THEOSOPHY, Vol. 42, No. 2, December, 1953
(Pages 76-81; Size: 17K)
"THE LOST ATLANTIS"(1)
MANY a time Atlantis is spoken of under another name, one unknown to modern commentators. It stands to reason that neither the name of Lemuria nor even of Atlantis are the real archaic names of the lost continents, but have been adopted for the sake of clarity. Most of the correct names of the countries and continents of both are given in the Puranas. The power of names is great, and was known since the first men were instructed by the divine masters. As Solon had studied Atlantis, he translated the "Atlantean" names into names devised by himself. In connection with the continent of Atlantis, it is desirable to bear in mind that the accounts which have come down to us from the old Greek writers contain a confusion of statements, some referring to the Great Continent, and others to Plato's "Atlantis," the small island of Poseidonis. It has become customary to take them all as referring to the latter only, but that this is incorrect is evident from the incompatibility of the various statements as to the size, etc., of Atlantis.
To make a difference between Lemuria and Atlantis, the ancient writers referred to the latter as the Northern or Hyperborean Atlantis, and to the former as the Southern. The Atlantic portion of Lemuria, which was a gigantic land, was the geological basis of what is generally known as Atlantis. The latter, indeed, must be regarded rather as a development of the Atlantic prolongation of Lemuria, than as an entirely new land mass upheaved to meet the special requirements of the Fourth Root Race. The Fourth Race Atlanteans were developed from a nucleus of Northern Lemurian Third Race men, centered, roughly speaking, toward a point of land in what is now the mid-Atlantic Ocean. In those days, large portions of the future continent of Atlantis were yet part and parcel of the Ocean floors. Their continent was formed by the coalescence of many islands and peninsulas which were upheaved in the ordinary course of time and became ultimately the true home of the great Race known as the Atlanteans. Hence the first Atlanteans, the earliest pioneers of the Fourth Race, were born on the Lemurian continent.
Atlantis produced the first physically human man, whose origin began with the last sub-races of the Third Root Race. With the Fourth Race we reach the first purely human period, the first progeny of semi-divine man after his separation into sexes -- hence the first-begotten and humanly born mortals. Those who were hitherto semi-divine beings, imprisoned in bodies which were human only in appearance, became physiologically changed. Herodotus recounts the tradition of the Atlantes -- a people of Western Africa which gave its name to Mount Atlas -- who were vegetarians, and "whose sleep was never disturbed by dreams." If the Atlanteans never had their sleep disturbed by dreams, it was because that particular tradition is concerned with the earliest Atlanteans, whose physical frame and brain were not yet sufficiently consolidated, in the physiological sense, to permit the nervous centers to act during sleep.
All ancient writings -- prose and poetry -- are full of the reminiscences of the Lemuro-Atlanteans, the first physical races, though the Third and Fourth in number. Hesiod records the tradition about the men of the Age of Bronze, whom Jupiter had made out of ashwood, and who had hearts harder than diamond. Clad in bronze from head to foot, they passed their lives in fighting. Monstrous in size, endowed with a terrible strength, invincible arms and hands descended from their shoulders, says the poet. Such were the giants of the first physical races. The "one-eyed" Cyclopes, the giants fabled as the sons of Coelus and Terra, were the last three sub-races of the Lemurians, the "one eye" referring to the Wisdom Eye; for the two front eyes were developed as organs only in the beginning of the Fourth Race. But we can easily believe that the Titans and Cyclopes of old really belonged to the Fourth (Atlantean) Race, and that all the subsequent legends and allegories found in the Hindu Puranas and the Greek Hesiod and Homer, were based on the hazy reminiscences of real Titans -- men of a superhuman, tremendous physical power, which enabled them to defend themselves, and hold at bay the gigantic monsters of the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic times -- and of actual Cyclopes, three-eyed mortals.
The possession of a physical third eye, we are told, was enjoyed by the men of the Third Race down to 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. Psychically and spiritually, however, its mental and visual perceptions lasted till nearly the end of the Fourth Race, when its functions, owing to the materiality and depraved condition of mankind, died out altogether before the submersion of the bulk of the Atlantean continent. The "eye of Siva" did not become entirely atrophied before the close of the Fourth Race.
What was the Religion of the Third and Fourth Races? In the common acceptance of the term, neither the Lemurians, nor yet their progeny, the Atlanteans, had any, as they knew no dogma, nor had they to believe on faith. No sooner had the mental eye of man been opened to understanding, than the Third Race felt itself one with the ever-present as the ever to be unknown and invisible ALL, the One Universal Deity. Endowed with divine powers, and feeling in himself his inner God, each felt he was a Man-God in his nature, though an animal in his physical self. The struggle between the two began from the very day they tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Wisdom, a struggle for life between the spiritual and the psychic, the psychic and the physical. Those who conquered the lower principles by obtaining mastery over the body, joined the "Sons of Light." Those who fell victims to their lower natures, became the slaves of matter. From "Sons of Light and Wisdom" they ended by becoming the "Sons of Darkness." They had fallen in the battle of mortal life with Life Immortal, and all those so fallen became the seed of the future generations of Atlanteans.
Thus the first Atlanteans, born on the Lemurian continent, separated from their earliest tribes into the righteous and the unrighteous: into those who worshipped the one unseen Spirit of Nature, the ray of which man feels within himself -- or the Pantheists; and those who offered fanatical worship to the Spirits of the Earth, the dark Cosmic, anthropomorphic Powers, with whom they had made alliance. It was the Atlanteans who became the first "Sacrificers" to the god of matter. Such was the secret and mysterious origin of all the subsequent and modern religions, especially of the worship of the later Hebrews for their tribal god.
The Continent of Atlantis at its height covered the whole of the North and South Atlantic regions, as well as portions of the North and South Pacific, and had islands even in the Indian Ocean (relics of Lemuria). The India of the prehistoric ages was doubly connected with the two Americas, India being the center of the seven great continents before the submersion of the great continent of Atlantis. A traveler, starting from the South, could have at one time walked over from Siam, crossed the Polynesian Islands and trudged into any part of the continent of South America. Again, a pedestrian from the North might then have reached, hardly wetting his feet, the Alaskan peninsula, through Manchuria, across the future Gulf of Tartary, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands, thence into North America.
A Master wrote: "The Fourth Race had its period of the highest civilization." In the early part of the Tertiary age, the most brilliant civilization the world has ever known flourished. The civilization of the Atlanteans was greater even than that of the Egyptians.
The Sanskrit language, as now known, was not spoken by the Atlanteans. The predominating element in Atlantis was a language which has now survived but in the dialects of some American tribes, and in the Chinese speech of the inland Chinamen, the mountainous tribes of Kivang-ze -- a language which was an admixture of the agglutinative and the monosyllabic, as it would be called by modern philologists. It was, in fact, the language of the "Red-Yellow" second or middle geological stock. "What would you say to our affirmation that the Chinese -- the aborigines who belong in their unallied nationality wholly to the highest and last branch of the Fourth Race -- reached their highest civilization when the Fifth had hardly appeared in Asia?" Even the historical works of China are full of such reminiscences about the Fourth Race. In Shoo-King, anyone can read in the French translation, "When the Mao-tse" -- that race, explains the Annotator -- "which had retired in days of old to the rocky caves, and the descendants of whom are said to be still found in the neighborhood of Canton...." The surviving handful of these inland Chinese are of very high stature.
The Atlanteans were giants, whose physical beauty and strength reached their climax, in accordance with evolutionary law, toward the middle period of the fourth sub-race. The records speak of their giant intellect and their giant size. They built great images, 27 feet high -- the size of their bodies. The statues found by Cook on Easter Island measured almost all 27 feet high and eight feet across the shoulders. The days when matter would be in its full sway on earth and man would reach the apex of physical development in stature and animality, came to pass during the period of the middle point of their race. Since then, man began decreasing in stature, strength and years.
