The doctrine of Planetary Evolution is interwoven with the teachings on the Constitution and Structure of the Planetary Chain, the doctrine of Hierarchies of Beings, the Evolution and Constitution of Man, etc. Ultimately, these must be studied together as a single multi-faceted teaching. Here we’ve gathered quotes to outline the teachings on the Evolution of Monads on the Planetary Chain up to the point at which Human Evolution begins on our Earth.
On “Planetary Evolution” from the Ocean of Theosophy by W. Q. Judge
The stream or mass of Egos which evolves on the seven globes of our chain is limited in number, yet the actual quantity is enormous. For though the universe is limitless and infinite, yet in any particular portion of Cosmos in which manifestation and evolution have begun there is a limit to the extent of manifestation and to the number of Egos engaged therein. And the whole number of Monads now going through evolution on our Earth Chain came over from the old seven planets or globes which I have described. Esoteric Buddhism calls this mass of Egos a “life wave,” meaning the stream of Monads. It reached this planetary mass, represented to our consciousness by the central point our Earth, and began on Globe A or No. I, coming like an army or river. The first portion began on Globe A and went through a long evolution there in bodies suited to such a state of matter, and then passed on to B, and so on through the whole seven greater states of consciousness which have been called globes. When the first portion left A others streamed in and pursued the same course, the whole army proceeding with regularity round the septenary route.
This journey went on for four circlings round the whole, and then the whole stream or army of Egos from the old Moon Chain had arrived, and being complete, no more entered after the middle of the Fourth Round. The same circling process of these differently arrived classes goes on for seven complete Rounds of the whole seven planetary centers of consciousness, and when the seven are ended as much perfection as is possible in the immense period occupied will have been attained, and then this chain or mass of “globes” will die in its turn to give birth to still another series.
Each one of the globes is used by evolutionary law for the development of seven races, and of senses, faculties and powers appropriate to that state of matter: the experience of the whole seven globes being needed to make a perfect development. Hence we have the Rounds and Races. The Round is a circling of the seven centers of planetary consciousness; the Race [is] the racial development on one of those seven. There are seven races for each globe, but the total of forty-nine races only makes up seven great races, the special septennate of races on each globe or planetary center composing in reality one race of seven constituents or special peculiarities of function and power.
And as no complete race could be evolved in a moment on any globe, the slow, orderly processes of nature, which allow no jumps, must proceed by appropriate means. Hence sub-races have to be evolved one after the other before the perfect root race is formed, and then the root race sends off its offshoots while it is declining and preparing for the advent of the next great race.
As illustrating this, it is distinctly taught that on the Americas is to be evolved the new—sixth—race; and here all the races of the earth are now engaged in a great amalgamation from which will result a very highly developed sub-race, after which others will be evolved by similar processes until the new one is completed.
Between the end of any great race and the beginning of another there is a period of rest, so far as the globe is concerned, for then the stream of human Egos leaves it for another one of the chain in order to go on with further evolution of powers and faculties there. But when the last, the seventh, race has appeared and fully perfected itself, a great dissolution comes on, similar to that which I briefly described as preceding the birth of the earth’s chain, and then the world disappears as a tangible thing, and so far as the human ear is concerned there is silence. This, it is said, is the root of the belief so general that the world will come to an end, that there will be a judgment-day, or that there have been universal floods or fires.
Taking up evolution on the Earth, it is stated that the stream of Monads begins first to work up the mass of matter in what are called elemental conditions when all is gaseous or fiery. For the ancient and true theory is that no evolution is possible without the Monad as vivifying agent. In this first stage there is no animal or vegetable. Next comes the mineral when the whole mass hardens, the Monads being all imprisoned within. Then the first Monads emerge into vegetable forms which they construct themselves, and no animals yet appear. Next the first class of Monads emerges from the vegetable and produces the animal, then the human astral and shadowy model, and we have minerals, vegetables, animals and future men, for the second and later classes are still evolving in the lower kingdoms. When the middle of the Fourth Round is reached no more Monads emerge into the human stage and will not until a new planetary mass, reincarnated from ours, is made. This is the whole process roughly given, but with many details left out, for in one of the rounds man appears before the animals. But this detail need lead to no confusion.
