The Great Avatar Manu – Noah of Atlantis – Father of Culture


By Douglas Gabriel

The orient is the source of the light of philosophy and mind training which is epitomized in the philosophical thought of the most ancient writings in the Indo-Aryan tradition, the Upanishads.  These ancient teachings have existed for millennia in an oral tradition whose beginning is lost in pre-history. The author of many of the ancient Hindu writings is the Avatar Manu, the Noah of Indian tradition, replete with an ark, mates of each animal species, seeds of all plants, and the Seven Holy Rishis (with the sacred books of wisdom – Upanishads, Gathas, and ancient ragas and dances from the Seven Mystery Centers of Atlantis).

According to the Manu Smirtri, Manu ties the ark to Mt. Everest and, as the water recedes, descends to the Holy River Ganges and gives birth to the Ancient Indian Culture. Archeological evidence from the Harappian period of the settlement of the Indus and other river valleys throughout northern Indian, demonstrates a highly advanced city culture prior to the ninth millennium before Christ. Atlantis finished sinking in 10,500 B.C. and the City of Manu was founded at that time at the eastern end of the Tarim Basin, near the confluence of the Tarim and Altai Rivers. Rudolf Steiner defines the Indian cultural epoch as lasting from 7227 BC to 5067 BC as the sun passed through the Zodiacal sign of Leo.

From the City of Manu, advanced cultural development migrated into the river valleys of Indian at an early period. About two millennia later, another cultural infusion again flowed out of the City of Manu into the high mountains of Northern Iran developing into the Ancient Persian culture. Later, another infusion complete with city plans, temple architecture, religious rites and elaborate priesthoods that answered the people’s questions about planting, building, domestication of animals, recording time and history, as well as the other earmarks of civilization, migrated into the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia.

Ancient Indian lineages carried great wisdom for thousands of years in an unbroken oral tradition back to Manu and the Seven Holy Rishis. Those who were fully clairvoyant in ancient times were able to directly perceive the nature of the interaction between physical matter and spirit. Ancient India had the task of thoroughly understanding the nature of the physical body in all of its wonders; that is why Vedic wisdom about the physical body is profound. India’s inspiration originated in the Central Asian City of Manu. Ancient Indian traditions were the legacy of Atlantis and the Seven Sacred Temples of the Holy Rishis that healed people through the forces of individual planets and their powers in minerals, plants, animals, human organs and physiology. The Yoga traditions of the Hindu religion are a distillation of that ancient wisdom.

Let’s examine some of the ideas that Manu taught in his Central Asia Mystery Center that became the foundation of Hindu beliefs.

Manu and the Flood from The Golden Bough, by James George Frazer:

“The great sage Manu, son of Vivasvat, practiced austere fervor. He stood on one leg with upraised arm, looking down unblinkingly, for 10,000 years. While so engaged on the banks of the Chirini, a fish came to him and asked to be saved from larger fish. Manu took the fish to a jar and, as the fish grew, from thence to a large pond, then to the river Ganga, then to the ocean. Though large, the fish was pleasant and easy to carry. Upon being released into the ocean, the fish told Manu that soon all terrestrial objects would be dissolved in the time of the purification. It told him to build a strong ship with a cable attached and to embark with the seven sages (rishis) and certain seeds, and to then watch for the fish, since the waters could not be crossed without it. Manu embarked as enjoined and thought on the fish. The fish, knowing his desire, came, and Manu fastened the ship’s cable to its horn. The fish dragged the ship through roiling waters for many years, at last bringing it to the highest peak of Himavat, which is still known as Naubandhana (“the Binding of the Ship”). The fish then revealed itself as Parjapati Brahma and said Manu shall create all living things and all things moving and fixed. Manu performed a great act of austere fervor to clear his uncertainty and then began calling things into existence.”

The Principle of Spiritual Economy, Rudolf Steiner, Lecture VI, Malsch, April 6, 1909. GA 109:

Yet it was precisely they whom the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle (Manu) on Atlantis led from the West to the East, through Europe and into Asia. And it is also this small group of people that made the foundation of the post-Atlantean cultures possible.

