“The Secret Doctrine is explained in Vishnu Purana as: ‘that which is the unevolved cause, is emphatically called by the most eminent sages Pradhana, which is subtle Prakriti … that which is eternal, …’. Prakriti, however, is an incorrect word, and Alaya would explain it better; for Prakriti is not the ‘unrecognizable Brahma.’
“It is a mistake of those who know nothing of the Universality of the Occult doctrines from the very cradle of the human races. … It is a mistake to teach that the Anima Mundi, the One Life or ‘Universal Soul,’ was made known only by Anaxagoras. … Anaxagoras was not its inventor but only its propagator, as also was Plato. … The principle that according to his views is absolutely separated and free from matter and acts on design was called “Motion, the ONE Life, or Jivatma ages before the year 500 B. C. in India.” H. P. Blavatsky
In our modern world, an unevolved cause doesn’t seem like a good thing. To us, unevolved means primitive, or not developed. In actuality, what is here being called the unevolved cause is a cause that is so great it needs no further development. It might be more accurate to call it the none-evolving cause because it cannot evolve beyond what it already is.
In truth, nothing ever truly evolves unless it has first devolved in the big mistake known as the Great Fall when, in the symbolic tale of Adam and Eve, man was rejected from the Garden of Eden, a spiritual domain, and sent to the much lower level of matter. So evolution is really just heading back towards our original state and form, not something truly new. The original cause, being perfect in the beginning, and having never fallen, has no need to evolve. Still, is is better to call it the Higher Cause to avoid confusion.
It is often difficult to follow Blavatsky’s meandering style of writing, yet she often has significant things to say. I certainly didn’t help matters by replacing sections of the quoted paragraphs with ellipsis to keep the quote to a reasonable length.
She is trying to tell us that there is a One Cause, a First Cause, a Higher Cause that existed before any other cause. It might be thought of as the first thought of God. All other causes and forces, whether creative or destructive, come from this original cause.
Discovering the Higher Cause
Blavatsky tells us that Anaxagoras did not discover or invent this higher cause. It was known to other mystical and philosophers before him and in other lands. It is actually traceable back to the earliest civilizations for which any records exist, and probably went back to earlier ones of which we have no record. She is correct in that assertion.
While written records may not exist of the most ancients civilizations, evidence of their existence keeps popping up. It is not only reasonable to assume that they were aware of the Higher Cause, and other spiritual truths, but there are indications of it. The Essenes of Jesus’ time, for example, claimed that their spiritual communities and schools had existed in various places, and under various names, for thousands of years.
Terms and Such
Blavatsky sprinkles the quoted paragraph with numerous words in languages most of us don’t speek. I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to define or clarify them.
Pradhana – according to Wikipedia, is the creative principle of nature, or the original root of matter. It may actually mean proto-matter or pre-matter: the substance that is halfway between spirit and matter.
Prakriti – The prime material energy of which all matter is composed. Another definition says it is “The set of eternal, indestructible, and indivisible realities that produce modifications. I would interpret all that as saying it is the force which caused the Great Fall. That is when the fallen angels turned on God and His Divine Perfection.
Anima Mundi – is defined as the world soul or the link between the worlds of matter and the worlds os spirit. Blavatsky seems to be using it in a different sense. She seems to be using it to mean the Universal Soul, which is something much higher than the soul of the world.