And to state it in another way. The plan comes first in the universal mind, after which the astral model or basis is made, and when that astral model is completed, the whole process is gone over so as to condense the matter, up to the middle of the Fourth Round. Subsequent to that, which is our future, the whole mass is spiritualized with full consciousness and the entire body of globes raised up to a higher plane of development. . . .
On “Planetary Evolution” from The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky
As the evolution of the Globes and that of the Monads are so closely interblended, we will make of the two teachings one. In reference to the Monads, the reader is asked to bear in mind that Eastern philosophy rejects the Western theological dogma of a newly-created soul for every baby born, as being as unphilosophical as it is impossible in the economy of Nature. There must be a limited number of Monads evolving and growing more and more perfect through their assimilation of many successive personalities, in every new Manvantara. This is absolutely necessary in view of the doctrines of Rebirth, Karma, and the gradual return of the human Monad to its source—absolute Deity. Thus, although the hosts of more or less progressed Monads are almost incalculable, they are still finite, as is everything in this Universe of differentiation and finiteness.
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The general outline of the process by which the successive planetary chains are formed has just been given. To prevent future misconceptions, some further details may be offered which will also throw light on the history of humanity on our own chain, the progeny of that of the Moon.
In the [following] diagram, Fig. 1 represents the “lunar-chain” of seven planets at the outset of its seventh or last Round; while Fig. 2 represents the “earth-chain” which will be, but is not yet in existence. The seven Globes of each chain are distinguished in their cyclic order by the letters A to G, the Globes of the Earth-chain being further marked by a cross— —the symbol of the Earth.
Now, it must be remembered that the Monads cycling round any septenary chain are divided into seven classes or hierarchies according to their respective stages of evolution, consciousness, and merit. Let us follow, then, the order of their appearance on planet A, in the first Round. The time-spaces between the appearances of these hierarchies on any one Globe are so adjusted that when Class 7, the last, appears on Globe A, Class 1, the first, has just passed on to Globe B, and so on, step by step, all round the chain.
Again, in the Seventh Round on the Lunar chain, when Class 7, the last, quits Globe A, that Globe, instead of falling asleep, as it had done in previous Rounds, begins to die (to go into its planetary pralaya); and in dying it transfers successively, as just said, its “principles,” or life-elements and energy, etc., one after the other to a new “laya-centre,” which commences the formation of Globe A of the Earth Chain. A similar process takes place for each of the Globes of the “lunar chain” one after the other, each forming a fresh Globe of the “earth-chain.” Our Moon was the fourth Globe of the series, and was on the same plane of perception as our Earth. But Globe A of the lunar chain is not fully “dead” till the first Monads of the first class have passed from Globe G or Z, the last of the “lunar chain,” into the Nirvana which awaits them between the two chains; and similarly for all the other Globes as stated, each giving birth to the corresponding globe of the “earth-chain.”
Further, when Globe A of the new chain is ready, the first class or Hierarchy of Monads from the Lunar chain incarnate upon it in the lowest kingdom, and so on successively. The result of this is, that it is only the first class of Monads which attains the human state of development during the first Round, since the second class, on each planet, arriving later, has not time to reach that stage. Thus the Monads of Class 2 reach the incipient human stage only in the Second Round, and so on up to the middle of the Fourth Round. But at this point—and on this Fourth Round in which the human stage will be fully developed—the “Door” into the human kingdom closes; and henceforward the number of “human” Monads, i.e., Monads in the human stage of development, is complete. For the Monads which had not reached the human stage by this point will, owing to the evolution of humanity itself, find themselves so far behind that they will reach the human stage only at the close of the seventh and last Round. They will, therefore, not be men on this chain, but will form the humanity of a future Manvantara and be rewarded by becoming “Men” on a higher chain altogether, thus receiving their Karmic compensation. To this there is but one solitary exception, for very good reasons, of which we shall speak farther on. But this accounts for the difference in the races.
