The Seven Sub-Races

“The seven sublime lords [i.e. as referred to in the Stanzas from the Secret Book of Dzyan] are the Seven Creative Spirits, the Dhyan-Chohans, who correspond to the Hebrew Elohim. It is the same hierarchy of Archangels to which St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and others belong, in the Christian theogony. Only while St. Michael, for instance, is allowed in dogmatic Latin theology to watch over all the promontories and gulfs, in the Esoteric System, the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain.”
(H. P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 42)


Theosophy 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 and are referred to as:

(1) “Polarian” – born under the occult influence of the Sun
(HPB herself did not call it “Polarian” or any other definite and specific name but we do so to aid comprehension, seeing as this is certainly an ideal term for it, based on “The Secret Doctrine.”)

(2) Hyperborean – born under the occult influence of Jupiter

(3) Lemurian – born under the occult influence of Venus

(4) Atlantean – born under the occult influence of the Moon and Saturn

The 5th (born under the occult influence of Mercury; see “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 29 for these details) is still underway and is referred to as the Aryan, in the original and ancient sense of that term, i.e. Indo-Caucasian, originating in Central Asia and old India. The 6th and 7th are still to come.

Each of these 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.

But the majority of present mankind is, in terms of ethnicity, nonetheless descended from “the seventh sub-race of the fourth root race – the . . . Chinamen and their offshoots and branchlets (Malayans, Mongolians, Tibetans, Javanese, &c., &c.) – with remnants of other sub-races of the fourth and the seventh sub-race of the third race.” (Mahatma K.H., quoted in A. P. Sinnett’s book “Esoteric Buddhism” p. 68; see also “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 178)

We are looking now toward the development of the sixth sub-race of the fifth Root Race.

Many people enquire about these particular subjects and are understandably interested by it. After all, anyone so inclined can deny the existence of the Divine and of celestial Hierarchies and cosmic forces and so forth, but no-one can deny the existence of the human race, since we are all a part of it.

Most open-minded people are also aware that there must be much more to the history of humanity than what is currently known or taught by official science. Theosophy, deriving its teachings and information from a timeless Esoteric Philosophy or Secret Doctrine in the custodianship of a certain hidden Brotherhood of Initiates and “Masters of Wisdom” (physically incarnated and living on this Earth, even though immeasurably more perfected and spiritually advanced than the rest of us), affirms that this is indeed so.

It would be impossible to produce a mere compilation of everything Theosophy says about all of the Root Races, as it says such an extremely large amount – hundreds and hundreds of pages – particularly in the second of the two volumes (titled “Cosmogenesis” and “Anthropogenesis” respectively) of “The Secret Doctrine,” a massive and still very relevant book produced by H. P. Blavatsky and two Mahatmas or Masters of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood, known as the Master K.H. and the Master M. (See Who Wrote “The Secret Doctrine”?) although we have attempted to give an unavoidably brief overview and concise summary in the articles Human Evolution in The Secret Doctrine and the short Atlantis and Lemuria.

The aim of this present article is much simpler and that is to provide all the key quotes and statements about the various seven sub-races of this current Root Race, the Fifth.

As will be seen, there has actually been very little divulged, in terms of specific details, and perhaps much less than one might have imagined or expected. Robert Crosbie, founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists, wrote:

“No very explicit information was given out by H. P. B., and there is none other to be had. The races are simply sketched so as to give a general comprehension of the history and nature of the preceding races; if we knew every detail about them, it would not help us any.” (“The Friendly Philosopher” p. 132)

Whereas some people form the mistaken idea that the races are virtually the most prominent and constantly mentioned theme in Theosophy, this is not the case. The Ethics of Theosophy are the most important part of it.

In this article and also in the whole of this website, as also in the worldwide work of the United Lodge of Theosophists (or ULT for short), it is only the original Theosophical teachings that are referred to, consulted, and promoted, i.e. those given to the world by H. P. Blavatsky and her closest colleague, co-founder, and friend William Q. Judge. Those who may wonder why such an approach is taken will probably find the answer in the article Why Stick To The Original?

