Kama-Loka

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Kama-Loka is a compound Sanskrit word from kāma (काम), "desire" and loka (लोक), "place". H. P. Blavatsky defined it as follows:

Kamaloka (Sk.). The semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where the 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; (See “Kamarupa”.) It is the Hades of the ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the land of Silent Shadows; a division of the first group of the Trailôkya. (See “Kamadhâtu”.)[1]

Kāmaloka is the stage that precedes the one of devachan (or avitchi in the case of a wicked personality):

From Kama-Loka, then, in the great Chiliocosm, once awakened from their post-mortem torpor the newly translated “Souls” go all (but the shells) according to their attractions, either to Devachan or Avitchi.[2]

General description

Kama-loka . . . is an astral locality, the limbus of scholastic theology, the Hades of the ancients, and, strictly speaking, a locality only in a relative sense. It has neither a definite area nor boundary, but exists within subjective space; i. e., is beyond our sensuous perceptions. Still it exists, and it is there that the astral eidolons of all the beings that have lived, animals included, await their second death.[3]
Every just disembodied four-fold entity - whether it died a natural or violent death, from suicide or accident, mentally sane or insane, young or old, good, bad, or indifferent - loses at the instant of death all recollection, it is mentally annihilated; it sleeps its akasic sleep in the Kama-loka.[4]
During life the Lower Manas acts through this Kama-Rupa, and so comes into contact with the Sthula-Sarira; this is why the Lower Manas is said to be "enthroned in Kama-Rupa". After death it ensouls the Kama-Rupa for a time, until the Higher Triad, having reabsorbed the Lower Manas, or such portion of it as it can reabsorb, passes into Devachan. . . The Kama-Rupa eventually breaks up, and leaving in Kama-Loka the Tanhic Elementals, its remaining portions go into animals.[5]

Duration

In The Mahatma Letters the period of stay in the Kāmaloka is not very long:

This state lasts from a few hours (rarely less), days, weeks, months - sometimes several years. All this according to the entity, to its mental status at the moment of death, to the character of its death, etc.[6]

But Mme. Blavatsky stated that the normal duration is much longer:

During life the Lower Manas acts through this Kama-Rupa, and so comes into contact with the Sthula-Sarira; this is why the Lower Manas is said to be "enthroned in Kama-Rupa". After death it ensouls the Kama-Rupa for a time, until the Higher Triad, having reabsorbed the Lower Manas, or such portion of it as it can reabsorb, passes into Devachan. The normal period during which any part of the consciousness remains in Kama-Loka, i.e., is connected with the Kama-Rupa, is one hundred and fifty years. The Kama-Rupa eventually breaks up, and leaving in Kama-Loka the Tanhic Elementals, its remaining portions go into animals.[7]

Suicides and accidents

The rule is, that a person who dies a natural death, will remain from "a few hours to several short years," within the earth's attraction, i.e., in the Kama-Loka. But exceptions are, in the case of suicides and those who die a violent death in general. Hence, one of such Egos, for instance, who was destined to live — say 80 or 90 years, but who either killed himself or was killed by some accident, let us suppose at the age of 20 — would have to pass in the Kama Loka not "a few years," but in his case 60 or 70 years, as an Elementary, or rather an "earth-walker"; since he is not, unfortunately for him, even a "shell." Happy, thrice happy, in comparison, are those disembodied entities,who sleep their long slumber and live in dream in the bosom of Space![8]

Shells

Shell is a technical term used in Theosophy to refer to the psychic remnants left behind by an Ego when entering into Devachan, consisting the fourth principle and the personal aspect of the fifth principle. H. P. Blavatsky defined it as follows:

Shells. A Kabbalistic name for the phantoms of the dead, the “spirits” of the Spiritualists, figuring in physical phenomena; so named on account of their being simply illusive forms, empty of their higher principles.[9]

Once the period of gestation is over, the lower duad is left behind in the Kāmaloka:

The lower principles are like wild beasts, and the higher Manas is the rational man who tames or subdues them more or less successfully. But once the animal gets free from the master who held it in subjection; no sooner has it ceased to hear his voice and see him than it starts off again to the jungle and its ancient den. It takes, however, some time for an animal to return to its original and natural state, but these lower principles or "spook" return instantly, and no sooner has the higher Triad entered the Devachanic state than the lower Duad rebecomes that which it was from the beginning, a principle endued with purely animal instinct, made happier still by the great change.[10]

Although the higher Principles are missing, these shells may show a resemblance of self-consciousness:

That which remains, after the separation of the higher principles from the lower ones by the process of dying is complete, consists of the fourth principle and lower parts of the fifth. This,—the animal soul—has still a more or less indistinct consciousness of its own, and its actions resemble those of a person walking in his sleep. It has also a remnant of will, in a more or less latent condition. But as the higher principles have left this, will is no more guided by any moral considerations and cannot exert itself in any other way than by following its attractions. Its lower passions, animal desires and material attractions, still remain, and in proportion as they have been more or less developed, nursed or fortified, during earth life, in the same proportion will they act more or less powerfully after the death of the physical body.[11]
And even the shells of those good men whose page will not be found missing in the great Book of Lives at the threshold of the Great Nirvana, even they will regain their remembrance and an appearance of Self-consciousness, only after the sixth and seventh principles with the essence of the 5th (the latter having to furnish the material for even that partial recollection of personality which is necessary for the object in Devachan) — have gone to their gestation period, not before.[12]

These shells are many times the entities that are channeled by psychics, and although their words may show some knowledge, it is just a mechanical repetition of what was acquired in life:

The shell of a highly intelligent, learned, but utterly unspiritual man who died natural death, will last longer and the shadow of his own memory helping — that shadow which is the refuse of the sixth principle left in the fifth — he may deliver discourses through trance speakers and repeat parrot-like that which he knew of and thought much over it, during his life-time.[13]

All this is many times done with the help of Elementals:

Elementals enter into all of them, and thus get a fictitious personality and intelligence wholly the property of the shell. They galvanize the shell into action, and by its means can see and hear as if beings themselves, like us. The shells are, in this case, just like a sleepwalking human body. They will through habit exhibit the advancement they got while in the flesh. Some people, you know, do not impart to their bodily molecules the habit of their minds to as great extent as others. We thus see why the utterences of these so-called 'spirits' are never ahead of the highest point of progress attained by living human beings, and why they take up the ideas elaborated day-by-day by their votaries.[14]

Shells of very selfish and materialistic people may become dangerous entities:

[The] cases of half successful sorcerers, of very wicked persons passionately attached to Self — offer a real danger to the living. These very material shells, whose last dying thought was Self, — Self, — Self — and to live, to live! will often feel it instinctively. So do some suicides — though not all. What happens then is terrible for it becomes a case of post mortem licanthropy. The shell will cling so tenaciously to its semblance of life that it will seek refuge in a new organism in any beast — in a dog, a hyæna, a bird when no human organism is close at hand — rather than submit to annihilation.[15]

According to C. W. Leadbeater

C. W. Leadbeater distinguished two different types of shells, one of which he called "Shade" and the other "Shell." He explained the nature of the Shades as follows:

The ordinary man, however, usually allows himself to be so pitiably enslaved by all sorts of base desires that a certain portion of this lower mind becomes closely interwoven with the desire-body, and when the separation takes place at the close of his astral life the mental principle has, as it were, to be torn apart, the degraded portion remaining within the disintegrating astral body. . . . Thus comes into existence the class of entity which has been called "The Shade" – an entity, be it observed, which is not in any sense the real individual at all, for he has passed away into the heaven-world; but nevertheless, it not only bears his exact personal appearance, but possesses his memory and all his little idiosyncrasies, and may therefore readily be mistaken for him, as indeed it frequently is at séances.[16]

He defined the shell as follows:

This is absolutely the mere astral corpse in the later stages of its disintegration, every particle of the mind having left it. It is entirely without any kind of consciousness or intelligence and drifts passively about upon the astral currents just as a cloud might be swept in any direction by a passing breeze; but even yet it may be galvanized for a few moments into a ghastly burlesque of life if it happens to come within reach of a medium's aura. Under such circumstances it still exactly resembles its departed personality in appearance, and may even reproduce to some extent his familiar expressions or handwriting, but it does so merely by the automatic action of the cells of which it is composed, which tend under stimulation to repeat the form of action to which they are most accustomed. Whatever amount of intelligence may lie behind any such manifestation has no connection with the original man, but is lent by the medium or his "guides" for the occasion.[17]

According to Annie Besant

Dr. Annie Besant explained that after death the kamic principle rearranges itself into a "desire body" or Kāmarūpa:

This desire body undergoes a marked change soon after death. The different densities of the astral matter of which it is composed arrange themselves in a series of shells or envelopes, the densest being outside, shutting the consciousness away from all but very limited contact and expression. The consciousness turns in on itself, if left undisturbed, and prepares itself for the next step onwards, while the desire body gradually disintegrates, shell after shell.
Up to the point of this re-arrangement of the matter of the desire body, the post-mortem experience of all is much the same; it is a “dreamy, peaceful semi-consciousness”, as before said, and this, in the happiest cases, passes without vivid awakening into the deeper “pre-devachanic unconsciousness” which ends with the blissful wakening in Devachan, heaven, for the period of repose that intervenes between two incarnations.[18]

According to her, "if a person has led a pure life and has steadfastly striven to rise and to identify himself with the higher rather than the lower part of his nature" the staying in Kāmaloka is short and normally unconscious. However:

An awakening may be caused by the passionate sorrow and desires of friends left on earth, and these violently vibrating kamic elements in the embodied persons may set up vibrations in the desire body of the disembodied, and so reach and rouse the lower Mind. . . . This awakening is often accompanied with acute suffering, and even if this be avoided, the natural process of the Triad freeing itself is rudely disturbed, and the completion of its freedom is delayed.[19]

In those who during life have being attached to sensual pleasures the manasic consciousness "cannot quickly disentangle itself from the web of its weaving". They experience "a considerable delay in the world of transition, in Kāmaloka, while the desires wear out and fade away to a point at which they can no longer detain the Soul with their clinging arms".[20] The more attached to the physical life a person was, the more easily he can be awakened on this plane. In Besant's words:

Human beings, who have quitted earth and in whom the kāmic elements were strong, may very readily be attracted by the kāmic elements in embodied men, and by their help become conscious again of the presence of the scenes they had left; and human beings still embodied may set up methods of communication with the disembodied, and may, as said, leave their own bodies for awhile, and become conscious in Kāmaloka by the use of faculties through which they have accustomed their consciousness to act.[21]

If channels of communication with the physical plane are offered "the period in Kāmaloka is . . . lengthened, the desire body is fed and its hold on the Ego is maintained, and thus is the freedom of the Soul deferred".[22]

Now, people "who have led an evil life, who have gratified and stimulated their animal passions, and have full fed the desire body while they have starved even the lower mind" become Elementaries:

These remain for long, denizens of Kāmaloka, and are filled with yearnings for the earth-life they have left, and for the animal delights that they can no longer – in the absence of the physical body – directly taste. These gather round the medium and the sensitive, endeavouring to utilise them for their own gratification, and these are among the more dangerous of the forces so rashly confronted in their ignorance by the thoughtless and the curious.[23]

See also

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 171-172.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 104 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 361.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy (London: Theosophical Publishing House, [1987]), 106.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 85B (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 263.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 708.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 85B (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 263.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 708.
  8. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 68 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 200.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 297.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 260.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 210.
  12. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 70-C (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 210.
  13. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 328.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IX (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 108.
  15. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 93b (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 330-331.
  16. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Astral Plane, (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 67-68.
  17. Charles Webster Leadbeater, The Astral Plane, (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 69-70.
  18. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 33.
  19. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 36.
  20. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 36.
  21. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 31.
  22. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 39.
  23. Annie Besant, Death--And After? (Adyar, Madras:Theosophical Publishing House, 1977), 39.