The Ascending Cycle
George William Russell - A.E.

The teaching of the Secret Doctrine divides the period during which human evolution proceeds upon this globe into seven periods. During the first three-and-a-half of these, the ethereal humanity who appeared in the First Race gradually become material in form, and the psychic spirituality of the inner man is transformed into intellectuality. During the remaining three-and-a-half periods, there is a gradual dematerialization of form; the inner man by slow degrees rises from mere brain intellection to a more perfected spiritual consciousness. We are told that there are correspondences between the early and later periods of evolution; the old conditions are repeated, but upon higher planes; we re-achieve the old spirituality with added wisdom and intellectual power. Looked at in this way we shall find that the Seventh Race corresponds to the first; the Sixth to the Second; and the Fifth Race (which is ours) corresponds with the Third. "We are now approaching a time," says the Secret Doctrine, "when the pendulum of evolution will direct its swing decidedly upward, bringing humanity back on a parallel line with the primitive Third Root Race in spirituality." That is, there will be existing on the earth, about the close of Fifth Race, conditions in some way corresponding with those prevailing when the Third Race men began their evolution. Through this period may be yet distant hundreds of thousands of years, still it is of interest to forecast that future as far as may be, for the future is concealed in the present, and is the outcome of forces working to-day. We may find out from this enquiry the true nature of movements like the Theosophical Society.

One of the most interesting passages in the Secret Doctrine is that which describes the early Third Race. "It was not a Race, this progeny. It was at first a wondrous Being, called the "Initiator," and after him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings." Without at all attempting to explain the real nature of this mysterious Being or Race, we may assume that one of the things hinted at is the consciousness of united being possessed by these ancient Adepts. Walking abroad over the earth as instructors of a less progressed humanity, their wisdom and power had a common root. They taught truth from a heart-perception of life, ever fresh and eternal, everywhere pervading nature and welling up in themselves. This heart-perception is the consciousness of unity of inner being. The pendulum of evolution which in its upward swing will bring humanity backwards on a parallel line with the primitive Third

Root Race, should bring back something corresponding to this primeval hierarchy of divine sages. We should see at the end of the Kaliyuga a new brotherhood formed from those who have risen out of material life and aims, who have conquered self, who have been purified by suffering, who have acquired strength and wisdom, and who have wakened up to the old magical perception of their unity in true Being. "At the end of the Kali, our present age,

Vishnu, or the "Everlasting King,' will appear as Kalki, and establish righteousness upon earth. The minds of those who live at that time shall be awakened and become pellucid as crystal." (Secret Doctrine, II, 483)

Passing beyond the turning point of evolution, where the delusion of separateness is complete, and moving on the that future awaiting us in infinite distances, when the Great Breath shall cease its outward motion and we shall merge into the One - on this uphill journey in groups and clusters men will first draw closer together, entering in spirit their own parent rays before being united in the source of all light and life. Such a brotherhood of men and women we may expect will arise, conscious in unity, thinking from one mind and acting from one soul. All such great achievements of the race are heralded long before by signs which those who study the lives of men may know. There is a gestation in the darkness of the womb before the living being appears. Ideals first exist in thought, and from thought they are outrealized into objective existence. The Theosophical Society was started to form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, and its trend is towards this ideal. May we not justifiably suppose that we are witnessing to-day in this movement the birth of a new race corresponding to the divine Initiators of the Third; a race which shall in its inner life be truly a "Wondrous Being." I think we will perform our truest service to the Society by regarding it in this way as an actual entity whose baby years and mystical childhood we should foster. There are many people who know that it is possible by certain methods to participate in the soul-life of a co-worker, and if it is possible to do this even momentarily with one comrade, it is possible so to participate in the vaster life of great movements. There will come a time to all who have devoted themselves to this idea, as H.P. Blavatsky and some others have done, when they will enter into the inner life of this great Being, and share the hopes, the aspirations, the heroism, and the failures which must be brought about when so many men and women are working together. To achieve this we should continually keep in mind this sense of unity; striving also to rise in meditation until we sense in the vastness the beating of these innumerable hearts glowing with heroic purpose: we should try to humanize our mysticism; "We can only reach the Universal Mind through the minds of humanity," and we can penetrate into their minds by continual concentration, endeavouring to realise their thoughts and feelings, until we carry always about with us in imagination, as [wrote] Walt Whitman, "those delicious burdens, men and women."

Irish Theosophist, November 15, 1893

Present article was scanned and proofread and made available for publication by Mr. Jake Jaqua.

Last update: januar 2009
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