A Few Deductions

The Germ.

From the facts established in the course of this comprehensive view of

the Universe, we are enabled to draw important deductions.

For instance, as the basis of every "cycle of life" is found the egg

or germ, that strange microcosm which appears to contain within itself

the entire organism from which it proceeds and which seems capable of

manifesting it in its entirety. The first embryologic discovery we

make as the result of this study--a discovery of the utmost

importance--is that germs are one in essence, and are all endowed with

the same possibilities and potentialities. The only difference that

can be found in them is that the more evolved have acquired the power

of developing, in the same cycle, a greater number of links, so to

speak, in the chain of forms that proceeds from the atom to the

sheath, or envelope, of the Gods-Men. Thus, the highest germ which the

microscope enables us to follow--the human ovule--is first a kind of

mineral represented by the nucleus (the point, unity) of its germinal

cell; then it takes the vegetable form--a radicle, crowned by two

cotyledons (duality); afterwards it becomes a fish (multiplicity),

which is successively transformed into a batrachian, then a bird,

afterwards assuming more and more complex animal forms, until, about

the third month of foetal life, it appears in the human form.

The process of transformation is more rapid when Nature has repeated

it a certain number of times; it then represents a more extensive

portion of the ladder of evolution, but, be it noted, the process is

the same for all, and for all the ladder is composed of the same

number of steps; beings start from the same point, follow the same

path and halt at the same stages; nothing but their age causes their

inequalities. They are more than brothers, they are all

representatives of the One, that which is at the root of the Universe,

Divinity, supreme Being.

We also see that progress, the result of the conservation of

qualities, offers us repeated instances of these stages in the

reappearance, at each step of the ladder, of the forms preceding it in

the natural series. In the course of its evolution, the germ of an

animal passes through the mineral and vegetable forms; if the animal

is a bird, its final embryological form will be preceded by the animal

forms, which, in the evolutionary series, make their appearance before

the avian type; if we are dealing with a mammifer, the animal will be

the summit of all the lower types; when it is the human germ that we

are following in its development, we see that it also has contained

within itself and is successively reproducing the potentialities of

the whole preceding series. The microscope is able to show only

clearly marked stages and the most characteristic types, for evolution

runs through its initial stages with a rapidity defying the closest

physical observation. If only Nature would slacken her pace in order

to humour our incapacity, we should see in an even more striking

fashion that she preserves everything she has attained and develops

the power of reconstruction with ever-increasing rapidity and


True, each cycle of incarnation realises only an infinitesimal

fraction of the total progress made, each being advances only one step

at a time along this interminable series; but then, are not these

minor "cycles" in the course of which brings grow and advance towards

the final Goal, the visible, material expression, the tangible and

indisputable proof of the strict, the inexorable Law of Rebirths?

What the Germ contains.

Now let us examine a little more carefully this process of physical

germination and attempt to discover an important secret from it; let

us see whether the material germ contains the whole being, or whether,

as the ancient wisdom teaches, the vehicles of the divine Spark in

evolution are as numerous as the germs which respectively effect their

development and preservation.

Although here, too, the doctrine of the Christian churches is

inadequate, we cannot altogether pass it by in silence. We will,

therefore, state it, recommending the reader to compare it with the

theory of science and the teachings of theosophy.

The Churches deny evolution. They say: one single body, one single

state of development for each human being. For the lower kingdoms a

state of nothingness before birth and after death, whatever may have

been the fate of these beings during the short life imposed upon them;

for man a single body for which God creates a single soul and to which

He gives a single incarnation on a single planet,[48] the Earth.

It is our ardent wish that the signs of the growing acceptance of the

idea of evolution now manifesting themselves in Christian teaching may

increase, and that the Church, whatever be the influence that induces

her to take the step, will in the end loyally hold out her hand to

Science. Instead of remaining hostile, the two will then help each

other to mount the ladder of Truth; and divine Life, the light of all

sciences, philosophies, and religions, will illumine the dark path

they are treading, and guide their steps towards that One Truth which

is both without and within them.

