Previously, in such articles as Atlantis and Lemuria and Human Evolution in The Secret Doctrine, we have summarised the essence and basic outline of what the teachings of Theosophy have to say about the lost continent and civilisation which we call Atlantis and which the “Atlanteans” themselves called by quite a different name. Further information has been provided on these topics in a few other articles on this site but those are the two which are particularly important.
This present article consists of a compelling and reliable description, from H.P. Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrine,” of the events surrounding the actual destruction of Atlantis, along with the same events rendered in the form of a short story titled “Where The Rishis Were” by HPB’s close colleague William Quan Judge, who was a co-founder with her of the Theosophical Movement.
“The Secret Doctrine” is in two large volumes, titled “Cosmogenesis” and “Anthropogenesis.” “Cosmogenesis,” the first volume, deals with the origins, birth, and evolution of the Universe, the Cosmos, the Solar System, and our planet, whilst “Anthropogenesis,” the second volume, deals with the origins, birth, and evolution of mankind.
It is on p. 427-428 of the second volume that we find the relevant passage from an esoteric Commentary belonging to the group of manuscripts (which are some “of the oldest writings on “palm leaves” [and] kept very secret”) called by the Tibetan name of “Tongshaktchi Sangye Songa.” HPB mentions that this group of manuscripts is exoterically referred to as the Records of the “Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession.”
She writes that this particular Commentary “from which the fragments which follow are extracted, and then rendered into a more comprehensible language, is said to have been copied from stone tablets which belonged to a Buddha [i.e. an enlightened Soul] of the earliest day of the Fifth Race, who had witnessed the Deluge and the submersion of the chief continents of the Atlantean race.”
In other words, this is an eyewitness account of the main destruction of Atlantis and “The day when much, if not all, of that which is given here from the archaic records, will be found correct, is not far distant.”
Before quoting from the Commentary, HPB explains that it was from the Atlanteans that the early Indians “learnt aeronautics, Viwan Vidya (the “knowledge of flying in air-vehicles”), and, therefore their great arts of meteorography and meteorology. It is from them, again, that the Aryans inherited their most valuable science of the hidden virtues of precious and other stones, of chemistry, or rather alchemy, of mineralogy, geology, physics and astronomy.”
It is a proven but much ignored fact that the knowledge and actual utilisation of “air vehicles” was a well known and integral part of ancient Indian civilisation, a civilisation which far surpassed in its greatness anything our Western civilisation has ever achieved. There are clear references to such things in numerous Hindu scriptures, including the great Indian epic of “The Ramayana,” which later formed the basis and ideological framework for Homer’s “Iliad.” And now to quote our passage from “The Secret Doctrine,” beginning on the page which HPB titles “THE DOOM OF ATLANTIS”…
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“And the ‘great King of the dazzling Face,’ the chief of all the Yellow-faced, was sad, seeing the sins of the Black-faced.
“He sent his air-vehicles (Viwan) to all his brother-chiefs (chiefs of other nations and tribes) with pious men within, saying: ‘Prepare. Arise ye men of the good law, and cross the land while (yet) dry.’
‘The Lords of the storm are approaching. Their chariots are nearing the land. One night and two days only shall the Lords of the Dark Face (the Sorcerers) live on this patient land. She is doomed, and they have to descend with her. The nether Lords of the Fires (the Gnomes and fire Elementals) are preparing their magic Agneyastra (fire-weapons worked by magic). But the Lords of the Dark Eye (“Evil Eye”) are stronger than they (the Elementals) and they are the slaves of the mighty ones. They are versed in Ashtar (Vidya, the highest magical knowledge). Come and use yours (i.e., your magic powers, in order to counteract those of the Sorcerers). Let every lord of the Dazzling Face (an adept of the White Magic) cause the Viwan of every lord of the Dark Face to come into his hands (or possession), lest any (of the Sorcerers) should by its means escape from the waters, avoid the rod of the Four, (Karmic deities) and save his wicked’ (followers, or people).
‘May every yellow face send sleep from himself (mesmerize?) to every black face. May even they (the Sorcerers) avoid pain and suffering. May every man true to the Solar Gods bind (paralyze) every man under the lunar gods, lest he should suffer or escape his destiny.
‘And may every yellow face offer of his life-water (blood) to the speaking animal of a black face, lest he awaken his master.
