“This is the name given to the periods called MANVANTARA (Manu-antara, or between the Manus) and PRALAYA (Dissolution); one referring to the active periods of the Universe, the other to its times of relative and complete rest – according to whether they occur at the end of a “Day”, or an “Age” (a life) of Brahma.
These periods, which follow each other in regular succession, are also called Kalpas, small and great, the minor and the Maha-Kalpa; though, properly speaking, the Maha-Kalpa is never a “day”, but a whole life or age of Brahma.
In sober truth they are infinite; as they have never had a commencement, i.e., there never was a first Kalpa, nor will there ever be a last one, in Eternity.
One Parardha – in the ordinary acceptation of this measure of time – or half of the existence of Brahma (in the present Maha-Kalpa) has already expired;
the last Kalpa was the Padma, or that of the Golden Lotus; the present one being Varaha (the “boar” incarnation, or Avatar).
Not even esoteric philosophy can claim to know, except by analogical inference, that which took place before the reappearance of our Solar System and previous to the last Maha-Pralaya.
But it teaches distinctly that after the first geological disturbance in the Earth’s axis which ended in the sweeping down to the bottom of the seas of the whole second continent, with its primeval races – of which successive “Earths” or continents Atlantis was the fourth – there came another disturbance by the axis resuming as rapidly its previous degree of inclination;
when the Earth was indeed raised once more out of the Waters, and – as above so it is below, and vice versa.
There were “gods” on Earth in those days – gods, and not men, as we know them now, says the tradition.”
H. P. Blavatsky