Animals, our Younger Brothers

Andrew Rooke – Australia

Theosophy AR 2

What a beauty ..  (Lemur, native to Madagascar)

If you have ever had a beloved pet in your household, you would certainly have wondered, how is it that animals can have such a major impact on us humans by just ‘being there’? Who are the beings we call the ‘Animals’ and how do they relate to the human kingdom?

A study of history shows us that animals were used in a vast array of symbols in the ancient world to indicate the various forces in nature and truths concerning the operations of the Universe. The celestial constellations of stars in our galaxy were referred to as animals because most ancient traditions recognized that life-force animates all the kingdoms of nature from stones, plants, animals, and people – through to the stars and beyond. According to Theosophy, all entities at their core share a divine essence, but differ in the extent to which they can express its potencies and thus form the myriad of life’s kingdoms or ‘Hierarchies’ of our universe.

Theosophy AR 3 Girl and cat

Girl and cat

Photo © Evgeniya Litovchenko

This is essentially the difference between the animal and human kingdoms in that animals have not yet evolved the same level of self-consciousness from within as Man. According to Theosophic teachings, animals are living in their ‘Kama’ or ‘Lower Desire’ nature, whereas Man is operating within the ‘Manasic’ or ‘Mind’ principle with the majority of humanity at the present time centering our consciousness in the ‘Kama Manas’ or Lower [i.e. materially-oriented] aspects of the Mind. Men, in a former embodiment of our Earth, were then the equivalent of animals, but they have, through vast ages of life experience due to many incarnations, evolved forth intellectual capacity and an ethical awareness, as yet feebly expressed, which distinguishes us from the animals. Beings we call the ‘Gods’, further progressed on the evolutionary scale than Man, were intimately concerned in awakening the fires of Mind in Man aeons ago, thus accelerating our evolution and making us self-conscious to a limited degree – the thinking beings we are today. One day, in the distant future, it will become our duty to perform this sacred duty for our ‘Younger Brothers’, ie. those beings which are now the animals. We are intimately enmeshed in the destiny of the animal kingdom and they with ours – no wonder our pets have such an impact on our lives!

Theosophical teachers shed much light on the inner-nature of the animal kingdom and its relation to us humans. Theosophical teacher, HP Blavatsky says: “…The [secret] doctrine teaches that the only difference between animate and inanimate objects on earth, between an animal and a human frame, is that in some, the various ‘fires’ [ie spiritual principles], are latent, and in others they are active. The vital fires are in all things and not an atom is devoid of them. But no animal has the three higher principles awakened in him; they are simply potential, latent, and thus non-existing. And so would the animal frames of men be to this day, had they been left as they came out from the bodies of their Progenitors, whose shadows they were, to grow, unfolded only by the powers and forces immanent in matter.” [The Secret Doctrine Vol.2, page 267].

Another theosophical author, G de Purucker, writes of the different kingdoms of life with which we are familiar:

… Those monads which have unfolded two principles we call in their aggregation the Mineral Kingdom, those that have unfolded three principles compose the Vegetable Kingdom; whilst those that have unfolded four are the animal kingdom. The human kingdom has unfolded, at least to some degree, five principles of the twelve. We shall not really be complete human beings until the end of the fifth [global] round [of the Earth’s life – we are in the fourth now], when ‘Manas’ [Sanskrit word for the Mind principle], so far as it is possible, will then be fully developed in us. At the present time, being only in the fourth round [of our planet’s life cycle], and yet in the fifth race [of seven in the life cycle of humanity] on the fourth globe [of seven in the life cycle of humanity], we are a kind of ‘animal human’, the fourth element of ‘Kama’ [Sanskrit word for the lower, more material ‘desires’] manifesting in us more strongly than does the fifth or ‘manasic’ [meaning ‘mind’] principle Fountain Source of Occultism, page 278.]


This article also appeared in June 2024 issue the magazine Theosophy Downunder (TS-Pasadena)

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