Scientific materialism says:

Yes, everything is born again from its germ--thus is progress made,

but that is the limit of my concessions. Everything is matter; the

soul has no existence. There is evolution of matter, for matter, and

by matter. When a form is destroyed, its qualities, like its power of

rebirth, are stored away in a latent condition, within the germs it

has produced during its period of activity. Along with the

disappearance of matter, everything disappears--qualities, thoughts,

"ego"--and passes into a latent slate within the germ; along with the

return of the form, qualities and attributes gradually reappear

without any hypothetical soul whatever having any concern in the

matter. So long as the form is in its germ stage, the being is nothing

more than a mass of potentialities; when fully developed its faculties

reappear, but they remain strictly attached to the form, and if the

latter changes, the faculties echo the change, so to speak, with the

utmost fidelity. Matter is the parent of intelligence, the brain

manufactures thought, and the heart distills love, just as the liver

secretes bile; such is the language of present-day science.

This theory accepts the idea of universal injustice in its entirety;

we shall shortly prove that, notwithstanding its apparent logic, it

explains only one side of evolution, and that if matter is the

condition sine qua non of the manifestation of spirit, it is at

least curious that the latter acts so powerfully upon it, and is,

beyond the possibility of a doubt, its real master.[49]

Modern Theosophy, as well as the Wisdom of old, says in its turn:

Spirit is the All, the one Being, the only Being that exists.

Force-matter[50] is nothing but the product of the spirit's activity;

in it we find many and divers properties--density, weight,

temperature, volume, elasticity, cohesion, &c., because we judge it

from our sense perceptions; but in reality, we know it so little, that

the greatest thinkers have called it "a state of consciousness,"

i.e., an impression produced by it within ourselves.[51] It is the

result of the will of the supreme Spirit, which creates "differences"

(forms) in unfathomable homogeneous Unity, which is incarnated in them

and produces the modifications necessary for the development of its

powers, in other words, for the accomplishment of their evolution. As

this evolution takes place in the finite--for the Infinite can effect

its "sacrifice," i.e. its incarnation,[52] only by limiting

itself--it is progressive, proceeding from the simple to the complex.

Each incarnate, divine "fragment"[53] at first develops the simpler

qualities and acquires the higher ones only by degrees; these

qualities can appear only by means of a vehicle of matter, just as the

colour-producing properties of a ray of light only become manifest

with the aid of a prism. Form plays the part of the revealer of the

qualities latent in the divine germ (the soul); the more complex this

form becomes, the more atomic divisions it has in a state of activity;

the greater the number of senses it has awake, the greater the number

of qualities it expresses.

In this process, we see at work, three main factors; Spirit,[54]

awakening within itself vibrations,[55] which assume divers

appearances.[56] These three factors are one; force-matter and form

cannot exist without the all-powerful, divine Will (Spirit), for this

is the supreme Being, who, by his Will, creates force matter, by his

Intelligence gives it a form, and animates it with his Love.

Force-matter is the blind giant, who, in the Sankhya philosophy,

carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see--a giant, for it is

activity itself; and blind, because this activity is directed only by

the intelligent Will of the Spirit. The latter is lame, because when

it has not at its disposal an instrument of form-matter, it cannot

act, it cannot appear, it is no longer manifested, having disappeared

with the great periodical dissolution of things which the poetical

East calls the inbreathing of Brahma.

Form--all form--creates a germ which reproduces it. The germ is an

aggregate containing, in a very high state of vitalisation, all the

atomic types that will enter into the tissues of the form it has to

build up. These types serve as centres of attraction for the atoms

which are to collect round them when, under the influence of the

"vital fire,"[57] creative activity has been roused in the germ. Each

atomic type now attracts from the immediate surroundings the atoms

that resemble it, the process of segmentation which constitutes

germination begins, and the particular tissues represented by the

different atomic types are formed; in this way the fibrous, osseous,

muscular, nervous, epithelial, and other tissues are reproduced.

