Inner and Outer Rounds

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General description

In one of his letters to A. O. Hume, Master M. describes the concept of Rounds in the way it is generally understood, that is, humanity evolving in one globe, then passing on to the next globe, and when the evolution through all seven globes is over, that round is finished. Humanity is currently on its fourth Round, the fifth having not started yet.[1]

However, in another letter, Master K.H. refers to the following comment by Hume:

You say (in effect): if the fountain of life flows ceaselessly there should be men of all rounds on the earth at all times, etc.[2]

To this, the Master answers:

Individuals cannot outstrip the humanity of their round any further than by one remove, for it is mathematically impossible.[3]

And then he seems to explain that part of humanity may be evolving on Globe A while some other would be on the last globe, Z (or G):

And now as man when completing his seventh ring upon A has but begun his first on Z and as A dies when he leaves it for B, etc., and as he must also remain in the inter-cyclic sphere after Z, as he has between every two planets, until the impulse again thrills the chain, clearly no one can be more than one round ahead of his kind. . . . We have fifth round men among us because we are in the latter half of our septenary earth ring. In the first half this could not have happened. The countless myriads of our fourth round humanity who have outrun us and completed their seven rings on Z, have had time to pass their inter-cyclic period begin their new round and work on to globe D (ours).[4]
We have fifth round men among us because we are in the latter half of our septenary earth ring. In the first half this could not have happened.[5]

In another letter there is mention to "fifth round men" evolving in a globe previous to the earth, besides the ones that are already here:

The “obscuration” comes on only when the last man of whatever Round has passed into the sphere of effects. Nature is too well, too mathematically adjusted to cause mistakes to happen in the exercise of her functions. The obscuration of the planet on which are now evoluting the races of the fifth Round men — will, of course “be behind the few avant couriers” who are now here.[6]

Thus, while Master M. said the fifth round has not started yet, Master K.H. seems to mean that there are men who have actually gone through all the globes in this Round and started the fifth one. This is puzzling, since the normal idea is that when a Globe is in obscuration it is dead, and therefore it could not support life.

This contradiction was first pointed out by Mr. Hume in an article he published in The Theosophist June 1883 (p. 231) entitled "Cosmical Rings and Rounds". The chela S. T. K***Chary, who was asked to throw some light on this matter, wrote a note following Hume's article stating:

Neither theory contains the whole truth about the esoteric doctrine in question. It is certainly much more complicated in its details than is generally supposed.[7]

And added a final hint:

A Planet may be said to be in a state of Obscuration when a small portion of it is inhabited.[8]

Finally, Master K.H. refers to these questions in a letter to A. P. Sinnett:

Neither M. nor I have contradicted each other in our respective statements. He was speaking of the inner — I, of the outer Round. There are many things that you have not learned but may some day; nor will you be able to ever comprehend the process of the obscurations until you have mastered the mathematical progress of the inner and the outer Rounds and learned more about the specific difference between the seven.[9]

According to A. P. Sinnett

In a later edition of his book Esoteric Buddhism, A. P. Sinnett refers to the criticism published by A. O. Hume in his article "Cosmical Rings and Rounds" (see above). He wrote:

The description I have given of the progress of the human tide-wave is quite coherent as it stands, but since the publication of the original edition of this book some criticism was directed, in India, to a comparison between my version of the story and certain passages in other writings, known to emanate from a Mahatma. A discrepancy between the two statements was pointed out, the other version assuming the possibility that a monad actually might have travelled round the seven planets once more often than the compeers among whom he might ultimately find himself on this earth. My account of the obscurations appears to render this contingency impossible. The clue to the mystery appears to lie outside the domain of those facts concerning which the adepts are willing to speak freely; and the reader must clearly understand that the explanation I am about to offer is the fruit of my own speculation and comparison of different parts of the doctrine — not authentic information received from the author of my general teaching.[10]

And, then, follows his explanation:

