विपञ्च्या गायन्ती विविध-मपदानं पशुपते-
स्त्वयारब्धे वक्तुं चलितशिरसा साधुवचने ।
निजां वीणां वाणीं निचुलयति चोलेन निभृतम्


vipancya gayanti vividham apadanam pashupates
tvaya´rabdhe vaktum calita sirasa sadhu vacane
tadiyair madhuryair apalapita tantri kalaravam
nijam vinam vani niculayati colena nibhrtam
Starting as You do to sing with Your vina, with head movements,
Of the varied exploits of the Lord of Beasts, You, as the Goddess of the Word
The one of lovely speech, You promptly cover up to silence
Your instrument as mocking the sweetness thereof by sounds of strings.
Starting as You do to sing with Your vina, with head movements,
Of the varied exploits of the Lord of Beasts, You, as the Goddess of the Word
The one of lovely speech, You promptly cover up to silence
Your instrument as mocking the sweetness thereof by sounds of strings.

In Verse 66 we are still in a general setting where the greatness of Shiva is being praised by Parvati. She is starting to sing to the accompaniment of her favourite instrument, the vina, which is seen to be inseparably associated with her wherever she is represented in the traditional style. She and her instrument are to be treated as belonging together to one and the same context. Although she starts to sing accompanied by the vina, which is held horizontally at right angles to the body, she soon decides that its accompaniment does not come up to expectation. This is seen to be an afterthought.
Two movements are specifically referred to in this situation, in which vocal as well as an instrumental music start together. The first is when, almost abruptly, the Goddess stops playing her instrument, putting it out of commi­ssion. The second movement is the nodding her head in approval of the music. The two have to be treated together. The voice of the Goddess is here praised as being of a very superior quality.
We are asked to extract whatever meaning we possibly can, given this data, but this meaning must also necessarily enhance the absolute beauty-value of the Goddess. This is an overall requirement in every verse. It is easy to see that no Tantric viewpoint or doctrine is meant to be brought into the light by the situation depicted here. Tantra Sastra, as we know it, is not especially interested in music, nor is it a teaching in which a vina is to be silenced in favour of glorifying vocal music, as is evidently intended here. The above limitations make it almost inevitable for us to rely on some doctrine of Advaita Vedanta as the main theme which the Goddess´s abrupt change of mind is intended to reveal. We therefore surmise that this situation is meant to bring out a double-sided method peculiar to Vedanta when it wishes to abolish, dissolve, or transcend the duality implied in any paradox. Paradox first recognizes two truths. Vedanta abolishes paradox finally, not by recognizing the contradiction, but by absorbing the contradiction into a unitive vision, by a higher intuitive way of thinking. We shall not be reading too much into the context here if we say that it is a schematic structural pattern that is to be presupposed as guiding the poetic imagination of Sankara, while, as always, his intention is to underline an Advaitic doctrine conforming to the methodology proper to Vedanta.
Instrumental music from a vina placed horizontally across the figure of the Goddess represents the arithmetic or mechanistic aspect of inert life in the universe, while she herself represents the vertical axis. Her nods approving her own vocal music represent something like saying "yes, yes" or a double assertion, Translated into philosophical terms, this would amount to saying, "What exists thus really exists and can never be abolished." The horizontal, mechanistic world is to be recognized as real enough initially; but when philosophical thought gains ground, it would abolish itself and become absorbed into the vertical axis. The relation between the two parameters or correlates is the same as what Descartes would say exists between res cogitans and res extensa. The latter is space-like and the former time-like, understood in terms of pure duration.
It is permitted to think, in terms of Cartesian or Bergsonian philosophy, that one attains the Absolute. Sankara´s doctrine is not basically different. That which does not exist is abolished by double negation. By double assertion, the picture of the Absolute emerges in terms of a highly significant value, which is the Beauty of the Goddess here. The more she appreciates the beauty of her own voice, the more it becomes evident to her that the instrument, with its poor twanging imitations by the sound of metallic wires, cannot add anything to the richness that her own voice can give to music in a fully real sense. Although the instrument is dear to her, she does not hesitate for a moment to cover it with a shawl, perhaps one of a dark colour, which is a form of double negation applied to the arithmetical side of the total situation representing the Absolute as a value. Paradox thus stands aboli­shed, dissolved or transcended. Each approving nod of the head of the Goddess describes an implied figure-eight which we can see through the transparency of the total formless space-­time situation, reflecting the structure that properly belongs to the content of the Absolute. The change of mind only introduces a dynamic touch to this otherwise static picture; which Bergson would perhaps distinguish by his term schéma moteur, as against the mere schema of conceptualists or rationalists like Kant or Descartes. The quickness with which the Goddess covers her vina reflects a dynamism which is not meant to be of a gradual or hesitant order. Higher intuition comes, not by instalments, but by split-second understanding.
The overall situation can be summed up in the following words: "The Goddess of the Word, finding that her speech is superior to its own mechanistic imitation, changes her mind quickly and silences her instrument because the imitation cannot add anything that is not already there to the original. Speech is better than just sound, which is included in it already".
We could note also that Kalidasa, in the “Meghaduta”, has a picture of the wife of a yaksha (divine being) who is separated from her husband and trying to play the vina to pass her unhappy hours in a cavern in the Himalayas, where she is destined to live in loneliness. There the version is similar but slightly different. She is unable to play the vina because of her tears, which come from the richer content of her memories stimulated by vocally articulated words of music. Here, it is a more neutral way of abolishing paradox. In both cases, it is the glory of the husband that is the subject matter of the music. The pangs of separation are not found in the Goddess here, unless slightly reflected in the quickness of the gesture of silencing her instru­ment. The vina could be thought of as being a dear and insepar­able companion, having the effect of consoling her loneliness, like a baby in the arms of a mother.
(Bergson's schéma moteur - an analysis of Bergson’s motor schemes shows how there is a logic within the body, one that informs the recognition of images, and thence perception and memory. But for Bergson, this logic of the body is entirely explicit, and is distinct from the implicit logic that we find in thinking. ED.)





