The three Malas(impurities/limitations) according to Kashmir Shaivism.

According to Kashmir Shaivism, there are 36 elements(from shiv tatva to prithvi tatva).By the pure will(icchca) of Shiva, The param shiva descends/ascends/emerges from the highest tattva i.e Chaitanya-(the supreme consciousness present in everything-be it living, dead, be it mind or matter, desires, actions, perceivable or unfathomable, be it a tiniest single cell or this whole of universe)-to the grossest element i.e prithvi(earth).In fact chaitanya cannot be expressed or written about.Yogis have stated that it is the state of being.

Chaitanya is an element synonym to shiva, whereas the next element i.e Ananda(Bliss)-is also known as Shakti. Shiva and Shakti are inseparable, hence Chaitanya and Ananda are also inseparable. The next three elements i.e sadashiva, ishwara and Shuddh vidya are synonyms to Iccha(will), Jnana(unlimited knowledge) and kriya(unlimited action).These five elements form shuddh tatvas(pure elements)
To this point, it is the undifferiated self of shiva. There is no maya element present there. From the shuddh tattvas to the six kanchukas(six coverings of maya), Swami lakshmanjoo has described another tattva(though technically not an element) as Mahamaya tattva or vijnankala.

The anavamala comes into effect in the sphere of the six kanchukas. Shiva due to his own will starts to experience the world of differentiation and becomes limited, owning to non-contemplation of his essential nature. Jnanshakti(the power of knowledge) gets polluted by the kanchukas or the coverings of maya and he becomes reduced to the limited knowledge. At last, it acquires utmost limitation in the formation of the psychic apparatus((antahkarana, i.e mann(mind), buddhi(intellect),ahamkar(ego), prakrati(nature) and purush(one that reacts to prakrati)) and the organs of sense(Bhuddindriya).This is mayayi mala(limitation brought about by maya) which brings about consciousness of difference among objects. This mayayi mala is the second impurity.

Kriya sakti(action) gets limited gradually in the sphere of difference when omnipotence is reduced to limited activity till at last by the formation of the organs of action, the empirical individual gets limited to the utmost extent. He thus performs good and bad deeds. This is the Karma mala or the limitation due to action.

source:books on Kashmir shaivism.

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