THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 2, December, 1958
(Pages 78-82; Size: 14K)
MANU is the great Indian law-giver. The name comes from the Sanskrit root man "to think" -- mankind really. But it stands also for Swayambhuva, the first of the Manus, who started from Swayambhu, "the self-existent", hence the Logos, and the progenitor of mankind. Manu is the first Legislator, almost a divine being.
Manu is a generic term, mysterious, and means far more than may be supposed. MANU declares himself created by Vaiswanara (the Spirit of Humanity), which means that his Monad emanates from the never-resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity; that Logos or Universal MONAD (collectively Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centers of activity -- progenitors of the numberless Solar Systems as well as every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is "Swayambhuva," the self-born, which becomes the center of force from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manu Swayambhuva (a generic name); each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity. It is taught that the Manus are the creators of the creators of our first Race -- the Spirit of mankind -- which does not prevent the seven Manus from having been the first "pre-Adamic" men on earth.
Stated in another way it is said that first come the Self-Existent on this earth. They are the "Spiritual Lives" projected by the absolute Will and Law, at the dawn of every rebirth of the worlds. These lives are the divine "Sishta" (the seed-Manus, or the Prajapati and the Pitris). From these proceed the first race, the self-born, which are the astral shadows of their progenitors. Here Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly man, the real and non-dying EGO in us, which is the direct emanation of the One Life, or the Absolute Deity. As to our outward physical bodies, the house or the tabernacle of the Soul, the doctrine teaches a strange lesson; so strange that unless thoroughly explained and as rightly comprehended, it is only the exact science of the future that is destined to vindicate the theory fully. The identity between the Spirit and its material "double" throws additional light on what The Secret Doctrine teaches with regard to the "Root-Manus" and the "Seed Manus." Not only those progenitors of our mankind, but every human being, we are taught, has its prototype in the spiritual spheres; which prototype is the highest essence of his seventh principle.
Esoterically, every Manu, as an anthropomorphized patron of his special cycle (or round), is but the personified idea of the "Thought Divine"; each of the Manus, therefore, being the special god, the creator and fashioner of all that appears during his own respective cycle of being or Manvantara. It is taught that Fohat runs the Manus' (or Dhyan Chohans') errands causing the prototypes to expand from within without -- viz., to cross gradually, on a descending scale, all the planes from the noumenon to the lowest phenomenon, to bloom finally on the last into full objectivity -- the acme of illusion, or the grossest matter. It is from IT that issues the great unseen Logos who evolves all the other logoi, the primeval Manu who gives being to the other Manus who emanate the universe and all in it collectively, and who represent in their aggregate the manifested Logos. Hence we learn from the Commentaries that while no Dhyan Chohan, not even the highest, can realize completely "the condition of the preceding Cosmic evolution, the Manus retain a knowledge of their experiences of all the Cosmic evolutions throughout Eternity."
If all the Manus and Rishis are called by one generic name, this is due to the fact that they are one and all the manifested Energies of one and the same Logos -- the celestial as well as the terrestrial messengers and permutations of that Principle which is ever in a state of activity; conscious during the periods of Cosmic evolution, unconscious (from our point of view) during Cosmic rest, as the Logos sleepeth in the bosom of THAT which "sleepeth not," nor is it ever awake -- for it is SAT or Be-ness, not a Being. But the periods of Manvantara (Manu-Antara, or "between two Manus") and Pralaya (Dissolution) follow each other in regular succession, and are also called Kalpas, small and great, the minor and the Maha Kalpas; one referring to the active periods of the universe, the other to its times of relative and complete rest -- according to whether they occur at the end of a "Day of Brahma" or an "Age" (a life) of Brahma. Not even esoteric philosophy can claim to know, except by analogical inference, that which took place before the reappearance of our solar system and previous to the last Maha Pralaya.
Vaivasvata is the name of the seventh Manu, the forefather of the post-diluvian race, or our own fifth humankind. A reputed son of Surya (the Sun), he became, after having been saved in an ark (built by the order of Vishnu) from the Deluge, the father of Ikshwaku, the founder of the solar race of kings. Vaivasvata Manu is the Indian Noah, connected with the Matsya (or the fish) Avatar of Vishnu. The Secret Doctrine tells us that Manu, the Son of Swayambhuva, was no man, but the representation of the first human races evolved with the help of the Dhyan Chohans at the beginning of the first round. But we are told in the Laws of Manu (Book I, 80) that there are 14 Manus for every Kalpa -- or interval from one minor Pralaya to another -- and that in the present divine age there have been as yet seven Manus. Those who know that there are seven rounds, of which we have passed three and are now in the fourth; and who are taught that there are seven dawns and seven twilights or 14 Manvantaras; that at the beginning of every round and at the end, and on, and between the planets there is an awakening to illusive life, and an awakening to real life; and that, moreover, there are Root-Manus, and what we have to clumsily translate Seed-Manus -- the seeds for the human races of the forthcoming rounds (or the Sishtas -- the surviving fittest; a mystery divulged only to those who have passed their third degree in initiation) -- those who have learned all that will be better prepared to understand the meaning of the following.
