करीन्द्राणां शुण्डान्-कनककदली-काण्डपटलीं
उभाभ्यामूरुभ्या-मुभयमपि निर्जित्य भवति ।
सुवृत्ताभ्यां पत्युः प्रणतिकठिनाभ्यां गिरिसुते
विधिज्ञे जानुभ्यां विबुध करिकुम्भ द्वयमसि
karindranam sundan kanaka kadali kanda patalim
ubhabhyam urubhyam ubhayam api nirjitya bhavati
suvrttabhyam patyuh pranati kadhinabhyam giri sute
vidhijne janubhyam vibudha kari kumbha dvayam api
Beating both the best of elephant trunks, and groups of golden banana stems,
By thighs and by knees having goodly callosities, due to daily devotions
To Your Lord, even the twin frontal knobs of the heavenly elephant
You outdo, o Mountain Daughter triumphant.
In Verse 82 it is the thigh and leg region which is the locus around which we have to put three circles in order to fix the correct perspective to appreciate the overwhelming beauty factor of this series of verses.
It is comparatively easier to describe the beauty of the face or eyes, because we naturally turn to facial features when disposed to admire women. We have now syste­matically descended from the ruby-hood of the gem-set crown of the Goddess; through the parted hair to the forehead, and further descended beyond the navel to arrive at the region below the hips, but not yet reaching down fully to the feet. Beauty is not of a conceptual order any more. Concepts, if any, have to be put into the beauty by us. Within the domain of experience we have also to find an analogy that will interpret for us the nature of the Absolute Beauty, which is always arrived at only after transcending duality or paradox. There is an ascending as well as a descending dialectical approach which, when employed together, will enable us to dissolve the paradox. Paradox, if allowed to exist, can vitiate the picture by showing the ambivalence and duality revealed, as it were, threadbare throughout the fabric which is otherwise meant to be of a uniform texture.
The first-dimensional context here has to present us with a sufficiently realistic picture, within the framework of which, apparent dualities are permissible for purposes of clarification, in order to bring out the underlying unity later on when deeper abstractions could be allowed in a serial succession.
Thus it is that we see a reference in this verse to two familiar organic growths in nature. One of them is the trunk of an elephant, and the other is banana tree with a very polished and heavy stem that tapers beautifully upward, with a glossy golden surface that is also natural to the thighs of a beautiful woman. It is better for a beautiful woman's thighs to err on the side of strength, by which her gait and stability could be made steady and firmly established. Weakness, even in such muscular qualities, cannot be considered anything other than a liability factor in the context of beauty. The suppleness of the elephant's trunk would give it a prehensile form of strength by which it could uproot strongly planted trees, such as the banana tree here. The voluntary and involuntary muscles that cooperate in the making of a firm and beautiful thigh region have thus to be thought of in an ambivalent two-sided fashion. Afferent as well as efferent nervous impulses have to work together if the Goddess is to have a dignified and decisive gait. It is not the quality of one elephant trunk or of one banana tree that we have to keep in mind here. We have to abstract the two required qualities of beauty from many trees and many elephant trunks. Thus, there will be an outer polish and an inner strength conferr­ing beauty and stability upon this region, which is more existential in its value than theoretical. The golden stem mentioned here is a colourful reference to the complexion, while deeper factors are not omitted.
The second half of the verse adds another and deeper signi­ficance to the legs, whose two parts meet at the kneecap. Beauty in a Goddess comes to her not just because she is beautiful physically; her mental disposition must also contain the same beauty in a sufficiently dignified form. What is such a beauty that could apply to the physical limbs, standing, as it were, on the existential side? The body as a mortal coil is not dignified enough for high philosophical contemplation. What is it good for, then, in the context of absolute Beauty, except to somehow contribute to the glorification of a high numerator factor implied in the total value of the Absolute? The Bhagavad Gita mentions that we could practice contemplation even by means of the body. In other words, we can press into service an inert lump of flesh called the body, however low it might be in a scale of spirituality, in order to somehow glorify the Absolute. According to the Bhagavad Gita, one could make one´s body serve spiritual purposes, as best it can, by cultivating straightforwardness or calmness, failing which, it could be made to worship wise men or spiritual teachers, including whatever divinities one is capable of revering, by prostrations, etc. Otherwise, the body would prove itself a hindrance to contemplation. The Goddess here, in the last line, is referred to as being one who is fully aware of inevitable obligations.
A sannyasi might protest against all obligations and say to himself, “I am a wise man, and I am above all obligatory duties, which are only meant for less evolved souls than myself”. There is a subtle lacuna or hiatus in this kind of attitude by which the necessary forms of action in which human life is caught, whether one likes it or not, are not given normal importance. Breathing is a necessary function, and even if one has become very wise it would be wrong to forget to breathe. What is necessary cannot be bypassed by mere omission. One has to sublimate one´s instinctive dispositions by gradations of normal activities and not by refusing to recognize their presence in one´s system. Yoga is a process by which obligations are first recognized as necessary and then transcended by a form of sublimating practice. One cannot live in a vacuum, and the Goddess here is fully aware of this verity, which the Bhagavad Gita makes unequivocally clear throughout its various chapters referring to action and inaction. The last chapter refers to the difference between a tyagi (a renouncer) and a sannyasi (a man who claims to do without the obligatory ritualism of the Vedas).
The Devi here puts her legs to proper use, according to her­self, and is represented as having developed beautiful circular callosities on her knees, which indicates that she must have been kneeling and praying to her Lord, Shiva, secretly every day for long periods. The callosities here are supposed to be beauty spots, as are the golden pot-like rounded breasts which were referred to earlier. The knees are beautiful in their own way, at a lower level of human existence which is steeped in necessities. Between a contingent form of the practice of devotion, such as muttering charms, and the necessary form of the same practice of devotion, there is a subtle form of qualitative difference. A large quantity of small change is required to equal a gold coin. If the post office does not sell a one-dollar stamp, one will be obliged to buy many stamps of lesser value.
The thighs of the Goddess would not be performing any contem­plative function at all if they were not given some proper work to do. If words have a rich spiritual value, actions also have a value, but with the difference that, while understanding is like gold, physical actions are of an inferior grade compared to the gold. They could be said to be like an iron city rather than a golden or silver city, in terms of the three cities of values destroyed by Shiva when he descended from Chidambaram. When the callosities gain, from the number of times Parvati kneels in praise of Shiva as a concept, they can add up to infinity. Then the numerator Shiva-value and the value represented by the beauty of the callosities would cancel each other out, revealing the non-dual value of the Absolute. It is in this sense that the frontal knobs of the elephant are outdone by the callosities on the legs of the Goddess. The justification for such a correspondence between the two sets of rounded protuberances has already been suggested as early as Verse 7, where the frontal bulges of a calf elephant are referred to as analogously equivalent in beauty to the maidenly breasts of a young girl. The metaphor might seem to be rather far-fetched and mixed up, unless it is seen in the light of the importance of recognizing the totality of the value of the Absolute, of which only a structural analysis can reveal the component relational factors.


