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Pralaya, or laya, (Sanskrit, "dissolution") is a term in Hindu comprehension that conveys all appearance is subject dissolution, but not to destruction, because dissolution leads to recreation. The term is especially used at the ending of a kalpa (cosmic cycle), which then via pravrtti leads to a new creation. But there may be also lesser pralayas such as the great flood of Manu (See Mahabharata, Vana-prana 1. 8. 1. 1-10), which occurred when all creation was submerged under a deluge. However, Manu had rescued a fish that grew large, and told him to build a large boat in which he was to take seeds and animals. Then the fish rowed the boat to safety by anchoring it to the top of the highest Himalayas.
In Theosophy, pralaya is a period of obscuration or repose, whether planetary, cosmic or universal. A manvantara is its opposite state. A.G.H.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions,
New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 760
Wedeck, Harry E. and Wade Baskin, Dictionary of Spiritualism, New York: Philosophical Library, 1971, p. 280
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