We are thus aware that in some later and very contradictory and much altered versions of “Theosophy” arising after the passing of both HPB and WQJ, all seven sub-races of our Fifth Race are given specific names and identifying details and so also are the seven sub-races of the Atlanteans! But this was not done by HPB and her Adept Teachers and therefore no ordered list of the “names” of the sub-races can be provided. It is of course possible to make assumptions and draw conclusions, based on the information given, but such speculation – or, more preferably, intuitive thinking! – is best done privately rather than mixing it in with the Masters’ own Teaching, as was sadly done by so many during the 20th century.

One interesting point to bear in mind, however, about the coming sixth sub-race, is that its birth, or perhaps one should say its gestation, corresponds closely with the dawning of the New Age of Aquarius, which HPB describes as having been due to make its gradual beginning around the year 1900.

From that perspective it could be seen as the “Aquarian Sub-Race” yet even that name would not be entirely accurate, seeing as each astrological age lasts no more than approximately 2,160 years, and every sub-race lasts for much longer than this. As will be seen in the quotes provided, HPB implies a few times that a sub-race period is approx. 25,000 years, also known as a Sidereal Year, Tropical Year, or Platonic Year. But elsewhere in “The Secret Doctrine” the latter is applied to the duration of a family race, so it is purposely made a little unclear.

With the exception of Sinnett’s “Esoteric Buddhism,” the books quoted from are published by Theosophy Company, on behalf of the United Lodge of Theosophists, and are still in print and in demand today.

The following, therefore, is a compilation of all the main information provided by the authentic teachings of Theosophy regarding the seven sub-races of the fifth Root Race.

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“It is the sub-divisions of this first sub-race of the Fifth Root-Race which are referred to in the sentence [i.e. from the Stanzas of the Secret Book of Dzyan], “Some yellow, some brown and black, and some red, remained.”” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 351)

“The Aryan Hindu is the last offshoot of the first sub-race of the fifth Root-race which is now the dominant one.” (HPB, “Miscellaneous Notes” in the November 1890 issue of “Lucifer” Magazine)

“the Indian Aryans of the first Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race” (HPB, “Hermetic and Kabalistic Doctrines” article)

“I told you before that the highest people now on earth (spiritually) belong to the first sub-race of the fifth root race, and those are the Aryan Asiatics, the highest race (physical intellectuality) is the last sub-race of the fifth – yourselves, the white conquerors.” (Mahatma K.H., quoted in “Esoteric Buddhism” p. 68 by A. P. Sinnett)

“the Orientalist . . . Having no knowledge himself whatever of those incalculable ages that lie between the Aryan Brahman in Central Asia [i.e. this is referring to the earliest periods of the Fifth Root Race], and the Brahman at the threshold of Buddhism [i.e. the historically identifiable period of 2,600 years ago], he has no right to maintain that the initiated Indo-Aryan can never know as much of them as the foreigner.” (HPB or one of the Adepts, “Historical Difficulty” – Why?” in “Five Years of Theosophy” p. 322-323)

“The Occultists say that while the 4th race was generated and developed on the Atlantean continent . . . the 5th was generated and developed in Asia.” (HPB or one of the Adepts, “Leaflets from Esoteric History” in “Five Years of Theosophy” p. 337)

“the Esotericism of the Archaic period . . . is the common property of all, and belongs neither to the Aryan 5th Race, nor to any of its numerous Sub-racesIt cannot be claimed by the Turanians, so-called, the Egyptians, Chinese, Chaldeans, nor any of the Seven divisions of the Fifth Root Race, but really belongs to the Third and Fourth Root Races, whose descendants we find in the Seed of the Fifth, the earliest Aryans.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 113)

“the seven sub-races of the new Root-Race, in each of which there will be a “Manu,” . . . the Manu-Rishis of each Root-Race, and even sub-race . . . Notwithstanding the terrible, and evidently purposed, confusion of Manus, Rishis, and their progeny in the Puranas, one thing is made clear:  there have been and there will be seven Rishis in every Root-Race” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 614-615)

“as no complete race could be evolved in a moment on any globe, the slow, orderly processes of nature, which allow no jumps, must proceed by appropriate means. Hence sub-races have to be evolved one after the other before the perfect root race is formed and then the root race sends off its off-shoots while it is declining and preparing for the advent of the next great race.” (William Q. Judge, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 26)

“Confusion may be avoided by remembering that the race of which we form a part includes many sub-races, and that the term “sub-races” does not mean that a new sub-race comes on only when a preceding one has disappeared. The true Hindus and many European races are in our race, so that we and they are all sub-races. . . . It is only when sub-races have fully accomplished their task that they leave this earth altogether. And in saying they leave or disappear, what is meant is that the race as a physical expression goes out, not that the egos in the bodies leave this world and go to another one.” (William Q. Judge, “Rings, Rounds, and Obscuration” article)

“the whole process is a matter of education for the egos. They go backward and forward in the various sub-races which are on the earth at the same time just as the development of the egos requires, . . . in one life one may be in an advanced sub-race in accordance with predominating qualities, but in that incarnation may bring up certain defects or generate certain causes requiring him to pass over next life to some other less progressed sub-race for the purpose of extirpating the defects or working off the causes. In this way accurate adjustment, perfect development, regularity and roundness are all amply provided for.” (William Q. Judge, “Rings, Rounds, and Obscuration” article)


“The archaic records show the Initiates of the Second Sub-race of the Aryan family moving from one land to the other for the purpose of supervising the building of menhirs and dolmens, of colossal Zodiacs in stone, and places of sepulchre to serve as receptacles for the ashes of generations to come.  When was it?  The fact of their crossing from France to Great Britain by land may give an idea of the date when such a journey could have been performed on terra firma.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 750)

“The secret doctrine teaches that . . . the latest, seventh sub-race of the Atlanteans, [became] swallowed up in one of the early sub-races of the Aryan stock, one that had been gradually spreading over the continent and islands of Europe, as soon as they had begun to emerge from the seas.  Descending from the high plateaux of Asia, where the two Races had sought refuge in the days of the agony of Atlantis, it had been slowly settling and colonizing the freshly emerged lands.  The emigrant sub-race had rapidly increased and multiplied on that virgin soil; had divided into many families, which in their turn divided into nations.  Egypt and Greece, the Phœnicians, and the Northern stocks, had thus proceeded from that one sub-race.  Thousands of years later, other races – the remnants of the Atlanteans – “yellow and red, brown and black,” began to invade the new continent.  There were wars in which the new comers were defeated; and they fled, some to Africa, others to remote countries.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 743)


“the first three “divine or astronomical Dynasties,” who taught the Third Root-Race; and after having abandoned the Atlanteans to their doom, returned (or redescended, rather) during the third Sub-Race of the Fifth, in order to reveal to saved humanity the mysteries of their birth-place – the sidereal Heavens.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 435-436)

“the third sub-race of the Aryan stock, which sub-race – born and developed in Europe and Asia Minor under new climates and conditions – had become European” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 753)


“the fourth Sub-race of the Fifth Root-race . . . The fourth sub-race witnessed the destruction of the last remnant of the Atlanteans—the Aryo-Atlanteans in the last island of Atlantis, namely, some 11,000 years ago.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 433)

“The truth is that, like the ancestors of nearly all the Indo-Europeans . . . the Greek and Roman sub-races mentioned have to be traced much farther back. Their origin must be carried far into the mists of that “pre-historic” period, that mythical age which inspires the modern historian with such a feeling of squeamishness that anything creeping out of its abysmal depths is sure to be instantly dismissed as a deceptive phantom, the mythos of an idle tale, or a later fable unworthy of serious notice.” (HPB or one of the Adepts, “Historical Difficulty” – Why?” in “Five Years of Theosophy” p. 311-312)

“the Semite Hebrew . . . is a small sub-race some 8,000 years old and no more.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 470-471)


“History – or what is called history – does not go further back than the fantastic origins of our fifth sub-race, a “few thousands” of years.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 351)

“the Americans . . . are, in short, the germs 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.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 444-445)

