Round

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A Round is a cosmic cycle of evolution in a Planetary Chain (see Chains and Rounds), in which the Monads begin their journey on the first and most subtle Globe (called Globe A) of the series of seven. Finishing their evolution there they proceed to the next globe, and so on, until the seventh globe (Globe G or Z) is reached. After a Round is over the Monads rest in a state Nirvana until the time for a new Round comes. Each round develops fully one of the human principles.[1] Seven of these Rounds are necessary to complete the evolution in a given Planetary Chain.

General description

A round is a cycle of evolution of life through the seven globes that constitute a Planetary Chain.H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

By a “Round” is meant the serial evolution of nascent material nature, of the seven globes of our chain* with their mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms (man being there included in the latter and standing at the head of it) during the whole period of a life-cycle. The latter would be called by the Brahmins “a Day of Brahmâ.” It is, in short, one revolution of the “Wheel” (our planetary chain), which is composed of seven globes (or seven separate “Wheels,” in another sense this time). When evolution has run downward into matter, from planet A to planet G, or Z, as the Western students call it, it is one Round.[2]
The work of each Round is said to be apportioned to a different group of so-called "Creators" or "Architects".[3]
In the Esoteric System, the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain. They are, moreover, said to send their Bhodisatvas, the human correspondents of the Dhyani-Buddhas . . . during every Round and Race.[4]
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 4h race are the shortest, while the 1st and 7th Rounds as the 1st and 7th root races are the longest.[5]
Every “Round” (on the descending scale) is but a repetition in a more concrete form of the Round which preceded it, as every globe—down to our fourth sphere (the actual earth)—is a grosser and more material copy of the more shadowy sphere which precedes it in their successive order, on the three higher planes. . . . On its way upwards on the ascending arc, Evolution spiritualises and etherealises, so to speak, the general nature of all, bringing it on to a level with the plane on which the twin globe on the opposite side is placed; the result being, that when the seventh globe is reached (in whatever Round) the nature of everything that is evolving returns to the condition it was in at its starting point—plus, every time, a new and superior degree in the states of consciousness.[6]

A new element is developed in each Round:

Every new Round develops one of the Compound Elements. . . . If Nature is the “Ever-becoming” on the manifested plane, then those Elements are to be regarded in the same light: they have to evolve, progress, and increase to the Manvantaric end.[7]
The succession of primary aspects of Nature with which the succession of Rounds is concerned, has to do, as already indicated, with the development of the “Elements” (in the Occult sense)—Fire, Air, Water, Earth. We are only in the fourth Round, and our catalogue so far stops short.[8]

However, we need to keep in mind that "none of the so-called elements were, in the three preceding Rounds, as they are now".[9]

At each Round there are less and less animals — the latter themselves evoluting into higher forms. During the first Round it is they that were the "kings of creation." During the seventh men will have become Gods and animals — intelligent beings. Draw your inferences. Beginning with the second Round, already evolution proceeds on quite a different plan. Everything is evolved and has but to proceed on its cyclic journey and get perfected. It is only [on] the first Round that man becomes from a human being on Globe B, a mineral, a plant, an animal on Planet C. The method changes entirely from the second Round.[10]
From the first man has all the seven principles included in him in germ but none are developed. If we compare him to a baby we will be right. . . . In each of the rounds he makes one of the principles develop fully. In the first round his consciousness on our earth is dull and but feeble and shadowy, something like that of an infant. When he reaches our earth in the second round he has become responsible in a degree, in the third he becomes so entirely. At every stage and every round his development keeps pace with the globe on which he is.[11]
Humanity develops fully only in the Fourth—our present Round. Up to this fourth Life-Cycle, it is referred to as “humanity” only for lack of a more appropriate term. Like the grub which become chrysalis and butterfly, Man, or rather that which becomes man, passes through all the forms and kingdoms during the first Round and through all the human shapes during the two following Rounds. Arrived on our Earth at the commencement of the Fourth in the present series of life-cycles and races, MAN is the first form that appears thereon, being preceded only by the mineral and vegetable kingdoms—even the latter having to develop and continue its further evolution through man. . . . During the three Rounds to come, Humanity, like the globe on which it lives, will be ever tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan Chohanic Host. Man tends to become a God and then—GOD, like every other atom in the Universe.[12]

In one of his letters, Master K.H. explains that at the end of each a Round the Monads have a partial remembrance of their experiences, and experience a full one only when the seven rounds are finished:

At the end of each of the seven rounds come a less "full" remembrance; only of the devachanic experiences taking place between the numerous births at the end of each personal life. But the complete recollection of all the lives — (earthly and devachanic) omniscience — in short — comes but at the great end of the full seven Rounds (unless one had become in the interim a Bodhisatwa, an Arhat).[13]

See also Inner and Outer Rounds.

