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Plato’s Vision for the Philosophic Empire (3 of 6)
Part 3: The World Soul and the Philosophy of Archetypes
This article is the third in a six-part series on the life, times, and teachings of Plato, the great philosopher and initiate of ancient Athens.
It follows part two, which introduced Plato and his teachings by investigating the social, cultural, and philosophical influences that informed his worldview.
More specifically, in these pages we will unpack in detail one of Plato’s most important ideas, that of “archetypes”. Here, we not only discuss the philosophical meaning of the concept, but we also explore, as a case study, how the idea of archetypes relates to the topic of the human race and its origin, purpose, and destiny here on Earth.
16. Plato’s Concept of the World Soul
In Platonic philosophy, the idea of the “World Soul” is associated with the notion that behind the diverse hierarchies of life existing here on Earth exists a single underlying unity or wholeness.
Investigating the inner nature of this World Soul, Plato found its Unity to be partitioned into a Trinity of foundational principles. Traditionally, these are called “Spirit, Soul, and Body”, but in modern terminology we might instead term them “Consciousness, Mind, and Form”.
Plato believed that this foundational Trinity of principles, which together comprise the World Soul as a unified entity, itself emerges out a yet greater principle of Unity, one he terms “the Absolute”.
As Manly Hall explains, “according to Plato, the Absolute, or Unconditioned Existence, causes to emanate from itself what he termed the World Soul. This Soul is the Life that is communicated to this world out of the Immovable and Immutable First Principle.”
The apex principle of the World Soul, the first in its triad, is what we now term “Consciousness”, with the lower two principles of the Triad, “Mind” and “Form”, emerging out of this initial condition.
The World Soul plays host to a single, unified experience of Self-Consciousness. This Divine Self, which is the Spirit of the World, forms the first principle of the Trinity. It moves into creative expression via the second principle, “Mind”.
Mind, is the agent that receives the inherently unconditioned power of Consciousness and conditions it, thereby bringing it into a state suitable for creative expression. The creation that results from the mingling of these two principles - Consciousness and Mind, the Father-Mother principles of creation - is the World Form (their “Child”).
In the language of systems science, this World Form exists as a supersystem: it is a grand, universal form - a single wholeness that is internally comprised of a branching hierarchical network of systems-within-systems, each existing as a miniature replica or “microcosm” of the supersystem as a whole (the “macrocosm”).
Mind, the second Principle of the World Soul’s Triad, serves as an intermediary agent that links unity and diversity, the whole and the parts, and Consciousness and Form.
Consciousness is the root principle behind Mind; it is from within Consciousness that Mind first emerges. Mind, once born from Consciousness, specializes this Consciousness into an experience of Self-existence.
This takes place by means of the creation of a Universe of differentiated life forms, which together serve to provide a “platform of experience” for the One Self to navigate itself within and through and to experience every aspect of.
At its apex, Mind is joined with the unified consciousness of the Divine Self, while at its nadir it is connected to each diverse life form existing within the material world.
At every level, Mind is specializing and organizing consciousness into experiences of selfhood. This Mind is operating according to a master blueprint that is held at its own apex, meaning, at the point where it is conjoined with the root consciousness of the Divine Self whose meditation it is guiding into place.
Manly Hall, building off this pattern of thinking, informs us that “the various phenomenon of life are of mental origin. The universe itself is a creation of Mind. The laws of nature originate in the world of thought and are administered by cosmic intelligence.”
Living entities emerge within creation as “thoughts forms” of the Divine Mind; each is designed according to the blueprint of the initial archetype that this Mind initially conceives for the universe.
The divine idea behind creation is termed its “archetype”. An archetype is a fundamental life pattern. Such a pattern or plan exists not only for the universe as a whole but for each individual life form within it.
The Laws of the Universe are derived from this initial archetype or thought pattern that the Divine Mind conceives. The various forms of life that are generated within creation must obey and follow the Laws of this initial archetype.
Moving into further detail, we find that the Mind of the World Soul inherently organizes its creation according to a septenary pattern of design.