However, the greatest conquest in the Atlantean era emanated from the descendants of that group of plain people gathered around Manu. And when those descendants, through their own development, had prepared the Indian, Persian, Egyptian, GraecoLatin, and our cultures, the earth became capable of yielding the material into which the Christ could be born.

However, when the spiritual life touches your hearts with such force that you can compare yourselves with dignity to those who were gathered around the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle (Manu), then you will be the bearers of spiritual life in later ages. In addition to offering humanity the external, material, and corporeal realities, such a life would also make possible a renewed immersion in the spiritual world. Although the Great Initiate gathered human beings around Himself in ancient times, today the Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings fulfill a similar function and issue their call to you.

From the Contents of Esoteric Classes, Rudolf Steiner, Muenchen, December 5, 1907. GA 266:

When a seer whose spiritual eye is opened so that he knows how to read the fine script of the Akasha Chronicle looks back into the spiritual worlds, he discovers the sites from which the culture and all spiritual life of those times emanated. Our souls can discover the sites where the masters and their disciples assembled in the mystery schools of that time. There were many such Mystery Centers on the ancient Atlantean continent, and they differed from those of today and were given a different name. They were not just churches and not just schools, but rather a combination of both. Those who searched for truth could find both religion and wisdom in the mystery schools; here, religion and wisdom were one. Using a modern word, we can characterize the concept of those cultic centers, the mystery schools, by the term “Atlantean Oracles.”

In the Atlantean Oracles and their centers of wisdom, spiritual life was differentiated in the same way that external knowledge and the areas of trade and professions are subdivided in external life today. A connection existed between certain human capacities and certain planets, that is, certain mystical occult capacities were connected with special planets. Therefore, on the Atlantean continent we should distinguish between oracles of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Each of these oracles had emanated from the cosmos according to its capacity, but there was one center in which the capacities of all seven oracles flowed together, and it was here that the wisdom of the seven oracles in Atlantis coalesced. The adepts of this center, of the Holy Sun Oracle, had been initiated into the mystery and service of what we today know as the Sun. During the ancient Atlantean epoch, the adepts of the Sun Oracle had been initiated into the deeds of this lofty Sun-Being. The Great Initiate who was the leader of this highest oracle had been initiated in the most comprehensive ways into these mysteries. The entire ancient Atlantean and, as we shall see, also the post-Atlantean culture proceeded from him. The “Manu,” as this leader of the Sun Oracle was called, did not choose the main representatives of the post-Atlantean culture from among the so-called scholars and scientists, nor from the clairvoyants and Magi of that time. The people who were endowed with spiritual and psychic knowledge and who in those days were approximately comparable to the scientists and scholars of our time were not considered suitable by him; rather plain people who had begun gradually to lose the clairvoyant faculty were chosen.

The great Manu gathered about him those who were able to function intellectually, not the clairvoyants and Magi but those who absorbed and developed the rudiments of arithmetic. It was they with whom the great Manu journeyed to the sanctuary in Asia from which the post-Atlantean culture was to emanate.

Europe, Asia, and Africa have all been populated by the descendants of the ancient Atlanteans who had moved to these continents under Manu’s leadership. This initiate of the Sun Oracle now had to take care that the founding of this post-Atlantean culture and the evolution of its human beings would proceed under the proper influence. From the very beginning he had to take care that everything that was valuable for a future development should be carried forward. Now the Great Initiate took something very valuable with him when he journeyed from ancient Atlantis to Europe. It was known in the mysteries how to preserve the valuable etheric and astral bodies developed by the great initiates, these bodies were kept by the preservers of the mystery schools.

After some time had elapsed, it became possible to incorporate the seven more important etheric bodies of the seven greatest initiates of the ancient Atlantean oracles into seven human beings. These etheric bodies had streamed into these people, thereby enabling them to exude the great, powerful visions and truths of evolution through inspiration from above.

Manu sent these seven bearers of wisdom to India where people still had a sense and an understanding of the spiritual and of spiritual worlds. In India human beings still had the feeling and the consciousness of having at one time emanated from a primordial spiritual world and of having been born from the womb of the Godhead. Therefore, the whole physical world appeared to them as maya, as illusion, and they longed to return to this world of the gods, to those divine-spiritual beings with whom they had once lived. To such people the seven bearers of wisdom could speak. They were called the Holy Rishis, and it was they who inaugurated the dawn of our post-Atlantean culture. The people who had preserved for themselves the consciousness of and the longing for the spiritual world with its divine-spiritual beings were thus given the opportunity to learn more about this world and to find the way back to it.

The Submerged Continents of Atlantis and Lemuria, Transition of the Atlantean into the Aryan Root-Race, Rudolf Steiner, Chapter III:

Now we must realize that the end of the Atlantean era is characterized by three groups of human entities. There are, firstly, the so-called “Messengers of the Gods,” who were advanced far beyond the great mass of people, teaching Divine Wisdom and performing divine deeds. Secondly, there was the great mass itself, in which the power of thought was in a state of torpor, although it possessed other natural faculties which have since been lost. Thirdly, there was a smaller number that developed the thinking capacity. These, it is true, gradually lost the primeval faculties of the Atlanteans; but they developed instead the capacity to grasp in thought the principles of the “Messengers of the Gods.” The second group of human entities was destined to die out gradually. The third, however, admitted of such an education by the entities of the first group that it could henceforward take over its own guidance.

From the midst of this third group selection was made by the aforesaid chief leader (who is known in Theosophical literature by the name of the Manu) of those most capable of forming the nucleus of a new mankind. These fittest people were to be found in the fifth sub-race. The thought-power of the sixth and seventh sub-races was in a certain way already on the downward path, and no longer fit for further development. The best qualities of the best men were to be developed. This was achieved by the leader (Manu) sequestering the elect in a particular spot of the earth — in Central Asia — and freeing them from every influence of those left behind or gone astray. The task undertaken by the leader was to conduct his disciples so far on that they could grasp in their own souls and through their own thought the principles according to which they were previously directed and which they faintly understood. Men were now meant to understand the divine powers which they had formerly followed blindly. So far, the gods had led men through their messengers; henceforth men should know of these divine Beings. They were to consider themselves as the executive organs of divine Providence.

This isolated group had to face an important change. The divine leader was in their midst in human form. From such divine messengers, mankind had previously received directions or commands as to what was to be done or left undone. It had been taught in sciences which referred to what could be observed by the senses. Men suspected the fact of a divine government of the world, they felt as much in their own actions, but they had no clear knowledge of this fact. Their leader now spoke to them quite differently. He taught them that invisible powers governed what was visibly before them; and that they themselves were servants of these invisible powers; that, with their thoughts, they had to execute the laws of these powers; and that the invisible spiritual element was the Creator and Preserver of the visible material world. Hitherto they had looked up to their visible messengers of the gods, to those superhuman Initiates of whom he who talked to them thus was himself one, and by whom they were directed as to what to do or to avoid.

Now however they were found worthy of being instructed by the divine messenger of the gods.

Assisting the chief leader (Manu), there were other messengers of the gods who executed his designs with regard to particular branches of life, and helped in the development of the new race. For the object was to arrange the whole of life conformably with the new conception of a divine government of the world. The thoughts of men were to be turned in every respect from the visible to the invisible. Life is determined by natural forces. The course of this human life depends on day and night, winter and summer, sunshine and rain.

