The first part of the book explained the origin and evolution of the universe itself, in terms derived from the Hindu concept of cyclical development. The world and everything in it is supposed to alternate between periods of activity (manvantaras) and periods of passivity (pralayas). Each manvantara lasts many millions of years and consists of a number of Yugas, in accordance with Hindu cosmology. Blavatsky attempted to demonstrate that the discoveries of "materialist" science had been anticipated in the writings of ancient sages, and that materialism would be proven wrong.
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