The Law of Evolution
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you to Broadcasting 4 of our Series “Introduction to Agni Yoga”.
Today we shall be talking about one of the fundamental principles of the Cosmic Order: Evolution.
If you do not know this law, you will find no orientation and there will be no progress.
The disciple asks: “Is Darwin thus important?”
No, that is not the point. We are going far beyond Darwin. What you need to know is the development that actually takes place (whether you take note of it or not) on this planet, around you!
How do you want to make progress when you know neither the direction nor the destination?
One cannot ask people to be brave if they do not know why they are on Earth, and where they should direct themselves when liberated. (Supermundane 44)
Section I: The Significance of the Law of Evolution
Evolution – that is the plan of God (or, scientifically speaking, of the Hierarchy, of the Cosmic Order) for the future of man, the earth, the solar system, and the Universe as a whole.
Evolution sets the direction which the future development will take.
Thus, one should first establish the direction of evolution. There cannot be two directions of progress. There can be but one true direction, and all other efforts will be errant. (Fiery World I, 396)
You and I and humanity as a whole can act successfully only if we submit to this Great Plan.
We have to go in the same direction as the evolution!
Every beginning depends on the understanding of the affirmed cosmic evolution. (Infinity I, 46)
Each conscious, thinking individual seeks anxiously for the future direction of evolution. If this direction is sensed, then common sense will strive to approach the right path more speedily. Our Teaching does not coerce, but indicates the way. Those who find the time for study of the books will enter the new world structures as welcome guests. We all must command ourselves to move with evolution; then every day becomes a day of victory. (Agni Yoga 580)
He who strives in the wrong direction, who tries to swim against the current of the evolution, must fail.
Each opposition to the foundations calls forth the counteraction of the Fire of Space. (Hierarchy 335)
Each one who isolates himself cannot find his way to Us. Thus, there are so many roaming shadows who cannot turn the affirmed key. Thus so many strivings are lost in space. (Hierarchy 171)
It is very sad to see how many tremendous well-intentioned efforts are in vain because they are contrary to the goals of the Cosmic Order.
The anguish of a wrong path is most cruel, most devouring! In the end such a man finally abrogates his progress and is in torture without understanding his own error. (Brotherhood 459)
Entities that are unwilling or unable to adapt are thrown back and lose the connection with the general progress.
Eventually, like the dinosaurs, they will be rejected as unsuitable for further development.
You can imagine that the fate of the one who separates himself from evolution is terrible. (Supermundane 635)
1. Life is Movement
The symbol of life is the river.
Life is symbolized by a river or rushing current, but never by a lake or a well. Movement is predicated by life. Movement of all and in everything is the basis of existence. One needs to grow to love motion, not so much the external as the internal. (AUM 494)
Life is movement.
The world lives by motion. Life is motion. (Brotherhood 188)
Only eternal motion gives life to all forms. (Infinity II, 637 )
Everything flows. (Heraclitus)
Nothing in nature repeats itself. There are not even two equal states of one and the same thing.
Not one of the waves of the brook can be repeated. (Community 171)
There is no permanency in Cosmos; even a simple object in two consecutive moments manifests itself differently. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 257 )
Everything, including man, is in constant transformation.
Man must develop a deep understanding that he is in eternal motion and in a state of continuous transformation. (Supermundane 756)
“And what happens when I refuse to be involved and just do nothing?”
When you do not move at all, when you do not strive forward, but stand still, whereas everything else around you is progressing – what will be the inevitable consequence? You will automatically fall behind.
Due to the motion of the Cosmos, it is impossible to remain immobile. There is either backward or forward movement. (Community 127)
2. No Standstill, no Perfection
We are living in a Universe characterized by infinity, by eternity.
Man must live in a reality of life marked by Eternity, and this realization will equip him with foresight for his actions. (Infinity I, 90)
The philosophy of the Brotherhood is based upon thinking about Infinity. (Supermundane 341)
In infinity there is nothing but eternal movement.
Everything is in motion and exists on account of motion. There cannot be one moment without motion. (Heart 260)
Through expansion of consciousness one grows to love this incessant motion. The manifested is continually evolving. (Brotherhood 531, 534)
In infinity, there can be no standstill.
There can be no stagnation in Eternity; all is in motion—in the striving toward perfection. (Supermundane 791)
There cannot be even a single static moment. Only the ignorant can attempt to hold everything back in a motionless state. (Brotherhood 534, 535)
In infinity there can be no completed state.
Nothing is completed, nothing is immovable. (Community 135)
We call perfection deadliness. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 353 )
What seems to be completed is in reality dead.
In completion there is death! It is impossible to conceive a point of cosmic standstill. (Infinity I, 40)
We must evolve, otherwise We shall be transformed into mummies. (Supermundane 97)
In infinity there is only eternal development.
For evolution a constant renewal and broadening is required. It is correct to think about the spiral, because eternal growth affirms infinity. (Fiery World III, 78)
Evolution is the incessant creation of ever new, ever higher forms. The idea that a certain state could be preserved unaltered for ever is contrary to nature.
Thus, from old forms new forms are born, in an eternal evolutionary process. (Infinity I, 274)
There are no limits to the upward development.
In Cosmos all is living and all is possible. These possibilities are limitless. (Infinity I, 100)
The Brotherhood calls toward Infinity. There is no end. Each new day offers new possibilities for approaching the limitless growth. (Infinity I, 113)
It goes on and on. Everything that exists continues to rise towards the top, the light, the highest goal!
The Great Architect builds eternally. It is senseless to suppose that certain parts of the Universe are completed and remain static. A great deal is made of the term evolution, but people have absolutely no conception of this process in its actuality. One can see how the human consciousness evades everything that threatens its established comfort. Likewise, the concept of evolution is turned into an abstraction, thus not disturbing the consciousness of the petrified heart in the least. But does not the heavenly vault evoke thoughts about eternal motion? Only through such evolutionary concepts can one absorb the beauty of the earthly pilgrimage as the sojourn for ascent. (Fiery World I, 408)
3. Movement with inconceivable Speed
Life is movement – with inconceivable speed!