The seven primordial organizing principles behind Creation are born directly out of the Divine Mind itself. Together these become “the gods”, “Elohim”, or “Dhyani Buddhas” - i.e. the great creative powers behind the formation of the Universe.
The Divine Self, working through its principle of Mind, gives birth to these gods out of its own unity. They become a spectrum of seven “archetypal powers” which together synthesize to create a grand design or Divine Plan that the World Soul evolves to embody in its cycle of creative expression.
Manly Hall elaborates on the meaning of the great “gods” behind creation: “theologically speaking, creation is the formation of the tangible universe under the direction of cosmic or universal intelligences, called ‘gods’. Actually, creation is the incarnation of the gods or supreme principles that build around themselves the World Form.”
The World Soul manifests this septenary archetype across both space and time dimensions - the seven space dimensions referencing a septenary concept of metaphysics and the seven time dimensions referencing seven sub-cycles or “ages” taking place within one overarching master cycle.
The septenary pattern, moving into the World Soul, impresses itself incrementally upon each of its seven internal planes, with the material world representing the seventh and lowest plane of this septenary pattern.
17. Plato’s Concept of Archetypes
Within the World Soul, the creation and destruction of material forms takes place according to Law, implying that there is a deliberate pattern and purpose behind each birth and death that takes occurs.
As Manly Hall teaches, “Creation is the process of the objectification or manifestation of forms into temporary patterns, and disintegration is their process of retiring from manifestation.”
Hall then describes a process whereby one supreme consciousness, working through Mind, designs, organizes, and builds the world of material form: "Conscious activity, working upon or brooding over Matter, creates form. … The activity of life upon and through its substances curdles or organizes Matter so that it assumes definite forms or bodies. These organisms thus caused by bringing the elements of matter into intelligent and definite relationships are held together by the conscious agent manipulating them.”
Essentially, Hall is describing Universal Creation to exist as a divine meditation of God. This God, in psychological terms, represents the single consciousness of a unified Being or Self, which is working through a principle of Mind in order to build a living, evolving world of material forms.
This Divine Self first manifests its Consciousness through an inner principle of Mind. This power of Mind then conceives and designs Creation as a grand, universal idea, which it then builds. In so doing, it brings an initial subjective idea for creation into objective expression as the universe of material forms we inhabit.
In this way of thinking, one see that “the universe is not only alive; it is ensouled by a supreme principle, a principle which possesses within itself personality, but transcends it. A principle with mind, but beyond mind. A principle with all types of specializations within it, but transcending them all. This supreme principle seals all things with its own signature and sets forth the grand plan, the grand purpose, the grand principle that is unfolding.” (MPH)
The entire creation process is guided by archetypal laws, which the Divine Mind adheres to at every step of the way and which it stamps onto material creation as its own “signature”.
In his writings, Manly Hall, the great Platonic philosopher of 20th century America, further summarizes the role that archetypes play in creation. He notes that “the Platonic doctrine of ideas postulates the unfoldment of life according to certain patterns or archetypes established in the Divine Mind. According to this doctrine, the processes of evolution are molding the Universe into a likeness which has existed for uncounted ages in the Universal Consciousness.”
He continues: “Every created thing in this material world shows an invisible organization, and this can only be a reflection of the infinite potential or archetype which brought it into existence. … Therefore, space must also be structured and organized; it must be a series of manifestations under law and order.”
18. The Archetypal Human Being
Going deeper into the inner structure of the World Soul and the role that archetypes play in organizing its creative expression, we may note that the principle of Mind within the World Soul, which plays host to the generation of material creation, does so through a process of self-polarization.
In order to generate material creation from within itself, the Mind must first polarize itself into positive and negative poles of expression, one spiritual, the other material. The spiritual aspect of Mind is formless and immaterial, while its inverse pole is involved with the organization of matter into physical form.
Manly Hall, describing Plato’s thinking, teaches that “the world is divided into two hemispheres, of which the higher is the realm of principles and the lower the abode of embodied creatures.” The Mind extends across both dimensions; uniting the subjective (consciousness) with the objective (material form).
