नखै-र्नाकस्त्रीणां करकमल-सङ्कोच-शशिभिः
तरूणां दिव्यानां हसत इव ते चण्डि चरणौ ।
फलानि स्वःस्थेभ्यः किसलय-कराग्रेण ददतां
दरिद्रेभ्यो भद्रां श्रियमनिश-मह्नाय ददतौ


nakhair nakastrinam karakamala sankoca sasibhis-
tarunam divyanam hasata iva te candi caranau
phalani svastebhyah kisalaya karagrena dadatam
daridrebhyo bhadram sriyam anisam ahnaya dadatau
With fingernails like moons, putting to shame
The lotus hands of celestial damsels, and feet that seem to mock celestial trees,
O tragic one, Chandi, Your twin feet offer fruit to heaven dwellers
With leaf-tender finger-tips, and bring secure riches to the poor instantly and incessantly.
A biological analogy is resorted to in Verse 89, rather than a semantic one. States of consciousness are involved in the wonder of Verse 87. The beauty of a tree can be recognized by the magenta-coloured tender shoots, which resemble lotus buds. The fingernails could represent the growing points of trees as they unfold the tips of their leaf-buds, resembling outstretched hands, trying, as it were, to propitiate heaven by fit offerings from below. The moon is also a biological object in heaven, but it is stated here in the first line that the beauty of moonlight is nothing compared to the beauty of the tender offering of colourful leafy sprouts marking the topmost limit of the structure of a tree. The trees in heaven must have slender stems, corresponding to their refined status in the scale of hypostatic values. The feet of the goddess, in such a superfine or superior context, could mock the stems of celestial trees by superior strength or stability, because the Absolute has an equal reference to heaven and earth.
In the second half of this verse, the aspect of the Goddess is seen in a slightly revised perspective. She is no longer a delicate celestial damsel, but is here called Chandi (one with a terrible or tragic touch in her character). Chandi or Kali is darker in colour; but what she loses by way of delicacy or refinement, she gains on the side of ontology.
These two polarized perspectives of the same Absolute Goddess yield contrasting pictures which are meant to be cancelled-out against each other, and not to be treated as permitting any duality to persist between them. One is a horiz­ontalized version of the other, which is the same, viewed in a more transparent aspect where concepts merge instead of being exclusive of each other. The mind participates equally with the two domains, where conflicts could be recognized so that they could be transcended. The feet of the latter Goddess are planted on the Earth with full firmness or stability. Here she knows exactly what she wants, because ontology is richer in the content of certitude. The Vedanta of Sankara does not reject the importance of pratyaksha, that is, what is given to the senses. Experimental evidence is not to be explained away to lift the Absolute out of a workaday context, making it something holy or celestial with an “ivory tower” isolation of superiority. In this more ontologically-biased version, the tender leaves are not omitted, but the tragic touch of earthiness is a quality that not only tries to please the heavenly gods, but is sympathetic to the needs of poorer men on earth. Sankara seems to opt for the latter version, because duality is seen to be more thoroughly abolished in it. This does not mean, however, that heaven-dwellers are to be left starving. The beauty of the Goddess, suggested in the first two lines, is good enough - but what is suggested in the second half is better. Neither of them is to be rejected, but they are to be correctly fitted into the total context of a non-dual absolute value called Beauty.
The phrase “secure riches to the poor instantly and incessantly” makes happiness refer to a here-and-now world, rather than to a promised land which theologians might hold out for believers. Religion is full of promises which may or may not be realized. Politics also falls into the same category, often without being aware of it.
The results are instantaneous when ontology is given its full place and the benefits are more generally applicable. The satisfaction of the needy is more important than the fantasies of the chosen few, who think of going to heaven first, before wishing for a life free from a scarcity of basic necessities here below. The dialectics is between the “good of all” and the “general good. In the eyes of Advaita, both are equally important. It is not “either/or” but “both together” that is to be kept as our aim, hope or ideal.