The place where you are just now standing takes part in the rotation of the earth around its own axis (once a day). This movement proceeds at a speed of about 1,700 kilometres per hour.
The place where you are standing takes further part in the rotation of the earth around the sun (once a year). On this track you are moving with the earth at a speed of about 108,000 km/h.
The earth is part of the solar system. The place where you are standing, therefore, takes part in a third movement, namely the rotation of the solar system around the center of the Milky Way. On this course, you are advancing at a speed of 900,000 km/h.
Finally, the Milky Way – and you with it – travels through the Universe at a speed of 2 million km/h.
Our reality consists of space and time. Even time is racing ever faster! Developments which used to require several generations are now taking place within a few years (for example communication from telex via telefax to e-mail).
One two three time is hurrying, and we are hurrying with it. (Wilhelm Busch)
Only the blind do not perceive the unprecedented acceleration of the symptoms of evolution. (Community 265)
A being that chases around through space and time atsuch an unimaginable speed must not come to a standstill on the Spiritual Path either.
4. Body, Soul, Spirit
The driving force of evolution is the spirit. In order to understand that, we first need to expand our view of ourselves.
In the Series “Experiment Immortality”, we have already explained in detail: Man, in addition to his physical, mortal body, has a spiritual, immortal part, the soul. This is your real, imperishable self, your Eternal individuality.
Today we go one step further and add a third component to the human construction: the spirit.
5. Spirit in all Matter
“What do you mean by spirit?”
We are talking about the grain of the spirit or the monad. This divine spark is incorporated in all matter: in minerals, plants, animals and human beings, as well as in planets, suns and Universes.
“Thus, within me, too?”
Yes, of course, a particle of God dwells in each of us. You, too, are a “pharaoh” – a “house of God”.
Nothing in the Universe, from the tiniest atom via the most insignificant pebblestone up to the highest stars, is bereft of spirit.
It is Our wish to remind people that consciousness exists at a far greater depth than they suppose. Minerals also have the embryo of consciousness, but the expression of it is too far removed from humanity. (AUM 176,177)
There is spirituality in all that exists, and the very clay upon which we tread can be changed into children of truth. (Buddha, Helena Roerich, Foundations of Buddhism)
The spirit reveals itself in all creation. Without it, there is no life. Everything that exists is “animalis”: animated.
Life is in everything. (Brotherhood 560)
The divine Monad is to be found in every mineral, every plant, in every manifestation, as without this fiery grain there is no life. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 18.06.1935)
The so-called “inanimate” nature actually does not exist.
Try to observe the life of so-called inanimate objects. (Agni Yoga 101)
Every molecule of matter is a conscious life on the path of evolution. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 193 „Why Waste is an Evil”)
Expand your consciousness, sharpen the inner senses of your Eternal Individuality by perceiving this life in all that exists!
It may be understood that our senses also become sharpened by cognizing the life in everything existing in which we participate. (Fiery World II, 147)
The assertion that life is in everything merely expands the horizon. (Fiery World I, 461)
Thus, the medieval wisdom knew:
You will understand a stone or a piece of wood only if you perceive God in it.
This is the basis for the wonderful feeling that reveals your affinity with every stone, every tree, and even every star: They all are, like you, manifestations of the one God.
Only a very refined spirit will find within himself the courage to acknowledge a brother even in a rock. (Hierarchy 439)
No man is without heart, nor animal, nor plant, nor even stone. (Fiery World III, 587)
The only difference is: The spirit expresses itself relatively more perfectly in matter of higher levels than in lower matter.
6. Monad not individual and unchangeable
The grain of the spirit, the monad is not a living entity in the traditional sense.
The monad is not individual. It does not develop, but remains unchanging.
The seed in its essence is eternal. It is transposed from one form into another, but it preserves an ineradicable essence. Guard and honour greatly each grain, each seed of life; in it is contained the highest fiery energy. (Fiery World II, 357)
Throughout the eons of our eternal life, we are building up accumulations around our grain of the spirit.
The spirit remains inviolable. The fiery seed of the spirit maintains its elementary wholeness, because the essence of the elements is immutable. But the emanations of the seed change with the growth of consciousness. One should understand that the seed of the spirit is a fragment of the element of fire, and the energy accumulated around it is consciousness. (Agni Yoga 275)
To each is given a seed of goodness so that he may accumulate around it his earthly experience. (Supermundane 105)
The seed of the spirit is immutable, but it is clothed in garments that are woven by man himself. (Supermundane 553)
These accumulations form our soul or Eternal Individuality.
The structure of these acquired and accumulated energies is our individuality and destiny. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 03.12.1930)
The spirit or monad always remains in its primeval purity whether in an animal or a man. But only the accumulations which are stored up from contact with other energies build an individuality, or, if you prefer, a soul. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 16.01.1935)
As the being in which the monad is encased advances along the eternal path of ascent, its accumulations or emanations become ever stronger and finer.
Gradually, ascending from the simple to the more complex organisms, the monad, or seed of the spirit, remains unchanged in its elementary wholeness. But the emanations from this seed change according to the growth of the consciousness of the organism which has been animated by the seed. Consequently, the more complex and refined is the organism, the richer and more subtle are the emanations of the monad. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 18.06.1935)
7. Spirit moulds Matter
“Does not Charles Darwin’s work “On the Origin of Species” tell us how man has evolved?”
No! The purely materially orientated natural sciences do not grasp the essential!
No one with a healthy heart can seriously believe that finest organs, such as the eye, highly complex, meaningful entities, such as plants and animals, or even a creation like man, have evolved “accidentally” on the basis of Darwinian processes alone. This is a miserable concept.
Accident cannot guide the progress of humanity. (Infinity I, 148)
If you do not intentionally close your higher, inner senses, you must recognize:
A spirit rules which creates all these forms and keeps them alive.
