Observing the Cycles of
Cosmic and Planetary Life
A Master of the Wisdom
From the English language edition of the book
“La Fin du Monde” by Camille Flammarion (see page 47)
A 2020 Editorial Note:
We reproduce below part of letter XV in “The Mahatma Letters”. [1]
The Master’s teachings about the pralayas – the periods of rest in cosmic and planetary life – have a special importance in the 21st century.
Throughout human evolution, the cyclic decay of outward forms and the withdrawal of the spirit from external scenarios cannot be seen as sad and depressing news, nor as signs of spiritual defeat necessarily. Of course, premature abandoning of scenarios should be avoided. Every life-cycle should be lived to its natural end and as much as possible in conscious connection with the spiritual world. Yet the timely coming of a period of rest is a sign of spiritual victory and not its opposite. The Pralayas or pauses in active life are blessed periods.
The master says:
“When the solar pralaya comes the whole purified humanity merges into Nirvana and from that inter-solar Nirvana will be reborn in higher systems.”
Nirvana is bliss. As to minor pralayas, the teacher adds:  
“In the minor pralayas there is no starting de novo – only resumption of arrested activity. The vegetable and animal kingdoms which at the end of the minor manvantara had reached only a partial development are not destroyed. Their life or vital entities, call some of them nati if you will – find also their corresponding night and rest – they also have a Nirvana of their own.
There is a direct correspondence between the cosmos and the human individual [2].
The blessed Devachan – the divine place – is the main fact in the period of individual rest between two incarnations. [3]
In our transcription, longer paragraphs are sometimes divided into shorter ones in order to make the reading easier. The spelling of some words has been adapted, as in “manwantara”, which we have replaced with “manvantara”; or “akasa”, which for phonetic reasons we spell “akasha”. The initial “r.” has been spelled out, becoming “round”.
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
Three Kinds of Pralayas
A Master of the Wisdom
The completion of the so-called mineral cycle is immeasurably longer than that of any other kingdom. As you may infer by analogy every globe before it reaches its adult period, has to pass through a formation period – also septenary.
Law in Nature is uniform and the conception, formation, birth, progress and development of the child differs from those of the globe only in magnitude. The globe has two periods of teething and of capillature – its first rocks which it also sheds to make room for new – and its ferns and mosses before it gets forest.
As the atoms in the body change [every] seven years so does the globe renew its strata every seven cycles. A section of a part of Cape Breton coalfields shows seven ancient soils with remains of as many forests, and could one dig as deep once more seven other sections would be found following.  (…..)
There are three kinds of pralayas and manvantara: –
1. The universal or Maha pralaya and manvantara.
2. The solar pralaya and manvantara.
3. The minor pralaya and manvantara.
When the pralaya No. 1 is finished the universal manvantara begins. Then the whole universe must be re-evoluted de novo. When the pralaya of a solar system comes it affects that solar system only. A solar pralaya = 7 minor pralayas. The minor pralayas of No. 3 concern but our little string of globes, whether man-bearing or not. To such a string our Earth belongs.
Besides this within a minor pralaya there is a condition of planetary rest or as the astronomers say “death”, like that of our present moon – in which the rocky body of the planet survives but the life impulse has passed out. For example. Let us imagine that our earth is one of a group of seven planets or man-bearing worlds more or less eliptically arranged. Our earth being at the exact lower central point of the orbit of evolution, viz., half way round – we will call the first globe A, the last Z. After each solar pralaya there is a complete destruction of our system and after each solar pralaya begins the absolute objective reformation of our system and each time everything is more perfect than before.
Now the life impulse reaches “A” or rather that which is destined to become “A” and which so far is but cosmic dust. A centre is formed in the nebulous matter of the condensation of the solar dust disseminated through space and a series of three evolutions invisible to the eye of flesh occur in succession, viz., three kingdoms of elementals or nature forces are evoluted: in other words the animal soul of the future globe is formed; or as a Kabalist will express it, the gnomes, the salamanders, and the undines are created.
