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Root races are stages in human evolution in the esoteric cosmology of theosophist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as described in her book The Secret Doctrine (1888). These races existed mainly on now-lost continents. Blavatsky's model was developed by later theosophists, most notably William Scott-Elliot in The Story of Atlantis (1896) and The Lost Lemuria (1904). Annie Besant further developed the model in Man: Whence, How and Whither (1913). Both Besant and Scott-Elliot relied on information from Charles Webster Leadbeater obtained by "astral clairvoyance". Further elaboration was provided by Rudolf Steiner in Atlantis and Lemuria (1913). Rudolf Steiner, and subsequent theosophist authors, have called the time periods associated with these races, Epochs (Steiner felt that the term "race" was not adequate anymore for modern humanity).
According to historian James Webb, the occult concept of succeeding prehistoric races, as later adopted by Blavatsky, was first introduced by the French author Antoine Fabre d'Olivet in his Histoire philosophique du genre humain (1824). By contrast, historian Goffe Jensma claims that the concept of root races was first articulated in the Dutch esotericist book Oera Linda, which was translated into English by William Sandbach in 1876. Also prior to Blavatsky, the root races were described by the English theosophist Alfred Percy Sinnett in Esoteric Buddhism (1883).
Locations of the proposed former continents
Some post-theosophical writers, attempting to reconcile current geological science with some earlier theosophical teachings, have equated Lemuria with the former supercontinent of Gondwana: but this is *not* theosophy. Early theosophical teachings agree with the original statements of Eduard Suess, who argued that Gondwanaland consisted of parts of the present continents in their present positions, but joined to one another by other lands that have since been submerged. This is also the position of Master Samael Aun Weor.
Atlantis, in the Theosophical cosmology, was a continent that covered a significant part of what is now the Atlantic Ocean. The large continent of Atlantis is said to have "first divided, and then broken later on into seven peninsulas and islands". When the main part of Atlantis began to sink, Atlantean settlers migrated to the new lands which were rising to the east, west, and south. These new lands became the Americas, Africa, parts of Asia, and the present European countries, stretching from the Ural Mountains of Russia, westward to include the islands of Ireland and Britain, and even farther westward than that in former times. Some emigrants from the remaining islands in the Atlantic settled on new islands to the east which later consolidated into what is now the district of the Abyssinian highlands and lands somewhat to the north. Atlantis perished through flooding and submergence in 9,564 BC, and its destruction is explained by claiming successive disturbances in the axial rotation of Earth which caused earthquakes which led to the sudden sinking of Atlantis.
Root races, epochs and sub-races
According to Blavatsky's writings, there will be seven root races assembled for our Earth; each root race is divided into seven subraces. Only five root races have appeared so far; the sixth is expected to emerge in the 28th century. Samael Aun Weor writes that the sixth root race is named Koradhi; Francis Bacon (which theosophy considers as the same Count of St. Germain) in his work The New Atlantis (1627) describes a potential future civilisation which lives on a land called Bensalem.
The first root race
The first root race was "ethereal", i.e. they were composed of etheric matter. They reproduced by dividing like an amoeba. Earth was still cooling at that time. The first mountain to arise out of the stormy primeval ocean was Mount Meru.
The second root race (Hyperborean)
The second root race lived in Hyperborea. The second root race was colored golden yellow. Hyperborea included what is now Northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Northern Asia and Kamchatka. The climate was tropical because Earth had not yet developed an axial tilt. The esoteric name of their continent is Plaksha; they called themselves the Kimpurshas. They reproduced by budding. The second root race has no present-day descendents.