Who then will doubt that in every earthly object is expressed someone’s will? Without a will no earthly object can be created, nor set into motion. (Fiery World II, 16)
Each stone on the planet has been created by thought. Each object has been unfolded by the creative power of thought. (AUM 23)
Nothing develops by chance. Everything proceeds according to necessity. Everything forms outwardly into something that it already is on the spiritual plane, according to its innermost nature.
The spirit is the engenderer of all that exists, and the bearer of what has been engendered. (Fiery World III, 316)
The spirit is the creator of each form. (Fiery World III, 363)
Your nails, as distorted and crooked you may have cut them, again and again grow to a particular, well defined form –according to an image, which is predetermined by the spirit.
8. Perfection of Matter
The divine spark enclosed in all matter is the key to understanding the evolutionary process: The spirit aims at perfecting, leading up higher and higher, spiritualizing and finally deifying the substance in which it dwells – man and all other matter.
At the beginning of this Broadcasting, we were asking for the direction of the development around you, by which you may orient yourself. Here it is:
The spirit strives at clothing itself in an ever more perfect form. That is the direction of the evolution.
It must be understood that the process toward perfection lies at the basis of evolution. (Hierarchy 297)
When we consider the course of evolution, we see: The trend is towards ever greater spirituality and refinement. The higher levels are more subtle, more spiritual beings.
Every molecule of living matter embodies an embryonic – a rudimentary – soul, that is on its way to self-conscious existence. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 135 “Blood Sacrifice”)
“Why does the plant stand above the stone in the evolutionary development, the animal above the plant, and the human being above the animal?”
This is a very important question. The answer is: Because on each of the following steps, the inner, divine nature, the spirit expresses itself ever more perfectly in matter.
Even the stones and the plants are on their way to Mastery however far they are in the distance, the time will be when they arrive at that point. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. III, “Questions and Answers” after Lesson “Chakras”, Answer to question 7)
God – or Logos – sends out particles (grains of the spirit) of himself. They gather matter around themselves. In the course of an infinite development, this matter evolves to ever higher creatures, and will one day finally itself become a god. This is how the Divine reproduces itself!
9. The Spirit as driving Force of Evolution
All this is not theory: You sense the third element of your nature within you as a permanent driving force: The spirit pushes us constantly to proceed ever further.
That spark of Divine Light and Life, that potent all powerful Radiance which is God, inherent in every atom of substance, throws matter into higher and truer forms. (From the Mountain Top Vol. III, Lesson “The inner Voice”)
The World is striving for crowning perfection. (Fiery World III, 23)
We are satisfied with nothing we have achieved. We are constantly looking for new challenges. We always want to move on to still higher levels.
Spirit and Matter are united in space. In this unity forms of life are created, and they pass through their circles of perfectionment. Being unified with matter, the spirit can be liberated only by the path of perfectionment. In the Cosmic Laboratory these two principles—unification and liberation—are the fundamentals of creation. The spirit, being made manifest in matter, must aspire to higher functions together with matter. (Fiery World III, 303, 304)
A Wimbledon champion like Boris Becker, of whom one would think that he has achieved long ago everything worth being desired, tries himself in ever new projects (and sometimes offers a miserable picture because there he is only a beginner).
The great cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued doing exercises on his instrument at the age of 92. He replied: Because he believed that he could still make progress.
It is the divine spirit within you that gives you no rest.
The image of God within you drives you upwards.
It puts before your eyes constantly the distant ideal of that higher being which you can be – which you should be. You feel: It is your destiny to mould yourself according to this image.
The physical body must be raised by the power of evolution to the rank of the spiritual entity which inhabits that body. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Fall of the Angels”)
“Can we dispense with the notion ‚God‘?”
Yes, of course, let us return to scientific language. Then we say:
There is a gigantic potential lying within you.
There is a germ within you, the predisposition for a far greater being than you are today.
A tiny chestnut has the potential to grow into a mighty tree.
Likewise, the little man of today’s time is destined to become an immortal spirit, a cosmic giant.
This hidden potential urges you to grow, to become greater!
It drives you to unearth, exploit and realize more and more the possibilities for growth without end lying within you. To man as well applies what we have generally said just now: In infinity there is only eternal development. There are no limits to your growth.
10. Man as transitional Stage to the next Step of Evolution
Hans Olde „Friedrich Nietzsche“
With today’s humanity, the end of the development is obviously far from being reached: We, too, express the divine spirit very imperfectly only. The evolutionary line that runs from stone and plant via the animal towards us goes, of course, further upwards.
When I see so clearly the ladder that leads from the plant to the human being, why do I mean that it ends with me, without further ascending? (Tolstoy “War and Peace”)
The potential of our possibilities is far from being exhausted. In the course of the development, we still have to overcome numerous animal features within us and to acquire as many divine qualities.
Is it possible that all began with you and will end with you? Does any process cease? When skeptics say, “It is the end,” We say, “It is the beginning!” (Infinity I, 5)
A great number of cells of the organism are to be found in a dormant state. It has been pointed out that their awakening would make a man luminous and able to fly. Is it conceivable that people in their present state could achieve such an awakening of light within themselves? Reflect that people are fully equipped for the furthermost evolution, but the treasure must be left asleep. The state of consciousness does not permit rapid advance. (Brotherhood 492)
Modern man is nothing more than a transitional stage on the way to those still higher steps of evolution which will come after us. Listen to the classical words of Friedrich Nietzsche:
I teach you the Overman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?
What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Overman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.
The Overman is the meaning of the earth.
Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Overman. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.
I love those who know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers.
I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that the Overman may hereafter live. (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) (Claude Monet “Wasserlilien“. Richard Strauss Also spoke Zarathustra“)
The next stage will be a species of an entirely new kind, much greater than modern man; just as we are greater than our apelike ancestors.
The energy will then be guided and controlled by the higher or Spiritual will of man, for the perfecting of a body as much superior to the bodies of the present races of mankind as the latter are superior to those of the animal creation. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 12 “The Phenomena of Sleep and Death”)
The present races of the earth are not as yet perfectly human. They retain many animal characteristics and qualities. When their evolution as perfect human beings is complete they will have become something altogether different from any race of beings that has ever inhabited this planet. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Ingratitude”)
The deplorable condition of humanity is due to the fact that nobody wants to know anything about ascent and elevation.
