Matter is Eternal

Bright Light in Space

Aham eva param Brahma‘ – I am myself a god.
‘What do you mean by that?’

‘I mean that every being on earth, however humble, is an immortal portion of the immortal matter.’

The answer is one which would suggest itself to every ancient philosopher, Kabalist and Gnostic, of the early days. It contains the very spirit of the delphic and kabalistic commandment, for esoteric philosophy solved, ages ago, the problem of what man was, is, and will be.

~ H.P. Blavatsky, “Isis Unveiled” Vol. 2, p. 262 ~

When the teachings of Theosophy repeat the important truth that “Matter is eternal,” they are not referring to the manifested, objective, tangible matter which we can see and feel around us.

In any and all of its seven degrees or planes of existence, manifested matter is illusion. This is the meaning of the Hindu saying that “Prakriti is Maya.” It is mayavic, illusory, because it is ultimately temporary, impermanent, and finite. It is ever-changing and thus cannot be considered to be truly real, although it undoubtedly currently objectively exists.

But although Prakriti is Maya, Mulaprakriti is eternal Reality. “Mulaprakriti” literally means “Root-Matter.” In “The Secret Doctrine” and elsewhere, it is used synonymously with other Sanskrit terms such as Akasha, Pradhana, and Svabhavat. In “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge,” HPB has described it as “Spiritual Matter.”

It is Absolute Abstract Matter, which is perfectly and literally ONE with Absolute Abstract Space, Absolute Abstract Motion, and Absolute Abstract Duration. Students of “The Secret Doctrine” will be aware that these are the four terms under which the Eastern Esoteric Science speaks of the One Supreme Reality. Parabrahm (or Brahman) and Mulaprakriti are one in essence and inseparable. Pure eternal Spirit is pure eternal Matter and vice versa.

This brief explanation, along with the following quotations, will hopefully help to make clearer what has at times been a source of confusion and misunderstanding over the years. Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti is the Causeless Cause and the Rootless Root.

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“ “Matter is eternal,” says the Esoteric Doctrine. But the matter the Occultists conceive of in its laya, or zero state, is not the matter of modern science … There is a difference between manifested and unmanifested matter, between pradhana, the beginningless and endless cause, and prakriti, or the manifested effect.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 545

“We hope to have proven so far the following facts: … (4) Matter is Eternal.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 280

“Occultism … repeats with as much assurance as ever: “MATTER IS ETERNAL, becoming atomic (its aspect) only periodically”.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 552

“The DIVINE THOUGHT … impregnates matter, which is co-eternal with the ONE REALITY; and all that lives and breathes evolves from the emanations of the ONE Immutable – Parabrahm = Mulaprakriti, the eternal one-root. The former of these … is absolute abstraction; whereas in its aspect as Mulaprakriti – the eternal root of all, – it gives one some hazy comprehension at least of the Mystery of Being.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 340

“Absolute Divine Spirit is one with absolute Divine Substance: Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti are one in essence.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 337

“The fundamental Law in that system [i.e. of the Ageless Wisdom, the Secret Doctrine itself], the central point from which all emerged, around and toward which all gravitates, and upon which is hung the philosophy of the rest, is the One homogeneous divine SUBSTANCE-PRINCIPLE, the one radical cause.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 273

“… this unknown Absolute Essence … IT is best described as neither Spirit nor matter, but both. “Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti” are One, in reality, yet two in the Universal conception of the manifested, even in the conception of the One Logos, its first manifestation, to which, as the able lecturer in the “Notes on the Bhagavadgita” [i.e. T. Subba Row] shows, IT appears from the objective standpoint of the One Logos as Mulaprakriti and not as Parabrahm.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 273-274

“The “Root” means, as already explained, pure knowledge (Sattva), eternal (Nitya) unconditioned reality or SAT (Satya), whether we call it Parabrahm or Mulaprakriti, for these are the two aspects of the ONE.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 68-69

“… pre-existent eternal substance, or matter … which substance, according to our teachings, is boundless, ever-existing space.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 239

“… the eternal material.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 510

“… Mulaprakriti, the root-matter and the first abstract Idea one can form of Parabrahm.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 536

“… Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti, the one under two aspects.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 46

“It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter, and is co-eternal and even one with Space in its abstract sense. Root-nature is also the source of the subtle invisible properties in visible matter. It is the Soul, so to say, of the ONE infinite Spirit. The Hindus call it Mulaprakriti, and say that it is the primordial substance, which is the basis of the Upadhi or vehicle of every phenomenon, whether physical, mental, or psychic.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 35

“The first primordial matter, eternal and coeval with Space, “which has neither a beginning nor an end,” is “neither hot nor cold, but is of its own special nature,” says the Commentary (Book II).”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 82

“… compare with Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti and the three Logoi, in the Secret Doctrine.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman”

“In other words we believe in MATTER alone, in matter as visible nature and matter in its invisibility as the invisible omnipresent omnipotent Proteus with its unceasing motion which is its life.”

“Matter we know to be eternal, i.e., having had no beginning.”

“… boundless eternal matter …”

Master K.H.

“Matter is infinite and indestructible and non-existent without Spirit which, in matter is Life.”

Master K.H.

“Matter is as indestructible and eternal as the immortal spirit itself, but only in its particles, and not as organized forms.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “Isis Unveiled” Vol. 1, p. 328

“The matter of the Eastern philosophers is not the “matter” and Nature of the Western metaphysicians.”

H.P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 149

“The Matter here spoken of is not that which is vulgarly known as such. It is the real Matter which is always invisible, and has sometimes been called Primordial Matter. In the Brahminical system it is denominated Mulaprakriti.”

William Q. Judge, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 15

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By philosophical and logical necessity, the Absolute must be both the very essence of Spirit (or Consciousness) and the very essence of Matter (or Substance). Hence it doesn’t really matter whether we call it Parabrahm or Mulaprakriti or “Parabrahm=Mulaprakriti” as HPB puts it. It’s just as correct to say “We believe in Spirit alone” as it is to say “We believe in Matter alone,” since the “two” are ONE in their absolute and ultimate nature and this ONE is the One and Only REALITY.

See also the explanatory section on “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought” in “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 325-341.

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