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Volume 2:289-306

Further in the Tenth Stanza, H.P. Blavatsky introduced the rather unusual idea that mankind once possessed three eyes: the original, backward-facing eye (which has receded into the brain as the pineal gland) and the two front-facing eyes (which we currently use) that developed because coats of skin slowly covered over our cloudy, diaphanous, human frames. As to the original eye, Aristophanes, mocking an initiate, lampooned the idea. In Women at the Thesmophoria in Verses 10-20, he quipped, "When Ether was first separated, and creatures capable of movement came into being under her, for the purpose of vision, she devised the eye--modelled on the orb of the sun." This is the backward-facing eye that simultaneously operated as a spiritual organ in humanity until "nearly the middle period of the third SUB-race of the Fourth Root-Race, when the consolidation and perfection of the human frame made it disappear from the outward anatomy of man," per The Secret Doctrine 2:306. As to the diaphanous human frames, he parodied them in The Clouds in Verses 250-255 and 410-425, "I assume, then, that in future you will recognize only the gods that we believe in, that is, Chaos, the Clouds and the Tongue" and "talk face to face with our divinities, the Clouds?" Long ago, these were mankind's divinities precisely because the "third eye" was not yet "dead." As H.P. Blavatsky reminisced in The Secret Doctrine 2:294-295, "The 'deva-eye' exists no more for the majority of mankind," but for the "Arhat" it still "swells and expands" so that he "sees and feels it, and regulates his action accordingly." Though usually short-sighted, the 17th century AD French philosopher Rene Descartes in The Passions of the Soul in ART. 34 captured this idea beautifully, "The little gland that is the main seat of the soul is so suspended between the cavities containing the spirits that it can be moved by them in as many different fashions as there are differences in objects perceptible by the senses; but it can also be moved in various ways by the soul, which is of such a nature that it receives as many different impressions (or in other words has as many different perceptions) as there are different movements in the gland." This is why "celibacy and chastity" are the "rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and occult powers." The pineal gland registers the soft inner movement of the soul; harsh outer impressions numb it. Therefore, its activity is "INDISSOLUBLY CONNECTED WITH KARMA" in The Secret Doctrine 2:302, where "KARMA" involves the descents and ascents in the cycles of human evolution and the ultimate creation and destruction of Root-Races. This original eye will function once again and even now can function as Sub-Races climb into their ascent towards the apex of their cycle. This notion of an operative "third eye" in more spiritual ages allows this commentary to resume tracing the cycles of the Fourth and Fifth Root-Races.

In The Secret Doctrine 2:301, H.P. Blavatsky wrote, "Our race then has, as a Root-race, crossed the equatorial line [ed. see her diagram on 2:300] and is cycling onward on the Spiritual side: but some of our sub-races still find themselves on the shadowy descending arc of their respective national cycles; while others again--the oldest--having crossed their crucial point, which alone decides whether race, a nation, or a tribe will live or perish, are at the apex of spiritual development as sub-races." In the Fifth Root-Race, the 3rd Sub-Race has crossed its "crucial point" to begin redeveloping the use of the "third eye" while the 4th Sub-Race is on the "shadowy descending arc." In The Secret Doctrine 2:435, she added, "Now our Fifth Root-Race has already been in existence--as a race sui generis and quite free from its parent stem--about 1,000,000 years." G. de Purucker remarked in Fundamentals on pages 351-352 that this statement is often misinterpreted to mean that the Fifth Root-Race is only one million years old; the phrases "sui generis" and "quite free from its parent stem" tend to be overlooked. It is the Hindu-Aryan race (representing an inner flow of human consciousness stretching from the last Family Race of the 1st Sub-Race into the first Family Race of the 3rd Sub-Race in the Fifth Root-Race) that broke free of its parent stem. In the passage from The Secret Doctrine 2:435 on the Hindu-Aryans of the Fifth Root-Race, H.P. Blavatsky, for simplicity's sake, enumerated each one of the five Family Races of the 3rd Sub-Race (during these past 1,000,000 years) as lasting approximately 210,000 years each. This means that its 5th Family Race is about 160,000 years old, and its 6th Family Race is already beginning. In her communications with A.P. Sinnett in The Letters on page 238, she remarked that the Hindu-Aryans are "almost ready for the evolution of their sixth race units" while the Europeans have "yet to whistle for them" and "must thank her stars for evoluting even occasionally Hindu like spiritual and beautiful characters." In relation to each other, the Hindu-Aryan is "spiritually intellectual" while the European is "physically spiritual." That is, the former is ascending; the latter is descending. Further, her comments to Mohini Chatterji on page 258 regarding his book, Man: Fragments of Forgotten History, expressed this evolutionary phase as the "fifth Sub-race of the first Root-race in this our World period." Clearly not anxious to tell the whole story, her explanation served as an appropriate blind: 1) "our World period" corresponds to the last one million years of the Fifth Root-Race 2) "first Root-race" corresponds to the last Family Race of the 1st Sub-Race from which the 3rd Sub-Race evolves to become quite free of its parent stem 3) "fifth Sub-race" corresponds to the 5th Family Race of the 3rd Sub-Race. From one perspective, humanity is in the 5th Family Race of its 3rd Sub-Race in the Fifth Root-Race. But from another perspective, it is not.