The creative activity that builds up tissues, if left to itself, could

create nothing but formless masses; it must have the help of the

intelligence to organise the atoms into molecules, the molecules into

tissues, and these again into organs capable of a corporate life as a

single organism, supplied with centres of sensation and action. This

intelligence cannot proceed from the mind bodies of the various

beings, for the latter manifest their qualities only when they possess

a fully-developed form--which is not the case with the germs;

moreover, the lower kingdoms show nothing but instinct, and even the

superior animals possess only a rudimentary form of mentality. The

most skilful human anatomist knows nothing more than the eye can teach

him regarding the forms he dissects, though even if he were acquainted

with their whole structure, he would none the less be quite incapable

of creating the simplest sense organ. The Form is the expression of

cosmic intelligence, of God incarnated in the Universe, the Soul of

the world, which, after creating matter, aggregates it into divers

types, to which it assigns a certain duration. The type of the form

varies with the stage of development of the being (the soul)

incarnated therein, for the instrument must be adapted to the artist's

capacity; the latter could not use an instrument either too imperfect

or too perfect for his degree of skill. What could the rudimentary

musician of a savage tribe do if seated before the complex organ of

one of our cathedrals; whilst, on the other hand, what kind of

harmony could a Wagner produce from a shepherd's pipe? The Cosmic

intelligence would appear to have created a single, radical form-type,

which gradually develops and at each step produces an apparently new

form, until its series has reached the finished type of evolution. It

stops the evolutionary process of each germ at the requisite point in

the scale; in the case of the most rudimentary souls it allows a

single step to be taken, thus supplying an instrument that possesses

the requisite simplicity; the process is continued longer for the more

advanced souls, but stops just when the form has become a suitable

instrument. When it does not furnish the fecundated germ with the

"model" which is to serve as a ground-plan for atomic deposits,

segmentation takes place in a formless mass, and in this the tissues

are shown without organisation; it is then a mole, a false conception.

It is the same cosmic Intelligence that derides the period during

which the form shall remain in a state of activity in the world. Until

a soul has learnt the lesson that incarnation in a form must teach it,

this form is necessary, and is given to it again and again until the

soul has assimilated the experience that form had to supply; when it

has nothing more to learn from the form, on returning to incarnation

it passes into one that is more complex. The soul learns only by

degrees, beginning with the letters of the alphabet of Wisdom, and

gradually passing to more complex matter; thus the stages of evolution

are innumerable and the transition from one to the other

imperceptible; modern science states this fact, though without

explaining it, when she says that "Nature makes no leaps."

The building up of forms is effected by numerous Beings, forming an

uninterrupted chain that descends from the mighty Architect, God, to

the humblest, tiniest, least conscious of the "builders."[58] God, the

universal Spirit, directs evolution, and could accomplish every detail

of it directly; but it is necessary, for their own development, that

the souls, whatever stage they have reached, should work in the whole

of creation, and therein play the part, whether consciously or

unconsciously, that they are fitted to play. Consequently they are

employed at every stage; and, in order to avoid mistakes, their

activity is guided by more advanced souls, themselves the agents of

higher cosmic Entities, right on up to God, the sovereign controller

of the hierarchies. Consequently there are no mistakes--if, indeed,

there are any real ones at all--in Nature, except those that are

compatible with evolution and of which the results are necessary for

the instruction of souls; but the Law is continually correcting them

in order to restore the balance. Such, in general outline, is the

reason for the intervention of beings in the evolutionary process.

So far as man is concerned, the highest of these Beings supply the

ideal type of the form which is to give the soul, when reincarnated,

the best means of expression; others take charge of these models and

entrust them to entities whose sole mission is to keep them before

their mental eyes and guide the thousands of "builders" who build

round them the atoms which are to form the tabernacle of flesh in its

minutest details; these Liliputian builders may be seen at work by the

inner eye; they are as real as the workmen who construct material

edifices in accordance with an architect's plans.