Nakhair nakastrinam - by nails for the heavenly damsels
Kara kamala samkoca - sasibhih - effectual as moons that cause to fade the lotus hands
Tarunam divyanam - (as for) the heavenly trees
Hasata iva - seem to be (mocking)
Te - yours
Candi - dominant Goddess (Parvati)
Caranau phalani - the two feet, the fruits
Svah sthebhyah - for people in heaven
Kisalaya karagrena - by sprouts (? illegible) tender tips of fingers
Dadatam - what is giving
Daridrebhyo - to the indigent
Bhadram sriyam anisam - fully beneficial wealth incessantly
Ahnaya dadatau - what quickly confers

Another version:
By nails for the heavenly damsels
Effectual as moons that cause to fade the lotus hands
(As for) the heavenly trees
Seem to be mocking
Yours ( your nails)
Dominant Goddess (name for Parvati - Chandi - riding on a lion) ("slayer of Chanda" according to Malayalam edition. ED)
The two feet, the prints (?)
For the people in heaven
By the sprout tender tips of fingers
What is giving
To the indigent
Fully beneficial wealth incessantly
What quickly confers

There are many lower goddesses in Vedic literature, but they have to be cancelled out by the Absolute Principle of Beauty.

This principle is the Devi, whose toenails cancel out all the epic literature of India and boil it down to Vedantic terms in revised form.


The nails are the lowest point of the negative pole - they have universal concrete value - when verticalized they become moonlight, not something hard.

Think of a tree in heaven, a numerator hypostatic function.


Those who meditate on such trees gain heavenly values.

But here we come to the feet of the Goddess and the nails are so beautiful, they are like moonlight in consciousness, like the radiance of the crescent moon.

The nails are mocking the totality of hypostatic values.
When the moon comes, the numerator lotus closes, mocked by the denominator nails of the Devi.

Why should the lotus nails cancel the hands of the Goddess?
Because the nails are absolute negative moonlight.
The Goddesses are only heavenly.

The lotus hands are trying to give benefits, but they contract in moonlight.
The Denominator is mocking the Numerator.


There are two comparisons made here:

1) On the one hand, the Numerator aspect of the divine tree, which has flowers and can give benefits in heaven - a priest will worship goddesses who bestow benefits in the heavenly context. This heaven is a hedonistic, relativistic value-world where various Numerator goddesses are worshipped: their hands are like tree blossoms, giving benefits.

2) On the other hand, the nails of the Devi are like five crescent moons, the light of which represents Knowledge.
The absolute aspect of the nails is superior to the goddesses and, as moonlight, make the lotus hands fold up.

This is the "mocking": the Devi's nails, as moonlight, mock the hedonistic, relativistic, pluralistic aspect of the Goddesses.

In terms of consciousness, the light of the Goddess' toenails, which represent the vertical hierophantic (negative) Absolute, cancel out the hedonistic, relativistic, pluralistic benefits of the heavenly goddesses.

"Meditate on the ontological aspect of my toenails; goddesses will give to you only with their hands."

Another version:

" By nails" - superior to lotus hands (In the Platonic world)
" Cause to fade" - the lotus hands
" Seem to be mocking" - the nails are superior
" Lion" - the dominant factor of Chandi - the Devi on a lion abolishes the horizontal aspect
(Chandi or Durga is usually depicted as riding on a lion or tiger. ED)

" Two feet" - the negative Absolute, ontological, here and now
" For the people in heaven" - benefits to Brahmins
" Indigent" - gives benefits both to indigents and to the Sannyasins; there is no distinction
" Incessantly" - a constant gift, absolute and uniform
" Quickly" - as soon as you understand the Absolute, the permanent benefit is incessantly given and seen.

"With fingernails of the lotus hands of celestial damsels.."
The foot is again the central subject, planted like a tree.
Heaven-dwellers want only ice-cream, finger-tip dainties of magenta-tinged moonlight of the theoretical order of beautiful gifts.
But the poor below need more ontologically rich things: kanji (rice gruel) and tapioca (manioc).
Thus the fingertips are at the Numerator and the feet at the Denominator.
The Devi's feet are well planted - like a tree, only the fingertips are celestial.
Thus the well-planted feet are mocking the trees of heaven.

The feet give benefits to the poor people on the Denominator side.
It is also the feet which should be worshipped by the heaven-dwellers, even though the fingertips belong to that side.
The Devi is two-sided; she does not ignore the heaven-dwellers.
but her feet are like ordinary trees, which mock the celestial ones, as the buffalo mocks the Brahmin cow.
She is Chandi.
Again there are layer upon layer of multiple metaphors; he is trying to abolish paradox by getting you confused.
If you know how to meditate on the root of the tree - put a circle around the Devi's feet - you get the appropriate benefit, whether god or indigent.
Be sure to make the legs like those of a working girl.
It is the same Goddess in both cases, neither upper or lower class.