“I told you before that the highest people now on earth (spiritually) belong to the first sub-race of the fifth root race, and those are the Aryan Asiatics, the highest race (physical intellectuality) is the last [i.e. “last” in the sense of latest] sub-race of the fifth – yourselves, the white conquerors.” (Mahatma K.H., quoted in “Esoteric Buddhism” p. 68 by A. P. Sinnett)

“we are in the mid-point of our sub-race of the Fifth Root Race – the acme of materiality in each” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 610)

“Our race then has, as a Root-race, crossed the equatorial line and is cycling onward on the Spiritual side; but some of our sub-races still find themselves on the shadowy descending arc of their respective national cycles; while others again – the oldest – having crossed their crucial point, which alone decides whether a race, a nation, or a tribe will live or perish, are at the apex of spiritual development as sub-races.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 301)


“The forthcoming 6th Sub Race – which may begin very soon – will be in its Satya (golden) age while we reap the fruit of our iniquity in our Kali Yuga.(HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 147)

“Occult philosophy teaches that even now, under our very eyes, the new Race and Races are preparing to be formed, and that it is in America, that the transformation will take place, and has already silently commenced.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 444)

“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” (William Q. Judge, “Rounds and Races” article)

“the Americans have become in only three centuries a “primary race,” pro tem., before becoming a race apart, and strongly separated from all other now existing races.  They are, in short, the germs 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.  After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race; until, in consequence of cataclysms – the first series of those which must one day destroy Europe, and still later the whole Aryan race (and thus affect both Americas), as also most of the lands directly connected with the confines of our continent and isles – the Sixth Root-Race will have appeared on the stage of our Round.  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, 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.  It is the present men who will then begin to be regarded as exceptional mongrels, until these die out in their turn in civilised lands; surviving only in small groups on islands – the mountain peaks of to-day – where they will vegetate, degenerate, and finally die out, perhaps millions of years hence, as the Aztecs have, as the Nyam-Nyam and the dwarfish Moola Koorumba of the Nilghiri Hills are dying.  All these are the remnants of once mighty races, the recollection of whose existence has entirely died out of the remembrance of the modern generations, just as we shall vanish from the memory of the Sixth Race Humanity.  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.

“This process of preparation for the Sixth great Race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 444-445)

“it is distinctly taught that on the Americas is to be evolved the new – sixth – race; and here all the races of the earth are now engaged in a great amalgamation from which will result a very highly developed sub-race, after which others will be evolved by similar processes until the new one is completed.” (William Q. Judge, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 26-27)

“Your position as the fore-runners of the sixth sub-race of the fifth root-race has its own special perils as well as its special advantages. Psychism, with all its allurements, and all its dangers, is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the Manasic and Spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the Manasic principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of controlled, using instead of being used, lead the Student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction. Watch therefore carefully this development, inevitable in your race and evolution-period so that it may finally work for good and not for evil;” (HPB, “Five Messages from H. P. Blavatsky to the American Theosophists” p. 29)

“We are, as yet, only preparers, much as we may exalt our plainly crude American development.

“Herein lies the very gist of the cycle’s meaning. It is a preparatory cycle with much of necessary destruction in it; for, before construction, we must have some disintegration. 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. When this new sort of body and mind are generated – then other monads, or our own again, will animate them and paint upon the screen of time the pictures of 100,000 years ago.” (William Q. Judge, “Echoes from the Orient” p. 26)

“In the first pages of the second volume [i.e. of “The Secret Doctrine”] she [i.e. H. P. Blavatsky] speaks of five great Continents. First, the Imperishable Sacred Land [this is at the North Pole, W.Q.J.]; second, the Hyperborean, now part of it is in Northern Asia; third, Lemuria, sunk long ago, but leaving some remains, islands, the points of high mountain ranges; fourth, Atlantis, presumably in the Atlantic Ocean, now below the level of the water, but with perhaps Teneriffe and Atlas as reminders; and fifth, “was America.” . . .

“. . . 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. . . .

