The 3 Malas (“veils” or “impurities”) prevent us from seeing our true nature, our true selves. They reside in Maya and keep us in bondage.

Anava Mala

The feeling of being incomplete.

This is the cloak of low self-esteem, insecurity, a deep feeling of separateness, and a complete preoccupation with self. Too much subject. This is the person who looks in the mirror, sees a pimple on their face and assumes that everyone must be disgusted by it too.

When this mala has gone really bad we become so preoccupied with ourselves that we rarely consider the consequences of our actions and how those might affect others. So we end up doing things like cheating, lying, hurting and betraying others.

Maiya Mala

Creates duality in one’s own consciousness.

The impurity that causes you to think in terms of duality and differentiation – this is mine, this is not mine – is called mayiya mala and removes you from the awareness that everything is One.

This is the cloak of worrying what everyone else thinks of you. Too much object. Under the Maiya Mala, we are in constant “comparison mode”, and we lose a sense of connection with others. It’s how when we date someone new, for the first few months, we are really dating their “representative”, and they are dating ours. To show our real self would be to reveal the one who burps, farts, has melt downs, gets stressed out, and has a dark side.

Karma Mala

Impressions connected with actions.

The idea that one is an actor or performer of actions. It sets in motion the performance of actions good and bad with which we become intrinsically identified.

This is the cloak of helplessness – when we feel we have no power to act. It’s how we go into denial as the world is falling apart around us, and do not step up to deal with the consequences or circumstances in front of us.

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