The third root race (Lemurian)
The third root race, the Lemurian, was black and lived in Lemuria. The esoteric name of Lemuria is Shalmali. Lemuria, according to Theosophists, existed in a large part of what is now the Indian Ocean and included also Australia and in addition extended into the South Pacific Ocean; its last remnants are the Australian continent, the island of New Guinea, and the island of Madagascar. Lemuria sank gradually and was eventually destroyed by incessantly erupting volcanoes. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was thought by geologists that the age of the earth was only about 200 million years (because radioactive dating had not yet come into use), so the geological epochs were believed to have occurred at a much later time than is thought to be the case today. According to traditional Theosophy, the Lemurian root race began 34½ million years ago, in the middle of what was then believed to be the Jurassic; thus, the people of Lemuria coexisted with the dinosaurs. The Lemurian race was much taller and bigger than our current race. The first three subraces of the Lemurians reproduced by laying eggs, but the fourth subrace, beginning 16½ million years ago, began to reproduce like modern humans. As Lemuria was slowly submerged due to volcanic eruptions, the Lemurians colonized the areas surrounding Lemuria, i.e. Africa, Southern India and the East Indies. The descendants of the Lemurian root race according to traditional Theosophy include the Capoid race, the Congoid race, the Dravidians, and the Australoid race.
The fourth root race (Atlantean)
Subraces of the Atlantean root race
The fourth root race, the Atlantean, according to Theosophy arose approximately 4,500,000 years ago in Africa from the fourth subrace of the Lemurians in a part of Africa that had been colonized by that subrace in the area now inhabited by the Ashanti. Theosophists believe the Atlantean root race was physically progenerated by the Chankshusha Manu. After they arose in Africa, they left Africa and colonized the continent of Atlantis. The esoteric name of Atlantis is Kusha. The Atlantean root race had Mongolian features; they began with golden brown skin and gradually evolved into the red American Indian, brown Malayan, and yellow Mongolian races, because some Atlanteans eventually migrated to the Americas and Asia. The seven subraces of the Atlantean root race were
- the Rmoahal
- the Tlavati (Cro-Magnons)
- the Toltec (a term which Theosophists use as a synonym for American Indians)
- the Turanian
- the (original) Semites (e.g., the Phoenicians)
- the Akkadians, and
- the Mongolian, which migrated to and colonized East Asia.
The descendants of the Atlanteans according to traditional Theosophy include those of the Mongolian race, the Malayan race, and the American Indian race as well as some people of what in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was called the "olive-skinned" Mediterranean race.
The civilization of Atlantis
During long period of time when Atlantis was ruled by the Toltecs (the ancestors of the Amerindians), the civilization of Atlantis was at its height. This was the period between about 1,000,000 and 900,000 years ago, called the Golden Age of Atlantis. The Atlanteans had many luxuries and conveniences. Their capital city was called The City of the Golden Gates. At its height, it had two million inhabitants. There were extensive aqueducts leading to the city from a mountain lake. The Atlanteans had airships powered by the vril that could seat two to eight people. The economic system was socialist like that of the Incas. Atlanteans were the first to develop organized warfare. The military deployed vril-powered air battleships that contained 50 to 100 fighting men. These air battleships deployed poison gas bombs. The infantry fired fire-tipped arrows. The Toltecs on Atlantis worshipped the Sun in temples as grand as those of ancient Egypt that were decorated in bright colors. The sacred word used in meditation was Tau (this was the equivalent of the Aryan sacred word Om). As noted above, the Toltecs colonized all of North America and South America and thus became the people we know as the Amerindians. The downfall of Atlantis started when some of the Toltecs began to practice black magic about 850,000 BC, corrupted by the dragon "Thevetat", remembered as Devadatta as the opponent of Buddha. The people began to become selfish and materialistic. Soon thereafter, the Turanians (the ancestors of the people we now know as the Turkic peoples) became dominant in much of Atlantis. The Turanians continued the practice of black magic which reaches its height about 250,000 BC and continued until the final sinking of Atlantis, although they were opposed by white magicians. The Master Morya incarnated as the Emperor of Atlantis in 220,000 BC to oppose the black magicians. The black magicians used magical spells to breed human-animal chimeras to use as sex slaves. They also had an army composed of chimeras that were composites composed of a human body with the heads of fierce predators such as lions, tigers and bears, that ate enemy corpses on the battlefield. The war between the white magicians and the black magicians continued until the end of Atlantis. The Masters of the Ancient Wisdom telepathically warned their disciples (the white magicians) to flee Atlantis in ships while there was still time to get out before the final cataclysm. As noted above, the final sudden submergence of Atlantis due to earthquakes occurred in 9,564 BC .
