The Three Lines of Evolution

One of the most important teachings in the Esoteric Philosophy of Theosophy is that regarding the three lines of evolution or the three streams of evolution.

Unless we are aware of this, unless we understand it, and unless we continually keep it in mind, texts such as “The Secret Doctrine” in particular are liable to always be very confusing. Although H. P. Blavatsky’s enumeration of these three lines of evolution appears in Vol. 1 of “The Secret Doctrine” (titled “Cosmogenesis”) it is probably when studying Vol. 2 (“Anthropogenesis”) that it becomes the most useful and essential. One may otherwise easily become lost with regard to subjects such as the role and function in human evolution of the Lunar Pitris and Solar Pitris and may forget that the Monad and the Ego are not the same thing. They are of course closely interrelated in our inner constitution but they are not synonymous.

HPB names these three streams “The Monadic,” “The Intellectual,” and “The Physical.” Her colleague William Q. Judge, in his entry on “THE FUNDAMENTAL PROPOSITIONS OF “THE SECRET DOCTRINE”” in “Subjects for Discussion” (p. 11-12) uses these words when summarising the subject in brief sentences that are designed to provoke further thought and study:

“The pilgrimage of the monad; and of the Ego. The difference between these. The three streams of evolution: that of monad, of Thinker, of matter. Their meeting in man.”

We can also think of them as:

(1) The Monadic – existing as seven monadic groups, belonging to the Seven Rays.

(2) The Manasic/Intellectual/Egoic

(3) The Astral/Physical

When reading carefully and reflectively the following passage from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 181-182, we may notice a few interesting points which even experienced and seasoned students of the book might have missed or forgotten about, such as that the three lines or streams of evolution are also called “three systems,” which adds a further depth of meaning to it; that “each of these three systems has its own laws,” and that each “is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or “Logoi.””

So here are HPB’s words and, we may also say, the Masters’ words, for They repeatedly declared “The Secret Doctrine” to be the joint work of Themselves (specifically the Mahatma K.H. and the Mahatma M.) with the one They called “Our Direct Agent,” HPB.

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“THE SECRET DOCTRINE” VOL. 1, p. 181-182

It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Upadhis; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections on the field of Cosmic Illusion of ATMA, the seventh, the ONE REALITY.

1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with:—

2. The Intellectual, represented by the Manasa-Dhyanis (the Solar Devas, or the Agnishwatta Pitris) the “givers of intelligence and consciousness” to man and:—

3. The Physical, represented by the Chhayas of the lunar Pitris, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the “growth” (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and—owing to the accumulation of experiences—of the finite into the INFINITE, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.

Each of these three systems has its own laws, and is ruled and guided by different sets of the highest Dhyanis or “Logoi.” Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosm of the great Macrocosm; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is.

“Nature,” the physical evolutionary Power, could never evolve intelligence unaided—she can only create “senseless forms,” as will be seen in our “ANTHROPOGENESIS.” The “Lunar Monads” cannot progress, for they have not yet had sufficient touch with the forms created by “Nature” to allow of their accumulating experiences through its means. It is the Manasa-Dhyanis who fill up the gap, and they represent the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between “Spirit” and “Matter”—in this Round.

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The page summary at the top of p. 181 reads “A TRIPLE EVOLUTION IN NATURE.”

And while it is of course important, essential even, for anyone who wishes to seriously study and understand the deeper teachings of Theosophy to learn accurately the meanings or definitions of the various different terms used, including which are just synonyms for one another, it is ultimately more important to understand the IDEAS, the PRINCIPLES, the TRUTHS, that are behind the words that are being expressed. If we do so, study and exploration of “The Secret Doctrine” – which so many consider to be such a daunting book – becomes a livingvibrantexciting thing, and one becomes much better equipped and enabled to help others in their own studies of this sacred science.

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