How these momentous visible facts are connected with the invisible (divine) forces, and how man should act so as to live in accordance with these invisible powers — all this was shown to him. All knowledge and all work were to be pursued in this sense. In the course of the stars and in atmospheric conditions, man was to see the decrees of Providence, the expression of divine Wisdom. Astronomy and meteorology were taught in this sense. And man was to bring his work, his moral life, into harmony with the laws of the divine that are so rich in wisdom. Life was ordered according to divine commandments, since in the course of the stars, in meteorological conditions, etc., divine thoughts were fathomed. Man was to bring his works into harmony with dispositions of the gods through sacrificial deeds.

It was the intention of the Manu to direct everything in human life towards the higher worlds. All human action, all arrangements were to bear a religious character. In this way the Manu wished to lead the way to that which constitutes the special task of the fifth Root-Race. This Race was to learn to guide itself onward through its own thoughts. Such self-determination, however, can lead to salvation only when man gives his own self also to the service of the higher powers. Man should make use of his thinking capacity; but this power of thought should be uplifted by mindfulness of the Divine.

To grasp completely what happened at that time, it is also necessary to know that the development of the thinking capacity, beginning with the fifth sub-race of the Atlanteans, brought about a still further consequence. In a certain direction men acquired branches of knowledge and performed acts which were in no immediate connection with what the Manu had to consider as his proper task. These acquirements and arts lacked, first of all, the religious character. They dawned on man at a time when his only thought was to exploit them for his own advantage, for his personal wants.

The intention of the Manu was, then, to evoke in men a spontaneous need to establish a connection between such things and the higher order of the world. Men could, as it were, choose whether they would exploit the acquired knowledge for purely personal benefit, or use it in the religious service of a higher world. Of those whom the Manu had gathered round himself, all were not ripe for the change. Indeed, very few of them were so. And only from these could the nucleus of the new race be actually formed by the Manu. It was, then, only with this small number that the Manu retired, in order to further their development, while the rest became merged in the general mass of mankind. It was then from this small number of men, thus finally grouped round the Manu, that all the true germs of progress in the fifth Root-Race up to the present time were derived.

This little band remained with the Manu until it had become strong enough to act in the new spirit, and until its members could set forth to impart this new spirit to that portion of mankind which remained over from the preceding races. This new spirit naturally assumed a different character with various nations, according to the different phases of their development. The old surviving characteristics became mixed with what the messengers of the Manu brought into the various parts of the world, and in this way manifold new cultures and civilizations arose.

The fittest personalities of those surrounding the Manu were chosen to become initiated little by little into his divine wisdom, so that they might become teachers to the rest. Thus it was that along with the old messengers of the gods there now arose a new kind of Initiate. They developed their mentality in exactly the same manner as the rest of their fellow-men. The divine messengers of old — and the Manu — had not done so. Their development belongs to higher worlds. They brought their higher wisdom into earthly relations. What they gave to mankind was “a gift from on high.” Before the middle of the Atlantean era men were not advanced far enough to grasp with their own faculties the import of divine decrees. Now, in the period indicated, they were to reach this stage. Their earthly thought was to rise to the conception of the divine. Human initiates united themselves with those who were superhuman. This signifies an important change in the development of humanity. The first Atlanteans had not yet the choice of viewing their leaders as divine messengers, or of not doing so. For what these accomplished appeared, perforce, as a deed of the higher worlds. A divine origin was stamped on it. On account of their power, the divine messengers of the Atlantean era were therefore sanctified Beings, surrounded by the luster conferred on them by this power.

The human initiates, the holy teachers, became, then, in the beginning of the fifth Root-Race, the leaders of the rest of mankind. The great priest-kings of prehistoric times belong to this class of Initiates. The higher messengers of the gods gradually withdrew from this earth, handing over the leadership to these human Initiates, but still assisting them by deed and word.

At first the Manu himself still led his flock like children, but afterwards the leadership was gradually transferred to human initiates. And, to-day, the progress still continues to consist in a mingling of conscious and unconscious acting and thinking on the part of men. Only at the end of the fifth Root-Race, when, after the progress made in the course of the sixth and seventh sub-races, a sufficiently large number of men will be ready to receive knowledge, the greatest initiate will be able to reveal himself to them publicly. And this human initiate will then be able to take over the further general leadership, just as the Manu had done at the end of the fourth Root-Race. The education of the fifth Root-Race has therefore as its aim the production of a larger portion of mankind who shall attain so far as to follow freely a human Manu, just as was done by the nucleus of this fifth race with regard to the divine Manu.

