[Reprinted from THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, January 1968.]
Human Evolution has a long past—longer than modern science, though it has pushed back the age of man considerably, would admit. Man is not descended from the ape, nor did civilization begin in savagery. Theosophy rejects all theories of evolution which look upon brain, body and matter as the producers of mind, soul and spirit. Assigning to thinking man the age of 18 million years, Theosophy traces the roots of human mind and self-consciousness to the sacrifices of a Celestial Hierarchy known by many names in the Hindu Puranas and other exoteric books. They are the mysterious beings that preside over the constellation Capricornus or Makara—beings about whom H.P.B.'s Secret Doctrine gives instruction more in the shape of hints than in detail.
These mind-born sons of Prajapati taught infant humanity its arts and sciences—agriculture, architecture, etc. They also incarnated in the mindless men, i.e., men in form not in mind. The differences to be found in the human kingdom should be traced to this psychological phenomenon. The mindless men were entities of different grades of bodily sensitiveness, and each attracted to itself what it deserved. Just as there is fire locked up in a piece of wood which blazes into flame when struck by lightning, so also those mindless human forms carrying within themselves the fire of mind were touched by the Fire-Fathers, the Agnishwatta Pitris, and were lighted up into self-consciousness. The differences which arose after this process, divided humanity into groups. The incarnating entities themselves were of different degrees of intelligence.
In the beginning, immediately after the descent of those gods—the Fallen Angels of the Christian scriptures—the most advanced lived with the less advanced, teaching the latter, as said above. It was the Golden Age of the race when the whole of humanity was one family with one language and one religion. The elders tended and looked after the young, and selfishness and sorrow were unknown.
As ages rolled by and the less evolved members of the human family grew in intelligence, they were animated by the desires of the senses and the sense-organs and they became rebellious, like growing boys and girls who in their teens begin to think their fathers fools. This rebellion was itself but a Karmic reaction from previous action, about which much has been written in the second volume of The Secret Doctrine.
The Atlantean rebels were slaves to their own passion-nature. The powers of the lower self, Kama-Krodha-Lobha, the triad of passion-anger-greed, kept the embodied Spirit in a firm grip, and left it no scope to commune with the Father in Heaven, the Higher Divinity Self. Thus arose in the human race intelligent, self-conscious entities who chose the path of vice and wickedness and led others astray.
Yet, all human beings carry within themselves, in however veiled a form at present, the Light of Wisdom and the Power of Compassion which they owe to the Fire-Fathers, the mysterious Makaras. In the present-day gloom caused by strife, competition, greed and carnage, we wonder where that Wisdom and that Compassion are to be found. Are they not dead? Esoteric Philosophy teaches that they are not dead though they are deadened. The materialism of modern science and the degrading influence of dogmatic religion have put to sleep man's divine intuitions. The mission of Theosophy is to shake men out of the jogtrot of existence and make them claim their divine heritage.
We must arouse ourselves to recognize the truth that what we should fear is not another world war, not the food shortage, nor our own impoverishment. These fears are born of the disregard of the truth that unless we fight our own lust, wrath, greed, vanity, pride, concupiscence, there will be international wars, class struggles, family feuds. Says The Secret Doctrine (II, 268):
How shall we adjust our outer terrestrial self to our own spiritual nature? By adequate knowledge of the terrestrial and the spiritual and by the perception that the corrupted nature of the former and the non-recognition of the latter are responsible for the disharmony between the two. If "the animal will be tamed one day," why not make a serious and sincere attempt now, and accomplish the task in a speedier fashion? Why this obstinacy, almost amounting to perversity, in going the way of the animal?
The death and dissolution of the terrestrial, animal nature will naturally occur if we succeed in gaining the active guidance of the Self within. Isis Unveiled (I, 39) helps us:
Let us resolve righteously. The strength to carry forward our resolves will come with knowledge, which is to be obtained through regular study of our divine nature and its celestial parents.