“Your History is Entirely at Sea”: The Legend and Classical Reference to Atlantis
THE CLASSICAL REFERENCE TO THE MYTH OF ATLANTIS
One vital classical source for the Atlantis legend
and its remembrance, is from two dialogues written
by Plato, in Timaeus and Critias.
It is described as an island in the Atlantic Ocean.
In Timaeus and Critias, Solon, an Athenian and
prominent statesman c. 6th c. BCE, described the
island as a country bigger than Asia and Libya,
beyond the Pillar of Hercules. Libya here, is referring
to the Mediterranean coast of North Africa; and Asia
may refer to Asia Minor. This description makes
Atlantis seem continent-size, but Plato’s measurements
and the dialogue make Atlantis land mass differentiate.
It was said, by Solon, to contain a number of small
islands around it. Atlantis was said to have existed
9,000 years before his time, as an ideal commonwealth.
In truth, its name was not “Atlantis,” but this was
coined as a descriptive term in the nineteenth-century.
Plato Describes Atlantis // First Mention of the Island // 360 BC ‘Critias’ – Voices of the Past
“Created by Plato as a antagonistic rival to his idealistic interpretation of “Ancient Athens”, his portrait of Atlantis is nevertheless incredibly detailed – describing the history of the island, its geography, and finally the people who counted the doomed paradise their home before they met their end beneath the waves.”
ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA BELIEFS IN THEOSOPHICAL LITERATURE I
In truth, the two legendary land-masses, referred to in Theosophical literature were not called “Atlantis” and “Lemuria” in reality, but merely for sake of easy reference and comprehension. Blavatsky explains in The Secret Doctrine, that the name “Lemuria” was the invention of zoologist P.L. Sclater between 1850 and 1860; also used by the eminent German biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel in the Pedigree of Man. Plato was an initiate of the Sanctuary, and veiled his language, but their definite existence is argued by the Indian adepts in the Mahatma Papers. 9,000 years had elapsed since a war of the nations occurred, both Critias and Timaeus concludes, and the last portion of Atlantis had began gradually sinking. Historians take this to be but an allegory. Lemuria preceded Atlantis, according to the adepts, and the people of Lemuria were destroyed by subterranean fire, volcanic action, and the sinking of their land while Atlantis and the Atlanteans were still in their infancy as a civilization. This prehistoric Parent civilization to the Aryan Root-Race were not white in appearance, being that it is stated, the majority of them bore relatively little physical resemblance to modern man at all; and some were gigantic in stature. The Lemurians are so far back in the primal infancy of the species, it is said, that they never even developed any form of speech or verbal communication beyond a basic monosyllabic grunt, and existed when the pineal gland was actually in its primal evolution, a “third eye” in the back of the head. K.H. refers to Atlantis as “the great continent, the father of nearly all the present continents,” and says regarding Solon’s given numbers in 1882, that the destruction, and flooding of the last remaining portions of Atlantis [its Islands] occurred “11,446 years ago, when its last island, that, translating its vernacular name, we may call with propriety Poseidonis – went down with a crash” — 11,582 years ago as of 2018 (9,564 B.C.E.).
“YOUR HISTORY IS ENTIRELY AT SEA”
MAHATMA LETTER NO. 23b, 1882
[K.H.’s REPLIES TO THE QUERIES IN LETTER 23a II.]
“Remember, you belong to the fifth Race, yet you are but a Western sub-race. Notwithstanding your efforts, what you call civilization is confined only to the latter and its offshoots in America. Radiating around, its deceptive light may seem to throw its rays on a greater distance than it does in reality. (…)
A student of occultism ought not to speak of the “stagnant condition of the fourth Race people” since history knows next to nothing of that condition “up to the beginning of modern progress” of other nations but the Western. What do you know of America, for instance, before the invasion of that country by the Spaniards? Less than two centuries prior to the arrival of Cortez there was as great a “rush” towards progress among the sub-races of Peru and Mexico as there is now in Europe and the U.S.A. Their sub-race ended in nearly total annihilation through causes generated by itself; so will yours at the end of its cycle. We may speak only of the “stagnant conditions” into which, following the law of development, growth, maturity and decline every race and sub-race falls into during its transition periods. It is that latter condition your Universal History is acquainted with, while it remains superbly ignorant of the condition even India was in, some ten centuries back. Your sub-races are now running toward the apex of their respective cycles, and that History goes no further back than the periods of decline of a few other sub-races belonging most of them to the preceding fourth Race. And what is the area and the period of time embraced by its Universal eye? — At the utmost stretch — a few, miserable dozens of centuries. A mighty horizon, indeed! Beyond — all is darkness for it, nothing but hypotheses. . . . .
(2) No doubt there was. Egyptian and Aryan records and especially our Zodiacal tables furnish us with every proof of it besides our inner knowledge. Civilization is an inheritance, a patrimony that passes from race to race along the ascending and descending paths of cycles. During the minority of a sub-race, it is preserved for it by its predecessor, which disappears, dies out generally, when the former “comes to age.” At first, most of them squander and mismanage their property, or leave it untouched in the ancestral coffers. They reject contemptuously the advices of their elders and prefer, boy-like, playing in the streets to studying and making the most of the untouched wealth stored up for them in the records of the Past. Thus during your transition period — the middle ages — Europe rejected the testimony of Antiquity, calling such sages as Herodotus and other learned Greeks — the Father of Lies, until she knew better and changed the appellation into that of “Father of History.” Instead of neglecting, you now accumulate and add to your wealth. As every other race you had your ups and downs, your periods of honour and dishonour, your dark midnight and — you are now approaching your brilliant noon. The youngest of the fifth race family you were for long ages the unloved and the uncared for, the Cendrillon in your home. And now, when so many of your sisters have died; and others still are dying, while the few of the old survivors, now in their second infancy, wait but for their Messiah — the sixth Race — to resurrect to a new life and start anew with the coming stronger along the path of a new cycle — now that the Western Cendrillon has suddenly developed into a proud wealthy Princess, the beauty we all see and admire — how does she act? Less kind hearted than the Princess in the tale, instead of offering to her elder and less favoured sister, the oldest now, in fact since she is nearly a “million years old” and the only one who has never treated her unkindly, though she may have ignored her, — instead of offering her, I say, the “Kiss of peace” she applies to her the lex talionis with a vengeance that does not enhance her natural beauty. This, my good friend, and brother, is not a far stretched allegory but — history.