“We do not see anything today that wishes to grow greater,” Nietzsche complains („On the Genealogy of Morals“).
The world’s greatest need is a higher type of humanity. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Unity-spiritual and material”)
The impulse, however, which has brought forth the human species from the mineral, must not come to a standstill at our level. It has to take us even higher up!
The fundamental impulse, which has brought the human species out of the mineral cell, must not subside when the stone cell has gotten up on stilts. Losing aspiration, man ceases to be a conscious being. (Community 227)
Let us move on to the next level of evolution: To the Godman – a creature that expresses the Divine within us even more perfectly than the old man.
Much has been spoken about Man-God aspiring toward deification. We Brothers of Humanity seek and proclaim Man-God on Earth. Ready for flight, he is bearing his full Chalice on Earth. Man-God is a fiery creator. Man-God is the carrier of the fiery sign of the New Race. Man-God advances as an evident aspiring Redeemer of Humanity. (Hierarchy 14, 15)
The worlds are begotten and dissolved, whereas man, after having transmuted all his feelings in the fire of the spirit, is transfigured into an overman and takes his place amidst the Highest Spirits, thus living in Eternity. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. II, letter of 02.09.1937)
11. Development of Spirituality
You misunderstand evolution when you foresee the future of mankind with ever new technical facilities only.
Development takes place when man himself makes progress.
Evolution is not synonymous with the advancement of technology, with the perfection of our outward tools. It rather means a transformation and elevation of our own being. Evolution aims at shaping a higher species out of the old man.
If people are trying to improve even scientific instruments, then how desirable it is to refine the human apparatus itself! (Heart 76)
“What does that mean for me?”
You yourself are called upon to grow greater!
You yourself – not your house, your car, your bank account, your library, your machines, aircrafts or weapons.
Neither has — what you call — civilization much to do with progress. It is the inner man, the spirituality, the illumination of the physical brain by the light of the spiritual or divine intelligence that is the test. (Mahatma Letters, letter No. 17 of June 1882, answer to question 4 Appendix II = letter No. 18)
“In which direction will this transformation proceed?”
Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not be chasing through space brandishing their weapons like cowboys. Such ideas only extend devoid of imagination today’s conditions into the future. A higher being will be a more spiritual being.
In order to become greater, you need to grow spiritually.
Not the factory, but the workshop of the spirit will renovate the world. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 333 )
The time which humanity is now experiencing is one of transition from the evolution of the intellect to the evolution of spirituality. This period will be marked by the achievement of the predominance of the spirit over the intellect. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 07.06.1934 [Russian text: 23.06.1934])
The possibilities of our body are largely exhausted. Whether we can run the 100 meters a few milliseconds faster, is irrelevant. The potential of our Eternal, spiritual Individuality, on the other hand, is still completely left unexploited. Here slumber treasures for a development to heights of which we cannot even form a picture today.
The time for the spirit is approaching. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden I, 249 )
Among the skills which we can attain by exploiting the potential of our spirit are, for example, reading of thoughts, transmission of thoughts, levitation, telekinesis, spiritual healing, and other spiritual powers more. One day we will even learn to fly!
Then we will no longer need mobile phones, television sets or airplanes: Then our own organism will carry out the functions of these devices.
The significance of the heart is great; in the future it will render many apparatuses unnecessary. Verily, in the New Era people will appear who will replace the most complex apparatuses by themselves. At present, people invent robots, but after this mechanical fever has abated man’s attention will turn to the powers within himself. (Supermundane 22)
All this is far in the future. We are just beginning to develop the power of our spirit. Today we can say in general terms: Evolution is about strengthening the spiritual forces (the psychic energy) of our Eternal Individuality and refining and sharpening its inner, spiritual senses. You may find the first exercises in our Series “Experiment Immortality” and “Spiritual Exercises of Agni Yoga”.
Section II: Cycles of Involution and Evolution
So far, we have only talked about “evolution”. However, the term “involution” is necessary as well for the understanding of the whole course of development.
The development of the Eternal Individuality takes place in cycles of involution and evolution, as illustrated by the following sketch, taken from Mahatma Letters (letter No. 14 of 09.07.1882):
We call the descending arc „involution“ and the ascending arc „evolution“.
At the beginning of a cycle, at the highest point of the circle (point N), the spirit descends into matter. Matter is at first very similar to the spirit, that is, all subtle and ethereal, predominantly spiritual, hardly material.
As you may remember, we had already said (Broadcasting “The Supermundane World”): In reality, there is no difference at all between spirit and matter. There is just the one and only substance called “spirit-matter”. It is solid and material in a state of low vibration and ethereal and spiritual in a state of high vibration.
Just like ice with increasing warming turns first to water and then to steam.
At the beginning of the circle of development, the spirit-matter was in such a state of highest vibration.
There was an age in which matter as we know it, did not as yet exist; for it was not yet evolved to its present state of density; it was far more tenuous and elastic, finer in quality and of a much higher rate of vibration. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “The Gulf between”)
In the course of the involution of the spirit, during the first, descending half of the circle, the fine matter becomes harder and harder; denser and denser bodies are being formed. The initial spiritual knowledge gives way to intellectual cognition. The monad forgets its divine origin and loses its higher, spiritual senses and skills.
At the lowest point of the circle (point S) the descent of the spirit into matter, the involution is completed. Material and intellectual development have reached their peak. The spirit has attained the deepest point of its immersion into matter. This means: The beings standing here are intelligent, but more or less unspiritual.
At this turning point starts the second, the ascending half of the circle, the evolution: The spirit slowly frees itself from matter by spiritualizing it. Thus, matter is becoming finer again. The spirituality increases, the materiality decreases. Spiritual knowledge grows and replaces the intellectual cognition.
The experienced swimmer springs from the heights into the depths of the water. He feels daring and joy at returning to the surface. So, too, the conscious spirit plunges into carnate matter, in order to rise again to the mountain heights. (Brotherhood 320)
Thus the upper half at the beginning and at the end of the circle (from points W and O up to point N) is governed by spirit and spirituality, the lower half (from points W and O down to point S) by matter and intellect.
