940 – 3 malas in Hinduism

Malas mean impurity. It is seen as the limiting condition of any human being who has not revealed their Divine essence. Therefore, it is caused by avidya (ignorance), one of the five kleshas (causes of suffering).

According to Kashmir Shaivism, there are three kinds of malas that limit consciousness: Anava mala, Mayiya mala and Karma mala.

Anava mala is what makes one believe that one is a person, a Jiva. One has a limited individual consciousness and not Shiva. It is the innate imperfection of an anu (individual being) or Jiva (soul). It is considered endless, but it ends in moksha (liberation).

Mayiya mala is what makes one believe that one is the mind. It is the Jiva’s misconception that the physical body is the real Self. It is the bondage caused by maya. This causes pleasure, pain and the transmigration of the soul. As maya is real, its creation (the world) is therefore also real, not an illusion – as is affirmed in Advaita Vedanta.

Karma Mala is what makes one believe that one is the body. It is the limitation resulting in selfish action in the world of maya. Instead of having the complete freedom to act (which Shiva has), the Jiva experiences an attachment to action and the limitations inherent, in any personal act.

How to understand the malas?

Contraction in the heart (Anava mala) lead to such statements.

I feel sad.
I am lonely.
I feel separate.
I feel hopeless.

Contraction in the third eye (Mayiya mala) lead to such statements.

I need to understand and control this.
There is chaos.
I am confused.

The contraction in the navel (Karma mala) lead to such statement.

There is a lot I want.
I feel frustrated.
I want my own way.

Meditation on the Malas

Look within your body for areas of unpleasantness and within your body. Carefully observe the navel, heart and the third eye. Any unpleasant sensation, tension or contraction is the presence of the mala. Do not try to suppress it. Examine the sensation and feeling. How powerful is it? Can you identify the feeling? Let the feeling speak to you.

Extracted from The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Shankarananda.

Aim Hrim Klim


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *