The history of mankind is much older than is generally accepted. The Ageless Wisdom teachings postulate that it is not less than 18.5 million years since the individualization of animal-man. The following article is a brief summary of some of the most significant developments in his evolution.
About 21 million years ago, animal-man made his appearance on the world scene, as a separate species in the animal kingdom. These specimens were as yet mindless, and thus should still be regarded as animals, but with the physical build and appearance of primitive human beings.
Some 2.5 million years later, or 18.5 million years ago, a group of Beings from other planetary schemes, in particular from Venus, were brought to earth, to assist in arousing the mind principle and leading to the individualization of animal-man. This band formed the nucleus of those superior Beings who subsequently became known as the White Brotherhood or the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. Their headquarters was established on etheric levels, and is referred to by esotericists as Shamballa. Although located in the etheric realm, Shamballa is recognized as occupying a definite position in space in the Gobi desert.
After a further lapse of 1.5 million years, or about 17 million years ago, it was decided that more effective results would be obtained if representatives of the Brotherhood were to function in dense material bodies on the physical plane, thus enabling them to serve as practical guides and leaders of the evolving race. The first outpost of the fraternity was established at a place then known as Ibez, located somewhere in the central regions of South America. Aeons later, remnants of this original culture were still traceable in the ancient Maya institutions. A second branch became rooted in Asia, giving rise to, among others, the appearance and work of the Himalayan and Southern Indian adepts. In this connection, the Master Djwhal Khul, known as the Tibetan, prophesies that at some future date much of the mystery still enshrouding pre-history in general, and the early history of the Near East, the Gobi desert and Central Asia in particular, will be revealed with the discovery of certain ancient monuments and records. Some of these will be found above ground, and others in subterranean vastnesses where many of these archaic chronicles are still intact and have been safely conserved as convincing testimony to the truth of these ancient historical facts.
Historically, the original race of men became known as Lemurians, named after their country Lemuria, situated somewhere in the region now occupied by the Pacific Ocean, and probably also including parts of both North and South America.
After a protracted period of some three million years of slow development, the greater part of Lemuria was destroyed by volcanic action and disappeared below the seas, leaving only a number of smaller islands where once there had been a vast continent. Some remnants of the race escaped, however, to become the founders of the future Atlantean race, which originated about 12 million years ago. Where Lemuria lay to the west of the Americas, the continent of Atlantis was situated mainly east of these continents, comprising a region now mostly covered by the Atlantic ocean, and stretching far out from the Americas towards Europe and North Africa.
Little detailed knowledge of these two early human races is available, but a general description can be given of the various stages through which they evolved. The spark of mind, the first distinctive attribute of the soul, which served to lift the Lemurians from the animal into the human kingdom, remained for long somewhat dormant. In the course of time, this gradual awakening produced men still largely retaining their animal tendencies. Only the primitive forms of emotion, such as sexual desire and fear of physical pain, were as yet apparent.
The awakening of the principles of desire and emotion indicated the approach of the Atlantean phase, when man no longer remained satisfied with simple physical or animal existence. In those early days of Lemuria and Atlantis, the primitive masses were led by their priest kings, assisted by Adepts, initiates and disciples, the direct descendants of the former White Brotherhood, who still formed the only real source of intelligent and spiritual guidance. The Hierarchy finally came to the decision to withdraw its representatives to etheric levels. As happened previously with Lemuria, the destruction of Atlantis, including most of its population, occurred by cataclysmic convulsions of the earth's crust, and the subsequent submergence of the greater part of the continent.
According to H.P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, this inundation of the mainland of Atlantis took place several million years ago. A few large islands were, however, allowed to survive the disaster, and these provided a sanctuary for some favored and more advanced groups who were spared to serve as points of nucleus for the partial restoration and regeneration of the race, and to permit man's evolutionary process to proceed without undue interruption.
About 98,000 years before our present time, the larger part of these islands were in their turn swallowed by the seas, leaving only one relatively small remnant `West of the Pillars of Gibraltar,' which Plato referred to as Poseidonis (or Atlantis). This remaining fragment finally also disappeared below the waters 15-16,000 BC, but not before a number of survivors had been allowed to escape and to introduce civilization where they settled, in parts of what today are known as Europe, the Mediterranean regions, and the Near and Middle East. It is this submergence of Atlantis which gave rise to the symbolic biblical chronicle about the Deluge and Noah's Ark.