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Kāma-Rūpa

A compound Sanskrit word meaning “desire-body,” According to THEOSOPHY, after the death of the physical body and the shedding of the ETHERIC DOUBLE, or “energy form,” the kāma-rūpa is said to be the temporary vehicle for the remaining components of the individual; it is the after-death vehicle which is said to exist in KĀMA-LOKA (the Desire-World) until the “second death” occurs, after which the individual enters DEVACHAN or the “State of Bliss.”

Helena P. BLAVATSKY, in her The Secret Doctrine, lists kāma-rūpa fourth in the Esoteric Buddhism classification of the septenary division of the human principles (Vol. I, p. 157).

Blavatsky, in her postumously published Theosophical Glossary states that “Kāma-Rūpa is the subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in connection with things of matter.” She maintains that this “form” is created by all sentient beings and that it survives the death of their bodies. Blavatsky suggests that powerful desire or some practices of spiritualist mediums may draw the kāma-rūpa back and that once it has learned the way back to living human bodies it may “feed” on their vitality and thus prolong its life beyond that which it would normally experience. In India these entities are called Piśācas.

Gottfried de PURUCKER presents a somewhat different picture. In his Occult Glossary he states that the kāma-rūpa is that part of the human’s constitution in which dwell the various desires, affections, hates and loves — in short, the various mental and psychical energies. After physical death de Purucker suggests that the kāma-rūpa is an exact duplicate in appearance and mannerisms of the person who died.

Much terminological confusion arose when kāma-rūpa was translated into English as “astral body” by later theosophical writers, because “ASTRAL BODY” was also used by Blavatsky to refer to the LINGA-ŚARĪRA or ETHERIC DOUBLE. Geoffrey A. Barborka in The Divine Plan wrote that kāma-rūpa ought not to be confused with linga-śarīra, as both are sometimes translated as “astral body” depending upon who the writer is. Linga-śarīra is the “model body” which wastes away in a matter of days after the death of the physical, whereas kāma-rūpa lingers for a longer time after the death of the physical body.

See also ASTRAL BODY; HUMAN CONSTITUTION; SEPTENARY SYSTEM NOMENCLATURE, THE.


P.S.H.


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