When the 3rd Sub-Race reached its greatest "physical point of evolution" some 270,000 to 100,000 years ago (more or less, perhaps) during the series of Daitya island sinkings, the 4th Sub-Race arrived on the world stage. In Isis Unveiled 1:576, this was "lastly the Aryan" composed of the "Median," "Persian," and "Hindu." In one sense, its arrival was openly declared in H.P. Blavatsky's delineation of its beginnings over the "last three family races of the fourth Sub-race of the Fifth Root-race" in The Secret Doctrine 2:433. This means that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Family Races of the 4th Sub-Race overlapped with the 4th, 5th, and 6th Family Races of the 3rd Sub-Race. But in another sense this declaration was more subtle because she also linked these three "family races" to "25,000 to 30,000" year Sidereal cycles, thereby qualifying them as National Races. In terms of the 4th Sub-Race, they are the three National Races preceding the current one, the 4th European National Race of the 3rd Family Race. This is why the "fourth sub-race [ed. this 4th European National Race and the 4th Family Race that evolved from it] witnessed the destruction of the last remnant of the Atlanteans" some "11,000 years ago." In terms of the 3rd Sub-Race, they are the closing National Races of its 4th Family Race (her "fourth Sub-race," in this case) of the 3rd Sub-Race (her "fifth Root-Race," in this case). H.P. Blavatsky masterfully veiled the passage so that the same phrase indicated several different evolutionary phases. Since the "Fifth Root-race" of 1,000,000 years is only a portion of the Fifth Root-Race in the 3rd Sub-Race, the "fourth Sub-race of the Fifth Root-race" can also be read as the 4th Family Race in the 3rd Sub-Race and thus the "last three family races" are actually the final National Races of the 4th Family Race that evolve concurrently with the 5th Family Race. The first of these "three" is the "Aryan Asiatic" who saw the "last of the populations of the 'giant Atlanteans' who perished some 850,000 years ago," but saw them only in the "last" of their populations which is a reference to the much later Daitya sinking 270,000 to 100,000 yeas ago. The third of the final "three" National Races of the 4th Family Race of the 3rd Sub-Race experienced the Poseidonis sinking. By this time, the 5th Family Race was already evoluting its 6th Family Race humanity on the ascent. But it must be remembered that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Family Races of the 4th Sub-Race (broadly corresponding to the "Median, Persian, Hindu" in Isis Unveiled 1:576) in their descent overlapped the 5th Family Race of the 3rd Sub-Race in its ascent. If one extrapolates from H.P. Blavatsky's diagram in The Secret Doctrine 2:300, it becomes apparent that one Sub-Race is ascending while another Sub-Race is descending. In this diagram, the 3rd and the 7th are polar opposites, which is why the 7th Sub-Race of the 4th Root-Race climaxed as the 3rd Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race bottomed out in its 4th Family Race (for example, in 270,000 BC). It is this 3rd Sub-Race that migrated (after reaching its mid-point) carrying seedlings from the 4th Sub-Race away from the island of Poseidonis some 80,000 to 100,000 years ago before its final sinking some 11,500 years ago when its departure was repeated in mirror image by the 3rd National Race carrying seedlings from the 4th European National Race (her "fourth sub-race," without capitalization) of the 3rd Family Race (her "three family races") of the 4th Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-Race into the Mediterranean. This 4th European National Race included the "Gothic and Slavic peoples of Europe" who came "later" from the "Hindu," per Isis Unveiled 1:576. The 3rd Sub-Race primarily moved to India, Ethiopia, and into Egypt following the Blue Nile and the White Nile to the delta region where they engaged in Pyramid construction. H.P. Blavatsky referred to this migration in Isis Unveiled 1:515, "the Eastern Ethiopians--the mighty builders--had come from India as a matured people." G. de Purucker outlined these migrations in Studies on pages 539-542.