It thus becomes apparent how perfect is the analogy between the processes of Nature in the Kosmos and in the individual man. The latter lives through his life-cycle, and dies. His “higher principles,” corresponding in the development of a planetary chain to the cycling Monads, pass into Devachan, which corresponds to the “Nirvana” and states of rest intervening between two chains. The Man’s lower “principles” are disintegrated in time and are used by Nature again for the formation of new human principles, and the same process takes place in the disintegration and formation of Worlds. Analogy is thus the surest guide to the comprehension of the Occult teachings.
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But the reader must not be allowed to lose sight of the Monads, and must be enlightened as to their nature, as far as permitted, without trespassing upon the highest mysteries, of which the writer does not in any way pretend to know the last or final word.
The Monadic Host may be roughly divided into three great classes:
1. The most developed Monads (the Lunar Gods or “Spirits,” called, in India, the Pitris), whose function it is to pass in the first Round through the whole triple cycle of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms in their most ethereal, filmy, and rudimentary forms, in order to clothe themselves in, and assimilate, the nature of the newly formed chain. They are those who first reach the human form (if there can be any form in the realm of the almost subjective) on Globe A in the first Round. It is they, therefore, who lead and represent the human element during the second and third Rounds, and finally evolve their shadows at the beginning of the Fourth Round for the second class, or those who come behind them.
2. Those Monads that are the first to reach the human stage during the three and a half Rounds, and to become men.
It stands to reason that these “Men” did not resemble the men of to-day, either in form or nature. Why then, it may be asked, call them “Men” at all? Because there is no other term in any Western language which approximately conveys the idea intended. The word “Men” at least indicates that these beings were “manus,” thinking entities, however they differed in form and intellection from ourselves. But in reality they were, in respect of spirituality and intellection, rather “gods” than “Men.”
The same difficulty of language is met with in describing the “stages” through which the Monad passes. Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the “development” of a Monad, or to say that it becomes “Man.” But any attempt to preserve metaphysical accuracy of language in the use of such a tongue as the English would necessitate at least three extra volumes of this work, and would entail an amount of verbal repetition which would be wearisome in the extreme. It stands to reason that a Monad cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of states it passes through. It is not of this world or plane, and may be compared only to an indestructible star of divine light and fire, thrown down on to our Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it indwells. It is for the latter to cling to it; and thus partaking of its divine nature, obtain immortality. Left to itself the Monad will cling to no one; but, like the “plank,” be drifted away to another incarnation by the unresting current of evolution.
3. The laggards; the Monads which are retarded, and which will not reach, by reason of Karmic impediments, the human stage at all during this cycle or Round, save one exception which will be spoken of elsewhere as already promised.
Now the evolution of the external form or body round the astral is produced by the terrestrial forces, just as in the case of the lower kingdoms; but the evolution of the internal or real man is purely spiritual. It is now no more a passage of the impersonal Monad through many and various forms of matter—endowed at best with instinct and consciousness on quite a different plane—as in the case of external evolution, but a journey of the “pilgrim-soul” through various states of not only matter but Self-consciousness and self-perception, or of perception from apperception.
The Monad emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes—too near the absolute to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane—it gets direct into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every “form,” from the “mineral” monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the divine monad. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter—two polar antitheses—as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality.
To return to “Esoteric Buddhism.” It is there stated with regard to the enormous period intervening between the mineral epoch on Globe A, and the man-epoch, that: “The full development of the mineral epoch on Globe A, prepares the way for the vegetable development, and, as soon as this begins, the mineral life-impulse overflows into Globe B. Then, when the vegetable development on Globe A is complete and the animal development begins, the vegetable life-impulse overflows to Globe B, and the mineral impulse passes on to Globe C. Then finally comes the human life-impulse on Globe A.” (Page 49.)
