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A Sanskrit word that means desire, formed from the root kam, “long for,” “wish,” “desire,” “sensual love,” etc. In theosophical literature, kāma is usually associated with manas and indicates a desire-mind or thought that has emotional associations. As C. JINARĀJADĀSA, a former President of the Theosophical Society (TS), put it, normally we do not so much think as “feel-think,” or in his words “flink.”

Of course, desire is not necessarily bad. Without a desire for personal survival as well as a sex-drive which results in procreation, the human race would have perished long ago. Desire seems also to be an important aspect of motive. Without desire for material goods, peer approval, or success in any endeavor, it is unlikely that most people would achieve their goals. This aspect of desire is explored extensively in Annie BESANT’S A Study in Consciousness. But when kāma dominates one’s reason and moral sense, difficulties arise. For the person who is treading the spiritual path, it is important to control desire and make it a servant to one’s deeper aspirations. See also MANAS.


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