The great bulk of humanity is driven on from one planet to the next by the great cyclic impulse when its time comes for such a transition, but the planet it quits is not utterly denuded of humanity, nor is it, in every region of its surface rendered, by the physical and climatic changes that come on, unfit to be the habitation of human beings. Even during obscuration a small colony of humanity clings to each planet, and the monads associated with these small colonies following different laws of evolution, and beyond the reach of those attractions which govern the main vortex of humanity in the planet occupied by the great tide-wave, pass on from world to world along what may be called the inner round of evolution, far ahead of the race at large. What may be the circumstances which occasionally project a soul even from the midst of the great human vortex, right out of the attraction of the planet occupied by the tide wave, and into the attraction of the Inner Round - is a question that can only be a subject for us at present of very uncertain conjecture.[11]

According to Besant and Leadbeater

In their teachings, Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater maintained that even though a Globe may be in "obscuration", it still bears some forms of life. This is what makes possible the existence of an inner round:

A globe "passes into obscuration" when the attention of the LOGOS is turned away from it, and thus His Light is withdrawn. It passes into a kind of coma, and there is a residuum of living creatures left behind; these creatures do not seem to increase in number during this period.[12]
Thus, although the attention of the Planetary LOGOS is now fixed upon our earth, there are yet representatives of all the kingdoms simultaneously existing upon every one of the six other globes of our chain. These are often described as the seed from which the forms will develope when the life-wave reaches the planet--that is to say, when the special attention of the Planetary LOGOS is turned to it once more.[13]

The fact that there are some forms left in each Globe allows it to become "a field for the Inner Round, a place to which egos in a transition state can be transferred for special treatment in order to quicken their evolution".[14] During the inner round, "the ego runs on ahead of the life-wave, and by making an extra journey round the globes raises himself one class higher".[15]

C. W. Leadbeater explains the process in detail as follows:

Under certain conditions of strong desire for advancement, if he is seen to be striving with exceptional vigour to improve himself, he may be separated from the great masses of his fellows on this planet, and passed by the authorities into what is called the Inner Round, and may take his next incarnation among the limited population of Mercury [Globe E]. In that case he will spend there about the same time that he would otherwise have devoted to incarnations in one root-race, and will then pass on to the astral planet F. After a similar stay there he will be transferred to globes G, A and B successively, and then to Mars [Globe C] and to the Earth.[16]
As in each of these spheres he will have made a stay about equivalent to the normal period of a root-race, the life-wave will have left the Earth before his return, but he will overtake it upon the planet Mercury, and will then join the ranks of the first-class monads and share the remainder of their evolution and their varied opportunities of more rapid development. Entities engaged upon this special line of evolution form the majority of the small population of Mercury and Mars at the present time. In the latter planet there is also a certain residuum of primitive mankind which was unprepared to pass on when the life-wave left for the Earth--a race which represents a stage of humanity lower than any at present existing within our cognisance. It will probably be extinct long before we reach Mars in the fifth round, since there appear to be no other egos needing manifestation at that level for the moment.[17]

According to G. de Purucker

G. de Purucker gives a different account of inner and outer Rounds. He says:

There are outer rounds and inner rounds. An inner round comprises the passage of the life-wave in any one planetary chain from globe A to globe G once around, and this takes place seven times in a planetary manvantara.


The outer round comprises the passage of the entirety of a life-wave of a planetary chain along the circulations of the solar system, from one of the seven sacred planets to another; and this for seven (or ten) times.[18]

Notes

  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 123.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 186.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 186.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 186-187.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 187.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 70-C (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 215.
  7. S. T. K***Chary, [Note to] "Cosmical Rings and Rounds", The Theosophist 4:9 (June, 1883), 232.
  8. S. T. K***Chary, [Note to] "Cosmical Rings and Rounds", The Theosophist 4:9 (June, 1883), 232.
  9. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 113 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 390.
  10. Alfred Percy Sinnett, Esoteric Buddhism (San Diego: Wizards Bookshelf, 1987), 145-146.
  11. Alfred Percy Sinnett, Esoteric Buddhism (San Diego: Wizards Bookshelf, 1987), 146-147.
  12. Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater, Man: Whence, How and Whither, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1984), 95.
  13. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1942), 206.
  14. Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater, Man: Whence, How and Whither, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1984), 95.
  15. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1942), 233.
  16. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1942), 207.
  17. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Inner Life vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1942), 207-208.
  18. Round Occult Glossary by G. de Purucker