity by the Yogi, who is above caste. This will give the key to our statements. [“The Doctrine of Avataras,” SD Vol. 3; see CW 14:377fn]


6. “The moon shines even in the house of the wicked” (Manu).

7. “They who give, have things given to them; those who withhold, have things taken from them” (Ibid.).

8. “Purity of mind alone sees God” (Ibid.)—still a popular saying in India. [IU 2:338]


. . . According to Manu, the antediluvian dynasties of the Pradjâpatis reigned 4,320,000 human years, a whole divine age of the devas in short, or that length of time which invariably occurs between life on earth and the dissolution of that life, or pralaya. [IU 2:467]


From Manu, Thot-Hermes, Oannes-Dagon, and Edris-Enoch, down to Plato and Panadores, all tell us of seven divine Dynasties, of seven Lemurian, and seven Atlantean divisions of the Earth; of the seven primitive and dual gods who descend from their celestial abode and reign on Earth, teaching mankind Astronomy, Architecture, and all the other sciences that have come down to us. These Beings appear first as “gods” and Creators; then they merge in nascent man, to finally emerge as “divine-Kings and Rulers.” But this fact has been gradually forgotten. [SD 2:366]

?? (see Chapters 10-11)

But Narada (this virgin ascetic whom one finds in every age in the Purânas) advised him not to do so, as Manu forbade the Brahmins to receive emoluments for the performance of religious rites. [SD 2:323]


The orthodox Brāhmins, those who rise the most against the Pantheists and Advaitins, calling them Atheists, are forced, if Manu [Manusmṛti] has any authority in this matter, to accept the death of Brahmā, the creator, at the expiration of every “Age” of this (creative) deity (100 Divine years—a period which in our years requires fifteen figures to express it). [SD 1:8]