The fifth root race (Aryan)
Early beginnings of the Aryan root race
Blavatsky asserted humanity was presently in the fifth root race, the Aryan race, which Theosophists believe to have emerged from the previous fourth root race (Atlantean root race) beginning about 100,000 years ago in Atlantis. (According to Powell, when Madame Blavatsky stated the Aryan root race was 1,000,000 years old, she meant that the souls of the people that later physically incarnated as the first Aryans about 100,000 years ago began to incarnate in the bodies of Atlanteans 1,000,000 years ago. However, another way of interpreting this is that Nature began to create the Aryan race before the final cataclysms.) Theosophists believe the Aryan root race was physically progenerated by the Vaivasvatu Manu, one of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom. The present-day ethnic group most closely related to the new race is the Kabyle. The small band of only 9,000 people constituting the then small Aryan root race migrated out of Atlantis in 79,797 BC. The bards of the new white root-race poetically referred to the new race as being moon-colored. A small group of these Aryan migrants from Atlantis split from the main body of migrants and went south to the shore of an inland sea in what was then a verdant and lush Sahara where they founded the "City of the Sun". The main body of migrants continued onwards to an island called the "white island" in the middle of what was then an inland sea in what is now the Gobi desert, where they established the "City of the Bridge". (The "City of the Bridge" was constructed directly below the etheric city called Shamballa where Theosophists believe the governing deity of Earth, Sanat Kumara, dwells; thus, the ongoing evolution of the Aryan root race has been divinely guided by the being Theosophists call "The Lord of the World".)
Generally speaking, a large percentage of the people who live in the time of the period of the fifth root race are part of the fifth root race. However Blavatsky also opines that some Semitic peoples have become "degenerate in spirituality". She asserted that some peoples descended from the Lemurians are "semi-animal creatures". These latter include "the Tasmanians, a portion of the Australians and a mountain tribe in China." There are also "considerable numbers of the mixed Lemuro-Atlantean peoples produced by various crossings with such semi-human stocks -- e.g., the Wild Men of Borneo, the Veddhas of Ceylon, most of the remaining Australians, Bushmen, Negritos, Andaman Islanders, etc." All these aforementioned groups mentioned by Blavatsky except the purported "Wild Men of Borneo" (claimed by P.T. Barnum to be Dayaks of the Malayan race from Borneo, but who actually were two Caucasian mentally retarded dwarf brothers from Connecticut) are part of what was in the late 19th and most of the 20th century was called the Australoid race (except for the Bushmen, part of the Capoid race), both of which races, as noted above, were believed by traditional Theosophists to have been descended from the Lemurians.
Subraces of the Aryan root race
Blavatsky described the fifth root race with the following words: "The Aryan races, for instance, now varying from dark brown, almost black, red-brown-yellow, down to the whitest creamy colour, are yet all of one and the same stock – the Fifth Root-Race – and spring from one single progenitor, which Hindus call Manu. Theosophists believe that each root race has a separate and distinct progenitor.
The subraces of the Aryan Fifth Root Race include the first subrace, the Hindu, which migrated from the "City of the Bridge" on the white island in the middle of the Gobi inland sea to India in 60,000 BC; the second subrace, the Arabian, which migrated from the "City of the Bridge" to Arabia in 40,000 BC; the third subrace, the Persian, which migrated from the "City of the Bridge" to Persia in 30,000 BC; the fourth subrace, the Celts, which migrated from the "City of the Bridge" to Western Europe beginning in 20,000 BC (the Mycenaean Greeks are regarded as an offshoot of the Celtic subrace that colonized Southeast Europe); and the fifth subrace, the Teutonic, which also migrated from the "City of the Bridge" to what is now Germany beginning in 20,000 BC (the Slavs are regarded as an offshoot of the Teutonic subrace that colonized Russia and surrounding areas).
