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Title: Kāma  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Dharma, Love, Monism, Meaning of life, Shiva, Kama Sutra, 4 (number), Advaita Vedanta, Banteay Srei, Index of Buddhism-related articles
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For other meanings, see kama (disambiguation). For the Hindu god, see Kamadeva.

Kāma (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: काम) is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros, but can more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.[1][2]

Kama in Hinduism

In Hinduism, kāma is regarded as the third of the four goals of life (purusharthas, the others being duty (dharma), worldly status (artha) and salvation (moksha).[3][4] Kama-deva is the personification of this. Kama-rupa is a subtle body or aura composed of desire, while Kama-loka is the realm this inhabits, particularly in the afterlife. In the context of the four goals of life, kāma refers to mental and intellectual fulfillment in accordance to dharma.[5]

Kama in Buddhism

In Buddhism's Pali Canon, the Gautama Buddha renounced (Pali: nekkhamma) sensuality (kāma) in route to his Awakening.[6] The Buddhist lay practitioner recites daily the Five Precepts, which is a commitment to abstain from "sexual misconduct" (kāmesu micchācāra).[7] 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."[8]

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.[9]

Kamaloka is a semi-material plane, subjective and invisible to humans, where disembodied "personalities", the astral forms, called Kama-rupa 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.

See also



  • Ireland, John D. (trans.) (1983). Dhammika Sutta: Dhammika (excerpt) (
  • Khantipalo, Bhikkhu (1982, 1995). Lay Buddhist Practice: The Shrine Room, Uposatha Day, Rains Residence (The Wheel No. 206/207). Kandy:
  • Sri Lanka Buddha Jayanti Tipitaka Series (n.d.) (SLTP). Pañcaṅgikavaggo (
  • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997b). Samadhanga Sutta: The Factors of Concentration (
  • H. P. Blavatsky, 1892. The Theosophical Glossary. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society


External links

  • page
  • Kamadeva's holy sacrifice
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