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Anavamala In Kashmir Shaivism

Anavamala is one of the three impurities or delimitation relating to an individual (other two being karma and mayiya) in Kashmir Shaivism. Derived from anu (molecule), and mala (impurities), it refers to spiritual impurity. Anavamala results from the identification of consciousness with a limited individuality, i.e., ahankara or ego. It is the mulamala (fundamental refuse), the primal limiting condition, which reduces the universal consciousness to an anu, a limited entity.

Anavamala covers and conceals the real nature of the self, and is known as innate ignorance. Paramashiva, due to his icchashakti (will power) or svatantryakshakti (non-contingent power), conceals his real nature through lila (sport). It is a cosmic limiting condition over which the individual has no control. It is owing to this that the jiva (individual being) considers himself apoorna (imperfect), a separate entity, cut off from the individual consciousness. So, the universality of Paramashiva in this condition is concealed, and the individual forgets his true nature. It should be noted here that Shiva has not really become limited, what has happened is that the jiva mistakes himself for a limited or imperfect being.

Utpaladeva, in his Pratyabhijnakarika (III.24) speaks about the nature and kinds of anavamala. He says that anavamala is brought about in two ways, namely, one in which both bodha (knowledge) loses it svatantrya or non-contingent power, and the second in which svatantrya loses its bodha.

Thus, anavamala implies as the loss of freedom of consciousness, where one is not aware of this freedom which is one’s real nature.