रणे जित्वा दैत्या नपहृत-शिरस्त्रैः कवचिभिः
निवृत्तै-श्चण्डांश-त्रिपुरहर-निर्माल्य-विमुखैः ।
विशाखेन्द्रोपेन्द्रैः शशिविशद-कर्पूरशकला
विलीयन्ते मातस्तव वदनताम्बूल-कबलाः
rane jitva daityan apahrta sirastrah kavacibhir
nivrttais candamsa tripuraha nirmalya vimukhaih
visakhendro pendrais sasivisada karpura sakalah
viliyante matas tava vadana tambula kabalah
O Mother, they merge, those mouthfuls of betel-juice of Your face,
As Skanda, Vishnu and Upendra, returning from vanquishing demons in battle,
Taking off their headgear and armour, they return, discountenancing
That Shiva's portion of offering meant for Chanda which are Moon-bright bits of camphor.
Verse 65 seems at first to be a complex jumble of mythological imagery and mixed metaphors superimposed on one another. No wonder, therefore, that most commentaries have missed the mark in proposing even an approximately acceptable meaning for it. We have to place it in its proper context and perspective first; and secondly we should not make the mistake of thinking that what belongs to the canvas belongs also to the painting. There are four epistemological and methodological layers here, each implying its own degree of abstraction and generalization. These four possible ways of abstraction were known to Vedantic speculation many centuries before modern physics began to use this same kind of four-dimensional reference.
1 - A mythological reference to three gods who are engaged in some kind of battle is the first film to be separated from the other deeper layers.
2 - Then comes a layer in which the gods (devas) and the demons (asuras) are arranged on two opposite sides, each representing their own system of life-values.
3 - This axiological view has a still deeper layer hiding behind it, in which we have to discover why Subrahmanya (Visakha) and the other two gods reject some of the holy tokens of offering while accepting others.
4 - Still deeper, in fourth-dimensional abstraction, we have to imagine that the whole of this story has its central locus in the mouth of the Goddess, who is engaged in chewing betel nuts. Camphor is also an ingredient of the mixture that she is chewing, and the red juice is swallowed into her own inside, each time the mouthful is fully turned to magenta.
We have also to remember that it is in the mind of the contemplative, as he meditates on the betel-chewing mouth, that more peripheral wheels or Chakras of thought present themselves before his mind's eye, all having the same epicentre or locus, which is the mouth of the Goddess. In its chapter on the vision of the universal principle of Time, the Bhagavad Gita presents a similar picture, where the heads of warriors and kings are being mercilessly crushed like nuts between the teeth of the All-Pervading One (Xl: 26-27). The idea here is not unlike that vision. It is a war that is being waged between the forces of good and evil, although the Absolute itself is not to be divided into two groups. The conflict between the forces of good and evil has to be understood, at least schematically, and a line, however thin, demarcating the two sides has inevitably to be presupposed, at least for the sake of argument. This line is no other than that between the two rows of teeth of the Goddess, where nuts representing the skulls of heroes of one side or the other are being crushed, so that Time could proceed on its destructive onward progression, like the car of Jagannath in the famous Puri festival. Time´s arrow cannot be reversed except in terms of very pure memory. The forward-flowing breeze of Time could play sometimes on silken sails, but must inevitably imply harsh facts belonging to the stern stuff of duty or historical necessity. The magenta colour, moreover, is highly suggestive of flesh and blood; if we should add skulls and armour to the picture, we have the option of imagining more grades of concreteness or abstraction than the four that we have already mentioned.
The three gods, who appear after giving battle to the evil forces, have removed their headgear out of respect for the presence of the Absolute Goddess. They remove only half the accoutrements that make for a warlike situation. The three gods are willing to respect the presence of the Goddess, but they are not willing to negate the function for which they were born. This applies especially to the case of Subrahmanya (Visakha), whose function, by the very circumstances of his birth, consists in teaching a lesson to the denominator factors of Evil. He represents the highest possible Omega Point of values within the setup of divinities of the Hindu pantheon, Vedic or non-Vedic. Subrahmanya is here represented as highly conscious of the function or duty that properly belongs to him. A policeman's duty is to arrest thieves and not to pardon them.
In the previous verses we have been thinking of the mouth region of the Goddess in various degrees of verticalized value gradations. Here we come to a grade where retrospective memories as well as prospective imagination enter into the picture with equal force, from both poles of the total situation. As the contemplative meditates on this picture of the betel-chewing Goddess, associations crowd into his mind, each set having its own epistemological self-consistency. We can imagine three concentric circles, as in the Sri Chakra, separating the inner zones from the outer ones. Magenta colours of different saturation, brilliance and shade can distinguish the zones, but historical or mythological events are all to be grounded in the self-same Chakra which the contemplative constructs in order to appreciate intelligently the absolute non-dual beauty of the Goddess.
We could imagine a heroic or epic (puranic) scene here being acted out within the mouth of the Goddess which could also be seen as a temple or cave in which somebody is offering worship to the absolute Goddess. As it is impolite to wear headgear in pride when approaching a sacred place dedicated to God, the three divinities here are represented as conforming to the requirements of good behaviour by taking off their headgear. They retain the rest of their armour, however, with the excuse that they are still in the overall context of battle.
Within the temple scene, we could imagine a priest who brings to these three divine supplicants that which they are meant to accept as a token of respect for the supreme principle as they understand it, each from his own standpoint, with its own frame of value-reference. The absolute Goddess does not take sides, but her son (Subrahmanya) cannot deny his duty, being born historically or mythologically to teach a lesson to the evil forces. The “Kumarasambhava” makes this role very clear, although Subrahmanya is not lacking in his knowledge of Vedantic absolutism. He is even said to have taught the meaning of AUM to his own father, Shiva.
Camphor, especially of the soft variety, is an ingredient used to flavour betel nuts. Camphor is also an integral item among the holy ingredients making up a temple offering to be brought out by the priest after the waving of lights before an idol. Camphor is unique in that it is both a solid and potentially a flame of light; so it is used as an analogy for the process by which material substance turns into the intelligent factor, symbolized by the flame. Moon-bright bits of camphor left on the salver brought by the priest for Subrahmanya represent a value meant to give a flavour or perfume to betel chewing. As a solid, it belongs to the side of existence, so in this form, before being lit, it belongs to the denominator context of the asuras (demons) and not to the devas (gods) of the numerator context. Like the “thinking substance”, camphor combines within itself substantiality and thought.
Since Subrahmanya represents the numerator aspect, he does not approve of the offered camphor because it is incompatible with his main function of teaching a lesson to the opposite side. He does not wish to pretend to be an absolutist prematurely and inconsistently with his own personality; just as Arjuna is not to leave the battlefield by pretending or claiming prematurely to be a sannyasin. Duty in this sense is sometimes called “the stern daughter of the voice of God”, though this dictum need not be binding on anyone who can claim correctly and completely to be an absolutist. Subrahmanya was born as an answer to the prayer of the gods, to protect them from the excesses of the demons at that time. His function comes under the category of historical necessity, not in terms of ordinary history, but at least in the order of cosmic evolution, as depicted in the great epics in Indian literature, which are called itihasas, of which the model in the West could be the Odyssey of Homer.
Chanda is another name for a divinity represented by the Moon. Shiva himself, representing the numerator aspect of the Absolute, carries moonlight on his head. The camphor bits could, by the same token, be considered as representing the Moon principle on the denominator side. Chanda (the God of the Moon) and Chandra (the Moon) thus become interchangeable as cause or effect aspects of light. As for the three gods portrayed here, which are slightly different from the usual Vedic trinity, the name Upendra can simply denote Vishnu or it can also mean “second in command to Indra.”. Visakha or Skanda could represent Shiva, because he is born from Shiva's middle eye. Vishnu occupies the central place as representing lasting enjoyable values. Aryan and Dravidian divinities are thus seen here to be put together in a revised form, without violating their triple principal functions of creation, preservation and destruction.
In the first line, the word “merge” is to be understood as representing the act of swallowing flavoured red betel juice, with camphor added as a subtly pervasive ingre­dient. The mouthfuls, when they merge, could be imagined as permeating upwards into the world of prospective or creative imagination, or as emerging retrospectively into the totality of memories of past years already contained as a vertical dimension within the presence of the beauty that the Goddess represents. The gods are returning from some past event already accomplished and are seen now to be standing at a neutral point in the present. They could be said to be returning from deeper negative levels of the vertical axis. They do not remove all their warlike accoutrements because they are still within the context of a war situation. Subrahmanya could remove his armour only when he goes to his abode nearer to the positive limit of the vertical axis.

