मृणाली-मृद्वीनां तव भुजलतानां चतसृणां
चतुर्भिः सौन्द्रयं सरसिजभवः स्तौति वदनैः ।
नखेभ्यः सन्त्रस्यन् प्रथम-मथना दन्तकरिपोः
चतुर्णां शीर्षाणां सम-मभयहस्तार्पण-धिया
mrnali mrdvinam tava bhuja latanam atarsnam
caturbhis saundaryam srasija bhava stauti vadanaih
nakhebhyas santrasyan prathama mathanad antaka ripos-
caturnam sirsanam samam abhaya hastarpana dhiya
Of the lotus-core tender beauty of Your four-fold hands,
He sings the praise, the lotus-born god, trembling the while because of Shiva's nails
That once of yore nipped off his extra head, he (Brahma) intending now to pray for
Your refuge-granting hand-gesture for each of his remaining heads
In Verse 70 we are still in the context of the Goddess of the Word. Brahma, the four-headed god of creation, is depicted here as praying for a protective gesture from the four hands of the Goddess. The reason for this prayer is that, according to mythology, he once tried to grow a fifth head facing vertically upwards to attain the glory of hypostatic levels where, as creator of the universe, he was not deemed fit to encroach. His proper place is below the horizontal line but, not knowing that it was Shiva to whom any value that was hypostatic and above the horizontal line properly belonged, Brahma had to pay the price for his inadvertent mistake by having his fifth head cruelly pinched off by Shiva. Mythologies are not to be taken literally, but are generally meant to express some basic spiritual verity which cannot otherwise be made clear. Here Brahma is seen in a more submissive and humiliated attitude, in which he is singing the praise of his own daughter, Sarasvati. Her four hands have a certain tenderness or suppleness, compar­able to the pearly bright bundle of vascular strands at the core of the lotus stalk, which is an analogy meant to express the neutral, though material, status of a “thinking substance”. Because she is the wife of Shiva, her beauty can have this status. Her four arms can participate both ways, because Shiva is not a rival to her, but her husband, Brahma, as mere creator, can at best have the status of very fine pollen, or of fine creative biological particles, as explained in Verse 2.
There are three epistemological gradations strictly dividing each stratum in the total context, which have been clearly demarcated in the second verse and further qualified in some later verses. Brahma himself is lotus-born and his daughter is born one degree above the lotus' biological reality. The lotus' tendril-like leaves which have fourfold creeper-like arms are meant here to have a status of their own, not merely material, but consisting of a subtler form of “thinking substance”. Each of the four faces of Brahma belongs to one quadrant of a quaternion structure. With all of his four mouths he is engaged in praying for protection from his own daughter who is nearer to the logos or the nous than he could aspire to be. The four hands have thus a one-to-one correspondence with the four mouths from which prayers climb upward. This verse is, therefore, meant to reveal some structural correspondences and necessary stratifications between grades of ontological or teleological richness and poverty. What is gained on the side of existence is lost on the side of absolute value. When the four hands condescend to offer refuge to the four heads, there would be a cancellation of four against four, resulting in that Absolute intended to be revealed through this structural analysis of the ground of absolute Beauty.
In the second line, it is again a coincidence that Brahma himself is lotus-born and the Goddess is born one degree more removed from the lotus as a biological reality. The four arms of the Goddess participate both ways because Shiva is not her rival, but her husband.



Mrnali mrdvinam - like lotus very tender
Tava bhuja latanam chatashrnam - of Your four-branching arms.
Chaturbhih - of the four
Saundaryam - the beauty
Sarasija bhavah stauti - god Brahma praises
Vadanaih - by his faces
Nakhe bhyah santrasyan - being afraid of nails
Prathama mathanad antaka ripoh - of the enemy of death having, before been plucked
Chaturnam shirshanam - by the four (remaining) heads
Samam abhaya hastarpana dhiya - at the same time having in mind to make the gesture of protection from fear
Brahma's building material is pollen dust - even finer than that are the ashes of Shiva.
(Shiva burns the universe and the resulting ashes are used by Brahma to create the new universe. This is a process that is happening constantly, forever and everywhere in an eternal here and now. ED)
Note that Shiva is here called "the enemy of death" (Earlier, he is "The Lord of Beasts","The City-Burner" etc. ED)
(For Brahma's position in the structural schema, see Verse 1:
"The fine dust arising from your lotus feet
Brahma gathers up and the worlds creates.
Vishnu incessantly bears them up somehow with his thousand heads
And Shiva having shaken it up, accomplishes with it his ash-wearing rite." ED)

Another version:

Mrnali mrdvinam - of the lotus core tender
Tava bhuja latanam atasrnam - of Your fourfold creeper-like arms
Chaturbhih - of the 4
Saundaryam - beauty
Sarasija bhavah stauti - he praises the lotus-born (Brahma)
Vadanaih - by means of his faces
Nakhe bhyah santrasyan prathama mathanad antaka ripuh - by nails being ripped off once before by the enemy of death (Shiva), fearing his nails
Chaturnam shirshanam - for the (remaining ) four heads
Samam abhaya hastarpana dhiya - with 1/1 correspondence now intending to pray for refuge granting gesture (one for each head).

Brahma was born of a lotus on the negative side and had his fifth head plucked off for trying to cross the tragic line - it was plucked off by Shiva's harsh nails.
(The "tragic line" is the horizontal axis separating the negative side, which is Brahma's proper ground as a creator god, from the positive, numerator side belonging to Shiva. ED)
But the Devi's lotus-born hands have a suppleness which allow Her to protect the remaining four heads of Brahma: this suppleness has been given Her by Shiva, inherited or taken from the mrnala filament the thin, milk-white central strand of the lotus-stalk.
(The lotus, a symbol of purity, having its roots in mud, is universal in the Indian tradition. Water slides off the waxy leaves of the lotus flower.