Lemuria can no more be confounded with the Atlantic Continent than Europe with America. Both sunk and were drowned with their high civilizations and “gods,” yet between the two catastrophes, a short period of about 700,000 years elapsed; “Lemuria” flourishing and ending her career just at about that trifling lapse of time before the early part of the Eocene Age, since its race was the third. Behold, the relics of that once great nation in some of the flat-headed aborigines of your Australia! No less right is the review in rejecting the kind attempt of the author to people India and Egypt with the refuse of Atlantis. No doubt your geologists are very learned; but why not bear in mind that, under the continents explored and fathomed by them, in the bowels of which they have found the “Eocene Age” and forced it to deliver them its secrets, there may be, hidden deep in the fathomless, or rather unfathomed ocean beds, other, and far older continents whose stratums have never been geologically explored; and that they may some day upset entirely their present theories, thus illustrating the simplicity and sublimity of truth as connected with inductive “generalization” in opposition to their visionary conjectures. Why not admit — true no one of them has ever thought of it — that our present continents, have — like “Lemuria” and “Atlantis” — been several times already, submerged and had the time to reappear again, and bear their new groups of mankind and civilization; and that, at the first great geological upheaval, at the next cataclysm — in the series of periodical cataclysms that occur from the beginning to the end of every Round, — our already autopsized continents will go down, and the Lemurias and Atlantises — come up again. Think of the future geologists of the sixth and seventh races. Imagine them digging deep in the bowels of what was Ceylon and Simla, and finding implements of the Veddahs, or of the remote ancestor of the civilizedPahari — every object of the civilized portions of humanity that inhabited those regions having been pulverized to dust by the great masses of travelling glaciers, — during the next glacial period — imagine him finding only such rude implements as now found among those savage tribes; and forthwith declaring that during that period primitive man climbed and slept on the trees, and sucked the marrow out of animal bones after breaking them — as civilized Europeans no less than the Veddahs will often do — hence jumping to the conclusion that in the year 1882 a.d. mankind was composed of “man-like animals,” black-faced, and whiskered, “with prominent prognathous and large pointed canine teeth.” True, a Grant Allen of the sixth race, may be not so far from fact and truth in his conjecture that during the “Simla period” — these teeth were used in the combats of the males for “grass widows” — but then metaphors has very little to do with anthropology and geology. Such is your Science. To return to your questions.
Of course the 4th race had its periods of the highest civilization. Greek and Roman and even Egyptian civilization are nothing compared to the civilizations that began with the 3rd Race. Those of the second were not savages but they could not be called civilized. And now, reading one of my first letters on the races (a question first touched by M\) pray, do not accuse either him or myself of some new contradiction. Read it over and see, that it leaves out the question of civilizations altogether and mentions but the degenerate remnants of the fourth and third races, and gives you as a corroboration the latest conclusions of your own Science. Do not regard an unavoidable incompleteness as inconsistency. You now ask me a direct question and, I answer it. Greeks and Romans were small sub-races, and Egyptians part and parcel of our own “Caucasian” stock. Look at the latter and at India. Having reached the highest civilization and what is more: learning — both went down. Egypt as a distinct sub-race disappearing entirely (her Copts are a hybrid remnant). India — as one of the first and most powerful offshoots of the mother Race, and composed of a number of sub-races — lasting to these times, and struggling to take once more her place in history some day. That History catches but a few stray, hazy glimpses of Egypt, some 12,000 years back; when, having already reached the apex of its cycle thousands of years before, the latter had begun going down. What does, or can it know of India 5,000 years ago, or of the Chaldees — whom it confounds most charmingly with the Assyrians, making of them one day “Akkadians,” at another Turanians and what not? We say then, that your History is entirely at sea.”
ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA BELIEFS IN THEOSOPHICAL LITERATURE II
“Explaining some aspects of what we could call “esoteric ethnology,” he [K.H.] says that today’s oriental races such as the Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese, Vietnamese and so on are largely descended from the seventh and final sub-race of the Atlantean Root Race, while the indigenous peoples of Africa and Australia originate from earlier Atlantean sub-races as well as the seventh and final sub-race of the Lemurian Root Race. The first sub-race of this present Root Race is that of the Indian people while the latest sub-race of this Root Race is that of the white Europeans. The Master states that these latter are “the highest people” in terms of what he calls “physical intellectuality” but that the Indians are the spiritually highest people on earth today. HPB echoed this in one of her own letters to A.P. Sinnett when she wrote, “Spiritually they [the people of India] are immensely higher than we are. The physical point of evolution we have reached only now – they have reached it 100,000 years ago, perhaps. And what they are now spiritually you may not hope to reach in Europe before some millenniums yet. They are almost ready for the evolution of their sixth race units, and Europe has yet to whistle for them and must thank her stars for evoluting even occasionally Hindu like spiritual and beautiful characters.”