As Rudolf Steiner has indicated, Manu was the “father”, or avatar, of the entire Fifth Post-Atlantean epoch: India, Persia, Egypt/Chaldea, Greco-Roman, and our own epoch. The wisdom Manu brought from the spiritual world, with the help of the Holy Rishis, was translated into each of these succeeding cultures that wove together the spiritual evolution of humanity over the course of history. Manu was the Noah of Atlantis who settled in Central Asia and created a marvelous city with the technology of the Atlantean Mystery centers.

Rudolf Steiner pointed out the exact location of the city, on the shores of Lop Nor Lake, not far from the “library of Manu” in the Gobi Desert.  These libraries, comprised of 200 small pyramids, were mythically said to be located in the sands of the Gobi and are often referred to by Theosophists as “The White Island.” These pyramids also were discovered over ten years ago by oil companies using satellites to search for underground oil deposits. Steiner spoke only obliquely about these libraries when referring to the incarnation of Lucifer in China in the second millennium. Below are passages of what might be likely to be found in those libraries because they are taken from the Manu Smirtri, one of the oldest Vedic books. You can see in the text the wisdom that is also found in the Upanishads, another likely candidate for a text that might be found in the library of Manu.

The Laws of Manu (1500 BC), translated by G. Buhler:

1. The great sages approached Manu, who was seated with a collected mind, and, having duly worshipped him, spoke as follows:

2. ‘Deign, divine one, to declare to us precisely and in due order the sacred laws of each of the four chief castes (varna) and of the intermediate ones.

3. ‘For thou, O Lord, alone knowest the purport, the rites, and the knowledge of the soul, taught in this whole ordinance of the Self-existent (Svayambhu), which is unknowable and unfathomable.’

4. He, whose power is measureless, being thus asked by the high-minded great sages, duly honored them, and answered, ‘Listen!’

5. This universe existed in the shape of Darkness, unperceived, destitute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly immersed, as it were, in deep sleep.

6. Then the divine Self-existent (Svayambhu himself) indiscernible, but making all this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, appeared with irresistible creative power, dispelling the darkness.

7. He who can be perceived by the internal organ alone, who is subtle, indiscernible, and eternal, who contains all created beings and is inconceivable, shone forth of his own will.

8. He, desiring to produce beings of many kinds from his own body, first with a thought created the waters, and placed his seed in them.

9. That seed became a golden egg, in brilliancy equal to the sun; in that egg he himself was born as Brahman, the progenitor of the whole world.

10. The waters are called narah, for the waters are, indeed, the offspring of Nara; as they were his first residence (ayana), he thence is named Narayana.

11. From that first cause, which is indiscernible, eternal, and both real and unreal, was produced that male (Purusha), who is famed in this world under the appellation of Brahman.

12. The divine one resided in that egg during a whole year, then he himself by his thought alone divided it into two halves;

13. And out of those two halves he formed heaven and earth, between them the middle sphere, the eight points of the horizon, and the eternal abode of the waters.

14. From himself (atmanah) he also drew forth the mind, which is both real and unreal, likewise from the mind egoism, which possesses the function of self-consciousness and is lordly;

15. Moreover, the great one, the soul, and all products affected by the three qualities, and, in their order, the five organs which perceive the objects of sensation.

16. But, joining minute particles even of those six, which possess measureless power, with particles of himself, he created all beings.

17. Because those six kinds of minute particles, which form the creator’s frame, enter (a-sri) these creatures, therefore the wise call his frame sarira (the body.)

18. That the great elements enter, together with their functions and the mind, through its minute parts the framer of all beings, the imperishable one.