That everything may be faithfully reproduced in form the entity that

controls the building must not lose sight of the model for a single

moment. Nor does it do so, generally speaking, for one may say that

this being is, as it were, the soul of the model, being one with it

and conscious only of the work it has to perform. In many cases,

however, it receives certain impressions before birth from the

mother's thoughts: an influence capable either of forwarding or

hindering its work. The ancient Greeks were well acquainted with this

fact when they assisted Nature to create beautiful forms by placing in

the mother's room statues of rare plastic perfection, and removing

from her sight every suggestion of ugliness. More than this; certain

intense emotions of the pregnant woman are capable of momentarily

effacing the image of the model which the builder has to reproduce,

and replacing certain of its details with images arising from the

mother's imagination. If these images are sufficiently vivid, the

being follows them; and if they endure for a certain length of time

they are definitely incorporated in the building of the body. In this

fashion, many birth marks (naevi materni) are produced; strawberries

or other fruit, eagerly desired at times when they cannot be procured,

have appeared on the child's skin; divers objects that have left a

vivid impression on the imagination may have the same effect. The

clearness and perfection of the impression depend on the intensity and

continuance of the mental image; the part where it is to appear

depends on the sense impressions of the mother coinciding with the

desire which forms the image--for instance, a spot on the body touched

rather sharply at the moment. This has given rise to the idea that

the "longing" is impressed on that part of the body which the mother

is touching during her desire. When the image is particularly strong

and persistent considerable modifications of the body have been

obtained; in such cases, children are born with animal-like heads, and

treatises on teratology relate the case of a foetus born with the

head detached from the trunk, because the mother, after witnessing an

execution, had been horribly impressed by the sight of the separated

heads of the victims. Malebranche, in his Recherche de la Verite,

tells of a child that was born with broken limbs because his mother

had seen the torture of the wheel. In this case, the image must have

been of enormous vibratory power and of considerable persistence.[59]

A general or even a local arrest of development is almost always due

to the phenomenon of mental inhibition experienced by the same being;

it definitely ceases to see the plan, evolution stops, and the

embryo, expelled before the time takes on the form of the evolutionary

stage it had reached at that moment; if it ceases to deal with a

single detail only that detail remains in statu quo, and is often

embedded in portions of the organism quite away from the point where

it would have been found had it continued to evolve; certain cysts

belong to this class.

The third factor, the Spirit, the Soul--or, to be more exact, the

incarnated divine ray--follows a line of evolution parallel to that of

the matter which constitutes its form, its instrument; this

parallelism is so complete that it has deceived observers

insufficiently acquainted with the wonders of evolution. It is thus

that scientific materialism has taken root. We will endeavour to set

forth the mistake that has been made, and call to mind the correctness

of the Vedantin symbol, which represents the soul as lame, incapable

of acting without the giant, force-matter; though the latter, without

the guidance of the former, could not advance along the path of


This soul is a "no-thing," which, in reality, is everything; a ray of

the spiritual sun (God), a divine spark incarnated in the vibration

(matter) produced by the supreme Being, it is a "centre," capable

of all its Father's potentialities. These potentialities, which may be

grouped together under three general heads--power, love, and

wisdom--we may sum up in the one word: consciousness. It is, indeed, a

"centre of consciousness" in the germinal state, that is about to

blossom forth, realising all its possibilities and becoming a being

fully aware of its unity with the Being from which it comes and which

it will then have become.

In this development the vibrations of outer matter play the part of

the steel, which, on striking flint, causes the life latent within the

latter to dart forth. Each vibration which strikes the soul arouses

therein a dormant faculty, and when all the vibrations of the universe

have touched it, this soul will have developed as many faculties as

that universe admits of, until, in the course of successive worlds, it

becomes increasingly divine in the one Divine Being. In order that all

the vibrations of which a universe is capable may reach the soul the

latter must surround itself with all the different types of atoms that

exist in the world, for every vibration is an atomic movement, and the

nature of the vibration depends on the quality of the atoms in motion.

