The following is part of an essay that was composed in response to an article titled “The Question of G. de Purucker,” published at blavatskytheosophy.com. The full essay can be found here.
Let it be clear from the outset that we are not here to defend a particular person. Nor are we here to debate or discuss “successorship,” “leadership” or the “occult status” of any individual. It is to be understood that this reply is not the result of parroting G. de Purucker, but simply the result of long independent study, besides the fact that the conceptual understanding of theosophical teachings is always open to interpretation and thus open to misunderstanding by any student.
In the above mentioned article, following a dissertation on the person of G. de Purucker, the article moves on to select a handful of ideas drawn from his writings. In doing so, it is suggested that these ideas are “entirely at odds with the teaching in ‘The Secret Doctrine’.” We find this to be an incorrect conclusion, and believe it could mislead students of Theosophy into believing a priori, without sufficient evidence or argument, that Purucker’s ideas entirely oppose those of H.P. Blavatsky (HPB) and her teachers. We will, therefore, address each of these ideas in turn, providing references to Purucker’s writings and those of The Secret Doctrine (SD) and other writings of HPB. This, we believe, will illustrate that the ten points of criticism in the article are generally mistaken and not actually in opposition to what the authors refer to as “genuine theosophy.”
Point #4: What are the Manasaputras?
The fourth point of contention is:
His definition and explanation in “Studies in Occult Philosophy” of what the Manasaputras or Solar Angels are, which is entirely at odds with the teaching in “The Secret Doctrine” on this subject even though he maintained that everything he taught was in accordance with “The Secret Doctrine.”
Since the article does not indicate which aspects of Purucker’s explanation of the manasaputras are mistaken, it is quite difficult to give a full reply here. The difficulty is increased when one recognizes that these teachings—i.e. on the nature of the manasaputras, lunar pitris, etc.—are exceedingly complex and nowhere in theosophical literature are they given in full, directly and simply. Like many theosophical teachings, we are each left to work it out for ourselves. Because of this, it benefits us little to cast stones at the interpretations or understandings of other students of theosophy on these subjects.
What we will do here is simply provide a selection of quotes from Purucker, H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge, and allow the reader to decide for themselves if the former is “entirely at odds with” the latter. But each student will need to explore these ideas in depth, likely for many many years, before they can be in any position to determine if other students have erred in their interpretations, including ourselves.
First, here is Purucker on the Manasaputras, from the above referenced book Studies in Occult Philosophy. We have underlined certain salient statements.
The Lunar Pitris or the Barhishads, to use a Hindu name by which they are sometimes called, were those beings who on the moon, when we were all there and it was a living planet, were the animal monads of the lunar men; and the Agnishwitta-Pitris, the Solar Pitris, because under the direct governing inspiration of the sun, yet lunar also because they came from the moon, were the thinking, intellectual men on the moon-chain. But when they had reached the culmination of their spiritual and intellectual evolution on the moon, at the end of the moon’s seventh or last Round, they left it no longer as mere men but as Manasaputras, Sons of Mind, pure intellectual Dhyanis, spirits of intellect and spirits of thought; and it was these who became or were the Manasaputras who inspired humanity on this chain, on this earth that is, during what we call the Third Root-Race. We are now in the Fifth Root-Race.
And what were the beings that they inspired, called variously Barhishads or Lunar Pitris, pitris being a Sanskrit word which means fathers or progenitors? Who were they whom these Manasaputras, or the men who were men on the moon, inspired—who were these Lunar Pitris, these mindless ones, senseless in the intellectual meaning, but who were yet purely human and not animal at all, belonging to the human kingdom? These Lunar Pitris were those animal monads of the men on the moon who had attained human status when the last Round on the moon ended. To attain human status merely means having entered the very lowest ranks of the human kingdom. The Lunar Pitris, then, as they appear on our globe, were the animal monads in the human constitution of those who were men on the moon; and those thinking intellectual men on the moon at the end of the moon’s Seventh Round, the highest evolution attainable then, reached the point of the Dhyanis, the Manasaputras, and became our Manasaputras here on this earth. (Studies in Occult Philosophy)
Now let us compare this with two quotes from HPB. As we’ve said, these ideas are complex and are not given in explicit terms, but the previous statements from Purucker and the following from HPB would seem to accord quite well with one another.
