Chaining and Spiritual Liberation - part 2

Read part one HERE

What is the connection between MALA, which is the chaining, and SHIVA?

From SHIVA's point of view, chaining is a game (KRIDA or LILA) through which He is limited. SHIVA's desire to limit or hide itself is this impurity itself.

In the Tantric tradition, the impurities are three kinds: a) ANAVA MALA, b) MAYIYA MALA, c) KARMA MALA. All three of these impurities are produced by MAYA, the principle of occultation and limitation. That is why all three could be called MAYIYA MALA. But the name MAYIYA is given to a particular MALA, which consists in seeing the differences or something other than ourselves. Abhinavagupta writes in this regard: "The name MAYIYA given to the impurity that causes us to see differences is just a name. All three MALAs are MAYIYA due to the fact that all three are produced by MAYA. "

ANAVA MALA means the identification of consciousness with a limited individuality called "I". ANAVA MALA is thus the ego's sense. The word ANAVA is the adjective of ANU, which means "limited soul."

Because the fact of being limited or finite means being imperfect, ANAVA has the meaning of "being imperfect". But it must be stressed that SHIVA, the Absolute Consciousness, has not become truly limited. In fact, the individual soul (ANU or PASHU) confuses oneself with a limited or imperfect being. It's just like what's happening in the dream. The King, when he becomes a beggar in his own dream, is not in fact a beggar; he just mistakenly thinks he has become a beggar, and his mind is fraught with illusion. But this misunderstanding of its real nature brings with it a virtual (imaginary) change in its existence, and so he is a beggar from all points of view while the dream persists.

In the same way, the individual (ANU), who really has the perfect nature of SHIVA, confuses himself/herself with a limited being, and this confusion transforms him/her into a limited being from all points of view. This is the power of ignorance (AJNANA). This also applies to other impurities.

Freedom means the absence of all limitations

Next, the individual ANU is considered imperfect, although his/her real nature is that of SHIVA, because s/he identifies hersef/himself with an individuality that has its own limitations. Thus the individual becomes finite and thus imperfect. S/he feels a lack in her/his own being, which creates the desire for those things for which the lack is felt. ANAVA MALA is the failure, the feeling of being incomplete. Because of this impurity, you feel incomplete - in all ways - and because of this sensation, ABHILASA appears, the desire for fulfillment.

Utpaladeva says that ANAVA can be understood in two ways:

  • There is no freedom of consciousness

  • There is no awareness of freedom

Both ways of understanding ANAVA MALA are based on the loss of the consciousness of the real nature of our being, which is Absolute Consciousness or SHIVA. Freedom, SVATANTRYA, means the absence of all limitations, and it also means perfection, which is the true nature of the pure consciousness. This freedom of consciousness is lost in the state of ANAVA, the ordinary consciousness becoming chained and limited.

Secondly, because of ANAVA MALA, the being is not aware of this freedom, which is his/her true nature. Freedom already exists, but it is not recognized. These two chains of the soul, the loss of freedom of conscience, and the forgetting of this freedom (because if you knew it exists, you would want to attain it) act simultaneously and complement each other (losing it, forgetting it, forgetting it, losing it). It's like the "snake / rope" illusion when someone sees a snake where there in only a rope; and another sees the rope instead of a snake. In the case of ANAVA MALA you are not aware of your real nature because it is not perceptible and it is not perceptible because you are not aware of it. Reality and consciousness of reality are reciprocal.

Imperfections originate in the Ego

ANAVA is the main MALA or impurity, because the other two come from it. The first thing MAYA does is to turn the Comprehensive Consciousness into a limited individual, ANU, thus providing the necessary ground to create the chain of the ego, which is the main hindrance to the realization of the Self. To make an analogy, the wave is separate from the ocean because it assumes an individuality, although it is nothing else but ocean water, and cannot become the ocean as long as it maintains its individuality. Only when it completely loses its individuality it becomes one with the ocean. The water took a shape (RUPA) and a name (NAMA) to become a wave. But what represent this name and this form (NAMA - RUPA)? They are not a reality in themselves, for the reality of the wave is the water. When the tide breaks, it becomes what it really is: ocean water. In the same way the ego is NAMA-RUPA that the Self (the Consciousness) has assumed, and when this condition disappears, individual consciousness turns into the ocean of Universal Consciousness.

Even in everyday life we can see that the ego is the cause of all evil. Ego and selfishness are the two sides of the same coin. Ego is where all imperfections originate. When the ego disappears, these imperfections disappear. Thus we can see that when one eliminates or dissolves his/her ego, there is peace, power, beauty, enlightenment and the joy of the Self that fills him/her, making him/her experience a state of fulfillment.

I wish you a fulfilled life in pursue of spiritual liberation!