“It seems as if some power, deliberately planning, had selected North and South America for the place where a new primary root-race should be begun. These two continents were evidently the seats of ancient races and not the habitat of wild undeveloped men. . . .

“So then, in America now is forming the new sub-race, and in this land was founded the present Theosophical Society: two matters of great importance. It was to the United States, observe, that the messenger of the Masters came, although Europe was just as accessible . . . Later, this messenger went to India and then to Europe, settling down in the British Isles. All of this is of importance in our reflections. For why in America at first does she begin the movement, and why end her part of it in England? . . . It was all out of stern necessity, with a wisdom derived from many older heads, having in view the cycles as they sweep resistlessly forward. The point where the great energy is started, the centre of force, is the more important, and not the place at which it is ended.” (William Q. Judge, “On The Future: A Few Reflections” article)

The Mahatma K.H., writing to A. P. Sinnett asks: “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 continents will go down, and the Lemurias and Atlantises come up again?” (“Esoteric Buddhism” p. 65)

In answer to the question of why HPB began the modern Theosophical Movement in the USA: “the cycle has brought again that which was before. Here among this people the old Egyptians have come again; old Persians, too; old Hindus and those of other ancient nations you may find incarnated among us, if you know how. Lower down in the scale are those who in previous incarnations were the Red Indians of America; their Karma permits them to be reincarnated in the race which mistreated and supplanted them. In this country, too, is an aggregation of individuals from almost every country of the globe, so that a mixture of physical strains is going on which in time will produce a body of quite a different nature from any precedent physical bodies. At the same time, the psychic nature of these old peoples moves forward, increasing in sensitiveness, and has its influence on the physical strain. Altogether then, we have here a class of Egos with a wider range of ability to understand and perceive than has existed in previous classes of Egos. All these are considerations which bring back Saviors, and they point to one thing which we ought and need to understand – that the One who began the work in this country is second to none. If we will study the teachings of that Being and of that Great Lodge with this idea in mind, the better will be our understanding. The more we can understand from that point of view, the more we shall receive – the closer shall we reach to wisdom. The status of that Being is one great lesson which an understanding of the law of cycles should teach us.” (Robert Crosbie, “Answers to Questions on The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 191-192)

“When H. P. Blavatsky left America, the land of her adoption by naturalization, and the birthplace of the Theosophical Society, she left her colleague, William Q. Judge, to carry on the work in that country which she declared was the cradle of the new Race, and held the crest wave of advancing civilization. It must be apparent that for such a task there would be selected the one best fitted to lay down the lines needed for the great end in view. Error cannot be charged in a matter of such great importance without practically denying the existence of Masters, Their knowledge, and Theosophy itself, for they all stand or fall together.” (Robert Crosbie, “William Q. Judge and the Theosophical Movement” article from the first issue of “Theosophy” Magazine, November 1912)


“we are in the 5th race, and we have already passed the turning or axial point of our “sub-race cycle.” Eventually as the current phenomena and the increase of sensitive organisms in our age go to prove, this Humanity will be moving swiftly on the path of pure spirituality, and will reach the apex (of our Race) at the end of the 7th sub-race. In plainer and fuller language – plainer and fuller to some theosophists only, I am afraid – we shall be, at that period, on the same degree of spirituality that belonged to, and was natural in, the 1st sub-race of the 3rd Root-race of the FOURTH Round” (HPB, “Occult or Exact Science?” article)

“the Americans . . . are, in short, the germs 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.  After this, in about 25,000 years, they will launch into preparations for the seventh sub-race” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 444-445)

“This process of preparation for the Sixth great Race must last throughout the whole sixth and seventh sub-races.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 445)

“but there will be no more Americans when the Sixth Race commences; no more, in fact, than Europeans; for they will have now become a new race, and many new nations.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 446)

“Thus it is the mankind of the New world – one by far the senior of our Old one, a fact men had also forgotten –  . . . whose mission and Karma it is, to sow the seeds for a forthcoming, grander, and far more glorious Race than any of those we know of at present.  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.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 446)

