The key to understanding the evolutionary process is to first understand that process in relation to man. While this in no way insures that we fully know and understand our own being, it is at least a useful and crucial starting point. Thus the ancient imperative: “man, know thyself”!
(a) Figure I, the most important diagram in the book, presents the concept of the planes and sub-planes, and how they relate to man. These planes represent the “other dimensions” or “parallel universes” that are spoken of in other books. It also shows where man exists on this diagram, and puts into perspective the existence we will lead after we graduate from life in the lowest three planes that constitute what are termed the “three lower worlds.”
(b) Man is comprised of three bodies of consciousness, a physical, an astral, and a mental body. They exist on the physical, astral, and mental planes respectively. Of course this means that two of these three bodies are invisible to most people, and that we are not really aware of them as something that is part of our self. There is also a fourth body, the etheric body that has no inherent consciousness of its own, but serves to inter-link the other bodies. While man may incarnate in either a male or female body, man is always considered masculine. We have all lived through many lives as either a man or woman to gain that experience.
(c) A number of Chakras or energy centers are found in the etheric, astral, and mental bodies. There are seven major centers associated with the etheric body, and each is associated with a physical endocrine gland. The astral body also has seven corresponding centers while the mental body has but four. There are also a series of 21 minor centers, as well as 49 tertiary centers that are associated with the function of still other organs and body parts.
(d) The process of incarnation is described, and this first relates to the method of construction of the different forms employed by the soul, always building downward, sub-plane by sub-plane. Next, the “before life” phase is related as well as the final unification with a physical fetal form. The book then examines the change called “death”, followed by the progressive return to the soul, ascending the planes of consciousness.
(e) Finally there is a shift to the more “historical” phases of the evolutionary development. While the early root-races are mentioned, the emphasis is on the Lemurian and Atlantean, together with the present Aryan root-race and sub-races. These root-races represent the evolutionary process that man has passed through, each progressively relating to the perfection of one of his bodies of consciousness.
(f) The consciousness of the various bodies is examined. This leads to the realization that our waking consciousness is separable from the physical body, and that the brain is necessary for our conscious self to exert control over the physical form. This happens automatically when the bodies are united and interpenetrating.