In its journey around a Planetary Chain, the life-wave evolves in a Globe and after finishing moves on to the next one. Then, the globe just quit enters into a state of rest called "obscuration. In his book Esoteric Buddhism, Alfred Percy Sinnett explained:
When the life-wave goes [from Globe A] on to B, in fact, globe A passes for the time into a state of obscuration. This state is not one of decay, dissolution, or anything that can be properly called death. . . The obscuration of a world is a total suspension of its activity.
The end of an evolutionary cycle in a planet is accompanied by natural disasters. As the same Master wrote:
The approach of every new "obscuration" is always signalled by cataclysms — of either fire or water.
When the planet reawakens, there are also some geological changes that are metaphorical spoken of as the casting off of the "old skin":
In one of his letters, Mahatma K.H. connects the idea of obscuration with a planet becoming a dark body. He wrote, "The following may lead later on to a curious confirmation of our 'obscuration' doctrine," and attached a newspaper cutting that says:
Sir John Lubbock’s opinion confirms or endorses the conclusion long since put forth by some of the most eminent astronomers, namely, that there are now in the solar system, or firmament, many dark bodies — that is, bodies which now emit no light, or comparatively little.
Once the life-wave leaves the planet, some spiritual beings are left as the "seeds" for the evolution of life when the planet re-awakens. They are called "sishtas", from the Sanskrit śiṣṭa (devanāgarī: शिष्ट) meaning "remnant". Mme. Blavatsky defined them as follows:
Sishta (Sk.). The great elect or Sages, left after every minor Pralaya (that which is called “obscuration” in Mr. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism), when the globe goes into its night or rest, to become, on its re-awakening, the seed of the next humanity.
This group of sages are not only concerned with the evolution of humanity, but also with that of the lower kingdoms nature:
The secret one speaks of seven Initiates having attained Dhyanchohanship toward the end of the seventh Race on this earth, who are left on earth during its “obscuration” with the seed of every mineral, plant, and animal that had not time to evolute into man for the next Round or world-period.
In another article Mme. Blavatsky mentions a "Being" (probably referring to the Manu) who is specifically in charge of guiding the new humanity on the re-awakened planet:
The BEING to whose duty it falls to rear, nurse, and guide the tottering steps of the renascent human races, that awake anew to life on every planet in its turn, after its periodical “obscuration.”
A Planet may be said to be in a state of Obscuration when a small portion of it is inhabited.
Mr. Sinnett wrote something similar:
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.
It seems obvious that this subject has not been explained in its totality. For example, when talking about the duration of the obscuration, Master K.H. wrote to Mr. Sinnett:
Take into consideration the following facts . . . That the “obscurations” are not Pralayas, and that they last in a proportion of 1 to 10, i.e., if a Ring or whatever we call it, the period during which the seven Root races have to develop and reach their last appearance upon a globe during that Round — lasts say 10 millions of years, (of course it lasts far longer) then the "obscuration" will last no longer than one million.
- Alfred Percy Sinnett, Esoteric Buddhism (London: Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1885), 133.
- Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 314.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 47.
- Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 109 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 370.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 300.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 44, fn.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IV (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1991), 514, fn.
- S. T. K***Chary, [Note to] "Cosmical Rings and Rounds", The Theosophist 4:9 (June, 1883), 232.
- Alfred Percy Sinnett, Esoteric Buddhism (London: Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1885), ???.
- Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 332.