First Round

Thus, in the first Round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives, i.e., formed into a sphere—had no solidity, nor qualifications, save a cold brightness, nor form nor colour; it is only towards the end of the First Round that it developed one Element which from its inorganic, so to say, or simple Essence became now in our Round the fire we know throughout the system. The Earth was in her first rupa, the essence of which is the Akâsic principle, that which is now known as, and very erroneously termed, Astral Light.[14]

According to Mahatma K.H., during the first Round animals are the "kings of creation", but as the Rounds develop there are less and less of them.[15] Regarding the human evolution during the Rounds, the Mahatma wrote:

1st Round. — An ethereal being — non-intelligent, but super-spiritual. In each of the subsequent races and sub-races and minor races of evolution he grows more and more into an encased or incarnate being, but still preponderatingly etherial. And like the animal and vegetable he develops monstrous bodies correspondential with his coarse surroundings.[16]
In the first round his consciousness on our earth is dull and but feeble and shadowy, something like that of an infant.[17]
It is only the first Round that man becomes from a human being on Globe B, a mineral, a plant, an animal on Planet C. The method changes entirely from the second Round.[18]

Second Round

During the first Round all forms have to be evolved for the first time. However, in this Round, this does not have to be repeated. Master K.H. wrote:

Beginning with the second Round, already evolution proceeds on quite a different plan. Everything is evolved and has but to proceed on its cyclic journey and get perfected.[19]
The Second Round brings into manifestation the second element—AIR, that element, the purity of which would ensure continuous life to him who would use it. “From the second Round, Earth—hitherto a fœtus in the matrix of Space—began its real existence: it had developed individual sentient life, its second principle. The second corresponds to the sixth (principle); the second is life continuous, the other, temporary.”[20]

Regarding the human evolution during the Rounds, Mahatma K.H. wrote:

2nd Round. — He is still gigantic and ethereal, but growing firmer and more condensed in body — a more physical man, yet still less intelligent than spiritual; for mind is a slower and more difficult evolution than the physical frame and the mind would not develop as rapidly as the body.[21]
When he reaches our earth in the second round he has become responsible in a degree.[22]

Third Round

The Third Round developed the third Principle—WATER.[23]

Regarding the human evolution during the Rounds, Mahatma K.H. wrote:

3rd Round. — He has now a perfectly concrete or compacted body; at first the form of a giant ape, and more intelligent (or rather cunning) than spiritual. For in the downward arc he has now reached the point where his primordial spirituality is eclipsed or over-shadowed by nascent mentality. In the last half of this third round his gigantic stature decreases, his body improves in texture (perhaps the microscope might help to demonstrate this) and he becomes a more rational being — though still more an ape than a Deva man.[24]

The Mahatma wrote that in the third Round man becomes entirely responsible.[25]

Fourth Round

Our Fourth Round . . . is the cycle of the turning-point, after which, matter, having reached its lowest depths, begins to strive onward and to get spiritualized with every new Race and with every fresh cycle.[26]
The fourth member of a series occupies a unique position. . . . It is the sphere of final evolutionary adjustments, the world of Karmic scales, the Hall of Justice, where the balance is struck which determines the future course of the Monad during the remainder of its incarnations in the cycle. And therefore it is, that, after this central turning-point has been passed in the Great Cycle,—i.e., after the middle point of the Fourth Race in the Fourth Round on our Globe—no more Monads can enter the human kingdom. The door is closed for this Cycle and the balance struck.[27]
In the middle of the Fourth revolution, which is our present “Round”: “Evolution has reached its acme of physical development, crowned its work with the perfect physical man, and, from this point, begins its work spirit-ward.”[28]
The Fourth [Round] transformed the gaseous fluids and plastic form of our globe into the hard, crusted, grossly material sphere we are living on. “Bhumi” [the Earth] has reached her fourth principle. Earth will reach her true ultimate form—(inversely in this to man)—her body shell—only toward the end of the manvantara after the Seventh Round. Our globe is, so far, in its Kamarupic state—the astral body of desires of Ahamkara, dark Egotism, the progeny of Mahat, on the lower plane. . . .[29]

Regarding the human development during the Rounds, the fourth in the one where conscious evolution begins:

In the middle of the Fourth revolution, which is our present “Round”: “Evolution has reached its acme of physical development, crowned its work with the perfect physical man, and, from this point, begins its work spirit-ward.” All this needs little repetition, as it is well explained in “Esoteric Buddhism”.[30]

Mahatma K.H. wrote:

