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A Sanskrit compound derived from mahā (great, important, eminent, etc.) and tattva (lit. “thatness,” i.e., essential principle, real state, reality, etc.). It refers to the first of the seven creations described in the Purānas, the legendary histories of India and the Hindu gods, and is equated there with buddhi, often translated “Intellect” in this context.

Helena P. Blavatsky, commenting on articles by Éliphas Lévi, writes: “At the beginning of Manvantara, the Fohat which they [the Dhyāni-Chohans] radiate awakens and differentiates Mahattattva, itself the radiation of Mulaprakriti” (CW VI:176). This somewhat obscure reference is essentially dealing with an early state of creation where a divine energy stimulates the next stage of manifestation out of primordial matter.

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