The “Lunar Monads” or Pitris, the ancestors of man, become in reality man himself. They are the “Monads” who enter on the cycle of evolution on Globe A, and who, passing round the chain of planets, evolve the human form as has just been shown. At the beginning of the human stage of the Fourth Round on this Globe, they “ooze out” their astral doubles from the “ape-like” forms which they had evolved in Round III. And it is this subtle, finer form, which serves as the model round which Nature builds physical man. These “Monads” or “divine sparks” are thus the “Lunar” ancestors, the Pitris themselves. For these “Lunar Spirits” have to become “Men” in order that their “Monads” may reach a higher plane of activity and self-consciousness, i.e., the plane of the Manasa-Putras, those who endow the “senseless” shells, created and informed by the Pitris, with “mind” in the latter part of the Third Root-Race. (SD 1:180-81)
For the “Fathers,” the lower Angels, are all Nature-Spirits and the higher Elementals also possess an intelligence of their own; but this is not enough to construct a THINKING man. “Living Fire” was needed, that fire which gives the human mind its self-perception and self-consciousness, or Manas; and the progeny of Pârvaka and Suchi are the animal electric and solar fires, which create animals, and could thus furnish but a physical living constitution to that first astral model of man. The first creators, [lunar pitris] then, were the Pygmalions of primeval man: they failed to animate the statue—intellectually.
This Stanza we shall see is very suggestive. It explains the mystery of, and fills the gap between, the informing principle in man—the HIGHER SELF or human Monad—and the animal Monad, both one and the same, although the former is endowed with divine intelligence, the latter with instinctual faculty alone. How is the difference to be explained, and the presence of that HIGHER SELF in man accounted for?
“The Sons of MAHAT [manasaputras] are the quickeners of the human Plant. They are the Waters falling upon the arid soil of latent life, and the Spark that vivifies the human animal. They are the Lords of Spiritual Life eternal.” . . . . “In the beginning (in the Second Race) some (of the Lords) only breathed of their essence into Manushya (men); and some took in man their abode.“
This shows that not all men became incarnations of the “divine Rebels,” but only a few among them. The remainder had their fifth principle simply quickened by the spark thrown into it, which accounts for the great difference between the intellectual capacities of men and races. Had not the “sons of Mahat,” speaking allegorically, skipped the intermediate worlds, in their impulse toward intellectual freedom, the animal man would never have been able to reach upward from this earth, and attain through self-exertion his ultimate goal. (SD 2:102-103)
Take note also of the use of the terms “human monad” and “animal monad” here, and refer back to questions #2 and 3.
In regards to the Manasaputras being “the thinking, intellectual men on the moon-chain,” or in other words, the Egos of the moon-chain, let us now look at a key explanation from HPB, and statements from WQJ’s Ocean of Theosophy. First from HPB:
We now come to an important point with regard to the double evolution of the human race. The Sons of Wisdom, or the spiritual Dhyanis, had become “intellectual” through their contact with matter, because they had already reached, during previous cycles of incarnation, that degree of intellect which enabled them to become independent and self-conscious entities, on this plane of matter. They were reborn only by reason of Karmic effects. They entered those who were “ready,” and became the Arhats, or sages, alluded to above. This needs explanation.
It does not mean that Monads entered forms in which other Monads already were. They were “Essences,” “Intelligences,” and conscious spirits; entities seeking to become still more conscious by uniting with more developed matter. Their essence was too pure to be distinct from the universal essence; but their “Egos,” or Manas (since they are called Manasaputra, born of “Mahat,” or Brahmâ) had to pass through earthly human experiences to become all-wise, The varieties of character and capacity which subsequently appear in man’s history are the forthcoming of the variations which were induced in the Egos in other and long anterior periods of evolution upon other chains of globes. (SD 2:167)
And now, from WQJ:
But to all kingdoms below man except the anthropoids, the door is now closed for entry into the human stage, and the Egos in the subordinate forms must all wait their turn in the succeeding great Cycle [next round]. And as the delayed Egos of the Anthropoid family will emerge into the man stage later on, they will thus be rewarded for the long wait in that degraded race. All the other monkeys are products in the ordinary manner of the evolutionary processes.