In this way, as Manly Hall informs us, “all things exist in two worlds, one of which is outward and visible and the other inward and invisible. The invisible (the idea) has stamped itself like a seal upon the face of manifested creation (the form).”
In other words, “there is an invisible archetypal realm which impresses its likeness upon all its visible productions. … The world around us is the symbol or signature of that realm which can only be seen through inner vision.”
Plato, Pythagoras, and the Orphic mystics all viewed the superior, incorporeal realm of the World Soul as being one of pure intellect and archetypal idea.
The archetypal plan for creation is conceived and held on this level, where it serves as the root idea for the World Form, which is generated within the lower, material realm of the World Soul.
The “pure ideas” or archetypes conceived originally by the Divine Mind are then projected by this Mind into Matter. As these archetypal thought patterns are projected into matter, they crystallize, forming bodies around them which restrict the ideas’ free flow of movement.
In this perspective, we understand that the various forms of life within material creation are actually crystallizations of divine ideas originally conceived and held with the Divine Mind. These Divine Ideas are originally manifested through the seven powers or “Gods” that this Divine Mind gives birth to.
In other words, it is by means of these first principles or “gods” that the World Form is generated. By implication, all manifest forms that arise in the universe do so as extensions of archetypal ideas or “gods” that are initially conceived and fashioned by the supreme intelligence of the Universe.
These transcendent archetypal ideas are not discoverable by man’s sensory faculties, as they are unbodied and as such cannot be revealed to the intellect as cognizable forms. Instead, they must be experienced mystically through an expansion of individual consciousness out into a transcendent state of universal awareness.
According to this way of thinking, the World Soul is the primary factor behind existence and the human soul a secondary factor that exists within it - a microcosm held within a larger macrocosm.
Plato “declared that each human being partook of this World Soul,” with the human soul being a part of its greater wholeness. The World Soul plays host to the human soul, both individually and collectively. As the human soul evolves, it does so always in relation to the World Soul.
The World Soul contains the archetype of the human race as part of its own intrinsic design. Therefore, the final destiny of mankind is already established within the Mind of the World Soul, where it has resided since the beginning of man’s creation.
In esoteric philosophy, mankind is considered a microcosm of the World Soul. This means that man is collectively a miniature world unto itself, one designed according to the same principles of the greater macrocosm (the World Soul) that contains it.
As we covered above, the World Soul is polarized between spiritual and material poles of expression. Mankind, as the microcosm, is similarly extended.
The roots of man lie in the spiritual world, not the material one. “Man is a metaphysical being, abiding in the super-physical worlds. He is revealed to our sense perceptions by the physical body, which is the least part of his composite nature.”
Like the World as a whole, “the physical body of man is a vehicle for the manifestation of invisible spiritual energies. These energies not only sustain the body itself but flow through it, manifesting as the attitudes, impulses, and functional processes of the outer life.”
“These energies are intellectual and moral in nature.” They move according to the dictates of archetype. “As they flow into the body, they mould the form into the likeness of themselves, and so establish the true causes of all the phenomenal life of man.”
In ancient Sanskrit, the spiritual consciousness or the archetypal “Self” existing at the root of the World Soul, is termed in the “Vajrasattva”, meaning the “Divine Self.”
Humanity, like the World Soul, of which it is the microcosm, also possesses a divine principle at the root of itself. This archetypal human is traditionally termed the “Manu” - the ancient Hindu name for the Divine Human Self; the archetypal human being.
The Manu emerges as the complete idea for Mankind: what it will look like at the final end of its evolution. In this way, it represents the human archetype: the seed idea for Man generated within the Mind of God.
The Manu is conceived by the World Soul or macrocosm to be a miniature image or microcosm of itself. Through the person of the Manu, the World Soul generates “the mental embodiment of itself”.
The Manu represents “the collective intellect of the entire human life-wave.” He is the one above the all; the whole above all parts; “the complete man, equivalent to the Gnostic Anthropos and the cabalistic Adam.”
The Manu represents human consciousness as a composite wholeness. He is the Grand Man: the One Human Life behind all individualized human lives.
The Manu is also the human archetype; all subsequent human life forms are based on his original pattern of being.
Being a microcosm of the World Soul, the Manu follows its lead and manifests itself through a septenary pattern of mental expression.
This septenary pattern governs the organization of man in both its space and time dimensions. Spatially, man evolves through seven stages of evolutionary form, with each of these evolutionary forms termed a “root race”. Temporally, these seven “root races” are expressed across seven world ages, with each world age featuring its own unique “root race”.
As the archetypal human (meaning, as the complete, perfect, fully enlightened human) the Manu contains the archetypes for all seven “root race” forms within his consciousness. In the process of creation, these seven root races are manifested in sequential order as seven sequential unfoldments of its own consciousness.
Moving its consciousness stepwise through the vehicle of each of these seven root races, “the Manu passes from one state of meditation to another, until finally” the meditation exercise is resolved and the Manu “experiences the state of non-existence.”
During its seven-cycled meditation, “that which is the internal experience of the Manu becomes the external experience of the root race, which has been conjured into existence by the Manu.”
In this way, “the Manu enters into an experience of diversity within itself by meditating upon it. It contemplates the fact without becoming the fact.”
Before continuing, I want to pause and note an important implication of this discussion: that human evolution is pre-destined; it is divinely ordained to move sequentially through seven archetypal stages or “root races”, each building off and advancing the achievements of its previous ancestors.
Manly Hall explains that, at the beginning of a new “root race”, the racial Manu for that Race will incarnate in order to establish the archetype for that race. Its “seed” will then be planted within the body of the previous “root race”.
In time, from this original seed, a collective race of billions of people is gradually born into creation, each drawing upon the original archetype of their spiritual father, the racial Manu.
As these billions of lives evolve, they do so always in relation to an archetypal end-state that is already pre-destined to take place. Why? Because the Father of the race, the racial Manu already exists as the embodiment of the race’s final evolutionary state.
In the beginning, the Manu plants his seed in the evolving body of man. Over the course of this age, this seed germinates and grows, eventually evolving into a fully mature expression of the pattern that was originally held within the initial germ that was planted.
In this way, man is evolving to bring an evolutionary end-state already laid out for it into objective realization within the material plane of the Earth. Our destiny is driven by the need to fulfill this task; when it is completed, our purpose for existence is satisfied and we depart, making way for the next Manu to incarnate and fulfill its work through a new round of root races and evolving human souls.
Manly Hall summarizes the point:
“Evolution is the fitting of a nature into its own archetype…. By growth we learn to become our essential selves, ordered after the precise image of our own divine prototype.”
In other words, “Man reaches completion when he perfectly fills the mold or pattern that exists in the transcendental spheres.”
Taking this perspective, “our path is rendered plain: we are destined by Eternal Providence to become the fullness of ourselves. … We shall find perfection in the consummation of the destiny for which we were first conceived.”
19. The Archetype of the World Hero
As humanity evolves, it does so through a sequential pattern of development taking place across seven “root races”.
Each of these “root races” is patterned after the archetypal design of a racial Manu, which itself is a projection of the single spiritual Manu, who is the single archetypal Human Life behind all races.
In the process of meditating itself into an experience of diversity, the Manu first partitions its consciousness into the likeness of seven racial Manus, each a projection of itself. These emerge sequentially, becoming the archetypes for seven specialized modes of human consciousness or “root races”.
When one of the seven racial Manus moves to incarnate itself as a “root race”, it does so initially by projecting itself into seven subsidiary Rishi or Bodhisattvas, each embodying one of the Manu’s seven soul-powers or “Rays”.
The Manu, as the archetype of Man, resides permanently in the spiritual plane of the World Soul, where he remains in meditation. The seven Rishi that he projects his consciousness through serve as his intermediaries - they “reveal and distribute his will” within the lower body of evolving humanity.
The Rishi are what the Buddhists term Bodhisattvas. They represent “an order of angels” from a previous cycle of existence “who guide humanity in its infancy. At the most remote ages they actually incarnated as the demigods ruling over primitive humanity.”
These seven sages re-incarnate in each world age, each time in a new, evolved racial form, thereby becoming the advisors and initiators of each of the root races. The Rishi of each age are therefore the continuous re-embodiments of one great line of teachers.