The correspondence between a mother-globe and her child-man may be thus worked out. Both have their seven principles. In the Globe, the elementals (of which there are in all seven species) form (a) a gross body, (b) her fluidic double (linga shariram), (c) her life principle (jiva); (d) her fourth principle kama rupa is formed by her creative impulse working from centre to circumference; (e) her fifth principle (animal soul or Manas, physical intelligence) is embodied in the vegetable (in germ) and animal kingdoms; (f) her sixth principle (or spiritual soul, Buddhi) is man (g) and her seventh principle (atma) is in a film of spiritualized akasha that surrounds her.
The three evolutions completed: palpable globe begins to form. The mineral kingdom fourth in the whole series, but first in this stage leads the way. Its deposits are at first vaporous soft and plastic, only becoming hard and concrete in the seventh ring. When this ring is completed it projects its essence to globe B – which is already passing through the preliminary stages of formation and mineral evolution begins on that globe. At this juncture the evolution of the vegetable kingdom commences on globe A. When the latter has made its seventh ring its essence passes on to globe B. At that time the mineral essence moves to globe C and the germs of the animal kingdom enter A. When the animal has seven rings there, its life principle goes to globe B, and the essences of vegetable and mineral move on. Then comes man on A, an ethereal foreshadowing of the compact being he is destined to become on our earth. Evolving seven parent races with many offshoots of sub-races, he, like the preceding kingdoms completes his seven rings and is then transferred successively to each of the globes onward to Z.
From the first man has all the seven principles included in him in germ but none are developed. If we compare him to a baby we will be right; no one has ever, in the thousands of ghost stories current, seen the ghost of an infant, though the imagination of a loving mother may have suggested to her the picture of her lost babe in dreams. And this is very suggestive. In each of the rounds he makes one of the principles develop fully. In the first round his consciousness on our earth is dull and but feeble and shadowy, something like that of an infant. When he reaches our earth in the second round he has become responsible in a degree, in the third he becomes so entirely. At every stage and every round his development keeps pace, with the globe on which he is.
The descending arc from A to our earth is called the shadowy, the ascending to Z the “luminous” (…..). We men of the fourth round are already reaching the latter half of the fifth race of our fourth round humanity, while the men (the few earlier comers) of the fifth round, though only in their first race (or rather class), are yet immeasurably higher than we are – spiritually if not intellectually; since with the completion or full development of this fifth principle (intellectual soul) they have come nearer than we have, are closer in contact with their sixth principle Buddhi. Of course many are the differentiated individuals even in the fourth round as germs of principles are not equally developed in all, but such is the rule.
… Man comes on globe “A” after the other kingdoms have gone on. (Dividing our kingdoms into seven, the last four are what exoteric science divides into three. To this we add the kingdom of man or the Deva kingdom. The respective entities of these we divide into germinal, instinctive, semi-conscious, and fully conscious). (…..) When all kingdoms have reached globe Z they will not move forward to re-enter A in precedence of man, but under a law of retardation operative from the central point – or earth – to Z and which equilibrates a principle of acceleration in the descending arc – they will have just finished their respective evolution of genera and species, when man reaches his highest development on globe Z – in this or any round.
The reason for it is found in the enormously greater time required by them to develop their infinite varieties as compared with man; the relative speed of development in the rings therefore naturally increases as we go up the scale from the mineral. But these different rates are so adjusted by man stopping longer in the inter-planetary spheres of rest, for weal or woe – that all kingdoms finish their work simultaneously on the planet Z. For example, on our globe we see the equilibrating law manifesting. From the first appearance of man whether speechless or not to his present one as a fourth and the coming fifth round being the structural intention of his organization has not radically changed. Ethnological characteristics however varied, affecting in no way man as a human being. The fossil of man or his skeleton whether of the period of that mammalian branch of which he forms the crown, whether cyclop or dwarf can be still recognised at a glance as a relic of man. Plants and animals meanwhile have become more and more unlike what they were. (…..) The scheme with its septenary details would be incomprehensible to man had he not the power as the higher Adepts have proved of prematurely developing his 6th and 7th senses – those which will be the natural endowment of all in the corresponding rounds. Our Lord Buddha – a 6th round man – would not have appeared in our epoch, great as were his accumulated merits in previous rebirths but for a mystery. (…..) Individuals cannot outstrip the humanity of their round any further than by one remove, for it is mathematically impossible – you say (in effect): if the fountain of life flows ceaselessly there should be men of all rounds on the earth at all times, etc. The hint about planetary rest may dispel the misconception on this head.
