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Kāma (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: काम) is pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, pleasure of the senses, desire, eros, the aesthetic enjoyment of life in Sanskrit. In Hinduism, kāma is regarded as the third of the four goals of life (purusharthas): the others are duty (dharma), worldly status (artha) and salvation (moksha).[1][2] Kama-deva is the personification of this, a god equivalent to the Greek Eros and the Roman Cupid. Kama-rupa is a subtle body or aura composed of desire, while Kama-loka is the realm this inhabits, particularly in the afterlife.

Kama in Buddhism

In Buddhism's Pali Canon, the Buddha renounced (Pali: nekkhamma) sensuality (kāma) en route to his Awakening.[3] The Buddhist lay practitioner recites daily the Five Precepts, the third of which is a commitment to abstain from "sexual misconduct" (kāmesu micchācāra).[4] Typical of Pali Canon discourses, the Dhammika Sutta (Sn 2.14) includes a more explicit correlate to this precept when the Buddha enjoins a follower to "observe celibacy or at least do not have sex with another's wife ".[5]

Theosophy: kama, kamarupa and kamaloka

In the Theosophy of Blavatsky, Kama is the fourth principle of the septenary, associated with emotions and desires, attachment to existence, volition, and lust.[6]

The Kamarupa (desire-form) is a "form" or subtle body created of mental and physical desires and thoughts, a form that survives the death of the body. After death three of the seven "principles" or planes of consciousness, the body, its astral prototype and physical vitality, being of no further use, remain on earth. The three higher principles merge into the state of Devachan, in which state the Higher Ego will remain until reincarnation. The eidolon, the "image", the pale copy of the man that was, persists for a period of time determined by the past life. Bereft as of its higher mind, spirit and physical senses it will gradually fade and disintegrate. But if forcibly drawn back from Kamaloka (desire world) into the terrestrial sphere by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving friends or by necromantic practices the Kamarupa may become a vampire feeding on the vitality of those anxious for its company. In India these eidola, called Pisachas, are much dreaded.[7]

Kamaloka is a semi-material plane, subjective and invisible to humans, where disembodied "personalities", the astral forms, called Kamarupa remain until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effects of the mental impulses that created these eidolons of human and animal passions and desires. It is associated with Hades of ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the land of Silent Shadows; a division of the first group of the Trailõkya.


  • H. P. Blavatsky, 1892. The Theosophical Glossary. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society

See also


  1. Brodd, Jefferey (2003). World Religions. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5. 
  2. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 427 (v 23)
  3. See, for instance, Dvedhavitakka Sutta (MN 19) (Thanissaro, 1997a).
  4. See, for instance, Khantipalo (1995).
  5. (Ireland, 1982).
  6. Farthing 1978 p.210.
  7. Theosophical Glossary, 1892

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Kama. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.