In exoteric knowledge there is always a gap between an essentially external view of historical events and a rationally contrived metaphysics or an individualistic conception of an inner spiritual life. It is this gap that is closed in The Secret Doctrine. Here we find no tension between the transcendental and the temporal, and no frustrating hiatus between the notions of "is," "ought," "can," and "must" in ethical thought. We are invited to consider our individual potentialities and limitations in terms of a common human nature that is continuously alterable and finally perfectible under laws of cosmic evolution that are reflected in the universal history of mankind, extending into a remote but recoverable antiquity. If we do not yet know our own far-flung potentialities, or understand our human limitations in a reflective temper, this is because we are not really aware of our immense collective inheritance, nor do we see why, in the course of a long involution into matter, this inheritance became inaccessible to our materializing minds.

 H.P.Blavatsky pointed to the primeval revelation granted to the ancestors of the whole race of mankind. The Wisdom-Religion is the inheritance of humanity, not of any privileged race or nation. Its truths are as old as thinking man, actualities visible only to the eye of the real Sage and Seer, and orally revealed to man and preserved in the adyta or temples through initiation. "Thus every nation received in its turn some of the said truths, under the veil of its own local and special symbolism; which, as time went on, developed into a more or less philosophical cultus, a Pantheon in mythical disguises." We are enabled by The Secret Doctrine to raise our sights from the local and the heterogeneous to the universal and the homogeneous, to deepen our insight by piercing the veil rather than by exchanging one veil of symbolism for another. We are helped to withdraw our consciousness from the external precipitations and materializations in recorded History (or historical time) into our inmost recesses, at least to the Karana-sharira (the sheath of subtle, luminous, noumenal or causal substance), which may bring into view our "soul-memories" of a past human evolution, helping us to stand outside history, as it were. When this is achieved, we shall be able to open and direct the Eye of Dangma (intimately connected with the third eye now lost to man) toward the essence of things in which no Maya can have any influence.

 In this way, in time, the mind may become free of the partisan perspective of individual skandhas and locus in space and time – taking a wider, deeper, and nobler view of the human inheritance than any extant in the modern world; grasping through a study of likes and dislikes the reasons for the hold of a particular and complex set of skandhas over man's kama-manasic rationalizations; appreciating and accepting the relentless course of the workings of Karma-Nemesis in the lives of individuals, races, and nations; developing patience with the limitations of ourselves and of others, and finding a detachment from the delusions of cultural egotism everywhere that can only come from a cyclical (rather than a unilinear) view of historical evolution; seeing the continuity in recorded history as a mirroring of the continuity of individual and collective action on the plane of conflict among personalities with their rival but short-sighted notions of want, need, and interest; recognizing that the facts of recorded history are effects in relation to the crucial causal chains generated in pre-history during the earlier Races; regarding the episodic experiences of partial collectivities in history as the cruder shadowings of archetypal patterns of cosmic involution and human evolution depicted in primordial myths and legends, and recorded in the secret history of occult tribulations in antiquity; and, finally, studying our own psychological make-up and the development of earlier Races in the present and earlier Rounds.

 This is a tremendous undertaking. H.P.Blavatsky's genius and method made it a possibility for a wider range of human beings on this planet than ever before. She spoke to each and all, awakening the deepest memories and dormant perceptions of receptive souls.

 The consciousness of human beings is, for the greater part and most of the time, intensely bound up with their personalities conditioned by the influences of this life. Men are all too apt to externalize their internal defects (inherent in their lower Upadhis and their habitual use of them) and project them upon their own race or family or nation or some other. Further, because of the "need" of the personality to "belong," while evading confrontation with its individuality (which must stand on its own and shine by its own light), human beings tend to make sectarian claims on behalf of the group with which they are identified by birth – or by a choice which is more emotional than rational – and thus are caught up in those materializations of thought and feelings that constitute the degradation of every group, religion, and nation. These identifications reinforce false identity, false alibis, narrow attachments, and aversions, by invoking the apologetics and distortions of "cunningly made-up History." They lead men to deny their debts to remote ancestors or their own share in the iniquities of the past and the injustices of the present. Also, they look outside themselves at fragmentary and distorting portions of history that obscure the continuity and interdependence of the past endeavors and failures of mankind. Caught up especially in the current doctrines and fashionable slogans, they see the past largely in terms flattering to their present predicament. Reacting rebelliously against received notions is not much better, and far from the same as achieving a true objectivity.

