First Root-Race

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The First Root-Race was the first evolutionary cycle of humanity on Earth, in the fourth Round. It was constituted of sexless ethereal beings devoid of understanding, language, or any cognitive activity. They were produced by the Barhishad Pitris, who emanated ethereal forms from themselves. They are called the "Self-born" and the "Chaya Race," chāyā being a Sanskrit word that means "image or shadow." These forms were overshadowed by human Monads. According to H. P. Blavatsky, this Race developed on seven separate regions of an island positioned where the north pole is now, which is frequently referred to as the "Imperishable Sacred Island."

General description

This Race was produced by the Barhishad Pitris. They projected an ethereal doubles, which became the vehicles for the human Monads:

The Pitris shoot out from their ethereal bodies, still more ethereal and shadowy similitudes of themselves, or what we should now call “doubles,” or “astral forms,” in their own likeness. This furnishes the Monad with its first dwelling, and blind matter with a model around and upon which to build henceforth. But Man is still incomplete.[1]
The Dhyanis (Pitris) are those who have evolved their Bhuta (doubles) from themselves, which Rupa (form) has become the vehicle of monads (seventh and sixth principles) that had completed their cycle of transmigration in the three preceding Kalpas (Rounds). Then, they (the astral doubles) became the men of the first Human Race of the Round. But they were not complete, and were senseless.[2]

Thus, the first Race of humans was ethereal, not physical.

The Secret Doctrine postulates a polygenistic theory for human origins. The Pitris projected their doubles on seven different parts of the first continent which, according to H. P. Blavatsky, was an island where now lies the north pole:

The evolution of the First Race (from the bodies of the pitars) took place on seven distinctly separated regions of the (then) only Earth at the arctic pole.[3]

On these different regions incarnated seven groups of humans with different classes of Monads. The Stanzas of Dzyan state:

13. They (the Moon-gods) went, each on his allotted land: seven of them, each on his lot.

14. The Seven Hosts, the “Will (or Mind)-Born” Lords, Propelled by the Spirit of Life-Giving (Fohat), separate men from themselves, each on his own Zone.

15. Seven times Seven Shadows (chhayas) of Future Men (or Amanasas) were (thus) Born, each of his own colour (complexion) and kind. Each (also) inferior to his Father (creator). The Fathers, the Boneless, could give no Life to Beings with Bones. Their Progeny were Bhuta (phantoms) with neither Form nor Mind, Therefore they were called the Chhaya (image or shadow) Race.[4]

Blavatsky elaborates:

The Secret teachings show the divine Progenitors creating men on seven portions of the globe “each on his lot”—i.e., each a different race of men externally and internally, and on different zones.[5]

Because the Barhishad Pitris are unable to awaken the manasic Principle in the forms, this race was like an empty shell, devoid of intelligence:

We find primeval man, issued from the bodies of his spiritually fireless progenitors, described as aëriform, devoid of compactness, and Mindless. He had no middle principle to serve him as a medium between the highest and the lowest, the spiritual man and the physical brain, for he lacked Manas. The Monads which incarnated in those empty Shells, remained as unconscious as when separated from their previous incomplete forms and vehicles.[6]

A commentary to the Stanzas states:

The First Race, the “Self-born,” which are the (astral) shadows of their Progenitors. The body was devoid of all understanding (mind, intelligence, and will). The inner being (the higher self or Monad), though within the earthly frame, was unconnected with it. The link, the Manas, was not there as yet.[7]

The Imperishable Sacred Land

The name chosen for this continent, Blavatsky explains, is due to the following:

The reasons for this name are explained as follows: This “Sacred Land”—of which more later on—is stated never to have shared the fate of the other continents; because it is the only one whose destiny it is to last from the beginning to the end of the Manvantara throughout each Round. It is the cradle of the first man and the dwelling of the last divine mortal, chosen as a Sishta for the future seed of humanity. Of this mysterious and sacred land very little can be said, except, perhaps, according to a poetical expression in one of the Commentaries, that the “pole-star has its watchful eye upon it, from the dawn to the close of the twilight of ‘a day’ of the GREAT BREATH.[8]

Birth and death

The origin of this ethereal Race (frequently called the "self-born") was asexual, and the Race itself was sexless, with no distinction between males and females:

Chhaya-birth, or that primeval mode of sexless procreation, the first Race having oozed out, so to say, from the bodies of the Pitris.[9]

Stanza V.21 says: "The outer of the first became the inner of the second." This means that the first Race did not die, but just became the Second Root-Race when the time came. Blavatsky explains it as follows:

The old (primitive) Race merged in the second race, and became one with it.
This is the mysterious process of transformation and evolution of mankind. The material of the first forms—shadowy, ethereal, and negative—was drawn or absorbed into, and thus became the complement of the forms of the Second Race. The Commentary explains this by saying that, as the First Race was simply composed of the astral shadows of the creative progenitors, having of course neither astral nor physical bodies of their own—this Race never died. Its “men” melted gradually away, becoming absorbed in the bodies of their own “sweat-born” progeny, more solid than their own. The old form vanished and was absorbed by, disappeared in, the new form, more human and physical. There was no death in those days of a period more blissful than the Golden Age; but the first, or parent material was used for the formation of the new being, to form the body and even the inner or lower principles or bodies of the progeny.[10]

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 248.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 183.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 160.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16-17.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 77.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 80.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 164.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 6.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 174.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 121.