[From an explanatory footnote: “Some wonderful, artificially-made beast, similar in some way to Frankenstein’s creation, which spoke and warned his master of every approaching danger. The master was a “black magician,” the mechanical animal was informed by a djin, an Elemental, according to the accounts. The blood of a pure man alone could destroy him.”]
‘The hour has struck, the black night is ready, etc., etc.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
‘Let their destiny be accomplished. We are the servants of the great Four. May the Kings of light return’.”
[From an explanatory footnote: “The four Karmic gods, called the Four Maharajahs in the Stanzas.”]
“The great King fell upon his dazzling Face and wept. …
“When the Kings assembled the waters had already moved. …
“(But) the nations had now crossed the dry lands. They were beyond the water mark. Their Kings reached them in their Viwans, and led them on to the lands of Fire and Metal (East and North).”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Still, in another passage, it is said: –
“…. Stars (meteors) showered on the lands of the black Faces; but they slept.
“The speaking beasts (the magic watchers) kept quiet.
“The nether lords waited for orders, but they came not, for their masters slept.
“The waters arose, and covered the valleys from one end of the Earth to the other. High lands remained, the bottom of the Earth (the lands of the antipodes) remained dry. There dwelt those who escaped; the men of the yellow-faces and of the straight eye (the frank and sincere people).
“When the Lords of the Dark Faces awoke and bethought themselves of their Viwans in order to escape from the rising waters, they found them gone.”
Then a passage shows some of the more powerful magicians of the “Dark Face” – who awoke earlier than the others – pursuing those who had “spoilt them” and who were in the rear-guard, for – “the nations that were led away, were as thick as the stars of the milky way,” says a more modern Commentary, written in Sanskrit only.
“Like as a dragon-snake uncoils slowly its body, so the Sons of men, led on by the Sons of Wisdom, opened their folds, and spreading out, expanded like a running stream of sweet waters.. . . . . many of the faint-hearted among them perished on their way. But most were saved.”
Yet the pursuers, “whose heads and chests soared high above the water,” chased them “for three lunar terms” until finally reached by the rising waves, they perished to the last man, the soil sinking under their feet and the earth engulfing those who had desecrated her.
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“The Secret Doctrine” was published at the end of 1888 and is still one of the most well known and influential of all esoteric writings. The famous Manly P. Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society, said of it that “The Secret Doctrine assumes the dignity of a scripture, for in its pages eternal mysteries are clothed in ancient and modern terms, and to those who have eyes to see, the ageless wisdom is revealed.” For Theosophists, there is no more important book than “The Secret Doctrine.” We have attempted to give some explanation as to why this is so in the article An Invitation to The Secret Doctrine.
Five years later, in 1893, William Judge wrote and published the following in his “The Path” magazine in New York. It is but one of over ten short stories that he wrote on spiritual and esoteric themes…
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WHERE THE RISHIS WERE
The Rishis were the sacred Bards, the Saints, the great Adepts known to the Hindus, who gave great spiritual impulses in the past and are said to sometimes reincarnate, and who at one time lived on earth among men.
“The world is made of seas and islands. For continents are only great lands water-encircled. Men must ever live upon sea or land, then, unless they abide in air, and if they live in the air they are not men as we know them.” Thus I thought as the great ship steamed slowly into the port of a small island, and before the anchor fell the whole scene seemed to change and the dazzling light of the past blotted out the dark pictures of modern civilization. Instead of an English ship I was standing on an ancient vehicle propelled by force unknown today, until the loud noises of disembarkation roused me once again.
But, landed now, I was standing on the hill overlooking the town and bay. The strange light and the curious vehicle again obtained mastery over sense and eye, while the whole majesty of forgotten years rolled in from the ocean. Vainly did modern education struggle and soar: I let the curtain drop upon the miserable present.
Now softly sings the water as it rolls against the shore, with the sun but one hour old shining upon its surface. But, far off, what is that spot against the sky coming nearer from the West, followed by another and another until over the horizon rise hundreds, and now some are so near that they are plainly seen? The same strange vehicles as that I saw at first. Like birds they fly through the air. They come slowly now, and some have been brought still on the land. They light on the earth with a softness that seems nearly human, with a skill that is marvellous, without any shock or rebound. From them there alight men of noble mien who address me as friends, and one more noble than the others seems to say, “Wouldst thou know of all this? Then come,” as he turns again to his vehicle that stands there like a bird in wait to be off.