At the end of the circle (point N), the spirit has returned to its highest point. The matter in which it is enclosed is again of the highest vibration, fine and ethereal.
The entire future is founded upon the return of coarse matter into the domain of light. (Agni Yoga 531)
It is the God in him crying out to the God who created him, for readmission to the Garden of Eden – the state of equilibrium, perfection from which he was driven by divine law in order that he might return clothed in immortality. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, lesson 184 “No God”)
Once on the peak, a new circle of development can begin.
“Everything starts again from scratch? Once more the same development? “
Yes, but from a higher starting point. We continue enriched by all the experience, accomplishments and accumulations of the whole previous round. On that basis we may rise even higher in a new circle of development.
1. Development in Form of a Spiral
The entire evolution proceeds in the form of a spiral: eternally and infinitely growing. A new circle always begins one level higher than the starting point of the previous cycle.
All that exists grows spirally. (Agni Yoga 413)
The spiral structure is contained in all currents; one can see the same spiral foundation in all existence. (Fiery World II, 360)
It is important that you recognize this principle: The development again and again touches the same points and passes through the same phases – but in each case in more depth, on a higher stage than before.
The law of the spiral is the basis of Cosmos. This is confirmed not only by physics, but also by evolution. It is sufficient to cite the simple example of a screw in order to understand the movement of evolution. The more threads there are on the screw, the better it serves its purpose. Similarly, in evolution it is useful that the spiral has many turns.
People usually are amazed that human consciousness appears to experience again and again the same achievements and the same failures. The question arises, why must one return if it is possible to move forward? But this “returning” is only illusory. Evolution never returns to previous points, but passes above them. (Supermundane 332)
Not only we humans, but also minerals, plants and animals go through this cyclical, spiral-like process. Even our planet, the earth, parallel to the human cycle, goes the same way from an ethereal beginning down to cooling off and hardening and then back up again to spiritualization.
2. Corresponding Development of the Individual
Each and every one of us undergoes a corresponding development: As a child, in the first seven years of our life, we are still very spiritual in the sense that the soul determines our lives: We still have a connection to the Upper World, from which we just came.
As a child, everything material was alien to you. You still lived largely in the world of the soul – in your own realm of fantasy. The soul requires several years to fully take possession of the body and to really enter the physical, earthly sphere.
Then comes the time of sexuality, the building up of a material existence, the founding of a family and the shaping of the earthly world. The material steps to the foreground, the concerns of the soul into the background.
Towards the end of our life the material things lose their importance. The longing to live the life of the soul becomes ever greater. The earthly matters does not satisfy us anymore. We turn to spiritual tasks and pleasures. We prepare for the return to the spiritual world.
3. Seven Cycles
For us today seven cycles are recognizable from the unlimited course of evolution: The monad first goes through a mineral cycle, then a plant, further an animal, and today through the IV., the human-earthly cycle.
A monad which starts this IV. cycle, therefore, has previously run through the phases of a stone, a plant, and an animal, and has successfully completed the development of these lower species.
“Do I understand that correctly? I should have been a stone once?
Yes, indeed, to put it bluntly:
You – your true self, your Eternal Individuality – were once, millions of years ago, incarnated in the material shell of a stone.
You were then embodied in a plant and later in an animal until your spirit has finally advanced so far as to be able to appear in the more complex and sophisticated body of a human being.
The above sketch shows these cycles I to VII. Only the IV., the human cycle takes place on earth, all the other cycles are on other planets. Man comes from a lower planet. Once he has learned what he can learn here on earth, he will continue his progress in the V. cycle on a higher planet.
In the I. cycle, an ordinary pebblestone develops to a more “spiritual” mineral, for example a crystal which already grows and thus approaches the plant kingdom.
In the II. vegetable cycle, grass develops to higher plants such as roses, orchids or trees, as well as to forms of life representing the transition to the next cycle, the animal world.
Simplest examples of the animal sphere such as cockroaches or ants in the III. Cycle grow into more “spiritual”, higher animals such as dolphins, horses, dogs or monkeys. They thus approach the level of human beings and get ready for the IV. cycle.
The later V., VI. and VII. cycles offer opportunities for development far beyond today’s humanity – to creatures which will no longer be human beings but “God-Men” or “Overmen”.
The duration of one cycle is about 4.3 billion years.
Ahead of us lie the second half of the IV. cycle, or about two billion years, and then three times 4.3 billion years for the three cycles V, VI and VII. Thus, it will take about 15 billion years for our monads to return to the highest point of the circle.
4. Man is not descended from the Monkeys
Once you understand this system, you realize: Modern man does not originate from today’s monkeys:
The monads of the monkeys living on earth today are a whole cycle backwards compared to the monads of us humans, namely in their III., the animal cycle. Today’s earthly monkeys will become something like human beings only in their next, their IV. cycle on a different planet. Then today’s mankind will already be higher beings in their V. cycle.
The bodies of modern man’s monads, however, were similar to monkeys in their previous animal cycle on a lower planet.
5. Seven Rounds
Each of the seven cycles is divided into seven rounds. Within a cycle the process already described is repeated: The cycle begins at the highest point with round 1 and an ethereal, spiritual, almost immaterial being. In rounds 2 and 3, the monad is getting more and more material, reaches the lowest point of the circle in round 4, in order then to spiritualize itself again in rounds 5, 6 and 7.
Our current IV. earthly cycle started with its round 1 about 1.9 billion years ago. The monads, which at that time came to the (ethereal) earth from another planet, first had to go again through the mineral, plant and animal development, this time under the particular conditions of the earth. That took about 300 million years, so that the actual, human development on earth began about 1.6 billion years ago.
Today we are at the bottom of the 4th cycle, in round 4. Here the physical development of man (and of the earth) takes place. The creatures of the earlier rounds 1, 2 and 3 were ethereal models, not physical men as we know them today.