Writing was perfectly known to the Atlanteans. It was invented by them, and not at all by the Phoenicians. It was from the Fourth Race that the early Aryans got their knowledge of the "bundle of wonderful things," the Sabha and Mayasabha, mentioned in the Mahabharata, the gift of Mayasur to the Pandavas. It is from them that they learned aeronautics, Viwan Vidya (the knowledge of flying in air-vehicles), and therefore their great arts in meteorography and meteorology.
The Secret Doctrine assigns from four to five million years between the incipient and the final evolution of the Fourth Root Race, on the Lemuro-Atlantean continent. In the Eocene age, even in its very first part, the great cycle of the Fourth Race men had already reached its highest point and the great continent, the father of nearly all the present continents, showed the first symptoms of sinking. Atlantis sank, and its chief portions had disappeared, before the end of the Miocene period.
(From Histoire des Vierges): "One of the most ancient legends of India, preserved in the temples by oral and written tradition, relates that several hundred thousand years ago, there existed in the Pacific Ocean an immense continent which was destroyed by geologic upheaval. The high plateaux of Hindustan and Asia. According to this hypothesis, would only have been represented in those days by great islands contiguous to the central continent. ... According to the Brahmans, this country had attained a high civilization, and the peninsula of Hindustan, enlarged by the displacement of the waters at the time of the grand cataclysm, has but continued the chain of the primitive traditions born in this place. These traditions give the name of Rutas to the people who inhabited this immense continent, and from their speech was derived the Sanskrit."
The Hindus possess recorded observations from the date of the first Great Flood within the Aryans, historical memory. One million years are allowed for our present Aryan Fifth Race, the first sub-race of which witnessed the doom of the last of the populations of the giant Atlanteans, that which submerged the last portions of Atlantis, 850,000 years ago. The Secret Doctrine declares that most of the later island Atlanteans perished in this interval between 850,000 and 700,000 years ago, and that the Aryans were 200,000 years old when the first great island or continent was submerged. But the destruction of the famous island of Ruta, in the later Pliocene times, and the smaller one of Daitya, must not be confounded with the submersion of the main continent of Atlantis during the Miocene period.
After the submersion of Ruta (850,000 years ago) there was no great submersion until the day of Plato's Atlantis, or Poseidonis, which belongs to historical times. Plato's Atlantis perished between water below and fire above; its great mountain vomiting flames all the while. The "fire vomiting monster" (the peak of Teneriffe?) survived alone out of the ruins of the unfortunate island. A number of small islands scattered around Poseidonis had been vacated, in consequence of earthquakes, long before the final catastrophe. The last of the islands of the Great Atlantis -- Poseidonis, which lasted until about 12,000 years ago -- alone remained in the memory of man, thanks to some written records.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
By such slow aggregation has mythology grown from the first. The very nursery tales of this generation, were the nursery tales of primeval races. They migrate from east to west, and again from west to east; now expanded into the "tale divine" of bards, now shrunk into a popular rhyme. This is an approach to that universal language which men have sought in vain. This fond reiteration of the oldest expressions of truth by the latest posterity, content with slightly and religiously retouching the old material, is the most impressive proof of a common humanity.
The hidden significance of these fables which is sometimes thought to have been detected, the ethics running parallel to the poetry and history, are not so remarkable as the readiness with which they may be made to express a variety of truths. As if they were the skeletons of still older and more universal truths than any whose flesh and blood they are for the time made to wear....
To some extent, mythology is only the most ancient history and biography. So far from being false or fabulous in the common sense, it contains only enduring and essential truth, the I and you, the here and there, the now and then, being omitted. Either time or rare wisdom writes it.
--HENRY D. THOREAU
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