The Coming Race and Our Responsibility

From the notes of a talk given at the
United Lodge of Theosophists in London, England

To briefly summarise, the Esoteric Philosophy, the Ancient Wisdom and Ageless Wisdom which we call Theosophy – and which by far pre-dates the modern Theosophical Movement – teaches that Humanity, the human family, evolves on this Earth, during this “Fourth Round” period, through a series of seven successive “Root Races.” Each Root Race lasts for a vast period of time and represents a major Epoch in world history.

Four Root Races have been and gone:

The first Race we might call the “Polarian.” H. P. Blavatsky herself did not call it that, nor any other definite and specific name, but we could do so to aid comprehension, seeing as this is certainly an ideal term for it, based on “The Secret Doctrine.” The Hyperborean Root Race was second. The first truly human, i.e. self-conscious and truly ensouled, Race, was that which we refer to as the Lemurian, the third Root Race. Then the fourth, the Atlantean.

The fifth is still underway and is referred to as the Aryan, in the original and ancient sense of that term, not connected with Nazi ideas but instead meaning Indo-Caucasian, originating in Central Asia and old India.

But what next? The final two Root Races, sixth and seventh, are still to come, in the far distant future. But each of the seven Root Races is comprised of seven sub-races. Each sub-race includes seven main family-races.

The Root Races and their sub-periods all follow on consecutively from one another but there is always a certain amount of overlapping, as one race begins to fade out and another, originating from it, begins to slowly appear, increase, and expand.

The present evolutionary period is that of the fifth sub-race of the fifth Root Race. As it is fifth, it corresponds and relates to the fifth Principle in the human constitution, called Manas, the Mind principle, which can be either lower or higher mind. The sixth sub-race of the fifth Race would naturally relate to our sixth Principle, called Buddhi – literally meaning “wisdom” – as well as to Manas.

“The forthcoming 6th Sub Race . . . may begin very soon,” states H. P. Blavatsky and her Adept-Teachers in “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 147.

Later (Vol. 2, p. 444-445) she says: “The Americans . . . are, in short, the germs [i.e. the seeds] of the Sixth sub-race, and in some few hundred years more, will become most decidedly the pioneers of that race which must succeed to the present European or fifth sub-race, in all its new characteristics.”

So there we see two important things: first, that the coming sixth sub-race is not thousandsof years in the future but that its beginnings are just a matter of a few centuries away. That quote was written 135 years ago, so the sixth sub-race is now even closer. When it is said – by Theosophists or others – that the Aquarian Age, the New Age of Aquarius, heralds “a new humanity,” this must relate in part to the sixth sub-race, since that is coming into being during the early period of the Aquarian Age, which Theosophy maintains properly began close to the year 1900.

And secondly, the people of America are the seeds out of which the flower of the new race will grow.

Yet when we speak of the coming new race, it does not mean the arrival of new souls or of beings who are not already part of humanity. What it refers to is that in the USA and the Americas, where such a vast merging, intermixing, and intermarrying of all imaginable races, nationalities, and cultures has been taking place for over 200 years, and continues to do so, a new and more evolved type of physical body will be the evolutionary result. And since that preparation is being done in that part of the world – albeit without the participants having any conscious idea or knowledge of the role they are actually playing! – the new physiological form of humanity will originate there and thus will be known as a new race. But any of us can and will incarnate in and as the new sub-race, as our Karma requires.

As the souls of all humanity continue to evolve and progress, new and higher physical forms are always eventually required, as a necessary adaptation to the inner development of man. The outer must keep pace with the inner, otherwise the inner ceases to be able to properly express itself.

To avoid misunderstanding, however, we need to clarify and emphasise a couple of things: (1) This teaching does not mean that American citizens or the American nationality are in some way “spiritually superior” or higher than the rest of the world, for that is not so. (2) This teaching also does not mean that present day America is an example or illustration or even a preview of the sixth sub-race, for that also is not the case.

So what does it mean?