 The proper use of history enables us to internalize all external defects and excrescences in our own immense past as Egos, thus assuming instead of evading responsibility; to look at all historical epochs and sectarian claims and human achievements from the standpoint of the needs of the soul and of spiritual growth; to reflect upon the ancient war in the Fourth Race between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness – a war in which we were all involved and which has left its marks and effects, not only upon history and human institutions, but also upon our psychic natures and our very capacity for reading historical lessons. We now use language in an inverted manner and pervert the vocabulary of soul-life to serve the egotistic purposes of the lower Manas. But we must gradually learn to see that the mental habit of regarding everything unpleasant in our collective and individual lives as unjust or fortuitous merely traps us in time and makes us lose touch with reality. Nature does not move by fits and starts, and there are no "accidents" in history or in our lives; what we cannot comprehend is not intrinsically inexplicable. The more we universalize our thinking and free our feelings from personal bias, and the more we contemplate the vast perspective of cosmic evolution and of pre-history, the more we can at least partially unravel the tangled skeins of collective Karma and cyclical manifestations of phenomena. These latter are mirrored in our own psychological tendencies. In short, human beings usually read and write history in ways that reinforce their own egotistic sense of uniqueness and separateness. To learn lessons correctly from the laws of evolution and the facts of the mental history of mankind is truly humbling to lower Manas and inspiring to higher Manas. The dignity of the human soul requires us to look for explanations, not excuses, for our limitations, to seek a heightening rather than a drugging of our sense of responsibility.

 The Mahatmas see human history (as an integral part of cosmic evolution) from the vantage-point of "the sacred Science of the Past," the birth and evolution of which are lost in the very night of time. The primary source of this Science is the secret annals, preserved in lost and hidden libraries known only to the Lodge of Adepts. The noumenal patterns underlying the events thus recorded are also enshrined in the Akasic records known to Initiates and dimly glimpsed by highly intuitive men on earth. A third source, accessible to humanity but comprehensible only to students of the Wisdom-Religion, is what H.P.Blavatsky called the "memoirs of Humanity," the myths and legends of all nations, especially conveyed under a veil of subtle symbolism and sustained allegory in the Puranas of the original Aryan Race. The first of these sources is not only unknown but even ruled out of court by the exoteric pedants, the ethnocentric scholars who produce fragmentary history in the framework of a jumbled, foreshortened chronology. The second of these sources cannot be tapped by those who have recourse merely to the fallible method of induction from bits of material "evidence" on the grossest plane of the astral light, extending over the psycho-physical "shells" of past events. The third source became effectively available only after publication of The Secret Doctrine, affording the necessary keys. Indeed, no scholar could write a philosophy of history that could compare in scope and universality and timelessness with the account of cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis given by an Initiate of the stature of H.P.Blavatsky.

 Esoteric history, unlike that of modern scholars (among whom hardly one or two like Toynbee even imperfectly echo the ancient teachings regarding the universal operation of cyclic law), presupposes "the law of parallel history and races." The historian, according to Ranke, must view all epochs with an equal eye, but no scholar has risen to the level of objectivity and universality implicit in the statement: "Humanity is the child of cyclic Destiny, and not one of its Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its cooperative work with nature." The deliberate furtherance of this task, in the context of a definite global vision and long-term plan, is a crucial part of the programme to be progressively unfolded from 1975.

 We know that evolution rules in every department of Life, in every class of being; that all Beings above man must at some period have passed through our stage; that all beings below man will some day arrive at the human stage. This law of all evolution being applied in the light of Spiritual Identity and Brotherhood, must lead us to recognize that there are Beings above us, Beings who once were men, who return at cyclic intervals when Their aid is needed in the world, when everything is in a transition state, to give further light and guidance to mankind, so that we may more conscientiously and responsibly pursue our own task of progression and in turn help on the evolution of all Nature below the estate of man.

 That such Beings do appear in the world is testified to by tradition, by all religions, by historical records, by great Teachings and by great examples of the noblest Altruism. All the story of the Past shows that at different periods of the world's history there has come among men in human guise some Being who was hailed by some of his own time and accredited by succeeding generations with being a Divine Incarnation. . . . It is written of Jesus that he "became in all things like unto us" – in order, we may well believe, to make possible the transmission to those to whom he came of that portion of the "ancient, secret, constant and eternal Doctrine" most necessary for their well-being.


Hermes, November 1975
by Raghavan Iyer