In India these creations were described as follows:
Mahat-tattwa creation – so-called because it was the primordial self-evolution of that which had to become Mahat – the “divine MIND, conscious and intelligent”; esoterically, “the spirit of the Universal soul.” . . . ” Worthiest of ascetics, through its potency (the potency of that cause); every produced cause comes by its proper nature.” ( Vishnu Purâna ) “Seeing that the potencies of all beings are understood only through the knowledge of That (Brahma), which is beyond reasoning, creation, and the like, such potencies are referable to Brahma.” THAT, then, precedes the manifestation. “The first was Mahat ,” says Linga Purâna ; for the ONE (the That) is neither first nor last, but ALL. Exoterically, however, this manifestation is the work of the “Supreme One” (a natural effect, rather, of an Eternal Cause); or, as the Commentator says, it might have been understood to mean that Brahmâ was then created, being identified with Mahat, active intelligence or the operating will of the Supreme. Esoteric philosophy renders it “the operating LAW.”
It is on the right comprehension of this tenet in the Brâhmanas and Purânas that hangs, we believe, the apple of discord between the three Vedantin Sects: the Advaita , Dwaita , and the Visishtadvaitas. The first arguing rightly that Parabrahman , having no relation, as the absolute all, to the manifested world – the Infinite having no connection with the finite – can neither will nor create; that, therefore, Brahmâ , Mahat , Iswara , or whatever name the creative power may be known by, creative gods and all, are simply an illusive aspect of Parabrahmam in the conception of the conceivers; while the other sects identify the impersonal Cause with the Creator, or Iswara.
Mahat (or Maha-Buddhi ) is, with the Vaishnavas , however, divine mind in active operation, or, as Anaxagoras has it, “an ordering and disposing mind, which was the cause of all things” – Νοῦς ὅ διακοσμῶντε και παντων ἅιτιος.
Wilson saw at a glance the suggestive connection between Mahat and the Phœnician Mot , or Mut , who was female with the Egyptians – the Goddess Mout , the “Mother” – “which, like Mahat ,” he says, “was the first product of the mixture of Spirit and matter, and the first rudiment of Creation”: ” Ex connexione autem ejus spiritus prodidit Mot . . . . . From whose seed were created all living things” – repeats Brucker (I., 240) – giving it a still more materialistic and anthropomorphic colouring.
Nevertheless, the esoteric sense of the doctrine is seen through every exoteric sentence on the very face of the old Sanscrit texts that treat of primordial Creation. “The Supreme Soul, the all permeant ( Sarvaga ) Substance of the World, having entered (been drawn) into matter ( prakriti ) and Spirit ( purusha ), agitated the mutable and the immutable principles the season of Creation ( manvantara ) having arrived.” 1 . . .
Esoteric doctrine teaches that the Dhyan Chohans are the collective aggregate of divine Intelligence or primordial mind, and that the first Manus – the seven “mind-born” Spiritual Intelligences – are identical with the former. Hence the ” Kwan-shi-yin ” – “the golden Dragon in whom are the seven,” of Stanza III – is the primordial Logos , or Brahmâ , the first manifested creative Power; and the Dhyani-Energies are the Manus , or Manu-Swayambhuva collectively. The direct connection, moreover, between the ” Manus ” and ” Mahat ” is easy to see. Manu is from the root man, “to think”; and thinking proceeds from the mind. It is, in Cosmogony, the pre-nebular period.
“The second Creation,” ” Bhûta ,” was of the rudimental principles ( Tanmatras ), thence termed the elemental creation ( Bhûta-sarga ) It is the period of the first breath of the differentiation of the pre-Cosmic Elements or matter. Bhûtadi means literally “the origin of the Elements,” and precedes Bhûta-sarga – the “creation” or differentiation of those Elements in primordial ” Akâsa ” ( Chaos or Vacuity).
In the ” Vishnu Purâna ” it is said to proceed along, and belong to, the triple aspect of Ahankâra , translated Egotism, but meaning rather that untranslateable term the “I-AM-NESS,” that which first issues from ” Mahat ,” or divine mind; the first shadowy outline of Self-hood, for “pure” Ahankâra becomes “passionate” and finally “rudimental” (initial); it is “the origin of conscious as of all unconscious being,” though the Esoteric school rejects the idea of anything being “unconscious” – save on this (our) plane of illusion and ignorance. At this stage of the Second Creation, the second hierarchy of the Manus appear, the Dhyan Chohans or Devas , who are the origin of Form ( rupa ): the Chitrasikhandina (bright-crested) or the Riksha – those Rishis who have become the informing souls of the seven stars (of the Great Bear).
In astronomical and Cosmogonical language this Creation relates to the first stage of Cosmic-life, the Fire-Mist Period after its Chaotic stage, when atoms issue from Laya.
The Secret Doctrine , i 450–453
H. P. Blavatsky