The soul as a spiritual atom thus makes its first appearance when the freedom of divine will is lost behind its own self-created veil through the transition of shakti from parA-kuNDalinI to prANa-kuNDalinI. This transition is effected by a graded process in which shakti-kuNDalinI coils itself more and more tightly through the evolution of mAtrikAs and varNas and reaches the level of prANa and shUnya. It is a truism that samvit is first changed into prANa before the regular course of subsequent creation represented by the emergence of the first principles or tattvas can possibly take place.
The universe of experience consists of a number of bhuvanas or planes of life and consciousness made up of tattvas. In the shAkta-shaiva Agamas, thirty-six tattvas are recognized, out of which twenty-four counted from below are considered impure, the next seven as mixed and the remaining five as pure. In this scheme, prakR^iti marks the end of impure, mAyA that of mixed, and shiva that of pure tattvas. Each tattva has a series of bhuvanas affiliated to it. The bhuvanas, in spite of their mutual differences in detail, have the common characteristics of the tattvas concerned as predominant, though it is recognized as in the pAtanjala school that everywhere everything is to be found (sarvaM sarvAtmakam - refer to the vyAsa bhAShya on the yoga sUtra). The bhuvanas are the abodes of living beings, endowed with bodies and organs made of the substance the materiality of which corresponds to the nature of their karman or jnAna and the degree of their perfection. The bhuvanas of the prthvI-tattva represent the sphere, known as brahmANDa, the bhuvanas of the tattvas up to prakR^iti form the prakR^ityaNDa, those of the tattvas up to mAyA represent the mAyANDa and the bhuvanas of the tattvas up to shakti beyond mAyA constitutes the shaktyaNDa which is the widest sphere. The different aNDas are evolved and destroyed by different powers. Thus the brahmANDa is destroyed by kAlAgni and created by brahmA or shrIkaNTha. The prakR^ityaNDa and mAyANDa are destroyed and created by the Lord of kAla tattva. The highest aNDa of shakti is destroyed and created by aghoresha. Beyond shakti-tattva, there is no limitation and consequently no sphere, though bhuvanas are said to exist even in shiva-tattva which is identified with bindu and shAntyatIta kalA.
The tattvas are generally supposed to be the ultimate principles but they are not so, as they are constituted by kalAs and shaktis which represent the multiple units of energy underlying the entire creation, and which considered in their totality represent the ground of self-expression of the transcendent paramashiva. Thus the stuff of the universe is shakti and in the manner shown earlier, prakAsha with hArdha-kalA constitutes the substance out of which the tattvas are formed.
The divine attributes of the Self are all diminished in its atomic condition, when the cit appears as chitta. Of the three well-known impurities or malas, this is the first, called ANava. It is the state of a pashu in which the sense of limitation is first manifested. This limitation makes possible the rise of vAsanas through experience. These vAsanas constitute kArma-mala. The mAyIya mala is the name given to the source of the triple body namely:
The causal or the kAla sharIra
The subtle or puryaShTaka, i.e. The tattva sharIra
The gross elemental or the bhuvanaja sharIra
In fact everything which reveals itself in our experience as knowable and objective comes under mAyIya mala. The function of this impurity is to show an object as different from the subject (sva-rUpa). All the principles from kalA down to prthvI represent the fetters of mAyA or pAshas. These give shape to body, senses, bhuvanas, bhAvas etc. For fulfilling the experience of the soul. Hence what is popularly known as samsAra extends from prthvI upto kalA, and not beyond the latter. These three impurities persist always in the worldly soul.
Note: One may refer to pratyabhijnA-hrdaya, saubhAgya-bhAskara, shivasUtra-vArttika, shivasUtra-vimarshinI etc. for more details on the three malas. The ANava is two-fold according as it refers to the loss of pure ahamtA in the Self and appearance of the impure in the not-self. The self loses svAtantrya and retains bodha as bheda representing the appearance of multiplicity in unity. It consists of mAyA and the thirty-one tattvas produced from it. Karma-mala is adrShTa and may be regarded as merit or demerit (puNya-pApa). In different texts, the meaning of the malas is sometimes found to be slightly different. hare krShNa
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