(Mūla Prakṛti): “Primordial Nature,” the root material cause of Universal Manifestation. It is that which existed before all things. Inside it is the potential for all the various determinations that are present within the Cosmos. The Puranas describe mula prakriti as identical to maya (the “Mother of forms”). It is said to be undifferentiated and to have no possibility for differentiation. This makes mula prakriti empty of inherent qualities. It can be intuited only by its effects, as it has no separate parts. In alchemy, the nigredo phase suggests bringing any substance to this same primordial, undifferentiated nature.