Now, the first part of evolution consists in condensing round vital

centres[60] (souls) atoms aggregated in combinations of a

progressively increasing density, on to those that make up the

physical plane; when the soul has thus clothed itself with the

elements of all the planes, the resulting form is called a

"microcosm"--a small Cosmos--for it contains, in reality, all the

elements contained in the Universe. During this progressive

development, the soul, which thus effects its "fall" into matter,

receives from all the planes through which it passes and from all the

forms in which it incarnates, varied vibrations which awake within it

correspondingly responsive powers and develop a non-centred, diffused,

non-individualised consciousness.

In the second phase of evolution, the forms are limited, the

vibrations they receive are transmitted by specialised sensorial

groups, and the soul, hitherto endowed with a diffused consciousness,

begins to feel varieties of vibrations that grow ever more numerous,

to be distinguished from the surrounding world, to separate itself, so

to speak, from everything around; in a word, to develop

self-consciousness. This separation first takes place on the physical

plane; it is made easier by hard, violent contacts, and the forms, in

their turn, become more complex, varied, and specialised in proportion

as the soul is the more perfectly individualised. When it has

developed all the self-conscious responsive powers in the physical

body, it begins to develop those faculties which have as their organs

of transmission the finer bodies, and as planes of vibration the

invisible worlds.

In our planetary system the number of the invisible planes is

seven.[61] Each of them in turn supplies the soul with a form; thus,

when evolution--which in its second phase successively dematerialises

matter, i.e., disassociates the atoms from their combinations,

beginning with the denser ones--has dissolved the physical plane, the

human soul will utilise, as its normal body, a finer one which it is

at present using as a link between the mental and the physical

bodies. Before this dissolution is effected, however, human beings

will have developed, to some extent, several finer bodies, already

existing, though hitherto not completely organised.

The first of these bodies, the astral--a very inappropriate name,

though here used because it is so well known--is a copy, more or less,

of the physical form in its general aspect; the resemblance and

clearness of the features are pronounced in proportion to the

intellectual development of the person, for thought-vibration has

great influence over the building up of the centres of force and of

sensation in this body.[62]

The second is an even finer aggregate, composed of mental substance

and assuming, during incarnation, the form of a smaller or larger

ovoid--the causal body--surrounding the physical form.[63] At its

centre, and plunged in the astral body during incarnation, is another

kind of ovoid not so large and composed of denser substance--the

mental body.[64]

Above these states of matter, at the present stage there appears no

form to the consciousness of human beings, though perfect seers can

perceive, within the causal body, still higher grades of matter, which

will only subsequently become centres of self-consciousness.

During incarnation, the soul, in the majority of men, is clearly

conscious of itself and of its surroundings only when it is

functioning through the nervous system (the brain); when it leaves the

denser body, during sleep, its consciousness is in the astral body,

and there it thinks,[65] but without being conscious of what is taking

place around it. After disincarnation, it generally becomes highly

conscious in its astral body, where it passes its purgatorial life;

and this latter endures until the soul leaves the astral body. As soon

as the latter is thrown off, consciousness centres in the mental body;

this is the period of Devachan or Heaven. When the mental body is

put off, paradise is at an end, and the soul, sheathed only in the

causal body, finds itself on a very lofty plane, but here,

consciousness is vague, when we are dealing with a man of average

development. Instead of laying aside this garment, as so far it has

done with the rest, it recommences, after the lapse of a certain

time, another descent into the matter of the lower planes and a new

incarnation begins.

To the centre of the causal body are drawn atoms from the inner mental

plane; these represent a new mental body.[66] When this latter has

been formed, there are attracted to it atoms of the astral plane, and

these form a new astral body; the soul, clothed in these two sheaths,

if one may so express it, is brought into conscious or unconscious

relation, according to its degree of development, with the two

corresponding planes, lives there generally for a short time, and is

directed to a mother's womb, in which is created the visible body of

flesh within the centre of its astral body.

