Kingdoms of Life

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The Kingdoms of Life in biology are the highest rank among the taxonomic categories, grouping together all forms of life that have certain fundamental characteristics in common. In modern science, organisms are classified into one of six Kingdoms of life. These Kingdoms are Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. Sometimes Archaebacteria and Eubacteria are grouped together under the single kingdom of "Monera".

The Esoteric philosophy considers that life pervades the whole universe and therefore includes minerals among its kingdoms. It also regards human beings as separate from animals, due to the former having acquired manas. Finally, it describes the existence of three non physical kingdoms. Thus, we find seven categories that include three elemental kingdoms, mineral, plants, animals, and human beings.

General description

There are seven kingdoms. The 1st group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces—from the first stage of differentiation of Mulaprakriti to its third degree,—i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the 2nd or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the “Monadic Essence”—considered as an Evoluting Energy. Three stages in the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages in the objective physical side—these are the seven links of the evolutionary chain. A descent of spirit into matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a reascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete organisms up to Nirvana—the vanishing point of differentiated matter.[1]

Dividing our kingdoms into seven, the last four are what exoteric sciences divides into three. To this we add the kingdom of man or the Deva kingdom.[2]

The different kingdoms can be seen as constituting the seven principles of a Globe. As Master K.H. wrote:

The correspondence between a mother-globe and her child-man may be thus worked out. Both have their seven principles. In the Globe, the elementals (of which there are in all seven species) form (a) a gross body, (b) her fluidic double (linga sariram), (c) her life principle (jiva); (d) her fourth principle kama rupa is formed by her creative impulse working from centre to circumference; (e) her fifth principle (animal soul or Manas, physical intelligence) is embodied in the vegetable (in germ) and animal kingdoms; (f) her sixth principle (or spiritual soul, Buddhi) is man (g) and her seventh principle (Atma) is in a film of spiritualized akasa that surrounds her.[3]

Three elemental kingdoms

Now the life impulse reaches [Globe] “A” or rather that which is destined to become “A” and which so far is but cosmic dust. A centre is formed in the nebulous matter of the condensation of the solar dust disseminated through space and a series of three evolutions invisible to the eye of flesh occur in succession, viz., three kingdoms of elementals or nature forces are evoluted: in other words the animal soul of the future globe is formed; or as a Kabalist will express it, the gnomes, the salamanders, and the undines are created.[4]

Mineral kingdom

The three [elemental] evolutions completed, palpable globe begins to form. The mineral kingdom, fourth in the whole series, but first in this stage leads the way. Its deposits are at first vaporous, soft and plastic, only becoming hard and concrete in the seventh ring.[5]

Vegetable kingdom

Animal kingdom

Human kingdom

Theosophical teachings regard humanity as a kingdom of its own. This differs from the scientific view, which regards humans as part of the animal kingdom. Theosophical teachings, however, recognize that human beings, from the biological point of view, belong to the animal kingdom. Humanity is said to be a different kingdom by virtue of the spiritual states of consciousness available to it by means of the active manasic principle:

Man is an animal on a higher plane of being and consciousness than is the animal. The man is a higher animal on a higher plane of consciousness than the animal; even the most abject savage is.[6]

The destiny of humanity is divine, since it will become the Pitris of a future humanity:

Who . . . knows, or can tell, what may happen when once the life cycle of this globe is run down and our mother earth herself falls into her last sleep? Who is bold enough to say that the divine Egos of our mankind—at least the elect out of the multitudes passing on to other spheres—will not become in their turn the “divine” instructors of a new mankind generated by them on a new globe, called to life and activity by the disembodied “principles” of our Earth?[7]

See also

Online resources




  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. V (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1997), 173-174.
  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), 185.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 184-185.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 67 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 185.
  6. Michael Gomes (transcriber), The Secret Doctrine Commentaries (The Hague: I.S.I.S. foundation, 2010), 521.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 309.