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Illusory body, from the Sanskrit compound māyāvi, the adjectival form of the word MĀYĀ, meaning illusion, and rūpa meaning body.

The māyāvi-rūpa is a projection of one’s thought but clothed in the matter of the LINGA-ŚARĪRA or etheric double. It is usually thrown out unconsciously as in the case of dying people. Their māyāvi-rūpa images then are seen by people at another place, clothed in the same dress as the dying or dead person. It is formed by the unconscious use of kriyā-śakti, or the creative power of the mind. It is spoken of as being like a mirror image of the person. In the case of adepts, the māyāvi-rūpa can be projected consciously and at will (CW X:706-7). Blavatsky describes the phenomenon as follows:

What happens is this. If he thinks very intently at the moment of death of the person he either is very anxious to see, or loves best, he may appear to that person. The thought becomes objective; the double, or shadow of a man, being nothing but the faithful reproduction of him, like a reflection in a mirror, that which the man does, even in thought, that the double repeats. This is why the phantoms are often seen in such cases in the clothes they wear at the particular moment, and the image reproduces even the expression on the dying man’s face. If the double of a man bathing were seen it would seem to be immersed in water; so when a man who has been drowned appears to his friend, the image will be seen to be dripping with water. (CW X:220-1)

The seeing of the māyāvi-rūpa may also be due to the sensitivity of the person seeing. A person who has a strong affinity with another (either by love, hatred or fear) may unconsciously evoke the image of the dying person (ibid.).

The māyāvi-rūpa is different from the etheric double itself. The former is but an illusory body, while the latter is one of the principles of the human being. The māyāvi-rūpa cannot be hurt with sharp instruments, while the etheric double can be injured, and may reflect in the physical body such injury through what is called repercussion.

This body, according to Blavatsky, upon the physical death of the person, is what becomes the kāma-rūpa or the desire body (CW X:261).



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