“the last remnants of the Fifth Continent will not disappear until some time after the birth of the new Race; when another and new dwelling, the sixth continent, will have appeared above the new waters on the face of the globe, so as to receive the new stranger. To it also will emigrate and settle all those who shall be fortunate enough to escape the general disaster [i.e. referring to the cataclysmic destruction, alternately by fire and water, at the close of each Root Race; see Vol. 2, p. 307, 757].” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 445)

“The sixth and seventh sub-races of the fifth root-race must run their course, and these must be followed by the sixth and seventh root-races with their various subdivisions, before the life-wave passes from our present globe D and begins its further evolution on globe E.” (William Q. Judge, “Rounds and Races” article; see Chains, Globes, Rounds and Root Races for explanation)

“Every root-race and sub-race is subject to such Kalpas of destruction; the fifth root-race having sixty-four such cataclysms periodically; namely: fifty-six by fire, seven by water, and one small Kalpa by winds or cyclones.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 288, Entry for “Samvartta Kalpa”)

“Esoteric philosophy teaches that the next Buddha will appear during the seventh (sub) race of this Round.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 202, Entry for “Maitreya Buddha”) [Note: The inclusion of “sub” in brackets is a little unclear, especially as HPB makes clear everywhere else that it will be around the end of the Sixth Root Race and start of the Seventh Root Race that Maitreya/Kalki will appear. But this may possibly be a hint that it will really be in the seventh sub-race of this present Fifth Root Race. Whatever the case may be, there is one article (“Lamas and Druses”) where she states that this “Coming” will not be the appearance of an individual Avatar or personal Messiah figure as is often thought but will instead be the incarnation of the “Supreme Wisdom” into the whole of humanity collectively. There is, however, more to it than that, as is briefly gone into in another article here.]

“Esoteric philosophy teaches us that every Root-race has its chief Buddha or Reformer, who appears also in the seven sub-races as a Bodhisattva. Gautama Sakyamuni was the fourth, and also the fifth Buddha: the fifth, because we are the fifth root-race; the fourth, as the chief Buddha in this fourth Round.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 55-56, Entry for “Bhadrakalpa”)


“Humanity is on the descending pathway of its cycle. The rear-guard of the 5th race is crossing slowly the apex of its evolution and will soon find itself having passed the turning point. And, as the descent is always more rapid than the ascent, men of the new coming (the 6th) race are beginning to drop in occasionally. Such children regarded in our days by official science as exceptional monstrosities, are simply the pioneers of that race. There is a prophecy in certain Asiatic old books couched in the following terms, the sense of which we may make clearer by adding to it a few words in brackets.

“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. . . .”

“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.” (HPB, “Premature and Phenomenal Growths” article)

If you have heard or read anywhere the claim that the inclusion of the teachings about Root Races and sub-races in Theosophy equates to Theosophy being racist and promoting racial supremacy, you are strongly encouraged to read the articles Responding to Lies about H. P. Blavatsky and Is Theosophy Racist about Africans? where these notions are shown to be completely false. You may also be interested to read The Secret Book of Dzyan, “The Voice of the Silence” – An Authentic Buddhist Text, and Praise for H. P. Blavatsky and Theosophy, as these help to indicate the legitimacy and value of the ancient sources from which our Philosophy is derived.

Questions and comments are welcome on this and the other 300+ articles on this website. You may also wish to join the Facebook group “Original Theosophy” in order to explore and discuss the original Theosophical teachings with others from around the world.

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“The Ethics of Theosophy are more important than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man – the reincarnating Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal. Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach, practise, promulgate that system of life and thought which alone can save the coming races.”

(HPB, “Five Messages from H. P. Blavatsky to the American Theosophists” p. 26)

2 thoughts on “The Seven Sub-Races

  1. When I first began talking to people about the Secret Doctrine it was the seven rounds, root races and sub races that I talked about. Had I found this website first, it would have been ethics and Karma, rebirth and the immortal soul that I would have discussed. The occult teachings on rounds and root races were to confusing and I didn’t fair too well. Now I see that ethics should always come first and that is how I’ll proceed in the future. Can’t thank Blavatsky Theosophy enough for setting me straight.

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