नखाना-मुद्योतै-र्नवनलिनरागं विहसतां
कराणां ते कान्तिं कथय कथयामः कथमुमे ।
कयाचिद्वा साम्यं भजतु कलया हन्त कमलं
यदि क्रीडल्लक्ष्मी-चरणतल-लाक्षारस-चणम्


nakhanam udyotair nava nalina ragam vihasatam
karanam te kantim kathaya kathayamah katham ume
kayacid va samyam bhajatu kalaya hanta kamalam
yadi kridal laksmi caranatala laksa rasacanam
Shining by the brilliance of Your fingernails that mock the colour of
Just-opening lotus buds, how could we speak of the beauty of Your hand?
Granted be, o Uma, that the lotus could have one shade less of parity with it
If at all, and that, alas, only when touched by the magenta paste of the sole of Lakshmi as she plays thereon.
As in Verse 62, a rhetorical question is at the very core of the subject matter of this verse. Uma is being questioned here by the poet who wants to describe the absolute Beauty of the Goddess by praising the brilliance of the pink colour of lotus buds touched by sunlight as the flower opens in the morning. Uma herself has to tell him, because the final reference for the beauty of Uma is her own self or personality, and not what is described by someone else. Absolute Beauty has to be in itself, for itself, through itself and by itself. It cannot depend upon anything extraneous to itself. Substance and attribute have both to belong together to the same absolute Substance, finally to be understood in terms of the non-dual self. The fingernails referred to in the first line are part and parcel of the Goddess herself, and hence, when compared to the glory of the lotus bud just opening at dawn, the fingernails have an advantage in the analogy over the lotus-buds, which can refer only to the attribute and not to the substantial Self. The poet thus feels perplexed because all predications about the Absolute do not directly apply to the Absolute itself. Then he tries an alternative method to successfully give absolutist status to the beauty of the Goddess.
Instead of thinking of the fingertips or the sunlight, which are teleological in import, he descends to the lower ontological limit, where the feet of the Goddess are to be imagined as dancing on a lotus flower. The Goddess here is not Sarasvati, nor Parvati, as proper to this series, but Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity in this world. She has thus a hierophantic status rather than a hypostatic one, which belongs more properly to Sarasvati. These structural interrelationships between gods and goddesses will come up for discussion at the end of the work, in Verse 99. In anticipation, we are justified here in saying that Sarasvati and Lakshmi are partners or counterparts within a totality which properly belongs to Parvati, who belongs to an Absolute context distinct from more relativistic subordinate functionary divinities or presences. In the second half of the verse, it is thus Lakshmi who represents the ontological counterpart of the Absolute. The soles of her feet are smeared with some kind of magenta paste, as is normal to beautiful women in the poetry of Kalidasa and others. This magenta paste is a substance meant to enhance the beauty of the whole personality of Lakshmi. Because it is applied to her feet, we could consider it an attribute to her personality, which would itself represent the substance. Substance and attribute have to participate in Advaita Vedanta, and the difference between them is to be abolished in the name of the final oneness of absolute Truth.
Here it is the beauty of the lotus that is being compared to the beauty of the fingernails of the Goddess. It can be asked whether the lotus on which Lakshmi dances with magenta paste on the soles of her feet is to be considered as glorious as the magenta of the fingernails in the first line. One would expect that, on the ontological side at least, the magenta colour conferred by the feet of the Goddess would enhance the beauty of the lotus to such an extent as to make it rival the beauty of the fingernails. But the answer is that this is just a possibility and not a certainty. It is true that ontology scores above teleology in Vedanta, as we have already indicated. This is a doctrine underlined by Sankara as early as Verse 4. A slight difference of degree still remains to be bridged between the notion of absolute Beauty and what even an ontological type of participation can confer on the Absolute. In other words, the poet finds it impossible to praise the beauty here, because absolute Beauty is beyond all predicability. It exists in itself, without any outside reference. The Beauty of the Absolute is beyond praise, as is often heard in contemplative literature. Words come back from it without touching it, as the Upanishads put it.
We have to note also that this verse supplies a vertical parameter passing through the quaternion situation pictured in the previous verse. It is therefore meant to make the structural­ism complete.
It is also noteworthy that the appellation “Uma” used here is not an accident. Parvati was called “Uma” (Sanskrit: “Oh do not!”) by her mother, by way of admonishing her against performing austerities to attain Shiva. She being a direct repre­sentative of the Absolute, it was supposed by her mother that she needed nothing outside herself, even in the form of austerities, to complete her status. There are other derivations besides this one, found in Kalidasa's “Kumarasambhava”, which suggest that Uma should not resemble Lakshmi, but be herself. There is still another derivation which suggests that she considers even Shiva as unnecessary for her happiness, being complete in herself. All these derivations confer upon Uma a self-sufficient and unique status in the overwhelming context of absolute Beauty. It is just this uniqueness that distinguishes mere appreciation of beauty from the lahari, or upsurge of beauty, meant to be experienced in these verses.