6. Seven Races
Each of the seven rounds of a cycle is divided into seven races. Again, the development is analogous to that in the rounds and cycles: Involution starting from the ethereal highest down to the lowest point and the densest material stage, and from there evolution up again with increasing spiritualization.
Little is known about the 1st race of round 4. The 2nd race were the Hyperboreans, the 3rd race the Lemurians, the 4th race the Atlanteans, and today we are in the 5th race of the Aryans.
Each of these races inhabited a continent of its own, which perished at the end of that race. For the upcoming 6th race as well, a new continent will emerge and large parts of the existing surface of the earth will sink into the sea (which means that the significance of the much discussed man-made climate change is somewhat relative).
Let us now take a closer look at each of these races:
7. First Race
Round 4 of the IV, the earthly cycle began some 300 million years ago with the 1st race. The first bodies were huge, bulky, and made of very fine, ethereal matter.
This is how the Mahatmas and Mme. Blavatsky describe these creatures:
An ethereal being, non-intelligent but super-spiritual. In each of the subsequent races and sub-races he grows more and more into an encased or incarnate being, but still preponderatingly ethereal. He is sexless, and, like the animal and vegetable he develops monstrous bodies correspondential with his coarser surroundings. (H. Blavatsky „The Secret Doctrine” Vol. I, Part I “Cosmic Evolution”, Stanza VI “A Master’s Letter”; Mahatma Letters, letter No. 14 of 09.07.1882)
8. Second Race: Hyperboreans
The 2nd race inhabited the Hyperborean continent, which lay around the North Pole and is now drowned.
The first two races were “gods” by their spirituality and purity, but had no intellect yet. They were immortal because they had no physical bodies. They were far superior to the present humanity with regard to spirituality.
Man is still gigantic and ethereal but growing firmer and more condensed in body, a more physical man. Yet still less intelligent than spiritual, for mind is a slower and more difficult evolution than is the physical frame, and the mind would not develop as rapidly as the body. (Blavatsky and Mahatma Letters, as cited above)
9. Third Race: Lemuria
The 3rd race lived in Lemuria, a continent located on the site of the present Pacific Ocean between Madagascar and South America. In the meantime it has perished – apart from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and some other islands – as a result of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The Lemurians were initially sexless, then androgynous. Only in the middle of the 3rd race, about 18 million years ago, the bodies separated into male and female, and human bodies as we know them today began to appear.
The spiritual senses withered away more and more due to the increasing corporeality. The monads in this race were initially bereft of reason, led by instinct and the remains of spirituality. It was only towards the middle of the 3rd race that the intellect began to form.
The bodies were gigantic, at the beginning 18, later still 6 meters tall.
The famous statues on the Easter Islands, a remnant of the continent of Lemuria, are evidence of these giants who had to grapple with the dinosaurs.
Remains of the ancient Lemurians are today peoples such as the Ethiopians, the indigenous Australians (Aborigines) and the Bushmen.
He has now a perfectly concrete or compacted body, at first the form of a giant-ape, and now more intelligent, or rather cunning, than spiritual. For, on the downward arc, he has now reached a point where his primordial spirituality is eclipsed and overshadowed by nascent mentality. In the last half of the Third Race his gigantic stature decreases, and his body improves in texture, and he becomes a more rational being, though still more an ape than a Deva. (Blavatsky and Mahatma Letters, as cited above)
10. Fourth Race: Atlantis
The 4th race, which began 4 to 5 million years ago, lived in Atlantis. This continent was located on the site of the present Atlantic Ocean between West Africa and South America, stretching as far north as Iceland.
Atlantis was destroyed by a flood disaster some 850,000 years ago. (Nicholas Roerich “The Destruction of Atlantis”)
There remained a few small islands which perished through subsequent floods. The last of them, the island of Poseidonia, mentioned by Plato, went down through the biblical Flood of Noah some 9500 years ago.
The very last remnants of Atlantis are today the islands of the Canaries, Cape Verde and the Azores.
When visit them on holiday, you can still feel in some places that you are treading on magical, age-old soil.
The Atlanteans had a high culture. They already used airplanes powered by ether. The intellectual development of mankind reached its peak at that time. In its prime – about 1 million years ago – the capital, the “City of the Golden Gates”, had 2 million inhabitants, and the whole continent 2 billion.
The Atlanteans were initially giants almost 4 meters tall. Over time, their size decreased to that of modern man.
Intellect has an enormous development in this Race. The (hitherto) dumb races acquire our (present) human speech on this globe, on which, from the Fourth Race, language is perfected and knowledge increases. At this half-way point of the Fourth Race humanity passes the axial point of the minor Manvantara cycle At this point then, the world teems with the results of intellectual activity and spiritual decrease. In the first half of the fourth race, sciences, arts, literature and philosophy were born, while it is but in the latter half that the spiritual Ego will begin its real struggle with body and mind to manifest its transcendental powers. (Blavatsky and Mahatma Letters, as cited above) (Nicholas Roerich “The Messenger – H. Blavatsky”)
The destruction of Atlantis should serve as a warning to us! Our today‘s civilization is at the brink of preparing a similar fate for itself.
Unfortunately, the present time fully corresponds to the last period of Atlantis. The very same pseudoprophets and a pseudosavior; the same wars, the same treasons and spiritual barbarism. We take pride in the crumbs of civilization; the Atlanteans likewise knew how to fly across the planet in order to speedily cheat each other. The temples likewise became defiled, and science became a subject of speculation and dissension. The same occurred in construction, as if they did not dare to build solidly! Likewise, they rebelled against Hierarchy and were stifled with their own egoism. Likewise, they disturbed the equilibrium of the subterranean forces, and by mutual efforts created a catastrophe. (Hier 145)
11. Fifth Race, present Time: Lowest Point
“Where dos today’s humanity stand?”
We modern men belong predominantly to the 5th race of round 4, the Aryans, which originated in Asia about 1 million years ago. We have thus just passed the lowest point of the entire cycle (point S).