As man came to this globe from another planet, though of course then a being of very great power before being completely enmeshed in matter, so the lower kingdoms came likewise in germ and type from other planets, and carry on their evolution step by step upward by the aid of man, who is, in all periods of manifestation, at the front of the wave of life. The Egos in these lower kingdoms could not finish their evolution in the preceding globe-chain before its dissolution, and coming to this they go forward age after age, gradually approaching nearer the man stage. (Ocean of Theosophy, Chapter 15)
All these go to support the idea that these Egos, whether higher or lower, came over from the moon-chain, and their interactions here on this planet in this round make Man the complex being that he currently is (see SD 1:181).
While we see little use in going more deeply into these ideas, as they are exceedingly complex and widely open to differing interpretations, we’ll share a series of quotes here from HPB to close our reply. These may give the reader some further sense of the nature of the mansaputras.
Q. Have the Ah-hi been men in previous Manvantaras, or will they become so?
A. Every living creature, of whatever description, was, is, or will become a human being in one or another Manvantara.
Q. But do they in this Manvantara remain permanently on the same very exalted plane during the whole period of the life-cycle?
A. If you mean by “life cycle” a duration of time which extends over fifteen figures, then my answer is most decidedly—no. The “Ah-hi” pass through all the planes, beginning to manifest on the third. Like all other Hierarchies, on the highest plane they are arupa, i.e., formless, bodiless, without any substance, mere breaths. On the second plane, they first approach to Rupa, or form. On the third, they became Manasa-putras, those who became incarnated in men. With every plane they reach they are called by different names—there is a continual differentiation of their original homogeneous substance; we call it substance, although in reality it is no substance of which we can conceive. Later, they become Rupa—ethereal forms.
Q. Then the Ah-hi of this Manvantara . . . ?
A. Exist no longer; they have long ago become Planetary, Solar, Lunar, and lastly, incarnating Egos, for, as said, “they are the collective hosts of spiritual beings.” (Transactions, p. 22-23 )
One may deeply contemplate here the idea that the Ah-hi not only become the manasaputras, but also Planetary, Solar, Lunar and incarnating Egos. And if they were such for the moon-chain, lighting up “Man” there and then, and are now “here” lighting up “Man” on earth, can we not say that though they are “under the direct governing inspiration of the sun [i.e. “solar”], yet lunar also because they came from the moon, were the thinking, intellectual men on the moon-chain [i.e. the incarnating Egos of the moon-chain]”? These ideas are well worth deep consideration and contemplation. More from HPB:
The difference between Manas and Buddhi in man is the same as the difference between the Manasa-putra and the Ah-hi in Kosmos. (Transactions, p. 27)
“Q. But do not our minds receive their illuminations direct from the Higher Manas through the Lower? And is not the former the pure emanation of divine Ideation—the “Manasa-Putras,” which incarnated in men?
“A. They are. Individual Manasa-Putras or the Kumaras are the direct radiations of the divine Ideation—“individual” in the sense of later differentiation, owing to numberless incarnations. In sum they are the collective aggregation of that Ideation, become on our plane, or from our point of view, Mahat, as the Dhyan-Chohans are in their aggregate the WORD or “Logos” in the formation of the World. Were the Personalities (Lower Manas or the physical minds) to be inspired and illumined solely by their higher alter Egos there would be little sin in this world. But they are not; and getting entangled in the meshes of the Astral Light, they separate themselves more and more from their parent Egos.” (Transactions, p. 64-65)
“The Secret Doctrine shows that the Manasa-Putras or incarnating EGOS have taken upon themselves, voluntarily and knowingly, the burden of all the future sins of their future personalities.” (Transactions, p. 64-65)
“The Moon being an inferior body to the Earth even, to say nothing of other planets, the terrestrial men produced by her sons— the lunar men or “ancestors”—from her shell or body, cannot be immortal. They cannot hope to become real, self-conscious and intelligent men, unless they are finished, so to say, by other creators.” (SD 2:45)
For those interested in more detailed explanations of the Manasaputras from Purucker, they may look to his Occult Glossary, where there are several entries addressing the topic in depth. These can be further compared to the teachings found in the SD. We believe that the careful and sincere student will find much in common between Purucker’s explanations and those of HPB and her teachers, certainly far more in common than differing, and we would be surprised if the careful student would come to the conclusion that Purucker’s ideas are “entirely at odds” with those of the SD.