Kama-Rupa (devanāgarī: कामरूप kāmarūpa) is a compound Sanskrit word formed by Kāma (काम) often translated as "desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure", and rūpa (रूप) "form , shape , figure." In Theosophical literature is usually refers to the astral shells of a deceased person which remain on the Kāmaloka "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."
H. P. Blavatsky defines it as follows:
Kamarupa (Sk.). Metaphysically, and in our esoteric philosophy, it is the subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in connection with things of matter, by all sentient beings, a form which survives the death of their bodies. After that death three of the seven “principles”—or let us say planes of senses and consciousness on which the human instincts and ideation act in turn—viz., the body, its astral prototype and physical vitality,—being of no further use, remain on earth; the three higher principles, grouped into one, merge into the state of Devachan (q.v.), in which state the Higher Ego will remain until the hour for a new reincarnation arrives; and the eidolon of the ex-Personality is left alone in its new abode. Here, the pale copy of the man that was, vegetates for a period of time, the duration of which is variable and according to the element of materiality which is left in it, and which is determined by the past life of the defunct. Bereft as it is of its higher mind, spirit and physical senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it will gradually fade out and disintegrate. But, if forcibly drawn back into the terrestrial sphere whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving friends or by regular necromantic practices—one of the most pernicious of which is medium- ship—the “spook” may prevail for a period greatly exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kamarupa has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a vampire, feeding on the vitality of those who are so anxious for its company. In India these eidolons are called Pisâchas, and are much dreaded, as already explained elsewhere.
Sometimes the fourth principle of human beings, kāma, has being referred to as kamarupa, although this is not correct. In a living human being the fourth principle "is no Rûpa, or form at all, except after death, but the Kâmic elements, animal desires and passions, such as anger, lust, envy, revenge, etc., etc., the progency of selfishness and matter."
- Kāma-Rūpa at Theosopedia
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 171-172.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 172.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1954), fn. 608.