Do not believe uncritically what I am telling you! Consult the straight-knowledge of your heart! It will confirm to you: The intellect, materialism, science and technology have passed their peak. They cannot show us the way anymore. The spirit has reached its lowest point.
Today we are in the very early stages of an awakening, itself slowly liberating spirituality.
Man has come to the parting of two ways, the highest point of the arc of development for the brute creation. The acme of selfishness has now been reached, and man must go back to his old brutish instincts and habits, or he must cross the bridge which separates the animal from the human kingdom; for as yet, man has not reached the perfect human stage of development, save in very rare instances. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 51 “The Suicide of the Soul”)
That is why the current times are so hard for the few spiritually minded people. As described so beautifully in Hermann Hesse’s work “The Glass Bead Game”, we must begin in small communities arduously, from zero and from the very bottom, to create a new spiritual order of life.
You are now in the first stage on the upward arc of the present age of your evolution. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “True Marriage”)
The future way on the ascending arc will be a path of inwardness, of the development of the spirit, of the strengthening of the higher powers of the immortal self of man: the spiritual path. The New Age is that of the evolution of the spirit from matter.
Already more than once the world has tottered on the boundary line between mechanics and the spirit. The present is precisely such a time. Multifarious is the bazaar of material rubbish; first of all one must appraise everything in order to set up new values. (Fiery World II, 285)
12. The new sixth Race
Nicholas Roerich „Lama“
The next step of evolution will be the 6th race of round 4.
It is the very purpose of Agni Yoga to prepare humanity for this step.
Now, We assemble the spirits of the sixth race, and Agni Yoga is the Call! (Infinity I, 188)
You should not believe that this New Man will appear on Earth by heredity or on its own somehow out of the blue.
“There’s so much talk about Indigo children being born all of a sudden, and nobody knows why.”
That is mysticism which must not deceive you. Nothing in the Universe happens by itself, without cause, without a spiritual impulse.
The evolution of man will only advance through our own conscious, active cooperation!
It took a gigantic effort for the last animals to rise from four legs to two legs in order to become the first humans.
Had there not been some trailblazers who advanced on this new unheard-of path, humanity as we know it today would never have come into existence.
Likewise, the New Man of the 6th race will appear only through individual pioneers transforming into immortal spirits in a heroic elevation, and more and more old men following their shining example. There is no other way than this one of self-education.
Let us not think that the next race will fall from heaven on rosy wings. No, here also one cannot dispense with a laboratory. We welcome it if now thoughts about the transformation of the race are strengthened. For this, we shall not resort to the help of monkeys, but shall turn to the foundations of human nature and add the accumulations of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms. Thus the human spirit will receive a regenerated garment. (Hierarchy 207)
For the sixth race, as for the previous ones, a separate, new continent will be formed.
The cycle of Kali Yuga is approaching its end on our planet and we are now going through a transitory stage. Satya Yuga must begin with the affirmation of the sixth race, individual groups of which are already appearing on Earth. But the true era of Satya Yuga on our planet can begin only after the planet is purified of its unfit material and new continents are formed. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 31.05.1935).
Section III: Development up to the highest Levels
There are no limits to our further upward development. Each of you can reach the next level and become a Gandhi, Mozart or Raphael, a Saint or a Mahatma. These themselves have worked their way up long time ago from lower levels and since then have proceeded even further to still higher steps.
It is absurd to think of the essence of an Arhat as being something unearthly. He evolves on Earth as a Leader of hearts. (Heart 585)
Beyond them come still higher stages: “sons of God” like Jesus or Buddha, angels and archangels. By virtue of the indwelling divine fire, every human being is a potential Christ!
The Spiritual Light is reflected within the mentality of man, and also in that of every living creature in varying degrees; therefore every man is a potential Christ. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 207 “The Coming Avatar”)
First you were mineral, then plant, then animal, then human. You will become an angel, and that too you will leave behind. There are still a thousand other forms of existence waiting for you. What you cannot imagine, you will be. (Rumi)
All these higher creatures have outgrown the lowlands of normal, earthly human life. They have worked their way up out of external conditions that were no better than ours today. Their greater proximity to God is based on nothing else than a purer life, a higher striving, and on a more successful development of their divine core.
The word Mahatma is translated as Great Soul. Some imagine the Mahatmas as a completely distinct race. One should not conceive a Great Soul to be entirely distinct. Each Mahatma began his ascent from the dregs of the people, having only dared to choose the difficult path of the Great Soul. (Hierarchy 304)
All the Archangels and Angels had to go through human evolution. And the Archangel Varahael, or Uriel, was and is a Man. Likewise the Archangel Michael, though ranking amongst the Highest Archangels, nevertheless walked on our sinful Earth, bringing salvation. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 12.12.1934)
How could it be otherwise? How else than by work – work on yourself! – can you reach such high levels?
And how could a being like Jesus understand and lead mankind if he had not himself carried out human labour, endured human suffering, and risen above it?
How, then, can the heart realize all the beauty of Existence if it has not penetrated into all the joys and sorrows of life? (Fiery World III, 208)
People say the Kumaras [Archangels] are a superearthly manifestation, but they forget with what labor the attainment is built. By this path are the qualities of the Leaders of humanity accumulated. If they do not pass through earthly sufferings, they cannot respond to people’s sufferings. If they do not experience the sweat of toil, they cannot guide people in their labor. Self-abnegation, mercy, compassion, courage are forged in life. Nothing abstract can mould the strength of the spirit. Thus let people understand the Kumaras as the true Leaders. (Brotherhood 489)
It would be unscientific to assume that Jesus or the angels stand outside the evolutionary process. There is nothing in the Universe that is not subject to this law.
Helena Blavatsky accepted the divinity of Jesus only so far as He had cultivated the Spark of the divine in His nature to a greater degree than had the masses of humanity. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Faith in Christ a Spiritual Guidepost”)
The divinity of Jesus does not rest upon a miraculous or supernatural conception, birth and resurrection. The life and conduct accredited to Him are sufficient to show the action of Divinity through Him. He is the one perfect pattern in ages of human effort handed down to the races of mankind now upon the earth.