In his book The Light of the Vedas, Manly Hall provides further detail about these archetypal humans who serve as the forefathers of the race.
Hall writes that, regarding our current race, which is said to be the fifth of seven total, the Manu who “ensouls the race and bears it out of himself on the plane of mind is called, in the ancient writings, Vaivasvata Manu.”
He elaborates: "the Manu of the fifth great race, the Aryan, is the mind of that race: its collective genius as well as its individual potential. This great being who ensouls the race … is called, in the ancient writings, Vaivasvata Manu. He is the son of Vaivasa, or the Son of the Sun.”
“Vaivasvata Manu is the sun or great light-source of the Aryas and the focus of a racial solar system. He is accompanied by seven Rishi, who correspond on the racial plane to the planets. They are the revealers or distributors of his will.”
The presence of the Rishi or “Fathers” as the early spiritual shepherds of man explains why highly advanced forms of knowledge and culture existed in ancient times.
The vast majority of ancient humans lived in a primitive state. Yet, ancient civilization reached some incredible highs. Why? Because the cultural accomplishments of these early civilizations were achieved by a small group of mental “giants” who ruled over primitive mankind like shepherds to a flock.
It was from their guiding hand that the foundations of civilization were first brought to primitive mankind. These were the gods who walked with men in the dawn of time - the old and wise ones that ancient myths tell us about.
These spiritual Fathers are Bodhisattvas: great spiritual beings who had originally attained enlightenment as humans in a previous cycle of existence. Upon attaining enlightenment, these great souls refrained from entering the spiritual condition of “Paranirvana” and instead returned to material creation to become re-embodied as a line of great spiritual teachers in a subsequent age.
The Rishi returned to re-incarnate on Earth in order to serve as guides for the next cohort of souls scheduled to undergo a cycle of evolutionary advancement here on this material planet.
Their task is to initiate mankind - to accelerate its evolutionary growth program so as to unlock and release its own inherent powers and potential potentials. The idea is that, through initiation, man may one day evolve itself to the attainment of their lofty estate as perfectly evolved humans.
These spiritual Fathers incarnated into order to raise up and initiate the first cohort of spiritual leaders from the evolving human life wave. In the language of esoteric philosophy, these spiritual leaders of the race are termed Adepts or Arhats; in ancient Greece, they were called the World Heroes.
Manly Hall explains that Adepts "are human beings belonging to the present life-wave who have, by the extraordinary cultivation of their spiritual faculties and powers, become conscious instruments of the divine plan and the natural teachers of unenlightened humanity. They are said to dwell in retirement and frequently select remote places for their habitations. They have their disciples whom they instruct, and are Masters of the esoteric arts and sciences associated with their religious philosophy.”
The first cohort of Adepts of the present “Aryan” root race were initially evolved from one of the sub-races of the previous Atlantean root race. Select individuals from this Atlantean sub-race were “overshadowed” by the Rishi of an incarnating racial Manu. who is termed Vaivasvata Manu and who personifies the archetype of the fifth or “Aryan” root race.
Manly Hall explains the process whereby these first Adepts were raised up by the Rishi who incarnated at the beginning of the race: “Selecting vehicles suitable for their purposes, the Rishi overshadowed or inspired advanced types which emerged from the racial compound. These became the poet-sages who conversed with the immortals in the dawn of time and who received the instructions which were later to be organized as the Scriptural writings of mankind.”
Upon their initiation by the greater Rishi who over-souled them, this initial cohort of Aryan sages became the first humans to embody the archetype of the forthcoming Manu. Consequently, they become the first children of the new root race that the Manu is destined, over the course of a vast cycle of activity, to incarnate its consciousness through.
Once raised up by the Rishi, these Adepts serve as the terrestrial ambassadors of the Manu: they work to build out and fulfill his will, which is directed according to an archetypal plan or pattern originally conceived and held in the Mind of God. This they accomplish thorough the means of a chosen institutional vehicle: the Esoteric School.
