By Swami Harshananda
Mahat literally means ‘the great’.
Mahat is an important concept of the Sāṅkhya philosophy. It is also accepted by the Vedānta metaphysics. It is the first product of evolution of pradhāna or prakṛti (basic inert matter) comprising the three guṇas—sattva, rajas and tamas. It can be detailed in two aspects:
- In its cosmic aspect it is ‘mahat’, the great germ of this vast world of objects.
- In its psychological aspect it is buddhi, the cosmic intellect, from which the individual buddhis are produced in the course of time by further evolution.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore