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Karma Mala In Hinduism

Karma Mala is the impact of ethical actions of a jiva (individual). Karma is voluntary action that we perform every day, arising out of a sense of want in us (malah karmanimittam (Tantra loka IX 88-89)). This is in contrast to kriya, which is a spontaneous, natural flow of activity that automatically arises out of fullness of bliss, but not out of some want. Since karma is voluntary action that we perform by the force of our will, it falls in the ethical realm of subhasubha (good and bad), involving the reaping of moral fruit generated by individual effort or action.

Malinivijaya Tantra (I.24) states that karma mala also veils the essential nature of the empirical self. The individual performs pious and evil deeds, which bring about pleasure and pain in life (dharmadharmatmakam karma sukhadukhadilakshanam).

Abhinavagupta in his Ishwara Pratyabhijna Vimarsini (III 2.5) says – There arises karma mala in the form of merit and demerit, when there is the consciousness of the external world as separate from self, in the doer, body, etc., which are really insentient. This means that a definite caste, life, and varied experiences are the fruits of karma. Hence, karma is the root of his pratyabhijna karika (III 2.10) – karmamevaikam mukhyam samsarakaranam. The same is found in Tantraloka IX 88 – samsarakaranam karma samsarankura ucyate.

However, all the actions (right and wrong) and experiences arise from karma mala which has a definite impact on the human being for doing his day to day activities (karma).