In raising up this first class of World Heroes or Adepts, the Rishi utilized an inward method of communication, appearing to the first Adepts not corporeally but through an inner mechanism within the psyche.
More specifically, these spiritual teachers leveraged the human capacity for imagination in order to impress upon the psyches of certain receptive individuals “a series of intuitional, aspirational overtones.”
By over-souling the psyches of a select cohort of human priests and holy men by means of their “auras”, these Fathers “enabled the individual to have an aura of consciousness greater than his natural state.” In this way, select individuals were granted the power to experience inwardly through a psychic vehicle loaned to him by the next wave of life beyond himself. This allowed for powers of insight to develop and for visions to be had beyond that which would normally be accessible to a human soul of the previous root race.
Through this mechanism, the Fathers “bestowed a vision of causes temporarily upon certain persons. These individuals, thereby participating in an experience, communicated it to others. This began a great system instruction that was called intuitive or inspirational, but was actually due to the imposition of the Consciousness of the Fathers between the individual and the higher planes which he could no longer reach.”
21. The Archetype of the Esoteric Schools
As described above, the first generation of Adepts or World Heroes were born out of a process of divine ensoulment by the Manu and Rishi who serve as the seed archetypes of the root race.
Once born, these Adepts serve as intermediaries between the higher spiritual orders of humanity and the four lower castes comprising the outer body of society, which they are responsible for raising and initiating. This they accomplish by means of their chosen institutional vehicle, the Esoteric School.
The experiential knowledge attained by these first Adepts through the esoteric means of instruction described above was translated into a body of wisdom teachings that could be communicated to the outer body of mankind, so as to inspire them to evolve toward the archetype of the Manu.
Through this method, the wisdom teachings of the Aryan root race were first revealed to man. Around these teachings grew a specialized institution to house them. In its initial form this institution was called the Institutes of Manu; later it was called the Mystery Schools and now we call it “esoteric philosophy”.
The revealed knowledge of the Rishi becomes the foundation of the Esoteric Schools, which the Adepts and their initiates preside over.
The body of wisdom teachings taught in these schools is based on the archetype of the racial Manu, who resides in the spiritual world, where he projects his consciousness through the body of the evolving root race that is to grow and evolve over the course of a new world age.
The Adepts serve as the terrestrial custodians of the root race’s collective evolution.
As Manly Hall explains, it is the duty of the Adepts “to clothe the eternal truth in parables and fables and to restate the doctrine on the levels of available understanding.” This they accomplish through the various degree programs of the Esoteric Schools.
Hall further teaches that “the Adepts are required by the law of the Manu to guide the race without interfering with the right of the human being to learn through experience. The Adepts must keep the universal laws and are servants rather than Masters of the Great Plan.”
He continues, writing that the Adepts “wait in silent meditation to be discovered by those who deserve instruction and are willing to earn the right of growth through personal consecration and endeavor. Man grows by merit and not by virtues thrust upon him.”
Manly Hall is implying here that the Adepts view Earth as a great schoolhouse of the Mysteries, one where humans souls come to evolve upward toward the Light.
It is not the place of the Adepts to force this growth, but rather to quietly encourage and catalyze it within the lower castes, thereby driving the long-term evolution of the whole.
Still, the human souls evolving through the lower terrestrial planes of the World Soul must work out the negative karma that keeps them attached to the cycle of mortal existence here on Earth. The Adepts cannot take this away from them; mankind must liberate itself from its own bondage to materiality.
When souls grow tired of the darkness and begin to seek the Light, the Adepts and their Schools are there to offer the path. Until then, man has a right to experience and learn from his own suffering so long as he chooses the ways of ignorance over wisdom.
As Manly Hall explains, “the work of the Great School is to acquaint the divine power locked in the illusion with its own self-appointed way of liberation. … (This is) accomplished by the orders of creation themselves conquering gradually by inner strength the dream appearances” that bind them to the wheel of birth and death.
22. The Institutes of Manu and the Archetype of Philosophy
In the esoteric teachings, we are currently in the fifth age of the seven-age world cycle. The previous age is termed “Atlantis” and the current age is named “the Arya”.