And so it goes on for three Rounds, when it slackens, and finally stops at the threshold of our Globe, at the Fourth Round; because the human period (of the true physical men to be), the seventh, is now reached. This is evident, for as said, “. . . there are processes of evolution which precede the mineral kingdom, and thus a wave of evolution, indeed several waves of evolution, precede the mineral wave in its progress round the spheres” (ibid).
And now we have to quote from another article, “The Mineral Monad” in “Five Years of Theosophy,” p. 273 et seq.
“There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces—from the first stage of differentiation of (from) Mulaprakriti (or rather Pradhâna, primordial homogeneous matter) to its third degree—i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the “Monadic Essence,” considered as an evoluting energy. Three stages (sub-physical) on the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages on the objective physical side—these are the (first or preliminary) seven links of the evolutionary chain.”
“Preliminary” because they are preparatory, and though belonging in fact to the natural, they yet would be more correctly described as sub-natural evolution. This process makes a halt in its stages at the Third, at the threshold of the Fourth stage, when it becomes, on the plane of the natural evolution, the first really manward stage, thus forming with the three elemental kingdoms, the ten, the Sephirothal number. It is at this point that begins:
“A descent of spirit into matter equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete organism—up to Nirvana, the vanishing point of differentiated matter.” (“Five Years of Theosophy,” p. 276.)
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The “Monad” is the combination of the last two “principles” in man, the 6th and the 7th, and, properly speaking, the term “human monad” applies only to the dual soul (Atma-Buddhi), not to its highest spiritual vivifying Principle, Atma, alone. . . . Now the Monadic, or rather Cosmic, Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable, and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva Kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression. It would be very misleading to imagine a Monad as a separate Entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower Kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transformations flowering into a human being; in short, that the Monad of a Humboldt dates back to the Monad of an atom of horneblende. Instead of saying a “Mineral Monad,” the more correct phraseology in physical Science, which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it “the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the Mineral Kingdom.” The atom, as represented in the ordinary scientific hypothesis, is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined after æons to blossom as a man. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized; a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean (of matter) does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregation into individual Monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Kosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists, while accepting this thought for convenience sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the concrete from the abstract by terms of which the “Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, (etc.), Monad” are examples. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The “Monadic Essence” begins to imperceptibly differentiate towards individual consciousness in the Vegetable Kingdom. As the Monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation, which properly constitutes the Monad—not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence.
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A few words more of the Moon.
What, it may be asked, are the “Lunar Monads,” just spoken of? . . . It must be plain to everyone that they are Monads, who, having ended their life-cycle on the lunar chain, which is inferior to the terrestrial chain, have incarnated on this one. But there are some further details which may be added, though they border too closely on forbidden ground to be treated of fully. . . .
It is the Moon that plays the largest and most important part, as well in the formation of the Earth itself, as in the peopling thereof with human beings. The “Lunar Monads” or Pitris, the ancestors of man, become in reality man himself. They are the “Monads” who enter on the cycle of evolution on Globe A, and who, passing round the chain of planets, evolve the human form as has just been shown. At the beginning of the human stage of the Fourth Round on this Globe, they “ooze out” their astral doubles from the “ape-like” forms which they had evolved in Round III. And it is this subtle, finer form, which serves as the model round which Nature builds physical man. These “Monads” or “divine sparks” are thus the “Lunar” ancestors, the Pitris themselves. For these “Lunar Spirits” have to become “Men” in order that their “Monads” may reach a higher plane of activity and self-consciousness, i.e., the plane of the Manasa-Putras, those who endow the “senseless” shells, created and informed by the Pitris, with “mind” in the latter part of the Third Root-Race.