19. But from minute body (framing) particles of these seven very powerful Purushas springs this world, the perishable from the imperishable.

20. Among them each succeeding element acquires the quality of the preceding one, and whatever place in the sequence each of them occupies, even so many qualities it is declared to possess.

The Nature of a Manu

In the work of Rudolf Steiner there is reference to the idea that a “Manu” is a stage of spiritual development similar to a developing Bodhisattva, whereas in other references concerning Manu, Steiner specifically speaks about the “Avatar Manu”, who was the “Noah” of Atlantis. At one point, Steiner indicates that Manu was the greatest leader of the past and that Mani, the third century Persian prophet, will be the leader of the future development of humanity. Mani re-Christianized the Zoroastrian Religion, and began the Manichaean Stream which will redeem even the most severely evil human beings.

Steiner also indicates that Mani was reincarnated as the Young Man from Nain, the Son of the Widow, who Jesus raised from the dead. The Young Man from Nain in the New Testament was the first human being initiated by Christ Jesus.

Speculation on the incarnations of Manu also include another indication of Steiner’s that may connect Manu to the incarnation of Melchizedek. In the time of Abraham Melchizedek was King-Priest of Salem (now Jerusalem), and was the teacher of Abraham. He is mentioned in the New Testament, which names Jesus as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

In lecture III of, The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, Rudolf Steiner offers a description of a Manu:

Let us suppose that in olden times there was a man who, in the truest sense of the words, had brought Manas to expression within him, who had certainly in himself experienced Ahamkara, but had allowed this as an individual element to retire more into the background and on account of his external activity had cultivated Manas; then according to the laws of the older, smaller, human cycles – and only quite exceptional men could have experienced this – such a man would have had to be a great law-giver, a leader of great masses of people. And one would not have been satisfied to designate him in the same way as other men, but would have called him after his prominent characteristic, a Manas-bearer; whereas another might only be called a senses-bearer. One would have said: That is a Manas-bearer, he is a Manu. When we come across designation pertaining to those olden times, we must take them as descriptive of the most prominent principle of a man’s human organization, that which most strongly expressed itself in him in that particular incarnation. Suppose that in a particular man what was most specially expressed was that he felt divine inspiration within him, that he had put aside all question of ruling his actions and studies by what the external world teaches through the senses and by what reason teaches through the brain, but listened instead in all things to the Divine Word which spoke to him, and made himself a messenger for the Divine Substance that spoke out of him! Such a man would have been called a Son of God. In the Gospel of St. John, such men were still called Sons of God, even at the very beginning of the first chapter.”

Bernard Lievegoed on Manu

We will close with some ideas about Manu from the Anthroposophist Bernard Lievegoed who considered it to be a fact that Manu reincarnated as Mani, and that Mani was destined to be a great spiritual leader of our time. One can go so far as to say that some Anthroposophist truly await the return of Manu in our day as the new Mani.

“These initiates of the Sun mystery were the godly Manu — and when I speak about the godly Manu I do not speak about one person only. There were different kinds of godly Manus. In the central Sun mysteries, the godly Manu was the priest. He became the priest at the moment one of the high hierarchical beings entered into him and spoke through his voice and through his movements.

“Of these godly Manus one never knew, “Is this a Manu or not?” This could only be known by clairvoyance, by seeing, the light which was around such a person, and at one moment he might be a Manu, and at the next a human being.

“Steiner speaks about the past as the world of the godly Manu. In the future, Steiner says, there will be human Manus. The godly Manus were entered by Sun beings. Future Manus will radiate sun forces which people have developed themselves. Out of their hearts they will radiate sun forces; such human Manus will lead mankind on the right way.”    From Old and New Mysteries

“Rudolf Steiner once said to Pfeiffer that he had started the Waldorf school and the threefold social order to make the incarnation of Manu and his helpers possible. Let us hope there are enough active Anthroposophists to accomplish what Manu needs for his development. And let us hope Anthroposophists will recognize him once he is here.”   From: The Battle for the Soul

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