The Aryan Age is patterned after the archetype of the racial Manu, “Vaivasvata Manu”, who first incarnated through his seven Rishi at a very remote age - perhaps as far back as a million year ago, during the heyday of Atlantis, implying that the two root races overlapped to varying degrees over a very long period.
Manly Hall elaborates, noting that the Rishi who first brought the teachings of the Law “lived in the antediluvian times, bringing to man the divine wisdom from the previous worlds and previous rounds of evolution.”
Hall notes that the birth of the new root race that resulted from this revelation of wisdom “was made over a million years ago while the Aryans still dwelt together in the high plateaus of the Himalaya mountains.”
He continues, noting that “the original Aryans were of Atlantean stock, probably descending from the old semite branch of the Atlantean racial distribution. The differentiation occurred when Vaivasvata Manu overshadowed or ensouled one of the old clans or brood families, ordaining that it should become the vehicle of a new race.”
Many Hall explains that, “in proper usage, the word Arya means ‘holy'. The Aryans are the sanctified or those set apart to accomplish Adepthood through the disciplines revealed by the Rishi.”
More specifically, the Aryans were the original caste of Brahmans: the caste of priests and prophets who carried forth the archetypal teachings and social plan first specified by the Manu, who is the Father of the Race.
The present “root race” is traditionally termed the “Aryan” after this original caste of teachers who first migrated down from the mountains of North Asia to spread the wisdom teachings of the Manu, which they accomplished by establishing Esoteric Schools in key geographic and cultural zones across Earth.
Here, we discover that the word “Aryan” references a lineage of spiritual teachers rather than an ethnicity.
This caste of teachers migrated from their original birth place in the Himalayan region of North Asia and carried forth an archetypal pattern of religious, scientific, and philosophical institutions, seeding them into civilization zones across the world over the course of numerous overlapping waves or migrations.
The institutions these Aryan teachers carried forth into the world were first bestowed to them through the incarnation of the Vaivasvata Manu, his Rishi, and their Adepts at the remote origin point of the root race.
It is the function of the Aryan caste of teachers to seed the Institutes of Manu worldwide, spreading its body of archetypal wisdom teachings into all realms of the human kingdom, high and low, far and wide.
The purpose of the Aryan wisdom teachings, which are embodied in what we now call the Esoteric Schools, is to translate the sacred teachings of the Rishi into a form suitable for all humans within world civilization, meeting each at the level they are currently existing at and elevating them to a higher plane.
In this way, the Adepts and their Schools work to bring the vehicle of salvation - the doctrine of the Manu - to all peoples, thereby quickening the overall evolutionary process of the collective as a result.
The revealed teachings of the Law that the Rishi first brought to the Aryan Adepts would be seeded by these Adepts into society through their chosen institutional vehicle, the Esoteric Schools. In their original form, these were called the Institutes of Manu. Later, they would be called the Mystery Schools or Esoteric Schools.
As Hall summarizes, “the Ancient Wisdom is the body of occult knowledge that has descended from the remote beginning of civilization to the present time. … Occult philosophy teaches that the Ancient Wisdom was entrusted to the keeping of certain of the most highly evolved priests of the ancient world. These priests, as custodians of the secrets of life, set about to accomplish the gradual education of the human race. The average man, then as now, was unable to receive the more profound aspects of this knowledge. Therefore, simpler doctrines were devised to meet the needs of the unenlightened, while the more profound truths were reserved for the advanced types of humanity.”
He continues: “the Mystery Schools were the guardians of the Ancient Wisdom, and were, for the most part, founded by initiate-priest-philosophers who had received the esoteric wisdom from the demigods (i.e. Rishi) of the first ages. In the Mysteries, candidates were tested as to their strength of character, their courage, their integrity, and their intelligence. The initiations, given in the old Mystery Schools, were trials of spiritual, mental and physical strength. Those who passed the initiations satisfactorily were accepted into the body of the priesthood and were instructed in the secrets of the Ancient Wisdom.”
From the remotest times, Aryan missionaries have periodically moved out from their homeland to spread the “dharma” or teachings of the Laws of the Manu, around the world, gradually transforming the institutional architecture of the world in the process.
