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The essential principle underlying each plane or stage of manifestation. A Sanskrit term meaning literally “thatness,” but with the general significance of “reality,” “truth,” “true state,” “true principle,” “essential nature,” etc. The various schools of Indian philosophy disagree about the number of tattvas, from only two (Advaita), to thirty-six (Kashmir Saivism). Helena P. Blavatsky claims that there are, according to esoteric teaching, seven. She points out that there are seven forms of Prakriti (matter-primordial and elementary) and since the tattvas are simply the substratum of these forces, then it is logical to assume that there are seven tattvas in nature (CW XII:605).

According to Blavatsky the seven tattvas are:

  1. Adi Tattva, the primordial universal force, issuing at the beginning of manifestation or creative period.
  2. Anupadaka Tattva, the first differentiation on the plane of being, being an ideal one since it derives from something higher than itself.
  3. Akasa Tattva, the force of the Third Logos; the creative force in the already manifested universe.
  4. Vayu Tattva, the airy plane where substance is gaseous.
  5. Taijasa Tattva, the “fiery” plane or plane of our atmosphere.
  6. Apas Tattva, “watery” or liquid substance or force.
  7. Prithivi Tattva, solid “earthly” substance; the terrestrial spirit or force — the lowest of all. (CW XII:612)


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