One of the most lucid expositions of the foundational philosophy of pA~ncharatra is seen in the lecture given by lakShmI to indra in the lakShmI-tantraM (chapter 4):
1) Originally lakShmI and viShNu are conjoined in an undifferentiated form termed the “pure space”. This combination of viShNu and shrI is termed the homogeneous state which cannot be discerned and with out any fluctuations in it.
2) From time to time a minute particle comprising of a 10^-18 viShNu-shrI continuum state differentiates into action. Such emergent particles are endowed with a set of rules (sisR^ikSha) that can cause emergence of universes from them.
3) lakShmI as that particle of her own substance instantaneously develops into the primary emanation- the vishuddhAdhvA. This is filled by the activity of lakShmI that manifests in the form of rays filling it, vibrating with energy, and driving its evolution. Thus, this primary emergent comes out of that still fluctuation free viShNu-lakShmI continuum.
4) 6 attributes are seen together in equal proportion in lakShmI associated with the primary particle that stirs out of the primary viShNu-shrI continuum: j~nAna, shakti, bala, aishvarya, vIrya and tejas. There is no fluctuation of these attributes in this initial state of lakShmi and the results in a manifestion called vAsudeva. When only j~nAna and bala become manifest emerges the form termed saMkarShaNa. When only vIrya and aishvarya are manifest the form is pradyumna. When only shakti and tejas are manifest the form is aniruddha. In all these forms the remain tattvas of the 6 are present but unmanifest.
5) These are the 4 vyUhas that further divide themselves into 3 resulting in 12 vyUhAntaras. The vAsudeva vyUhAntaras form the basis of existance, the pradyumna the origin of activities, the aniruddha consequences of the activities and everything is destroyed or merges into saMkarShaNa.
6) The above is considered the “non-phenomenal” or an ideal (in the sense of Plato) emanation . Then there is the phenomenal emanation made of 3 guNas. The j~nAna gives rise to sattva, aishvarya to rajas and shakti to tamas. lakshmI drives the phenomenal universe’s emanation by initiating a disequilibrium of the perfectly equilibriated 3 guNas. At first the rajas manifests and drives the emanation of the universe. This rajas is worshipped as mahAlakShmI also known as mahAshrI, chaNDa, chaNDi and chaNDikA.
To fill this ’empty’ universe that has emerged as result of lakShmI’s activity the tamoguNa comes to the forth. This form is worshiped as tAmasI. The goddess tAmasI has mighty arms holding a sword, a pot of beer, a severed head and a shield. She wears a garland of severed heads and a diadem of snakes.
She is called mahAkAlI, mahAmAyA, mahAmArI, kShudhA, tR^ishA, nidrA, tR^ishNa, ekavIrA, kAlarAtrI and duratyayA.
Then the universe is filled by the emanation of sattva. This is worshiped as a goddess termed mahAvidyA holding in her mighty arms a rosary, goad, a vINA and a book. She is also called mahAvANI, bhAratI, vAk, sarasvatI, AryA, brAhmI, mahAdhenu, gIh, dIh and vedagarbhA.