The emergence of the sixth subrace of the Aryan root race
According to Blavatsky the sixth subrace of the Aryan root race will begin to evolve in the area of the United States in the early 21st century. This sixth subrace of the Aryan root race will be called the Australo-American subrace and is believed by Theosophists to be now arising from the Teutonic subrace of the Aryan root race in Australia and in the Western United States (many individuals of the new subrace will be born in California) and its surrounding nearby areas (i.e., the Australo-American subrace is presently in the process of arising from the Anglo-American, Anglo-Canadian, Anglo-Australian and presumably also the Anglo-New Zealander ethnic groups). The sixth or Australo-American sub-race will "possess certain psychic powers, and for this the pituitary body will be developed, thus giving an additional sense, that of cognising astral emotions in the ordinary waking consciousness. We may say that in general the sixth sub-race will bring in wisdom and intuition, blending all that is best in the intelligence of the fifth subrace and the emotion of the fourth."
Some Theosophists believe that the root races evolve from the subraces of the same number; thus the sixth root race will evolve from the sixth sub-race of the fifth or Aryan root race, just as the fifth or Aryan root race evolved from the fifth subrace (the Semitic) of the fourth or Atlantean root race 100,000 years ago.
The sixth root race
According to C. W. Leadbeater, a colony will be established in Baja California by the Theosophical Society under the guidance of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom in the 28th century for the intensive selective eugenic breeding of the sixth root race. The Master Morya will physically incarnate in order to be the Manu ("progenitor") of this new root race. By that time, the world will be powered by nuclear power and there will be a single world government led by a person who will be the reincarnation of Julius Caesar. Tens of thousands of years in the future, a new continent will arise in the Pacific Ocean that will be the future home of the sixth root race. California west of the San Andreas Fault will break off from the mainland of North America and become the Island of California off the eastern coast of the new continent.
The seventh root race
A few million years in the future, the seventh root race will arise from the seventh subrace of the sixth root race on the future continent that the sixth root race will be living on that will arise from the Pacific Ocean. The continent they will inhabit is esoterically called Pushkara.
Migration to Mercury
It is believed by some Theosophists that after the present round of human spiritual evolution by reincarnation of souls in root races is completed several dozen million years from now, the human race will migrate to the planet Mercury to continue its spiritual and physical evolution.
Theosophical belief in the brotherhood of humanity
Modern writers within theosophy or influenced by theosophy defend Blavatsky's use of the terms Aryan race and root race as "not connected to demagogic ideas". They say that the classification of humanity into races is still practised today and that Blavatsky and subsequent esoteric philosophers who expressed similar lines of thought intended a Universal Brotherhood of humanity. Blavatsky wrote that "all men have spiritually and physically the same origin" and that "mankind is essentially of one and the same essence." In The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky stated: "Verily mankind is 'of one blood,' but not of the same essence, but by this she referred to levels of being. " Attempts to connect Blavatsky's ideas of physical race with spiritual attributes are futile. Spiritual attributes do develop, but for instance, the Atlantean and Lemurian races were more spiritually developed than the Aryan race. Similarly it was the fourth sub-race of the Fourth root race which was the seed of the Aryan race. "Esoteric history teaches that idols and their worship died out with the Fourth Race, until the survivors of the hybrid races of the latter (The Chinese, Africans, &c.) gradually brought the worship back.".Sub-races do have importance, but all are vital in race development. Blavatsky called the physical Aryan race "the 'cream' of the fourth race", which "gravitated more and more toward the apex of physical and intellectual evolution", asserting that the Aryan fifth root race corresponds to "the final adjustment of the human organism – which became perfect and symmetrical only in the Fifth Race". But this is not the modern concept of evolution, as the fifth, sixth and seventh sub-races of the Atlantean race are not the cream of the Atlantean race: the fourth sub-race was. And the Aryan race could never be the culmination of the races when Blavatsky affirms that there are another two root races to follow.
- Martin Gardner, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Courier, 1957, p.168.
- James Webb, The Occult Underground, Open Court, La Salle 1974, p. 270
- Jensma, Goffe (November 2007), "How to Deal with Holy Books in an Age of Emerging Science. The Oera Linda Book as a New Age Bible", Fabula 48 (3–4): 229–249
- See L. Sprague de Camp, Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature, Dover Publications, 1970 for a scientific analysis of the concept of lost continents.
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 308-316. (Ch. 50. "The fourth Aryan sub-race: The Keltic, B.C. 20,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 188-192. (Ch. 31. "The Earth: The first root-race.)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 55-59. (Ch. 11. "Races and Sub-races".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 193-196. (Ch. 32. "The Earth: The second root-race.)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 193-215. (Ch. 33. "The Earth: The third root-race: Lemurian.)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 219-224. (Ch. 35. "The fourth (Atlantean) root-race: The Rmoahal".
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 25-26. (Ch. 36. "The second Atlantean sub-race: the Tlavatli".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 227-236. (Ch. 37. "The Third Atlantean Subrace: The Toltec".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 237-251. (Ch. 38. "The Civilization of Atlantis".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 252-263. (Ch. 39. "Ancient Peru: A Toltec remnant".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 264-265. (Ch. 40. "The fourth Atlantean sub-race: the Turanian".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 266-276. (Ch. 41. "A Turanian : Chaldae, B.C. 19,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 276-278. (Ch. 42. "The fifth Atlantean sub-race: the original Semites".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 279-280. (Ch. 43. "The sixth Atlantean sub-race: the Akkadian".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 281. (Ch. 44. "The seventh Atlantean sub-race: the Mongolian".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 282-286. (Ch. 45. "The Beginnings of the Fifth (Aryan) Root Race".)
- Godwin, Joscelyn (2010). Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 68. ISBN 1594772622.
- George Robert Snow Mead, ed. (2007). Five Years of Theosophy. Echo Library. p. 181. ISBN 1406815284.
- Besant/Leadbeater, Man: How, Whence, and Whither?, p. 127-137. (Ch. 9 "Black Magic in Atlantis".)
- Leadbeater, C.W. and Besant, Annie Main: Whence, How, and Whither? Wheaton, Illinois:1913 Theosophical Press Pages 249-254
- Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. 2, p. 195f.
- Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, vol. 2, p. 249.
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 287-289. (Ch. 46. "The City of the Bridge".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 290-294. (Ch. 47. "The first Aryan sub-race: The Hindu, B.C. 60,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 295-301. (Ch. 48. "The second Aryan sub-race: The Arabian, B.C. 40,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 302-307. (Ch. 49. "The third Aryan sub-race: The Iranian, B.C. 30,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 317-320. (Ch. 51. "The fourth Aryan sub-race: The Teutonic, B.C. 20,000".)
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 326-330. (Ch. 52 "The Aryan Sixth Sub-Race").
- Besant/Leadbeater, Man: How, Whence, and Whither?, p. 353-495.
- Powell, The Solar System, p. 330-347. (Ch. 54. "The sixth and seventh root-races.)
- Planetary Schemes of Our Solar System According to Theosophy:
- The Key to Theosophy, Section 3
- Blavatsky, Helena, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, Page 294. Online edition
- Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater, Man: How, Whence, and Whither?. Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House (1913).
- Helena Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine.
- Arthur E. Powell, The Solar System: A Complete Outline of the Theosophical Scheme of Evolution. London: The Theosophical Publishing House (1930).
- Sune Nordwall, On allegations of anti-Semitism and racism in anthroposophy,