See the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 5, Verse 10:

"Placing all actions in the Absolute, having given
up attachment, he who acts is not affected by sin,
like a lotus leaf by water". ED)

The Devi thus participates between the two sides.
So it (The lotus filament. ED) has whiteness and suppleness - like the breasts.
Thus the nourishing breast comes from above.



The head of the Devi is not mentioned.
Brahma remains below the horizontal line for fear of Shiva,
The one-to-one principle is operative here.
(There is one-to-one correspondance between his four heads on the negative side and Saraswati's hands on the positive side. ED)

"Praising the protection of the Devi" - by praising, he compensates for the protection.
Brahma's four heads.
A popular image of Brahma.
Saraswati, his daughter.

His head has been cut off to prevent him entering the hypostatic conceptual region above from the hierophantic or perceptual one below.
(See in the Upanishads for the source of 4 hands, heads etc.)

(The God Brahma - as opposed to BrahmaN (the Absolute) does not, to our very limited knowledge, appear in any of the major Upanishads. However, there is a reference to Brahma "appearing in the Upanishads" in a few places, but we have not been able to track down a specific source, so far.

Brahma's consort is Saraswati (in some myths, she is his daughter, in others his wife. This is typical of Hindu myth-making). Unlike most other Hindu gods, Brahmā holds no weapons. According to some traditions, one of his hands holds a sceptre; another  holds a book. Brahmā also holds a string of 108 prayer beads called the 'akṣamālā' (literally "garland of eyes"), which he uses to keep track of the Universe's time. He is also shown holding the Vedas. There are several other versions of his attributes.

Traditionally, the four faces are sometimes taken to symbolize the four Vedas (Rig, Sāma, Yajur and Atharva) and his four arms to represent the four cardinal directions: east, south, west, and north. There is also a tradition that the fifth head which Shiva removed symbolized lust or ego. Some sources say his fifth head was nipped off for lying. ED)


Another version:

Lotus-stalk tenderness of Thine...
Like the lotus stalk, very tender
Of Your four-branching arms
Of the four/the beauty / of each of the four
The Brahma praises (the god Brahma)
By his faces (by means of his mouths)
Being afraid of nails / by nails trembling (shaking with fear)...of the nails which plucked the fifth head
Of the enemy of Shiva having before plucked, by first plucking by Shiva, by the four heads remaining.
At the same time having in mind to make the gesture of protection from fear.
Equal protection offering
(By way of equal protection offering).


(Brahma traditionally carries a rosary of 108 beads. The number 108 is highly significant in the Indian tradition as well as mathematically.
In order to establish that many elements of the Indian tradition have a remarkable validity in terms of a scientific methodology, as an example, see below a mathematical analysis of this interesting number.

108 (or nine dozen) is an abundant number and a semiperfect number. It is a tetranacci number.

108 is the hyperfactorial of 3 since it is of the form 1^1 \cdot 2^2 \cdot 3^3.

108 is divisible by the value of its φ function, which is 36. 108 is also divisible by the total number of its divisors (12), hence it is a refactorable number.

In Euclidean space, the interior angles of a regular pentagon measure 108 degrees each.

There are 108 free polyominoes of order 7.

In base 10, it is a Harshad number and a self number.

The equation 2\sin\left(\frac{108^\circ}{2}\right) = \phi results in the golden ratio.


There seems to be some question as to where the Denominator factor is to be found in schematic representation.

More versions:

By four lotus-stalk tender arms of thine
Of each of the four the beauty
Brahma praises
By his faces
By nails trembling
By first plucking by Shiva
By way of equal protection offering


By the four lotus-stalk tender arms of thine
Of each of the four heads
Brahma praises by his faces, by nails trembling
First head is plucked by Shiva
By the four heads by you equal, protect, offering.
By way of equal protection offering...


Brahma had five heads, but one of them was plucked off.
But what is the meaning of all this mythology?
What does he tell us about Absolute Beauty?
He had used his fifth head to enter Shiva's conceptual region - Shiva cut it off with a kind of hydrogen-jet laser ray.
So Brahma became afraid and stayed below the horizontal axis.

Saraswati, as daughter of Brahma and wife of Shiva, has four hands.
The hands are four numerator factors.

The four mouths of Brahma praise the protection of the four hands of Saraswati - to protect each denominator head there must be a corresponding numerator hand.

When you say "Beauty", that means greatness, value, etc.; so you have to experience the flash of realization.
This is a view from the perspective of intentionality more than actuality.
The prayers of Brahma correspond to the protection of Devi - they cancel out.
This is intentionality, in the world of phenomenology.
He salutes the four hands of Saraswati, praising her with his four mouths - there is one-to-one parity.
(The use of the term "parity" is controversial here: parity is usually contrasted with handedness and treated as a horizontal relationship, as in the definitions below, taken, among many similar, from other parts of the commentary:
"Parity could imply a right-handed and a left-handed spin, twist or mirror asymmetry."
"Parity - refers to the horizontal alone; bilateral symmetry."
"Parity is horizontal and at a given level."
The manuscript definitely reads "parity" - an error in note-taking seems unlikely.
However, all the structural diagrams show a vertical relationship between the heads of Brahma and the hands of the Devi.
Maybe some subtlety of methodology escapes ED.)

The cancellation of the two is Beauty.

Four intentional words (We suppose that "intentional words" refers to the words of praise Brahma is directing at Saraswati. ED) are cancelled by the hands of the Devi - kindness and cancellation in Beauty.
Brahma has his fifth head nipped off.
Mrnala (lotus-stalk) arms are neither conceptual nor perceptual.