(The Sanskrit term "Chidambaram" means: "chit" - consciousness and "ambara" -  which means "ether", in the sense of "The highly attenuated matter supposed to occupy the heavenly space above our atmosphere". ED)



Karindranam sundan - with the trunks of the best of elephants
Kanaka kadali kanda patalim - like the gold stems of a group of banana trees
Ubhabhyam urubhyam - by the two thighs
Ubhayam api nirjitya - having won over both, transcending
Bhavati suvrtta abhyam - you one full of good life story
Patyuh pranati kathina abhyam - who has become hard (with callosity) by prostration to the husband
Giri sute - o daughter of the mountain
Vidhijne - one who knows the correctness of actions (ritual or not)
This verse describes the lower part of the body.
In the Sanskrit tradition you start at the head and work down.

In the previous verse, fatness is found in the hips of Shiva, but he gives it to the Devi and through adoration, she remains slim.

In this verse, the Devi's knees are compared to the callosity on the elephant's forehead - they are not beautiful, because she is kneeling down in accordance with Vedic rites.
(Example of a fat women at the Hare Krishna temple.)

Parvati does not omit her puja (worship), and thus her knees are hard, but by nature Her thighs are tender and polished like banana stems.


But, ever remaining a queen, she puts herself into relationship with the Numerator through devotion and pujas.
These hundred verses are constructed... (?)

Another version. in the Guru's own hand and fragmentary:

Like the trunks of the best (chief) of Indra's elephants - rough and supple - like the gold stems of a pair of banana trees,
"... polished and golden by the two thighs, having won over both
transcending both of these analogies and r.... (raised ?) in roughness at the knees...
....Good stories of the life activities of the husband...
...which has become hard because of daily prostrations continued for a long time.
Necessity by absolute contingencies in proper order and system.
...daughter of the mountain who knows everything which is ordained in the scriptures.
By the two knees (or kneecaps)
You have transcended elephant knobs (by that holy elephant of Indra).
(the two knobs of necessity (knees) are transcended )"
The callosity on the knees represents Beauty as the Universal Concrete.
The value of the knobs on the elephant's head is this Beauty.

Here, the poet is describing all that happens to the Denominator aspect of the Absolute (Her thighs and knees) - while she has not forgotten the Numerator (Her devotion to Shiva).

We have started with realistic imagery and it is carried on throughout the text.

Without the connection with the Numerator, the Devi will go mad.

Abstract and generalize, in other words, schematize.

"Make a green book into the Universal Concrete - think of greenness."
(In other words, take the actual, individual book and abstract and generalize. There is green-ness in general and the universal idea of bookish-ness. This is the methodology by which science proceeds - science and philosophy are a process of abstraction and generalisation. ED)

Why should the Devi prostrate?
The callosity on the knees represents the Universal Concrete.
We have in this verse Beauty as a Universal Concrete - as abstract value represented by a concrete colour.

The same grade of epistemology is used throughout.
(In other words, every verse uses the same methodology to reach understanding - the understanding that is Brahma Vidya, the Science of the Absolute, which is the purpose of Vedanta. Structuralism is used to find the truth. ED)

(The above structure has no accompanying text and is unclear. ED)

See Verse 7 and Verse 100.







Obligations come at the knee level. The lower level need not be cancelled by the higher: the knee level can co-exist with the highest philosophy.
  The kneeling does not hurt her, but only glorifies her, she knows the way of behaviour proper to a good family.

(Verse 100 is an error - the verse referred to is Verse 90:

"Giving riches to the needy as required and of its store of honey
Distributing plentifully sweetness around; into such a beauty
Of the celestial blossom of Your feet, immersed altogether,
Let my life go merged with legs and inner organs into six-footed bee-hood."


See structure below. ED)