“Yes, I will go”; and I felt that the past and the present were but one, and knew what I should see, yet could not remember it but with a vagueness that blotted out all the details.
We entered the swift, intelligently-moving vehicle, and then it rose up on the air’s wide-spreading arms and flew again fast to the West whence it had come. It passed many more flying east to the Island, where the water was still softly singing to the beams of the sun. The horizon slowly rose and the Island behind us was hidden by sea from our sight. And still as onward we flew to the Occident, many more birds made by man like that we were in flew by us as if in haste for the soft-singing water lapping the shore of that peak of the sea mountain we had left in the Orient. Flying too high at first we heard no sound from the sea, but soon a damp vapor that blew in my face from the salt deep showed that we were descending, and then spoke my friend.
“Look below and around and before you!”
Down there were the roar and the rush of mad billows that reached toward the sky, vast hollows that sucked in a world. Black clouds shut out the great sun, and I saw that the crust of the earth was drawn in to her own subterranean depths. Turning now to the master, I saw that he heard my unuttered question. He said:
“A cycle has ended. The great bars that kept back the sea have broken down by their weight. From these we have come and are coming.”
Then faster sailed our bird, and I saw that a great Island was perishing. What was left of the shore still crumbled, still entered the mouth of the sea. And there were cars of the air just the same as that I was in, only, dark and unshining, vainly trying to rise with their captains; rising slowly, then falling, and then swallowed up.
But here we have rushed further in where the water has not overflowed, and now we see that few are the bright cars of air that are waiting about while their captains are entering and spoiling the mighty dark cars of the men whose clothing is red and whose bodies, so huge and amazing, are sleeping as if from the fumes of a drug.
As these great red men are slumbering, the light-stepping captains with sun-colored cloaks are finishing the work of destruction. And now, swiftly though we came, the waters have rushed on behind us, the salt breath of the all-devouring deep sweeps over us. The sun-colored captains enter their light air-cars and rise with a sweep that soon leaves the sleepers, now waking, behind them. The huge red-coated giants hear the roar of the waters and feel the cold waves roll about them. They enter their cars, but only to find all their efforts are wasted. Soon the crumbling earth no longer supports them, and all by an inrushing wave are engulfed, drawn into the mouth of the sea, and the treacherous ocean with roars as of pleasure in conquest has claimed the last race of the Island.
But one escaped of all the red giants, and slowly but surely his car sailed up, up, as if to elude the sun-colored men who were spoilers.
Then loud, clear, and thrilling swelled out a note of marvellous power from my captain, and back came a hundred of those brilliant, fast cars that were speeding off eastward. Now they pursue the heavy, vast, slow-moving car of the giant, surround it, and seem to avoid its attacks. Then again swells that note from my master as our car hung still on its wings. It was a signal, obeyed in an instant.
One brilliant, small, sharp-pointed car is directed full at the red giant’s vehicle. Propelled by a force that exceeds the swift bullet, it pierces the other, itself, too, is broken and falls on the waves with its victim. Trembling I gazed down below, but my captain said kindly,
“He is safe, for he entered another bright car at the signal. All those red-coated men are now gone, and that last was the worst and the greatest.”
Back eastward once more through the salt spray and the mist until soon the bright light shone again and the Island rose over the sea with the soft-singing water murmuring back to the sun. We alighted, and then, as I turned, the whole fleet of swift-sailing cars disappeared, and out in the sky there flashed a bright streak of sun-colored light that formed into letters which read:
“This is where the Rishis were before the chalk cliffs of Albion rose out of the wave. They were but are not.”
And loud, clear, and thrilling rose that note I had heard in the car of swift pinions. It thrilled me with sadness, for past was the glory and naught for the future was left but a destiny.
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As well as the articles already mentioned in the links above, here are some other related articles which you may like to read:
Responding to Lies about H.P. Blavatsky, The Masters and Madame Blavatsky, Gandhi on Blavatsky and Theosophy, How to successfully study the Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, 12 Things Theosophy Teaches, The Closing Cycle, The Psychic is not the Spiritual, The Danger and Deception of Channelling, Chains, Globes, Rounds and Root Races, Words from The Masters about H.P. Blavatsky, Golden Keys to The Secret Doctrine, The Tell-Tale Picture Gallery, and The Disappearing Bedroom.