For all who place weight on the idea (thus definition of) “Adepthood,” I offer for your philosophical consideration the following passage excerpted from HP Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. Keep in mind, however, that the adeptships referred to below refer generally to the Adepts of the Ascended Masters …
“(b) There are four grades of initiation mentioned in exoteric works, which are known respectively in Sanskrit as “Sçrôtâpanna,” “Sagardagan,” “Anagamin,” and “Arhan” – the four paths to Nirvana, in this, our fourth Round, bearing the same appellations. The Arhan, though he can see the Past, the Present, and the Future, is not yet the highest Initiate, for the Adept himself, the initiated candidate, becomes chela (pupil) to a higher Initiate. Three further higher grades have to be conquered by the Arhan who would reach the apex of the ladder of Arhatship. There are those who have reached it even in this fifth race of ours, but the faculties necessary for the attainment of these higher grades will be fully developed in the average ascetic only at the end of this Root Race, and in the Sixth and Seventh. Thus there will always be Initiates and the Profane till the end of this minor Manvantara, the present lifecycle. The Arhats of the “fire-mist” of the 7th rung are but one remove from the Root-Base of their Hierarchy – the highest on Earth, and our Terrestrial chain. This “Root-Base” has a name which can only be translated by several compound words into English” – “the ever-living-human-Banyan.” This “Wondrous Being” descended from a “high region,” they say, in the early part of the Third Age, before the separation of the sexes of the Third Race.
This Third Race is sometimes called collectively “the Sons of Passive Yoga,” i.e., it was produced unconsciously by the second Race, which, as it was intellectually inactive, is supposed to have been constantly plunged in a kind of blank or abstract contemplation, as required by the conditions of the Yoga state. In the first or earlier portion of the existence of this third race, while it was yet in its state of purity, the “Sons of Wisdom,” who, as will be seen, incarnated in this Third Race, produced by Kriyasakti a progeny called the “Sons of Ad” or “of the Fire-Mist,” the “Sons of Will and Yoga,” etc. They were a conscious production, as a portion of the race was already animated with the divine spark of spiritual, superior intelligence. It was not a Race, this progeny. It was at first a wondrous Being, called the “Initiator,” and after him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings. “Set apart” in Archaic genesis for certain purposes, they are those in whom are said to have incarnated the highest Dhyanis, “Munis andRishis from previous Manvantaras” – to form the nursery for future human adepts, on this earth and during the present cycle. These “Sons of Will and Yoga” born, so to speak, in an immaculate way, remained, it is explained, entirely apart from the rest of mankind.
The “BEING” just referred to, which has to remain nameless, is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants, such as the Rishi Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, etc., etc., have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane – the ever invisible) yet ever present Personage about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he again who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the “Nameless One” who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the “Initiator,” called the “GREAT SACRIFICE.” For, sitting at the threshold of LIGHT, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross, nor will he quit his post till the last day of this lifecycle. Why does the solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the fountain of primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, as he has naught to learn which he does not know – aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed pilgrims on their way back to their home are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called Earth Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, though but a few Elect may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE.
It is under the direct, silent guidance of this MAHA – (great) – GURU that all the other less divine Teachers and instructors of mankind became, from the first awakening of human consciousness, the guides of early Humanity. It is through these “Sons of God” that infant humanity got its first notions of all the arts and sciences, as well as of spiritual knowledge, and it is they who have laid the first foundation-stone of those ancient civilizations that puzzle so sorely our modern generation of students and scholars.1
Although these matters were barely hinted at in “Isis Unveiled,” it will be well to remind the reader of what was said in Vol. I, pp. 587 to 593, concerning a certain Sacred Island in Central Asia, and to refer him for further details to the chapter in Book II on “The Sons of God and the Sacred Island.” A few more explanations, however, though thrown out in a fragmentary form, may help the student to obtain a glimpse into the present mystery.”
The Secret Doctrine, i 206–212
H. P. Blavatsky
1/ Let those who doubt this statement explain the mystery of the extraordinary knowledge possessed by the ancients – alleged to have developed from lower and animal-like savages, the cave-men of the Palaeolithic age – on any other equally reasonable grounds. Let them turn to such works as those of Vitruvius Pollio of the Augustan age, on architecture, for instance, in which all the rules of proportion are those taught anciently at initiations, if he would acquaint himself with the truly divine art, and understand the deep esoteric significance hidden in every rule and law of proportion. No man descended from a Palaeolithic cave-dweller could ever evolve such a science unaided, even in millenniums of thought and intellectual evolution. It is the pupils of those incarnated Rishis and Devas of the third Root Race, who handed their knowledge from one generation to another, to Egypt and Greece with its now lost canon of proportion; as it is the Disciples of the Initiates of the 4th, the Atlanteans, who handed it over to their Cyclopes, the “Sons of Cycles” or of the “Infinite,” from whom the name passed to the still later generations of Gnostic priests. “It is owing to the divine perfection of those architectural proportions that the Ancients could build those wonders of all the subsequent ages, their Fanes, Pyramids, Cave-Temples, Cromlechs, Cairns, Altars, proving they had the powers of machinery and a knowledge of mechanics to which modern skill is like a child’s play, and which that skill refers to itself as the ‘works of hundred-handed giants.'” (See “Book of God,” Kenealy.) Modern architects may not altogether have neglected those rules, but they have superadded enough empirical innovations to destroy those just proportions. It is Vitruvius who gave to posterity the rules of construction of the Grecian temples erected to the immortal gods; and the ten books of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio on Architecture, of one, in short, who was an initiate, can only be studied esoterically. The Druidical circles, the Dolmen, the Temples of India, Egypt and Greece, the Towers and the 127 towns in Europe which were found “Cyclopean in origin” by the French Institute, are all the work of initiated Priest-Architects, the descendants of those primarily taught by the “Sons of God,” justly called “The Builders.” This is what appreciative posterity says of those descendants. “They used neither mortar nor cement, nor steel nor iron to cut the stones with; and yet they were so artfully wrought that in many places the joints are not seen, though many of the stones, as in Peru, are 18 ft. thick, and in the walls of the fortress of Cuzco there are stones of a still greater size.” (Acosta, vi., 14.) “Again, the walls of Syene, built 5,400 years ago, when that spot was exactly under the tropic, which it has now ceased to be, were so constructed that at noon, at the precise moment of the solar solstice, the entire disc of the Sun was seen reflected on their surface – a work which the united skill of all the astronomers of Europe would not now be able to effect.” (Kenealy, “Book of God“)