When man is perfected qua a given round on Globe A he disappears thence (as had certain vegetables and animals). By degrees this Globe loses its vitality and finally reaches the moon stage, i.e., death, and so remains while man is making his seven rings on Z and passing his inter-cyclic period before starting on his next round. So with each Globe in turn.
And now as man when completing his seventh ring upon A has but begun his first on Z and as A dies when he leaves it for B, etc., and as he must also remain in the inter-cyclic sphere after Z, as he has between every two planets, until the impulse again thrills the chain, clearly no one can be more than one round ahead of his kind. And Buddha only forms an exception by virtue of the mystery. We have fifth round men among us because we are in the latter half of our septenary earth ring. In the first half this could not have happened. The countless myriads of our fourth round humanity who have outrun us and completed their seven rings on Z, have had time to pass their inter-cyclic period begin their new round and work on to globe D (ours). But how can there be men of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th rounds? We represent the first three and the sixth can only come at rare intervals and prematurely like Buddhas (only under prepared conditions) and that the last-named the seventh are not yet evolved! We have traced man out of a round into the Nirvanic state between Z and A. A was left in the last round dead. As the new round begins it catches the new influx of life, reawakens to vitality and begets all its kingdoms of a superior order to the last. After this has been repeated seven times comes a minor pralaya; the chain of globes are not destroyed by disintegration and dispersion of their particles but pass in abscondito. From this they will re-emerge in their turn during the next septenary period. Within one solar period (of a pralaya and manvantara) occur seven such minor periods, in an ascending scale of progressive development. To recapitulate there are in the round seven planetary or earth rings for each kingdom and one obscuration of each planet. The minor manvantara is composed of seven rounds, 49 rings and 7 obscurations, the solar period of 49 rounds, etc.
The periods with pralaya and manvantara are called by Dikshita “Surya manvantaras and pralayas”. Thought is baffled in speculating how many of our solar pralayas must come before the great Cosmic night – but that will come.
… In the minor pralayas there is no starting de novo – only resumption of arrested activity. The vegetable and animal kingdoms which at the end of the minor manvantara had reached only a partial development are not destroyed. Their life or vital entities, call some of them nati if you will – find also their corresponding night and rest – they also have a Nirvana of their own. And why should they not, these foetal and infant entities. They are all like ourselves begotten of the one element. (…..) As we have our Dyan Chohans so have they in their several kingdoms elemental guardians and are as well taken care of in the mass as is humanity in the mass. The one element not only fills space and is space, but interpenetrates every atom of cosmic matter.
When strikes the hour of the solar pralaya – though the process of man’s advance on his last seventh round is precisely the same, each planet instead of merely passing out of the visible into the invisible as he quits it in turn is annihilated. With the beginning of the seventh Round of the seventh minor manvantara, every kingdom having now reached its last cycle, there remains on each planet after the exit of man but the maya of once living and existing forms. With every step he takes on the descending and ascending arcs as he moves on from Globe to Globe the planet left behind becomes an empty chrysaloidal case. At his departure there is an outflow from every kingdom of its entities. Waiting to pass into higher forms in due time they are nevertheless liberated: for to the day of that evolution they will rest in their lethargic sleep in space until again energized into life in the new solar manvantara. The old elementals – will rest until they are called to become in their turn the bodies of mineral, vegetable and animal entities (on another and a higher string of globes) on their way to become human entities (see Isis) while the germinal entities of the lowest forms, and in that time of general perfection there will remain but few of such – will hang in space like drops of water suddenly turned to icicles. They will thaw at the first hot breath of a solar manvantara and form the soul of the future globes. (…..) The slow development of the vegetable kingdom provided for by the longer inter-planetary rest of man. (…..)