The fundamental cause of the difference between Jesus and countless other men of similar potentialities, lies in the fact that through many lives the inner Ego, the Self of that entity, had prepared conditions by self-sacrifice, indefatigable labor, purity of life, intense love and unremitting service for others, for the acceptance and radiation of that divine light we call the Christos in and through His whole nature.
This made of Him “One set apart”, a “Light to Lighten the world”, a pattern for all men to copy if they would reach the altitude where He dwells, and at the same time and by the same means furnish the vehicle through which the phenomena noted in the various accounts of the descent of the Holy Spirit, could be manifested to a wondering people. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 64 “Let there be Light”- Divinity of Jesus)
“That is rather highflying! How will the development continue with me? “
The next steps within our reasonable reach are: Become first a disciple and eventually a co-worker of the Mahatmas of the Brotherhood of Shambhala! Prepare to take office there one day, so that the current office bearers may continue their ascent on higher planets.
Sometimes We say, “Strive to Us with all your might.” (Supermundane 72)
The wise man proceeds to Me by the Higher Path. (Fiery World II, 369)
Much higher, but latent as a potential within us, are the stages of a ruler over solar systems, Cosmoses and Universes.
Only joy, indeed enthusiasm can prevail at the immeasurable possibilities for unlimited ascent that are being offered to us.
Man on the Path to God
When we have come this far, we cannot stop before the top of the pyramid: It is one of mankind’s most terrible errors to imagine God as an unattainable creature outside of nature and evolution.
It is the separation of God from Manifested Nature that causes all the mistakes and terrible contradictions. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 20.04.1935)
When people heard about the unattainability of the Highest they began to reject in general everything Invisible. (Fiery World II, 85)
He, too, eons ago, has gone through the natural evolution from the earliest beginnings, and has risen by nothing but labour to the highest heights. One of the most important teachings of Agni Yoga is:
There is no God who was not man at one time. All gods must undergo human evolution. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 31.05.1935)
We are called forth to follow the same path!
In order to bring all substance of creation up to the point of consciousness which the Creators themselves enjoyed, it was necessary that this substance should pass in turn through what the Creators had before passed through in other worlds, in other lives. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Fall of the Angels”)
It is of the utmost importance that you recognize the evolutionary line leading from the blade of grass via man up to beings standing far higher than we ourselves. Only thus can you form a scientific picture of the higher spheres that does not contradict reason. Only thus can you gather courage for your own ascent. Only thus can we overcome the unfruitful abstractness of today’s understanding of God.
And when one has traced the thread from Christ to the blade of grass, then only has the scope of work been covered. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 139)
God, Nature, Law (call it what you will) is the same beneficent all-powerful energy that evolves a God from a stone. (From the Mountain Top Vol. I, Lesson “The nine Steps”)
We are talking about the details of a scientific understanding of God in our Broadcasting “Who (or what?) is God?”
At the beginning of this Broadcasting, we had asked for the goal of the development around you by which you may orient yourself. Here it is:
Man is on the path to God. That is the goal of evolution.
This idea of our eternal evolutionary path to the highest heights is neither new nor unworldly mysticism: Jesus himself gave this advice to us 2000 years ago when he taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5, 48)
Only realize that you carry, with your higher, spiritual nature, God’s image within you.
One cannot express it more powerfully than to say that man is created in the image of the Highest. Reminding about the image of God must lead man into New Paths. (Fiery World I, 490; Fiery World III, 147)
All religions have noted the affirmation about the destination of man as an image the Highest Force. Wherein does an image of the Highest Force reveal itself? Only in perfectionment of the spirit may man become the image of the Highest Force. (Fiery World III, 110)
Then it will be your natural desire to strive to become as similar as possible to this inner model.
Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. (Leviticus 19, 2)
Let your desire be to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord. (Hebrews 12,14)
Our mission is to get as close to God as possible. (Kierkegaard)
The divine, scientifically speaking the gigantic potential lying within you, imperatively demands to reveal itself. Hence your longing for the highest levels.
What he, the real man, the real woman desires above all else is God, and nothing less will satisfy. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 138 “The eternal Tragedy”)
The soul of man is continuously urging him on to reach from one height to another. It knows it can never be satisfied until it becomes conscious of its unity with the Godhead. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 228 “Hero Worship”)
The higher you climb, the closer you will come to God.
As you go upward you are more and more united with all who are going before you, who lend you strength and help. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. II, Lesson “Spiritual Triumph”)
When we rise to the Highest, we will also dwell with the Highest. (Fiery World III, 260)
This is not a chimera, not an unattainable goal:
With your higher self, you carry the germs of the attributes of a God already within you.
Now it is your task to develop these hidden talents in the forthcoming millions of years step by step to their highest perfection.
Since we are particles of the Absolute, and since each particle of the One Whole potentially possesses all the qualities of this Whole, we can gradually unfold this potential within ourselves during the span of countless incarnations and the millennia that reach into Infinity. (Helena Roerich Letters Vol. I, letter of 01.02.1935)
Every organic centre is a god in embryo. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 9 “The Law of Balance”)
The heart will lead us by the path of Christ up to the step of Transfiguration. (Heart 333)
To become like a god: Will not that be a worthy – will not that be the highest goal?
When will people comprehend the wondrousness of becoming like the Highest Beings? As yet, they are abashed at this thought. (Agni Yoga 215)
Rightly directed study will point out the path to the Gods. (Teachings of the Temple Vol. I, Lesson 89 “Character”)
He who goes to his fathers will dwell with them; he who goes to the angels will dwell with them; and he who goes to God will dwell with Him. That means that he who has ordained for himself the utmost progress arrives at the best attainment. (Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, 225)
To conclude this Broadcasting, let us listen to a proud statement:
The wayfarer affirms that he goes to the Lord Himself. It is true, people are amazed at such a resolution, but they respect such steadfastness. One must set before oneself the loftiest goal; only then does the road not appear forbidding. One must adjoin the highest quality throughout all existence. One must accept the highest measures as alone worthy of the Highest Forces. (Fiery World II, 370)