The Yogi Teachings inform us that the Grand Cycle of Man’s Life on the Earth is composed of Seven Cycles, of which we are now living in the third-seventh part of the Fifth Cycle. These Cycles may be spoken of as the Great Earth Periods, separated from each other by some great natural cataclysm which destroyed the works of the previous races of men, and which started afresh the progress called “civilization,” which, as all students know, manifests a rise and fall like unto that of the tides.
Man in the First Cycle emerged from a gross animal-like state into a condition somewhat advanced. It was a slow progress, but nevertheless a distinct series of advances were made by the more progressive souls who passed over on to the Second Cycle, embodying themselves as the ruling races in the same, their less progressive brothers incarnating in the lower tribes of the Second Cycle. It must be remembered that the souls which do not advance during a Cycle reincarnate in the next Cycle among the lower races. So that even in this Fifth Cycle we have remnants of the previous cycles, the lives of the members of which give us an idea of what life in the earlier cycles must have been.
The Yogi Teachings give us but little information regarding the people of the First and Second Cycles, because of the low state of these ages. The tale, if told, would be the story of the Cave-dweller, and Stone-age people; the Fire-peoples, and all the rest of savage, barbarian crew; there was but little trace of anything like that which we call “civilization,” although in the latter periods of the Second Cycle the foundations for the coming civilizations were firmly laid.
After the cataclysm which destroyed the works of Man of the Second Cycle, and left the survivors scattered or disorganized, awaiting the touch of the organizing urge which followed shortly afterward, there dawned the first period of the Third Cycle. The scene of the life of the Third Cycle was laid in what is known to Occultists as Lemuria. Lemuria was a mighty continent situated in what is now known as the Pacific Ocean, and parts of the Indian Ocean. It included Australia, Australasia, and other portions of the Pacific islands, which are in fact surviving portions of the great continent of Lemuria, its highest points, the lower portion having sunk beneath the seas ages and ages ago.
Life in Lemuria is described as being principally concerned with the physical senses, and sensual enjoyment, only a few developed souls having broken through the fetters of materiality and reached the beginnings of the mental and spiritual planes of life. Some few indeed made great progress and were saved from the general wreck, in order to become the leaven which would lighten the mass of mankind during the next Cycle. These developed souls were the teachers of the new races, and were looked upon by the latter as gods and supernatural beings, and legends and traditions concerning them are still existent among the ancient peoples of our present day. Many of the myths of the ancient peoples arose in this way.