Mayavi-Rupa

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Mayavi-Rupa is a Sanskrit compound word from māyāvin (मायाविन्, "illusory") and rūpa (रूप, "form or body"). Regarded by H. P. Blavatsky as one type of astral body, it is also called "thought body" because it is created by the power of thought (kriyāśakti). The māyāvi-rūpa is composed of the principles of lower manas and kama.

Characteristics

The mayavi-rupa is an artificial vehicle of consciousness, created consciously or unconsciously by means of the powers of thought and will. H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

The Mâyâvi-Rûpa is a Manasic Body, and should not be confused with the Linga-sarîra; its projection is always a Mânasic act, since it cannot be formed without the activity of Kriyâshakti.[1]
The linga sharira must not be confused with the mayavi rupa or “thought body”--the image created by the thought and will of an adept or sorcerer; for while the “astral form” or linga sharira is a real entity, the “thought body” is a temporary illusion created by the mind.[2]

In one of her letters, Mme. Blavatsky mentions the mayavi-rupa as being made of "the whole of the fourth, a portion of the fifth and even an emanation from the sixth principle."[3]

The “Thought” body, or Dream body, rather; known among Occultists as the Mayavi-rupa, or “Illusion-body.” During life this image is the vehicle both of thought and of the animal passions and desires, drawing at one and the same time from the lowest terrestrial manas (mind) and kama, the element of desire. It is dual in its potentiality.[4]

Being made of matter subtler than the physical, it cannot be affected by material objects:

Nothing can hurt the Mâyâvi-Rûpa–no sharp instrument or weapon–since, as regards this plane, it is purely subjective. It has no material connection with the physical Body, no umbilical cord. It is spiritual and ethereal, and passes everywhere without let or hindrance. It thus entirely differs from the Linga-Sarîra, which, if injured, acts by repercussion on the physical Body.[5]

Types of Mayavi-Rupas

A more important kind of Astral Body is the Mâyâvî-Rûpa, or illusionary Body, and this is of different degrees. All have the Chhâyâ as upâdhi, but they may be unconscious or conscious.[6]
The adept may at his will use his Mayavi-rupa, but the ordinary man does not, except in very rare cases. It is called Mayavi-rupa because it is a form of illusion created for use in the particular instance, and it has quite enough of the adept’s mind in it to accomplish its purpose. The ordinary man merely creates a thought-image, whose properties and powers are at the time wholly unknown to him.[7]

Unconscious projection

If a man thinks intensely of another at a distance, his Mâyâvî-Rûpa may appear to that person, without the projector knowing anything about it. This Mâyâvi-Rûpa is formed by the unconscious use of Kriyâshakti, when the thought is at work with much intensity and concentration. It is formed without the idea of conscious projection, and it is itself unconscious, a thought body, but not a vehicle of Consciousness.[8]

Conscious creation

But when a man consciously projects a Mâyâvi-Rûpa and uses it as a vehicle of Consciousness, he is an Adept.[9]
When an Adept projects his Mâyâvi-Rûpa, the guiding intelligence that informs it comes from the Heart, the essence of Manas entering it; the attributes and qualities are drawn from the Auric Envelope.[10]

Sometimes Mme. Blavatsky would call this "double" consciously created "kāmarūpa":

That which appears, or the “double,” is called Mayavi-Rupa (illusionary form) when acting blindly; and Kama-Rupa, “will” or “desire-form” when compelled into an objective shape by the conscious will and desire of its possessor.[11]

However, in general the term kāmarūpa is applied to the subtle body formed after death out of kamic elements. An explanation for this may be given in the following statements:

But once the body is dead, the body of illusion, Mayavi Rupa, becomes Kama Rupa, or the animal soul, and is left to its own devices.[12]
The “thought power” or aspect of the Mayavi or “Illusion body,” merges after death entirely into the causal body or the conscious thinking EGO. The animal elements, or power of desire of the “Dream body,” absorbing after death that which it has collected (through its insatiable desire to live) during life; i.e., all the astral vitality as well as all the impressions of its material acts and thoughts while it lived in possession of the body, forms the “Spook” or Kama rupa.[13]

According to Besant and Leadbeater

A higher form of subtle body, belonging to Manas, is that known as the Mâyâvi Rûpa, or “body of illusion”. The Mâyâvi Rûpa is a subtle body formed by the consciously directed will of the Adept or disciple; it may, or may not, resemble the physical body, the form given to it being suitable to the purpose for which it is projected. In this body the full consciousness dwells, for it is merely the mental body rearranged. The Adept or disciple can thus travel at will, without the burden of the physical body, in the full exercise of every faculty, in perfect self-consciousness. He makes the Mâyâvi Rûpa visible of invisible at will – on the physical plane – and the phrase often used by chelâs and others as to seeing an Adept “in his astral”, means that he was visited by them in his Mâyâvi Rûpa. If he so chose, he can make it, indistinguishable from a physical body, warm and firm to the touch as well as visible, able to carry on a conversation, at all points like a physical human being. But the power thus to form the true Mâyâvi Rûpa is confined to Adepts and chelâs; it cannot be done by the untrained student, however psychic he may naturally be, for it is a manasic and not a psychic creation, and it is only under the instruction of his Guru that the chelâ learns to form and use the “body of illusion”.[14]

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 707.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 256.
  3. See ["Communication with Masters by H. P. Blavatsky"] at Blavatsky Study Center website
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 219.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 707.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 706.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 224.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 706.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 706-707.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 707.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IV (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1991), 53.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 261.
  13. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 220.
  14. Annie Besant, The Seven Principles of Man (London, England: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1909), p. 50-51.