In the same way the “Monads” or Egos of the men of the seventh Round of our Earth, after our own Globes A, B, C, D, et seq., parting with their life-energy, will have informed and thereby called to life other laya-centres destined to live and act on a still higher plane of being—in the same way will the Terrene “Ancestors” create those who will become their superiors.
It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Upadhis; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections on the field of Cosmic Illusion of atma, the seventh, the one reality.
1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with:
2. The Intellectual, represented by the Manasa-Dhyanis (the Solar Devas, or the Agnishwatta Pitris) the “givers of intelligence and consciousness” to man and:
3. The Physical, represented by the Chhayas of the lunar Pitris, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the “growth” (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and—owing to the accumulation of experiences—of the finite into the infinite, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.
Each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or “Logoi.” Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosm of the great Macrocosm; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is.
“Nature,” the physical evolutionary Power, could never evolve intelligence unaided—she can only create “senseless forms,” as will be seen in our “Anthropogenesis.” The “Lunar Monads” cannot progress, for they have not yet had sufficient touch with the forms created by “Nature” to allow of their accumulating experiences through its means. It is the Manasa-Dhyanis who fill up the gap, and they represent the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between “Spirit” and “Matter”—in this Round.
Also it must be borne in mind that the Monads which enter upon the evolutionary cycle upon Globe A, in the first Round, are in very different stages of development. Hence the matter becomes somewhat complicated. . . . Let us recapitulate.
The most developed Monads (the lunar) reach the human germ-stage in the first Round; become terrestrial, though very ethereal human beings towards the end of the Third Round, remaining on it (the globe) through the “obscuration” period as the seed for future mankind in the Fourth Round, and thus become the pioneers of Humanity at the beginning of this, the Fourth Round. Others reach the Human stage only during later Rounds, i.e., in the second, third, or first half of the Fourth Round. And finally the most retarded of all, i.e., those still occupying animal forms after the middle turning-point of the Fourth Round—will not become men at all during this Manwantara. They will reach to the verge of humanity only at the close of the seventh Round to be, in their turn, ushered into a new chain after pralaya—by older pioneers, the progenitors of humanity, or the Seed-Humanity (Sishta), viz., the men who will be at the head of all at the end of these Rounds.
The student hardly needs any further explanation on the part played by the fourth Globe and the fourth Round in the scheme of evolution.
From the preceding diagrams [see “The Planetary Chain”], which are applicable, mutatis mutandis, to Rounds, Globes or Races, it will be seen that the fourth member of a series occupies a unique position. Unlike the others, the Fourth has no “sister” Globe on the same plane as itself, and it thus forms the fulcrum of the “balance” represented by the whole chain. It is the sphere of final evolutionary adjustments, the world of Karmic scales, the Hall of Justice, where the balance is struck which determines the future course of the Monad during the remainder of its incarnations in the cycle. And therefore it is, that, after this central turning-point has been passed in the Great Cycle,—i.e., after the middle point of the Fourth Race in the Fourth Round on our Globe—no more Monads can enter the human kingdom. The door is closed for this Cycle and the balance struck. For were it otherwise—had there been a new soul created for each of the countless milliards of human beings that have passed away, and had there been no reincarnation—it would become difficult indeed to provide room for the disembodied “Spirits”; nor could the origin and cause of suffering ever be accounted for. It is the ignorance of the occult tenets and the enforcement of false conceptions under the guise of religious education, which have created materialism and atheism as a protest against the asserted divine order of things.
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For more details on the theosophical approach to planetary evolution, see: The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1: Cosmogenesis.
Selected Writings on Evolution
- About the Mineral Monad
- Creation, Evolution and Emanation
- Esoteric Buddhism
- Fragments of Occult Truth [4-8]
- Premature and Phenomenal Growths
- Seeds and Seedlings: Evolution and the Evolver
- The Secret Doctrine
- The Secret Doctrine Dialogues
- Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Part 1)
- Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge (Part 2)
- Word Puzzles: Evolution