This conquest is not done through force. Rather, it is achieved through teaching, healing, political reformation, economic development, and institution building.
The Arya extends its reach not by destroying civilizations by force but by progressing and evolving the cultures and peoples it encounters. Its missionaries were simultaneously spiritual teachers, institutional reformers, and social progressives.
The migrations of Buddhism across Asia serve as a good case study for how these Aryan migrations took place.
Manly Hall describes the Buddhist method of dissemination: “The Buddhist priests never gained their influence through war or conquest or enforced submission. When they entered a new community, always by invitation, they went quietly about their normal way. First they built their little shrine and usually a library to house the scriptures they brought with them. Then they went into the countryside as servants of all in need. They treated the sick, solved the problems natural to provincial living, and then returned to their monastic house. By degrees they won respect and confidence, not by their words, which often could not be understood, but by their actions which spoke a universal language of charity and benevolence.”
The Aryan missionaries worked according to a spirit of synthesis, not coercion. They conquered through adaptation: by taking what was old and worn out and transmuting it into something new and vital. Manly Hall explains: “In the process of introducing their beliefs among foreign nations, the missionaries of Buddhism … searched for and emphasized the compatible elements abounding in other faiths. … (Here) the emphasis was upon principles rather than on personalities or sectarian distinctions.”
In sum, the Arya in general and Buddhism in particular expanded its dominion by reforming already-existing cultural institutions into new patterns, one that embodied the archetype of the original Aryan wisdom teachings. The mindset they cultivated in the populations they encountered was “profoundly psychological, re-interpreting on the planes of the mind and consciousness that which was as earlier accepted either literally or as a purely spiritual abstraction.” (MPH)
Here we return to the story of the Orphic Mysteries in Greece. The line of teachers (collectively termed “Orpheus”) who first brought the wisdom teachings into Greece came as missionaries of this Aryan motion.
With the coming of the Orphics, the Cycle of the Arya moved into the Mediterranean region and planted its seeds. These seeds would in time blossom in the form of Pythagoras and Plato, who carried forth its tradition by further seeding its wisdom teachings into the doctrines and schools of Philosophy that they would found. Through this method, Philosophy was purposefully created to become the chosen vehicle for the Esoteric Schools in the new world age that was to come.
Both Plato and Pythagoras were ambassadors of the Arya, restating and revitalizing the doctrine of wisdom teachings first brought forth by the Vaivasvata Manu and his Rishi long ago. At the appointed time, they emerged alongside a global cohort of other Aryan Adepts in order to give birth to philosophy as a public-facing institution, one that had previously been held exclusively within the womb of the ancient Mystery Schools and the priesthoods who governed them.
Together, these great Fathers of Philosophy - the Aryan Adepts of the Axial Age - revealed one common tradition of wisdom teachings in the context of different cultures, languages, and mythological traditions. As Manly Hall elaborates, “the religions and philosophies of mankind are extensions of one parent-system and not spontaneous generations in different times and places. … Interpretations may differ, but that which is interpreted is without difference in substance, and differs only in degree.”
Each of the great philosophical schools that emerged during the Axial Age, Plato and Pythagoras included, repackaged the sacred wisdom teachings of the Arya in a form and pattern appropriate to the people and culture each was working through.
Each philosophical school that the great Aryan Adepts founded during the Axial Age, from Greece to Mesopotamia to Persia to India and China, imitated, in its organizational design, the two-tiered architecture of the Mystery Schools, with an outer or exotic body of teachings offered to the laity and an esoteric or inner body of tantric teachings offered to the most dedicated and deserving students.
The Manu, as the archetype of Man, specifies the program of teachings offered in the philosophical school. This is why the original Esoteric School was called “the Institutes of Manu”: it describes a school based around the idea that all human laws are derived from the original life pattern of the Manu, the archetypal human.
It is the goal of all philosophical students to learn the framework of archetypal Laws that the Manu, Rishi, and Adepts each embody, so that we may ourselves also align with this archetype and manifest its design perfectly within the pattern of our own souls.
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