In dealing with these doctrines, one is compelled now and then to greatly extend the scope and meaning of many English words. The word “race” is one of these. In the Theosophical scheme, as given out by the sages of the East, seven great races are spoken of. Each one of these includes all the different so-called races of our modern ethnology. Hence the necessity for having seven great root-races, sub-races, family races, and countless offshoot races. The root-race sends off sub-races, and these divide into family groups; all, however, being included in the great root-race then undergoing development.
The appearance of these great root-races is always just when the world’s development permits. When the globe was forming, the first root-race was more or less ethereal and had no such body as we now inhabit. The cosmic environment became more dense and the second race appeared, soon after which the first wholly disappeared. Then the third came on the scene, after an immense lapse of time, during which the second had been developing the bodies needed for the third. At the coming of the fourth root-race, it is said that the present human form was evolved, although gigantic and in some respects different from our own. It is from this point — the fourth race — that the Theosophical system begins to speak of man as such.
The old book quoted by Mme. Blavatsky has it in this wise:
“Thus two by two on the seven zones the third race gave birth to the fourth”; and,
“The first race on every zone was moon-colored; the second, yellow, like gold; the third, red; the fourth, brown, which became black with sin.”
Topinard, in his Anthropology, gives support to this, as he says that there are three fundamental colors in the human organism — red, yellow and black. The brown race, which became black with sin, refers to the Atlantean sorcerer race of which I spoke in my last; its awfully evil practices, both mental and physical, having produced a change in the color of the skin.
The evolution of these seven great races covers many millions of years, and it must not be forgotten that when the new race is fully evolved the preceding race disappears, as the monads in it have been gradually reincarnated in the bodies of the new race. The present root-race to which we belong, no matter what the sub-race or family we may be in, is the fifth. It became a separate, distinct and completely-defined race about one million years ago, and has yet many more years to serve before the sixth will be ushered in. This fifth race includes also all the nations in Europe, as they together form a family race and are not to be divided off from each other.
Now, the process of forming the foundation, or great spinal column, for that race which is to usher in the sixth, and which I said is now going on in the Americas, is a slow process for us. Obliged as we are by our inability to judge or to count except by relativity, the gradual coming together of nations and the fusion of their offspring over and over again so as to bring forth something new in the human line, is so gradual as to seem almost without progress. But this change and evolution go on nevertheless, and a very careful observer can see evidences of it. One fact deserves attention. It is the inventive faculty displayed by Americans. This is not accorded much force by our scientists, but the occultist sees in it an evidence that the brains of these inventors are more open to influences and pictures from the astral world than are the brains of the older nations. Reports have been brought to me by competent persons of children, boys and girls, who were born with most abnormal faculties of speech, or memory or otherwise, and some such cases I have seen myself. All of these occur in America, and many of them in the West. There is more nervousness here than in the older nations. This is accounted for by the hurry and rush of our civilization; but such an explanation really explains nothing, because the question yet remains, “Why is there such hurry and push and change in the United States?” Such ordinary arguments go in a circle, since they leave out of sight the fundamental reason, so familiar to the Theosophist, that it is human evolution going on right before our eyes in accordance with cyclic laws.
The Theosophical Adepts believe in evolution, but not that sort which claims an ape as our ancestor. Their great and comprehensive system is quite able to account for rudimentary muscles and traces of organs found complete only in the animal kingdom without having to call a pithecoid ape our father, for they show the gradual process of building the temple for the use of the divine Ego, proceeding ceaselessly, and in silence, through ages upon ages, winding in and out among all the forms in nature in every kingdom, from the mineral up to the highest. This is the real explanation of the old Jewish, Masonic, and archaic saying that the temple of the Lord is not made with hands and that no sound of building is heard in it.