In “Echoes from The Orient,” William Q. Judge (the closest colleague of H. P. Blavatsky and co-founder with her of the modern Theosophical Movement) clarifies:

“We are, as yet, only preparers, much as we may exalt our plainly crude American development. . . . We are preparing here in America a new race which will exhibit the perfection of the glories that I said were being slowly brought to the surface from the long forgotten past. This is why the Americas are seen to be in a perpetual ferment. It is the seething and bubbling of the older races in the refining-pot, and the slow coming up of the material for the new race. Here, and nowhere else, are to be found men and women of every race living together, being governed together, attacking nature and the problems of life together, and bringing forth children who combine, each one, two races. This process will go on until in the course of many generations there will be produced on the American continents an entirely new race; new bodies; new orders of intellect; new powers of the mind; curious and unheard-of psychic powers, as well as extraordinary physical ones; with new senses and extensions of present senses now unforeseen.” (p. 26)

In his article titled “On The Future: A Few Reflections” he says that not only North America but also South America are involved in this process, though it seems to predominantly be North.

Now that we understand why America is the place, we may be able to better evaluate the claims made by some German esotericists and in some later versions of Russian-inspired “Theosophy” that the new race is actually developing in Russia rather than America. As important as Russia might be, it clearly is not undergoing the type of process that has just been described.

In another article, titled “Rounds and Races,” William Judge writes: “This fifth sub-race is said to be preparing in America for transition or transformation into the sixth sub-race: it is not entirely clear whether we in the United States today belong to the seventh family-race of the fifth sub-race, or to the first family race of the sixth sub-race. It seems certain that we are near the transition point.”

How long does a sub-race last? What sort of timescale are we talking about?

Over pages 444-446 of Vol. 2 of “The Secret Doctrine,” we read that “about 25,000 years” after the sixth sub-race begins, it “will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race.”

25,000 years is the approximate length of what is known in astronomy and astrology as the sidereal year, the great year, the tropical year, and is similar to the “Platonic year.” It equates to the sun’s circuit through all twelve zodiacal Ages.

HPB continues: “The Cycles of Matter will be succeeded by Cycles of Spirituality and a fully developed mind. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts. 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 co-operative work with nature. Thus will mankind, race after race, perform its appointed cycle-pilgrimage. Climates will, and have already begun, to change, each tropical year after the other dropping one sub-race, but only to beget another higher race on the ascending cycle; while a series of other less favoured groups – the failures of nature – will, like some individual men, vanish from the human family without even leaving a trace behind. Such is the course of Nature under the sway of KARMIC LAW: of the ever present and the ever-becoming Nature.”

These two quotes we have just shared seem to be saying that a new sub-race comes about every 25,000 years or so, i.e. more or less synchronised with the cycle of the great sidereal years.

But it is made less clear by the fact that in the same book she gives 25,000 years as the duration of a family race, which is only one-seventh of a sub-race.

That neither of these possibilities is actually the true, accurate, literal figure is made evident by these words from the same book, regarding the beginning of the Sixth Root Race, which will follow our sixth and seventh sub-races. If each sub-race is around 25,000 years in duration, we could expect the Sixth Root Race to properly begin in a little over 50,000 years from now. Or, if each family race is around 25,000 years, we could expect the Sixth Root Race to properly begin in a little over an extremely distant 350,000 years from now.

But instead, H. P. Blavatsky says with regard to the start of the Sixth Root Race:

“When shall this be? Who knows save the great Masters of Wisdom, perchance, and they are as silent upon the subject as the snow-capped peaks that tower above them. All we know is, that it will silently come into existence; so silently, indeed, that for long millenniums shall its pioneers – the peculiar children who will grow into peculiar men and women – be regarded as anomalous lusus naturæ [i.e. literally “freaks of nature”], abnormal oddities physically and mentally. Then, as they increase, and their numbers become with every age greater, one day they will awake to find themselves in a majority.”

What is stated with definiteness, on p. 445 of the second volume of “The Secret Doctrine,” is this: “This process of preparation for the Sixth great Race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races. . . .The Fifth will overlap the Sixth Race for many hundreds of millenniums, changing with it slower than its new successor, still changing in stature, general physique, and mentality, just as the Fourth overlapped our Aryan race, and the Third had overlapped the Atlanteans.”

We find WQJ saying “. . . the present America . . . certainly is now the nursery for the race that will in the future occupy the sixth Continent, which for the sixth Great Root-Race will emerge from the waters. Where? Perhaps when the present America has been split up by tremendous cataclysms, leaving here and there large pieces on its western side, it is in the Pacific Ocean that the great mass of the new one will come up from the long sleep below the sea.” (“On The Future: A Few Reflections”)

This conjecture – which is so precise as to be more like a prophecy or rather a statement of occult knowledge – tells us that it is only the West Coast of the USA which will survive and endure into the era of the Sixth Root Race. And not the whole of the West Coast but nonetheless “large pieces” of it. That West Coast of the United States is also known as the Pacific Coast and this helps to explain its significance. The Pacific Coast consists of just three states: California, Oregon, and Washington State. California is by far the largest of these. It is well known that in the 20th century California became the spiritual, esoteric, and “New Age” capital of the USA and while many of those developments have not been of a particularly noble or truly spiritual nature and character, it may well be that, in light of its important future role and significance, there is something particularly special in the unseen atmosphere of California.

