Pradhana

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Pradhana (devanāgarī: प्रधान pradhāna) is a Sanskrit adjective meaning "most important, prime, chief or major," and refers to the chief cause of the material nature, the original root of matter, the homogeneous prime matter from which the cosmos is created. According to the Sāṃkhya School, in Pradhana the three Guṇas (sattva, rajas and tamas) are in state of equilibrium.

In Hinduism, Pradhana is frequently identified with Prakṛti. However, H. P. Blavatsky said that this is not correct, since "Prakriti [is] an aspect of Pradhana."[1] She defined it as follows:

Pradhâna (Sk.). Undifferentiated substance, called elsewhere and in other schools--Akâsa; and Mulaprakriti or Root of Matter by the Vedantins. In short, Primeval Matter.[2]
In The Secret Doctrine she draws a difference between Pradhana and Mulaprakriti, saying that Pradhana is "undifferentiated substance, or the periodical aspect of Mulaprakriti, the root of Nature."[3]

Therefore, Mulaprakriti can be seen as the root substance, Pradhana as its manvantaric aspect, while Prakriti is a lower reflection of it.

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 50.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 259.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 62.