WHAT THE MAHATMA LETTERS SAY ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF LIFE
The position on evolution and emanationism in the Mahatma Letters and as explained by H.P. Blavatsky remains fascinating aspects of Theosophy. The Theosophical position, they repeat, is neither atheistic, or agnostic, because of their rejection of the God-theory. This view on evolution works along theories, that come before Charles Darwin. Morya, attempting to get A.P. Sinnett to understand the occult position on the evolution of life, explains that nothing in nature springs into existence accidentally, or ex nihilo; and further, that humanity and earth are not “creations” by a God. He advises Sinnett to consider the beauty of the natural order and law, e.g., referring to the process of human birth¹ as mirroring the origins and evolution of humans, and the birth of the cosmos.
Generally, the whole evolutionary process in the occult theory is described as being cyclical, from every life-organism to the universe itself. The letters express in its exposition of the ‘Occult Philosophy,’ several ideas, that may be summed up in ten-points:
(i) The existence of after-death states (the nature of states, conditions, and the process in detail);
(ii) Intelligences of varying degree (includes the sub-atomic world);
(iii) The non-existence of “God,” or they assert the Universe is “God-less”;
(iv) Life goes through an evolutionary and involutionary process — having high-points and down-points in its development, ascending and descending arcs within the Great Cycle of life (includes trans-migration or re-incarnation);
(v) High intelligence and spirituality (or spiritual intelligence) is not defined by the material progress of a civilization, but concerns the development of the inner man;
(vi) The existence of other life-bearing worlds;
(vii) That nature is apart of an infinite web of causal interplay;
(viii) Space consists of a structure varying in ranges of inter-penetrating energy-substance, and a super-unified force or protean element manifesting itself under various forms of energy;
(ix) Space is the one reality, a living organism, under a unity of forces, possessing countless phenomenal universes and worlds;
(x) There is a link between all matter to its root-essence in the fullness of that space.
LETTERS 13 AND 59 ON EVOLUTION AND THE FAILURE OF SCIENCE AT THE TIME TO SOLVE IT
In the letters No. 13 and 59, Morya tells A.P. Sinnett, that our theological and scientific positions do not help us solve the problem of the races on this planet, and the cycles of nations and civilizations. When a man speaks of creation and the origin of man, Morya states, one is unable to come to certain facts, or accept them, because his belief that man is created, rather than evolved by gradual process. This theory however still strays from Darwinian evolution. Nevertheless, humans, as all life are described as “states for a given time.” The present appearance of things are but transitory, and the phenomenal world is an Illusion. K.H. states, that no one has, or ever will get a complete theory of evolution, and that spiritual insight will also help to comprehend it.
“The evolution of the worlds cannot be considered apart from the evolution of everything created or having being on these worlds. Your accepted conceptions of cosmogony — whether from the theological or scientific standpoints — do not enable you to solve a single anthropological, or even ethnical problem and they stand in your way whenever you attempt to solve the problem of the races on this planet. When a man begins to talk about creation and the origin of man, he is butting against the facts incessantly. Go on saying: “Our planet and man were created — and you will be fighting against hard facts for ever, analyzing and losing time over trifling details — unable to ever grasp the whole. But once admit that our planet and ourselves are no more creations than the iceberg now before me (in our K.H.’s home) but that both planet and man are — states for a given time; that their present appearance — geological and anthropological — is transitory and but a condition concomitant of that stage of evolution at which they have arrived in the descending cycle — and all will become plain. You will easily understand what is meant by the “one and only” element or principle in the universe and that androgynous; the seven-headed serpent Ananda of Vishnu, the Nag around Buddha — the great dragon eternity biting with its active head its passive tail, from the emanations of which spring worlds, beings and things. You will comprehend the reason why the first philosopher proclaimed ALL — Maya — but that one principle, which rests during the maha-pralayas only — the “nights of Brahm”.” (Morya, The Mahatma Letters, no. 13, 1882)
[“As our Pondichery chela significantly says, neither you nor any other man across the threshold has had or ever will have the “complete theory” of Evolution taught him; or get it unless he guesses it for himself. If anyone can unravel it from such tangled threads as are given him, very well; and a fine proof it would indeed be of his or her spiritual insight. Some — have come very near it. But yet there is always with the best of them just enough error” (Excerpt)]
The criticism of “A Student of Occultism” (whose wits are sharpened by the mountain air of his home) and the answer of “S.T.K. . . . Chary” (June Theosophist) upon a part of your annular and circular expositions need not annoy or disturb in any way your philosophic calm. As our Pondichery chela significantly says, neither you nor any other man across the threshold has had or ever will have the “complete theory” of Evolution taught him; or get it unless he guesses it for himself. If anyone can unravel it from such tangled threads as are given him, very well; and a fine proof it would in-deed be of his or her spiritual insight. Some — have come very near it. But yet there is always with the best of them just enough error, — colouring and misconception; the shadow of Manas projecting across the field of Buddhi — to prove the eternal law that only the unshackled Spirit shall see the things of the Spirit without a veil. No untaught amateur could ever rival the proficient in this branch of research; yet the world’s real Revelators have been few, and its pseudo-Saviours legion; and fortunate it is if their half-glimpses of the light are not, like Islam, enforced at the sword’s point, or like Christian Theology, amid blazing faggots and in torture chambers. (…) The bright Luminary of the B.T.S. and the Intelligences that surround her (embodied I mean) may help you to see the flaws: at all events Try. “Nothing was ever lost by trying.” You share with all beginners the tendency to draw too absolutely strong inferences from partly caught hints, and to dogmatize thereupon as though the last word had been spoken. You will correct this in due time. You may misunderstand us, are more than likely to do so, for our language must always be more or less that of parable and suggestion, when treading upon forbidden ground; we have our own peculiar modes of expression and what lies behind the fence of words is even more important than what you read. But still — TRY. Perhaps if Mr. S. Moses could know just what was meant by what was said to him, and about his Intelligences, he would find all strictly true. As he is a man of interior growth, his day may come and his reconciliation with “the Occultists” be complete. Who knows?” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 59.)
The Emanation Theory in Theosophy and its Three Aspects of Evolution also delves into this.
¹ Scientists have applied this same thinking to their attempts to prove Darwinian evolution, in one instance, explaining, from our ears to our tailbones, what a single arm muscle tells us about our development — a remnant of our ancestors who used forearms for climbing. Proof of evolution that you can find on your body, Vox.