When the solar pralaya comes the whole purified humanity merges into Nirvana and from that inter-solar Nirvana will be reborn in higher systems. The string of worlds is destroyed and vanishes like a shadow from the wall in the extinguishment of light. We have every indication that at this very moment such a solar pralaya is taking place while there are two minor ones ending somewhere.
At the beginning of the solar manvantara the hitherto subjective elements of the material world now scattered in cosmic dust – receiving their impulse from the new Dyan Chohans of the new solar system (the highest of the old ones having gone higher) – will form into primordial ripples of life and separating into differentiating centres of activity combine in a graduated scale of seven stages of evolution. Like every other orb of space our Earth has before obtaining its ultimate materiality – and nothing now in this world can give you an idea of what this state of matter is – to pass through a gamut of seven stages of density. I say gamut advisedly since the diatonic scale best affords an illustration of the perpetual rythmic motion of the descending and ascending cycle of Swabhavat – graduated as it is by tones and semi-tones.
You have among the learned members of your society one Theosophist who without familiarity with our occult doctrine, has yet intuitively grasped from scientific data the idea of a solar pralaya and its manvantara in their beginnings. I mean the celebrated French astronomer Flammarion – “La Résurrection et la Fin des Mondes” (Chapter 4 res.).[4]
He speaks like a true seer. The facts are as he surmises with slight modifications. In consequence of the secular refrigeration (old age rather and loss of vital power), solidification and desiccation of the globes, the earth arrives at a point when it begins to be a relaxed conglomerate. The period of child-bearing is gone by. The progeny are all nurtured, its term of life is finished. Hence “its constituent masses cease to obey those laws of cohesion and aggregation which held them together.” And becoming like a cadaver which abandoned to the work of destruction would leave each molecule composing it free to separate itself from the body for ever to obey in future the sway of new influences. The attraction of the moon (would that he could know the full extent of its pernicious influence) would itself undertake the task of demolition by producing a tidal wave of earth particles instead of an aqueous tide.
His mistake is that he believes a long time must be devoted to the ruin of the solar system: we are told that it occurs in the twinkling of an eye but not without many preliminary warnings. Another error is the supposition that the earth will fall into the sun. The sun itself is first to disintegrate at the solar pralaya.
… Fathom the nature and essence of the sixth principle of the universe and man and you will have fathomed the greatest mystery in this our world – and why not – are you not surrounded by it? What are its familiar manifestations, mesmerism, Od force, etc. – all different aspects of one force capable of good and evil applications.
The degrees of an Adept’s initiation mark the seven stages at which he discovers the secret of the sevenfold principles in nature and man and awakens his dormant powers.
[1] Source: “The Mahatma Letters”, pages 93-99. The letter is dated July 1882.
[2] See the article “The Cosmic Creation in Every Foetus”.
[4] We did not obtain a book with the specific indications given by the Mahatma. Camille Flammarion discusses the birth and death of worlds in several texts and books, including “Astronomie Populaire” (1880), pp. 89-104, and pp. 383-384, footnote. It is worthwhile reading the whole chapter “Les Destinées du Soleil”, pp. 371-387. One of the main texts by Flammarion which express the ideas discussed by the Master is available in the associated websites: “L’Origine et la Fin des Mondes”. Flammarion further developed his theosophical approach to the process of Pralaya in his 1893-1894 novel “La Fin du Monde” (Paris, 385 pp.). An English language edition of the book was published in New York in 1894 by the Cosmopolitan Publishing Company, with copyright by J. B. Walker. It has 287 pages. Its title is “Omega: the last days of the world”.  From this edition we reproduced the image illustrating the present article. In 1999, the University of Nebraska Press, USA, published a facsimile reproduction of “Omega: the last days of the world”. 
The above article was published at the associated websites on 25 December 2020.   
On Pralayas, see also “The Secret Doctrine”, vol. I, pp. 370-374 and the article “L’Origine et la Fin des Mondes”, by Camille Flammarion.
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