In the 4th Family Race at their "physical point of evolution," the 3rd Sub-Race was quite dark in terms of skin color. H.P. Blavatsky contrasted these "Eastern Aethiopians" of the "dark-skinned Caucasians" of the 3rd Sub-Race with the "white-skinned Aryan races" who were "never born 'builders'" in Isis Unveiled 1:525. In Collected Writings 13:331, she reprimanded her European fellows for their feelings of superiority when it was in fact the "ASIATIC ETHIOPIANS," who were "black," that led the way as Europe's "forefathers." Moving northwards and eastwards, the "ASIATIC ETHIOPIANS" intermarried with the "fair Brahmins" moving southwards, per The Secret Doctrine 2:768. Now, the people that she referred to as the "white-skinned Aryan race" (the 4th European National Race belonging to the Indo-European 3rd Family Race) were present at the sinking of Poseidonis some 11,500 years ago in the transition from the third of the "last three family races of the fourth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root-race" in The Secret Doctrine 2:433, but they certainly were not the Pyramid builders from at least sixty thousand years earlier. The "ASIATIC ETHIOPIANS" belonged to the 4th and 5th Family Races of the 3rd Sub-Race while the "white-skinned Aryan race" (in this instance) belonged to the early Family Races of the 4th Sub-Race. Mahatma K.H. stated in Letter 23B in The Mahatma Letters on page 154 that the "Aryan Asiatics" are the "first sub-race of the fifth root Race" and the "white conquerors" are the "last sub-race of the fifth." This division points to the 3rd and 4th Sub-Races. The subject is complicated because the 3rd Sub-Race (Hindu-Aryan) renewed itself in the 3rd Family Race (Indo-European) of the 4th Sub-Race. On these repetitive embodiments, H.P. Blavatsky explained in The Secret Doctrine 2:282, "It is these sacred 'Four' who have been allegorized and symbolized in the 'Linga Purana,' which states that Vamadeva (Siva) as Kumara is reborn in each Kalpa (Race in this instance), as four youths--four, white; four, red; four, yellow; and four, dark or brown."

Regardless, the 3rd and the 4th Sub-Races of the Fifth Root-Race have already started to separate. H.P. Blavatsky hinted at this separation in Collected Writings 5:170-171, "If as averred, the Western nations have separated themselves from the great Aryan stock, it becomes evident that the race that first peopled Europe" was no match for "the root-race which had the Vedas and the pre-historic Rishis."The Western nations" have already separated themselves because the 4th European National Race within the 4th Sub-Race has already reached its midpoint and sent its future humanities to the Americas. In The Secret Doctrine 1:644, she added, "The Western Aryans had, every nation and tribe, like their Eastern brethren of the Fifth Race, their Golden and their Iron ages, their period of comparative irresponsibility, or the Satya age of purity, while now, several of them have reached their Iron Age, the Kali-Yuga." The 3rd Sub-Race (Hindu-Aryan) is beyond its own minor cyclic Kali-Yuga,. The 4th Sub-Race, 3rd Family Race (Indo-European) is in its own minor cyclic Kali-Yuga. And both groups are part of the larger 432,000 year Kali-Yuga of the Fifth Root-Race. Thus, the Iron Age here is a reference to the 4th Sub-Race in its 3rd and 4th Family Races splintered between the Asiatic and the European but rapidly mixing with the African to eventually spiral towards its own acme of materiality. Considering this, the "third eye" needs to be re-awakened.


Aristophanes, Frogs and Other Plays, trans. Shomit Dutta (London: Penguin Books, 2007).

Aristophanes, Lysistrata and Other Plays: The Archarnians, The Clouds, Lysistrata, trans. Alan H. Sommterstein (London: Penguin Books, 2002).

A.T. Barker, comp., The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1973).

A.T. Barker, comp., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1975).

H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 5 (Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 1950).

H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 13 (Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1983).

H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1998).

H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 2019).

Rene Descartes, The Passions of the Soul, trans. Michael Moriarty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

G. de Purucker, Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1979).

G. de Purucker, Studies in Occult Philosophy (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1973).

(Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash)


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