This force of atomic attraction has its centre in the causal body, a

kind of sensitive plate on which are registered all those vibrations

which disturb or affect human vehicles during incarnation. This body is,

in effect, the present abode of the soul, it represents the terminal

point of human consciousness,[67] the real centre of man.[68] It

receives all the impressions of the plane on which it finds itself, as

well as those which come to it from the lower planes, and responds to

them the more readily as it has now attained a fuller development. It

possesses the power to attract and to repel; a microcosm, it has its

outbreathing and inbreathing, as has the Macrocosm; like Brahma, it

creates its bodies and destroys them, although in the vast majority of

mankind it exercises this power more or less unconsciously and under the

irresistible impulsion of the force of evolution--the divine Will. When

it attracts, it causes to recur within itself the vibrations it has

received and registered--like a phonographic roll--during the past

incarnations; these vibrations reverberate in the outer world, and

certain of them attract from this world[69]--in this case the mental

world--the atoms capable of responding to them. When they have created

the mental body, other vibrations can be transmitted through this body

to the astral world and attract atoms which will form the body bearing

the same name--the astral--and finally other vibrations, making use of

these two bodies as a means of transmission, will affect the physical

plane and attract atoms which will assist in the building up of the

denser body.

Everywhere the formative power of vibration is guided by cosmic

intelligence, but it is effected far more easily in the reconstruction

of the higher bodies, that precedes incarnation properly so-called,

than in the creation of the now physical body. Indeed, in the astral

and mental bodies, nothing is produced but an atomic mass, the many

elements of which will be aggregated into complete organisms only

during incarnation properly so-called, whilst the construction of the

visible body admits of a mass of extremely delicate and important

details. It is for this reason that we have seen this work of

construction entrusted to special Beings who prepare, control and

watch over it unceasingly.

It is because the causal body registers every vibration the

personality[70] has generated or received in the course of its series

of incarnations, that the vices and virtues are preserved, as is the

case with the faults or the good qualities of the physical body. The

man who has created for himself a coarse astral body by feeding the

passions and thoughts which specially vivify the coarser matter of

this body will on returning to earth find a new astral body composed

of the same elements, though then in a dormant state. He who, by the

cultivation of a lofty intellect, has built up a refined mental body,

will return to incarnation with a like mental body, whilst the one

who, by meditation and the practice of devotion which bring into being

the noblest qualities of the heart, has set vibrating the purest

portions of the causal body and of the divine essence (Atma-Buddhi, as

it is named in Sanskrit), with which it is filled, will return to

birth endowed with those qualities which make apostles and saints, the

Saviours of the world.

In other words:

Matter has more remote boundaries than science recognises; the

numberless grades of atoms of which it consists, their powers of

aggregation, the multiplicity and duration of the bodies they form,

are not even suspected by materialism.

Materialism sees nothing but the part played by matter; it denies that

intelligence plays any part, and will by no means admit--in spite of

evolution and progress--that above man there exists an almost endless

chain of higher and higher Beings, whilst below him are kingdoms of an

increasingly restricted range of consciousness. By refusing to believe

in the multiplicity of the vehicles which the human soul uses, it is

unable to understand individual survival or to solve the problem of

heredity. Indeed, evolution is only partially explained by the

physical germ; the latter, in order to act alone and of itself in the

development of the human embryo should possess a degree of

intelligence considerably superior to that of man. This is the

opposite of what we find, however, and we are brought face to face

with the absurd fact of a cause vastly inferior to its effect. Indeed,

the intelligence shown by the germ is not its own; it is that of the

cosmic Mind reflected by mighty Beings, its willing servants. Besides,

this germ contains only the qualities that belong to physical matter,

and, as we shall show, the moral, mental, and spiritual qualities are

preserved by the finer--the causal--body, which represents the real

man at the present time.

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