Vipancya gayanti - You sing by the vina.
Vividham apadanam pashupateh - varied exploits of Shiva Pashupati.
Tvaya arabhde vaktum calita shirasa sadhu vachanam - by You begun to utter with head-nods the good words.
Tadiyair madhuraih - of such the sweetness.
Apalapita tantri karalavam - string-sound thus insulted by You.
Nijam vinam vani - Her proper Vina, the Goddess of the Word.
Niculayati colena nibhrtam - cover with a cover so as to silence.


The relationship between Shiva and the Devi is dealt with here.

Shiva is approached hierophantically in this verse, from the negative side.


(He is called Pashupati - the Lord of Beasts - which has a negative, denominator reference to a prehistoric context where Shiva was a wild hunter-god belonging to the primitive Pre-Aryan Indian world.

This also emphasizes Shiva's position as an "akula" - from "kula" - a family or clan, and "a-" - without; in other words an outcast(e). ED)



 A popular print of Saraswati.

So the Devi sits with Her vina (stringed instrument) to sing the praises of Shiva, Lord of Beasts.


 She is playing the vina horizontally.

There are many names for Shiva: why "Lord of Beasts" here? Because here the approach is from the denominator side.


An early image of the Lord of Beasts.


Even cavemen are capable of conceiving the vertical axis.
The roaring bull is their concept of value on the denominator side of love, sex and vitality, so here, with the name "The Lord of Beasts", there is a reference to a prehistoric negative religious context.


Shiva is married to the daughter of a demi-god, Daksha, a personification of the Himalayas.

(A note from the Glossary: Daksha was evidently a person of some status in Vedic society, and for that reason refused to give his daughter in marriage to Shiva because he was an akula (one without kula or clan), however, the marriage does take place mysteriously, in spite of Daksha's objections. Dakshayani, the daughter, later proves her loyalty to Shiva, whom Daksha continues to slight, by her death at Daksha's famous sacrifice which is held without inviting Shiva. ED)


Daksha gives a ritual celebration (yaga) and Shiva's wife goes to it, against the wishes of Shiva.
Her father insults Shiva and She kills Herself.
Shiva drinks poison, his neck turns blue, but he is otherwise unaffected. He then kills Daksha, cutting off his head.


(He also tramples and extinguishes the sacrificial fire of the Yaga or sacrifice, This typifies his role as one outside the context of Vedic ritual practices. This can be viewed in parallel with the statement of Shankara in Verse 1, where he calls himself an "akrta punya" - one of ungained merit" - in other words, one who does not take part in the ritual worship of the Devi by the three gods.