Then it is but at his fourth round, when arrived at the full possession of his Kama-energy and completely matured, that man becomes fully responsible.[31]
4th round. — Intellect has an enormous development in this round. The dumb races will acquire our human speech, on our globe, on which from the 4th race language is perfected and knowledge in physical things increases. At this half-way point of the fourth round, Humanity passes the axial point of the minor manwantaric circle. (Moreover, at the middle point of every major or root race evolution of each round, man passes the equator of his course on that planet, the same rule applying to the whole evolution or the seven rounds of the minor Manwantara — 7 rounds divided by 2 = 3 1/2 rounds). At this point then the world teems with the results of intellectual activity and spiritual decrease. In the first half of the fourth race, sciences, arts, literature and philosophy were born, eclipsed in one nation, reborn in another. Civilization and intellectual development whirling in septenary cycles as the rest; while it is but in the latter half that the spiritual Ego will begin its real struggle with body and mind to manifest its transcendental powers. Who will help in the forthcoming gigantic struggle? Who? Happy the man who helps a helping hand.[32]

It is in this Round and globe D that the conflict between the opposing forces begins:

The deadly strife between spirit and matter, between Light and Goodness and Darkness and Evil, began on our globe with the first appearance of contrasts and opposites in vegetable and animal nature, and continued more fiercely than ever after man had become the selfish and personal being he now is. Nor is there any chance of its coming to an end before falsehood is replaced by truth, selfishness by altruism, and supreme justice reigns in the heart of man. Till then, the noisy battle will rage unabated. It is selfishness, especially; the love of Self above all things in heaven and earth, helped by human vanity, which is the begetter of the seven mortal sins.[33]

Fifth Round

Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

It will only be in the next, or fifth, Round that the fifth Element, Ether—the gross body of Akâsa, if it can be called even that—will, by becoming a familiar fact of Nature to all men, as air is familiar to us now, cease to be as at present hypothetical, and also an “agent” for so many things. And only during that Round will those higher senses, the growth and development of which Akâsa subserves, be susceptible of a complete expansion.[34]
The Fifth Round will bring forth a higher kind of Humanity; and, as intelligent Nature always proceeds gradually, the last Race [the seventh] of this [fourth] Round must necessarily develop the needed materials thereof. [35]

In The Mahatma Letters there is mention to some "fifth-rounders" having been incarnated on Earth now, during our Fourth Round:

Plato and Confucius were fifth round men and our Lord a sixth round man (the mystery of his avatar is spoken of in my forthcoming letter) and not even Gautama Buddha’s son was anything but a fourth round man.[36]

This apparent contradiction was explained by Mme. Blavatsky as follows:

Every “Round” brings about a new development and even an entire change in the mental, psychic, spiritual and physical constitution of man, all these principles evoluting on an ever ascending scale. Thence it follows that those persons who, like Confucius and Plato, belonged psychically, mentally and spiritually to the higher planes of evolution, were in our Fourth Round as the average man will be in the Fifth Round, whose mankind is destined to find itself, on this scale of Evolution, immensely higher than is our present humanity.[37]

However, in one of his letters, Master K.H. seems to imply that some humans may have actually gone through the different Globes faster getting ahead of humanity for one Round.[38]

Sixth Round

The Mahatma Letters state that during the sixth Round human development will be such that a portion of humanity will attain Buddhahood.[39] In agreement with this, Mme. Blavatsky said that Gautama Buddha and Sankaracharya are considered Sixth Rounders.[40]

However, Gautama's incarnation during the fourth round is an exception. The law of cyclic evolution does not allow human beings who are more than one round ahead of the rest of humanity to take physical birth:

Our Lord Buddha — a 6th r. man — would not have appeared in our epoch, great as were his accumulated merits in previous rebirths but for a mystery. . . . Individuals cannot outstrip the humanity of their round any further than by one remove, for it is mathematically impossible.[41]

Normally, individuals like Gautama would have to wait in a state of nirvāṇa until the appropriate cycle of evolution is reached, before they can incarnate.

Seventh Round

Master K.H. said that by the end of the seventh Round, before the Pralaya, man may become a "Dhyan Chohan".[42] He also wrote that during the seventh Round "men will have become Gods and animals — intelligent beings".[43]

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 231-232.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 233.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 42.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 117.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 232.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 250.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 252.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 253.
  10. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.
  11. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 159.
  13. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 104 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), ???.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 259.
  15. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.
  16. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 66 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 179.
  17. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  18. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.
  19. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.
  20. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 260.
  21. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 66 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 179.
  22. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  23. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 260.
  24. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 66 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 179.
  25. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  26. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 185-186.
  27. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 182.
  28. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 232.
  29. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 260.
  30. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 232.
  31. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 122.
  32. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 66 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 179-180.
  33. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XIII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1982), 128.
  34. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 257-258.
  35. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XIII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1982), 128.
  36. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 66 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), ???.
  37. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 162.
  38. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 186.
  39. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 122.
  40. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I (London: The Theosohpical Publishing House, 1978), 162.
  41. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 186.
  42. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr. The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 122.
  43. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.