In the book “Esoteric Buddhism” we see that the Master K.H. wrote to A. P. Sinnett: “Why not admit that our present continents have, like Lemuria and Atlantis, been several times already submerged, and had the time to reappear again, and bear their new groups of mankind and civilization; and that at the first great geological upheaval at the next cataclysm, in the series of periodical cataclysms that occur from the beginning to the end of every round, our already autopsized [i.e. broken up, fragmented] continents will go down, and the Lemurias and Atlantises come up again?”

In HPB’s article “Premature and Phenomenal Growths” she translates part of what she calls “a prophecy in certain Asiatic old books” which declares:

“And as the fourth (race) was composed of Red-yellow which faded into Brown-white (bodies), so the fifth will fade out into white-brown (the white races becoming gradually darker). The sixth and seventh Manushi (men?) will be born adults; and will know of no old age, though their years will be many. . . .”

She elaborates: “Thus we find from the above that the characteristics of the race that will follow ours are – a darker skin, shortened period of infancy and old age, or in other words a growth and development that in the present age (to the profane) appear quite miraculous. . . . The seven Rounds decrease and increase in their respective durations, as well as the seven races in each. Thus the 4th Rounds as well as every 4th race are the shortest, while the 1st and 7th Rounds as the 1st and 7th root races are the longest.”

So we see that there is no white supremacism here, nor anywhere else in genuine Theosophy. That which we today call “white” skin or pale skin will in the future be a non-existent thing belonging to the past.

In Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna imparts to Arjuna numerous details of metaphysical realities but then concludes the chapter with the question: “But of what use to you is the knowledge of all these details, O Arjuna?”

Clearly, there is a use to which such knowledge can be put, otherwise there would be no point to the rest of the chapter that preceded that question. The point is that knowledge of occult details is meant to be applied, meditated upon, and put into practice, as far as possible, rather than remain a mass of theoretical information which may go no further than the brain-mind.

On this present subject, what is our role and practical responsibility as regards the coming sixth sub-race?

Even if we are not physically based in the Americas in this lifetime, we still have an important part to play. Every human being affects the whole of humanity, teaches Theosophy, through the principle known as “Universal Unity and Causation.” No-one can, or does, live for themselves alone, but is always having an impact – usually unseen but nonetheless very actual – upon the whole.

“Every action, good or bad, is a prolific parent,” states HPB on p. 141 of “The Key to Theosophy.” Every action. There is nothing we may think, feel, say, or do now which will not effect ourselves and the rest of the human family in the future. So our responsibility is to start taking responsibility – consciously and constantly – for ourselves and within ourselves.

Robert Crosbie’s article “The Coming Race” comments:

“Consideration along these lines brings us to a sense of our responsibility as to the coming race. Whatever is to be in the future depends on us. It will not change unless we change it. We have to set the lines right so that others may follow, on the right basis. We have to forget personality, selfishness, separateness, and realize that each one of us must work for the good of all, must see all beings as one great whole, all beings of every kind working together from the same nature in the same direction, but differing in their degrees.”

We all know that that is true but it’s the perpetual practice of it that tends to prove the most difficult.

Raghavan Iyer brings it home very directly in his article “The Descent of Manas” when saying:

“Those who understand what is really at stake . . . could then look at their feelings, their thoughts, and particularly their words, to find out how much they are raising consciousness and how often they are lowering it. The tone of voice becomes important; the light in the eyes becomes relevant; one’s first thought on waking and one’s last thought before speaking become valuable tests. When the spiritual life becomes real in these ways, life itself is transformed, enriched, elevated, even beatified. H. P. Blavatsky urges, as do the Mahatmas, that people become aware of these tendencies. . . . The difference in the end is between Wisdom and knowledge, . . . The sovereign responsibility and golden opportunity in the use of this teaching are great because if it is applied in earnest each day, it will infallibly deepen all one’s perceptions. Seeing beyond the outer surface of terrestrial life to the inmost depths of every other human soul, one will truly become a friend and a helper of the entire human race.”

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