It is because of Shiva's asocial role, beyond the norms of traditional society, that he is the god of ascetics (sanyasis), and why his mythological puranas (legends) are part of the subject matter of the Saundarya Lahari. Advaita Vedanta and sanyasa are inseperable.


Sanyasa: The act of renunciation, especially of ritualistic Vedic religious life in favour of monastic life of austerity, where philosophy gains the foreground and has primacy in the life of the individual. ED)



(The Goddess negates her song by covering her vina and silencing it. Shiva - who is usually numerator - is here given a negative reference as he is called the Lord of Beasts. ED)





(This structure is reproduced as it is found in the original manuscript. It is obscure and possibly incorrect. "Dakshi" presumably refers to Daksha. Much of the material relating to this verse is unsatisfactory. The main commentary is, however, clear and precise. ED.)




 (This structure seems to mean that Shiva's action in furiously attacking Daksha, which could be viewed as evil in dualistic horiziontal terms, when viewed from the position of Shiva at the summit of the vertical axis have the status of Absolute Action, as described in the Darsana Mala. ED.)



It is indeed the Self, though self-luminous
And detached, that through negativity
Does action bearing many forms,
Like the dream-agent in sleep.

"I think, I speak, I grasp, I hear."
In forms such as these are actions accomplished
By the supreme Self, which is also
The Self of pure reason and the senses.

From the Self, not different from itself
There exists a certain undefinable specificatory power
By that power, all actions
Are falsely attributed to the actionless Self.

The Self is always detached indeed.
One performs action as if attached due to ignorance.
The wise man, saying "I do nothing,"
Is not interested in action.
The one Self alone as fire it burns,
As wind it blows,
As water it rains,
As earth it supports and as a river it flows.
The one Self alone, remaining actionless,
Moves as upward and downward vital tendencies
Within the nervous centres, indeed,
It beats, murmurs and pulsates. 
Here in this visible world, as what exists,
Grows, transforms, decreases and attains its end-
As subject to six forms of becoming-
That is no other than the actionless Self. 
By means of the inner organs and the senses
Actions become Self-accomplished.
However, the wise man knows,
"I am the unattached, inner well-founded one" 
Because of being an object of experience,
Even the "I" is a conditioning factor,
Superimposed like the mother-of-pearl gleam.
Above everything else, today and tomorrow one alone is.)


The Devi shakes Her head in appreciation as She sings.
"By the beautiful shaking of the head and living words, the strings of the vina are insulted".

Shiva is hypostatic and positive in his origin, but in this verse, he is approached hierophantically, from the negative side - he is called pashupati - the Lord of Beasts - which has a denominator reference.






(The above structures are unclear and without any accompanying explanation in the original manuscript. ED.)

A song of praise for Shiva is being sung by the Devi, who is shaking Her head.

The shaking of the head absorbs the numerator words.
The covering of the vina absorbs the Devi.
(Note that the words of the song are numerator; the notes of the vina are denominator. ED)

All spirituality is a cancellation of these two factors or aspects of the Devi into the neutral Absolute.

She puts Her own shawl on the vina - this is double negation.
Here we arrive at something positive through double negation.
The Devi covers the vina to silence it.
This is like covering a baby to get it to be quiet and go to sleep.

This means that, structurally, the horizontal factor sinks down to the negative Alpha Point.
(The structure clearly says: "below the Alpha Point" and the text says "to the negative Alpha Point". It probably does not matter all that much which. ED)

This process occurs throughout the work: the horizontal function is first removed - like removing the inside brackets in an equation - to reveal the pure negative aspect of the Devi.
Structuralism is a language reserved for great minds - and all great minds indulge in it.
"I am singing, and my song is both from the Numerator and Denominator sides": but the vina (stringed instrument) is only from the Denominator side, so she covers it to silence it.
"Shut up!" is the secret. There is a line between percepts and concepts, the vina is only half the situation, but the Devi is both sides.
The vina fills only half the circle, while the Devi fills the whole circle.

Nama-Rupa (name and form) cancel out into the Absolute.

The string is horizontal music.
The Devi is numerator, the strings are denominator.