MALA or MALA-TRAYA (three-fold impurities). [ಮಲ ಅಥವಾ ಮಲತ್ರಯ]
As soon as Parashiva decides to create, his Shakti, which was unmanifest in his shūnya [ಶೂನ್ಯ] state, begins to evolve and after many stages becomes matter, living beings of various kinds and finally man with superior consciousness. The Shakti out of which man is made is called mala [ಮಲ] (impurity). In fact, no part of Shakti is pure or impure in itself, but is regarded as impure if man suffers because of his karmas or bondage (bandhana) [ಬಂಧನ]. The feeling that "I am suffering" is itself a limitation of Shakti and limited action of Shakti is mala (impurity). As long as man does not try to free himself from samsara (bondage), the Shakti out which he is made will be for him malas (impurities); and as long as they are malas they make him more and more worldly. The Vachana-writers, like the Siddhantins, recognize malas of three kinds, namely, ānava-mala, māyā-mala and kārnika-mala [ಅಣವ ಮಲ, ಮಾಯಾ ಮಲ ಮತ್ತು ಕಾರಣಿಕ ಮಲ].
According to Vachana-writers Parashiva (Linga) is qualified by Shakti, which expresses itself in three ways. Parashiva's decision to create is called Icchā-Shakti [ಇಚ್ಛಾ-ಶಕ್ತಿ]; his knowledge of the world to be created is Jñāna-Shakti [ಜ್ಞಾನ-ಶಕ್ತಿ]; and the Shakti, which becomes the world, accordingly is Kriyā-Shakti [ಕ್ರೀಯಾ-ಶಕ್ತಿ]. Parashiva is sarvajña [ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ] (all-knower) and sarvashakta [ಸರ್ವಶಕ್ತ] (omnipotent). Though man is of the form of Parashiva and is made of his Shakti, these qualities are limited in him. Because of this limitation, man thinks that he is small (anu [ಅಣು] = atom) like atom. Thus the mala which generates such a feeling is called ānava-mala; the Jñāna-Shakti which is limited in man and generates in him the feeling that he knows very little (or he cannot know Parashiva) is called māyā-mala; and to Kriyā-Shakti which is limited in man and generates the feeling that he is incapable of achieving higher goals is called kārnika-mala.
The word in Lingayathism always refers to the mantra, “Om Lingāya Namaha”,[ಓಂ ಲಿಂಗಾಯ ನಮ:]. The aspirant is expected to utter this mantra at the time of worship of Ishtalinga, since the utterance helps him to concentrate on Parashiva. It is advised that he should utter it whenever possible, so that he should be constantly mindful of Parashiva.
The Kannada word maye [ಮಾಯೆ] (Sanskrit “māyā” [ಮಾಯಾ]) has been used in the Vachanas in more than one sense.
1. Very few Vachana-writers have used the word 'māyā' in the sense in which Shankerācharya [ಶಂಕರಾಚಾರ್ಯ] uses it to denote the world which is asat [ಅಸತ್], not real or permanent. For Shankerācharya Brahman or infinite consciousness alone is reality, because its existence is eternal and never sublated, while the world is not reality because it exists only for the avidya [ಅವಿದ್ಯಾ] -infected man and not for the one who realises Brahman .
2. "Māyā", "marevu" (ajnyāna) and "bhrame" [ಮಾಯಾ, ಮರೆವು ಅಥವಾ ಭ್ರಮೆ] are sometimes used interchangeably. Having no knowledge of the real aim of life, or confused notion of Parashiva or world or oneself, is marevu or māyā. Thus it is also called ‘māyākāvāla’ [ಮಾಯಾಕಾವಳ] (mist called ignorance) or 'māyā-chāyā' [ಮಾಯಾ-ಛಾಯಾ] (darkness called ignorance).
3. Most of the Vachana-writers advocate the theory that the world is real and is made of forces (Shakti), which are of two kinds, namely, kala-Shakti and bhakti-Shakti. That which binds man is kala-Shakti or adhō-māyā [ಅಧೊ-ಮಾಯಾ] and that which elevates man spirituality is bhakti-Shakti or ūrdhva-māyā [ಉರ್ಧ್ವ ಮಾಯಾ] (see Shakti, KALAS AND ShaktiS, BHAKTI)
4. Most of the Vachana-writers use the word māyā in the sense of evil also. All men and all gods and goddesses, are subjected to suffering of one or the other kind [1:14] [1:15]. Visṇu [ವಿಷ್ಣು ] became a pig, Brahma [ಬ್ರಹ್ಮ] lost his fifth head, and Indra [ಇಂದ್ರ] because of a curse became ill - all due to māyā. Sometimes the word is used to denote a woman, mayangane, a māyā [ಮಾಯಾಂಗನೆ] (evil) in the form of a woman.
5. Sometimes the word 'māyā' is used in the sense of desire. When it is said that woman is not māyā, money is not māyā, but the desire in the mind is māyā, this becomes clear.
[1:14] [1:15]: 14th & 15th Vachana in the 1st Volume, (Samagra Vachana-Samputa in 15 volumes)
Publisher: Kannada Pustaka Pradikhara Govt of Karnataka, Bangalore, 2001.
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