10. Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to spirit—the light of the one darkness—and the lower one to its shadowy end, matter; and this web is the universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Svâbhâvat.
11. It expands when the breath of fire is upon it; it contracts when the breath of the mother touches it. Then the sons dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother’s bosom at the end of the great day, and re-become one with her; when it is cooling it becomes radiant, and the sons expand and contract through their own selves and hearts; they embrace infinitude.
“Mr. A. Keightley: Then Sloka 11, question 3. Is the word “expand” here used in the sense of differentiating or evolving, and “contract” in that of involution? Or do these terms refer to Manvantara and Pralaya? Or again, to a constant vibratory motion of the world-stuff or atoms? Are this expansion and this contraction simultaneous or successive?
Mme. Blavatsky: It is translated word for word, this, and it is all certainly figurative, metaphorical, and so on, and therefore you must not take in the literal sense everything; because you must allow something for the Eastern way of expressing it. Their Stanzas are as old as man, but this is thinking man.
Mr. A. Keightley: (Reads question again.)
Mme. Blavatsky: The Web means here, the ever existent primordial matter – pure spirit to us – the matter out of which the objective universe or universes are evolved. It means that when the breath of fire of father is upon it, it expands. That is to say, a subjective material, it is limitless, infinite, eternal and indestructible.
When the breath of the mother touches it, when the time for manifestation comes, and it has to come into objectivity and form, it contracts, for there is no such thing as something material and with a form, and yet limitless.
You understand, the fire, it stands here for father. It is that ever unknowable principle, which fecundates that matter, this primordial matter or the mother, and then taking a form – of course it will take a form and become limited.
The universe is limitless, but yet everything that has form in it is finite. Well, this is why it is said to contract, contract – that is to say, become something less – maybe the expression is not a happy one.
Mr. B. Keightley: It means to become limited.
Mme. Blavatsky: That is what I want to say. Now, the critics are many, but the helpers were few when I wrote the thing. That is the mischief of it.
Dr. Williams: It is not the literal interpretation of any of the Stanzas, but only the ideas that are underneath them that we want.
Mme. Blavatsky: Oh, yes, the literal; I try to translate word for word.
Dr. Williams: But it is not that I insist upon, at all; it is the ideas that are underneath that.
Mr. Kingsland: What we took it for is this, that when the breath of mother touched it, then the sons dissociated and scattered, and returned to the bosom, the end of Pralaya; but it is the opposite way about.
Mme. Blavatsky: You can take it any way. You can take it as the end of Pralaya, or the other way.
Mr. Kingsland: It is when the breath of mother touches it they contract and come into manifestation.
Mme. Blavatsky: Yes, and at the end of Pralaya they contract again and become less and less and less, and then they become dissociated and disintegrated and they fall into that which they were at first.
Mr. Kingsland: Wouldn’t you say at the end of Pralaya they expanded?
The President: The “contraction” here is the same thing as scattering.
Mme. Blavatsky: I always took it in one sense.
Mr. Kingsland: We thought dissociating and scattering referred to the Pralaya.
Mme. Blavatsky: Oh no, it refers to the differentiation.”
H. P. Blavatsky