The Great Flood had several meanings, it referred as also does the "Fall," to both spiritual and physical, cosmic and terrestrial, events: as above, so it is below. The first Cosmic Flood refers to primordial creation, or the formation of Heaven and the Earth; in which case Chaos and the great Deep stand for the "Flood," and the Moon for the "Mother," from which proceed all the life-germs. But the terrestrial Deluge and its story has also its dual application. In one case it has reference to that mystery when mankind was saved from utter destruction by the mortal woman being made the receptacle of the human seed at the end of the third race, and in the other to the real and historical Atlantean submersion. In both cases the "Host" -- or the Manu which saved the seed -- is called Vaivasvata Manu. The story told in the Mahabharata strikes the keynote, and yet it needs to be explained by the secret sense contained in the Bhagavad-Gita. It is the prologue to the drama of our (fifth) Humanity.
While Vaivasvata was engaged in devotion on the river bank, a fish craves his protection from a bigger fish. He saves it and places it in a jar, where, growing larger and larger, it communicates to him the news of the forthcoming deluge. It is the well-known "Matsya Avatar," the first Avatar of Vishnu, the Dagon of the Chaldean Xisuthrus, and many other things besides. The story is too well known to need repetition. Vishnu orders a ship to be built, in which Manu is said to be saved along with the seven Rishis, the latter, however, being absent from the other texts. Here the seven Rishis stand for the seven races, the seven principles and various other things; for there is again a double mystery involved in this manifold allegory.
In the symbolism of every nation, "the Deluge" stands for chaotic unsettled matter -- Chaos itself; and the Water for the feminine principle -- the "Great Deep." As the Greek Lexicon of Parkhurst gives it -- "(ark) answers to the ... emblem of the female generative power, the Arg or Arca, in which the germ of nature (and of mankind) floats or broods on the great Abyss of the waters, during the interval which takes place after every mundane (or racial) cycle." Ark is also the mystic name of the divine spirit of life which broods over chaos. Now Vishnu is the divine Spirit, as an abstract principle, and also as the Preserver and Generator, or Giver of life -- the third person of the Trimurti (composed of Brahma, the Creator, Siva, the Destroyer, and Vishnu, the Preserver). Vishnu is shown in the allegory as guiding, under the form of a fish, the ark of Vaivasvata Manu clean across the waters of the Flood. There is no use in expatiating upon the esoteric meaning of the word fish. Its theological meaning is phallic, but the metaphysical, divine. Jesus is called the "Fish," and so were Vishnu and Bacchus; the "Saviour" of mankind being but the monogram of the god Bacchus called the fish. Says St. Augustine of Jesus, "For he is a fish that lives in the midst of waters." Christians call themselves little fishes -- pisciculi -- in their sacred mysteries. "So many fishes bred in the water, and saved by one great fish," says Tertullian of Christ and the Church. As to the seven Rishis in the Ark, they symbolized the seven principles, which became complete in man only after he had separated, and become a human, and no longer a divine creature.
Like the Indian Rishis, the (Biblical) Patriarchs are all convertible in their numbers, as well as interchangeable. According to the subject to which they relate they become ten, twelve, seven or five, and even fourteen, as they have the same esoteric meaning as the Manus and Rishis. The Creators are the Rishis, most of whom are credited with the authorship of the mantras or Hymns of the Rig Veda. They are sometimes seven, sometimes ten, when they become Prajapati (Progenitors), the "Lord of Beings"; then they rebecome the seven and the fourteen Manus, as the representatives of the seven and fourteen cycles of existence (Days of Brahma); thus answering to the seven Æons, when at the end of the first stage of evolution they are transformed into the stellar Rishis, the Saptarishis; while their human doubles appear as heroes, Kings and Sages on this earth. There were "gods" on Earth in those days -- gods, and not men, as we know them now, says the tradition.
Vaivasvata Manu is again shown as saving mankind (allegorically it is mankind, or a portion of it, the fourth race, which is saved); so also he saves the Fifth race during the destruction of the last Atlanteans, the remnants that perished 850,000 years ago, after which there was no great submersion until the day of Plato's Atlantis, or Poseidonis, known to the Egyptians only because it happened in such relatively recent times. Xisuthrus, the Chaldean Noah, is saved and translated alive to heaven -- like Enoch -- with the seven gods, the Kabirim, or the seven divine Titans. Again the Chinese Yao has seven figures which sail with him and which he will animate when he lands, and use for "human seed." Osiris, when he enters the ark, or solar boat, takes seven Rays with him. Thus "Noah" symbolizes both the root-Manu and the seed-Manu, or the Power which developed the planetary chain, and our earth, and the Seed Race (the Fifth) which was saved while the last sub-races of the Fourth perished.
The genealogies (of the Manus) embrace a period of three and a half Rounds. They speak of pre-human periods, and explain the descent into generation of every Manu -- the first manifested sparks of the ONE Unity -- and show, furthermore, each of these human sparks dividing into, and multiplying by, first, the Pitars, the human ancestors, then by human races. No being can become God, or Deva, unless he passes through the human cycles.
THE VERITY OF MYTH
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