Nakhanam udyotaih - by the shining of Your fingernails
Nava nalina ragam vihasatam - that mock the colour of just-opening lotus buds
Karanam te - of Your hands
Kantim kathaya - say the beauty
Kathaya mah katham - how could we
Ume - o Uma
Kaya cid va - somehow
Samyam bhajati - equality have
Kalaya - (at least) by a shade (of) difference only (e.g. one day from full moon)
Hanta - alas
Kamalam yadi - if the lotus should
Kridat lakshmi chrana tala - as Lakshmi sporting (thereon)
Laksha rasachanam - the sole of her feet with its magenta paste
of the sole of Lakshmi as she plays thereon.
Another version:
Nakhanamudyotaih - by the excellent brilliance of fingernails
Nava nalina ragam vihasatam - putting to shame the new-born colour of a lotus
Karanam te - of thy hands
Kanthim kathaya - tell the glory
Katha yamah katham - how could we tell
Ume - o Uma
Kaya chid iva - by whatever means

(Here, in the original manuscript, there is a line dividing the text, and the note: "Kumaran Asan's (Famous poet of Kerala and translator of the Saundarya Lahari. ED) version completely different by second half")

Samyam bhajatu - let it attain equality of status
Kalaya - even fractionally
Hanta! - Alas!
Kamalam yadi - if the lotus could
Kridal lakshmi caranatala laksha rasacanam - if it should be shadow-hued, with the red hibiscus flower on the sole of the feet of Lakshmi sporting thereon
Another version:
- By the excellent brilliance of nails
- Putting to shame the newly born colour of the lotus (newly born lotus)
- Of the hands (of thy hands)

- Tell the glory (the poet is being ordered to tell the glory of the nail-tips of the Devi)

- How can we say this (the Poet asks how can all the poets assembled here describe this?)
- By whatever means (This beauty is Absolute and cannot be related to something)





The hands of Devi are over Her head, fingertips together, like a lotus blossom.

(From here this section of the translation is designated: "Lakshmi - Denominator lotus value")
(Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. ED)


Another version:

- Let it attain equality of status
("What I am going to say now...")
- Even fractionally ("Think of a second lotus...")
- Alas
- If the lotus could... (Lotus of Denominator)
- If it should be hued with the red hibiscus flower on the sole of the feet of Lakshmi
(In this way, the second lotus will try to cancel out the lotus of the Numerator. This can only happen fractionally.)

 (This page is in the Guru's own hand, and the structures are almost impossible to disentangle - it needs facsimile treatment. ED)

The Devi's fingertips are at the Omega Point.
Attribute and substance are juxtaposed and cancelled out at different levels.
The real lotus is superior to the paper one,
but every shade of difference is cancelled out in the vertical axis.
"Uma" (a name of the Devi)  means "no equal to you, unique".
The lotus from the bottom has accepted Lakshmi, whose magenta-coloured feet dance on it.

There is something sad about a lotus in nature trying to attain parity with the magenta of the Devi.
But even after participating with Lakshmi, there is still something missing.
Poor lotus: it is not able to stabilize itself.
This is the force of "Alas!"

It has come up to the horizontal axis, but is still vibrating.

He wants to compare the glory of the fingernails of the Devi to something, so he uses the feet of Lakshmi as on a lotus (on the negative, Denominator side) for she is also a clear, transparent glory.
He wants to cancel the Numerator Lotus with the Denominator Lotus, to resolve them both into the Absolute.
The beauty of the nails "reflected thereon" has an absolute status of conceptualization and generalization.
Think of Lakshmi, who has magenta hibiscus juice on the soles of her feet.
Think of a beautiful woman - semi-divine.
If you can, imagine this real hierophantic beauty, giving colour to the lotus below.
Then apply all these revisions, and you can get something which comes close to cancelling out the Absolute Beauty of the Devi's nails.
Lakshmi descends from the Numerator and touches the Denominator lotus, giving Absolute (relative) Universal Concrete status to that lotus and thus it can be compared to the Devi´s feet.
So here, some real, existent value is almost equated.