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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Mahat

A Sanskrit term meaning “great” (also “extensive,” “eminent,” etc.). In the Sánkhya and Advaita Vedānta philosophies, it is the first evolute of PRAKRITI (or pradhāna), also called buddhi, from which the other 22 principles (tattvas) evolve in turn, the first of them being ahamkāra (“I-making,” i.e., egoism), the principle of individuation, and the next being manas, the thinking principle. The term “mahat” is used in a number of theosophical contexts to refer to “the Kosmic Principle of Intelligence,” “the Universal Intelligence limited by Manvantaric duration” (SD I:62), “manifested Wisdom,” “the Creator,” the THIRD LOGOS, “Universal Mind,” and “Cosmic Ideation.” In the Visu Purāna, Mahat is said to produce the cosmic egg (cited in SD I:360). Helena P. BLAVATSKY states that the Vedic storm god Indra “is in reality the cosmic principle Mahat” (SD II:614) and also cites H. H. Wilson, translator of the Visu Purāna, who saw a connection between the Hindu Mahat, the Phœnician goddess M¯t, and the Egyptian goddess Mut (SD I:451).

M.A.

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