From the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XI:

ami cha tvam dhritarashtrasya putrah
sarve sahai 'va 'vanipalasamghaih
bhishmo dronah sutaputras tatha 'sau
saha 'smadiyair api yodhamukhyaih

vaktrani te tvaramana visanti
damshtrakaralani bhayanakani
kechid vilagna dasanantareshu
samdrisyante churnitair uttamangaih


All these sons of Dhritarashtra, with hosts of rulers, Bhishma, Drona, and that son of a charioteer (Kama), with our warrior chiefs are rushing into Your fearful mouths terrible with teeth; some are found sticking in the gaps between the teeth with their heads crushed to powder.






This is a very wonderful verse in which the Devi is chewing hard nuts, camphor and brittle leaves.
She swallows and it is digested.



This is very complex image: the hard nuts are like the hard helmets, which the three gods have taken off.



The Gods are returning from battle and are not willing to receive the ritual camphor from the priest - this is a kind of ceremonial gift - because they are rajasic (active and horizontalized) and do not know how to receive it.

(Hindus worship a holy flame by burning camphor, which forms an important part of many religious ceremonies. As a natural pitch substance, it burns cool without leaving an ash residue, which symbolizes consciousness. ED)

"Some such imagery is there: this is not fixed".

Subrahmanya (Skanda, by another name), Vishnu and Indra (a.k.a Upendra) are returning from a battle between the plus and minus sides, wearing their iron helmets.

There is a war between the Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons), this much is quite clear.
The Devi is swallowing mouthfuls of betel juice.

Subrahmanya, Vishnu and Indra throw away their armour but keep the heads of their enemies.
They won't take the camphor bits, which belong to the Devi.

The Devi is chewing the camphor bits, which have been refused by the gods and, by her chewing, is merging them with their positive and negative qualities and with the magenta colour of betel.
(Notice the similarity with the previous verse, where the positive and negative sides are merged when the Devi's tongue-tip colours the moonstone statue. There is cancellation inside her mouth in both cases. ED)

The two aspects become merged within Her.
Cancellation occurs between them.

There is no distinction between the denominator ontology of the camphor and its moon-like quality, which belongs to the Numerator side.

There is an analogy between the face and the battle: you have to find the four aspects of the quaternion and put them in their proper places.

When She swallows is when the merging takes place.
Bits of camphor are merged in the four directions in the mouth of the Devi.
The face represents the entire battlefield.

Colour: in the atman there is a jagat floating. (In the soul there is a universe floating)
Colour within you corresponds to the blue in the sky.

There is a colour-solid inside, blue and rainbow colours outside.
These are colours at the core of the universe.

Thus the colour of a magenta flower comes from within the flower and is not subject to climate, etc. The same seed will always give a flower of the same colour.
There is reference here to the Devi chewing betel to redden her lips.
The hypostatic numerator gods have had a battle with the ruffian denominator gods.
Betel nut prepared for chewing contains nuts that crack and also leaves that produce a magenta-like colour.
One is Numerator, the other Denominator.
The true gods belong to the Numerator.
Shiva is far beyond these.
We are now at the mouth - which is sensory and also produces speech.
It gives an opportunity to unite Numerator and Denominator.
Shiva Lingam.
The lower gods are still Shiva's people - the Shiva Lingam (Shiva's phallic symbol) represents his negative aspect.
The divine hypostatic gods could not defeat these shudras (low-caste beings).
Subrahmanya kills certain Dravidians, and takes their heads as trophies
- but not their headgear, nor the garlands used by them.
Chewing of betel is like crushing the heads of bad people.
The host of Subrahmanya, Indra etc., which is on the positive side, is fighting against the ruffian shudras (low caste people) on the negative side.
(See the verses from the Bhagavad Gita quoted above. ED) 

Camphor is a very hypostatic, positive, item; it is used in puja-offerings to the Devas (gods).

The numerator gods represent the upper teeth, which crush down on the lower teeth.
The bright forces are opposing the dark.
The numerator gods come down the vertical axis to fight with their denominator counterparts.

After the battle, they leave behind the helmets and other ritual articles for the negative worship of Shiva.
Numerator and denominator values are mixed by chewing.

The crystalline camphor, karpura, is completely mixed with the magenta colour of the betel juice in the Devi's mouth.

In Her mouth of the Devi there are two factors; numerator camphor and denominator betel nuts, being chewed and completely mixed together.

She takes neither side, everything is merged in magenta (betel juice is a purplish colour, close to magenta. ED).
Subrahmanya refuses the camphor bits belonging to the negative side.
The warfare takes place in the mouth of the Devi, two rows of teeth grind the warriors without distinction.


Camphor is a pagan factor; Subrahmanya (Skanda) says, "I am glad that you offer it, but I am a Brahmin on the positive side, and born for the purpose of fighting the Asuras (demons) on the negative side; I have agreed to fulfil a certain function and cannot compromise my position".
MacArthur was appointed to fight in Korea and had no choice anymore; if he did not do it, someone else would. You have a certain function within the Absolute, do not compromise it.
Subrahmanya is meant to act as a warrior in this situation.
The Devi can abolish paradox because She is the Absolute, but it is not Skanda's job to abolish paradox.
He has accepted a function, and has to fulfil his svadharma (
conduct according to one's own nature; your own dharma - karma verticalized. ED), at a certain epoch in a total situation.

(ED notes: To understand the four levels of abstraction that need to be kept in mind if one is to understand this verse, it might help to look yet again at Eddington's famous example of the quaternion structure:



1. THE ACTUAL CHAIR in which the actual man can sit; this chair will exclude another chair, and occupies a particular space.

2. THE VIRTUAL CHAIR, in which a virtual man can sit; much like a mirror reflection.

3. THE ALPHA-POINT CHAIR, the form of the chair generalized,
It excludes all other chairs.
This is the universal concrete version, it excludes horizontally but not vertically.

4. THE OMEGA POINT CHAIR: the word "chair" in the dictionary, purely conceptual. )