Karma Mala

Definition - What does Karma Mala mean?

Karma mala is one of the three impurities that are often characterized as cloaks or veils that prevent the yogi from seeing his/her true nature or pure consciousness. The term comes from the Sanskrit, karma, meaning “action” or “work,” and mala, which means “dirt” or “impurity.” Karma mala is the veil of helplessness from the feeling of not being able to do enough or being powerless to act.

Through yoga practices such as asana, meditation and pranayama, the yogi can learn to lift these veils so he/she can experience his/her true nature and progress on the path to enlightenment.

Yogapedia explains Karma Mala

In karma mala, the yogi is caught up in the mistaken idea that his/her work and accomplishments are his/her true worth. He/she becomes attached to what he/she does. This leads to a never-ending cycle of trying to achieve more but never finding true happiness.

The other two malas are:

  • Anava mala – the veil of unworthiness and incompleteness, which leads to insecurity and sadness. Blinded by this mala, the yogi feels he/she is not enough – not good enough, smart enough, successful enough, etc.
  • Mayiya mala – the veil of separateness and perceived difference. With this mala veiling his/her perception, the yogi compares him/herself and his/her life to others. This mala leads to anger and jealousy.
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