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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

The various schools of Śaivism have many things in common. One of them is the concept of malas or impurities. They are three in number:

  1. Āṇavamala
  2. Māyiyamala
  3. Kārmamala

Though the paśu or the jīva[1] is actually Śiva in essence, he has become the very limited Jīva due to his false association with the body-mind complex. This impurity of limitations is āṇavamala.

Māyā is the power of Śiva responsible for the creation of multiple objects, names and forms. Seeing this multiplicity, considering it as real and getting involved in it, is the māyiyamala. It literally means mala[2] brought about by māyā. The mala through karma[3] is kārmamala.


  1. Jīva means individual Self.
  2. Mala here refers to be impurity.
  3. Karma is the effect of actions of previous lives.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore