ललाटं लावण्य द्युति विमल-माभाति तव यत्
द्वितीयं तन्मन्ये मकुटघटितं चन्द्रशकलम् ।
विपर्यास-न्यासा दुभयमपि सम्भूय च मिथः
सुधालेपस्यूतिः परिणमति राका-हिमकरः
lalatam lavanya dyutivimalam abhati tava yad
dvitiyam tan manye makuta ghatitam candra sakalam
viparyasya nyasad ubhayam api sambhuya ca mithas
sudhalepasutih parinamati rakahimakarah
I fain would treat Your forehead, shining with radiant beauty,
A second crescent to that other frail one fixed to Your crown;
So that, reversed in position, both knit as one to one,
Results the form of a fully matured moon, emanating soft ambrosial essence..
Verse 46 speaks in terms of two inverted crescents. The forehead here could make a crescent with its horns turned downward. The crescent fixed to the crown of Shiva or Parvati, as the case may be, has to be turned 180 degrees before the magic intended here could take place. We are familiar with this turning at two right angles in various contexts of physics and mathematics. For instance, polarized light gives different interference figures when the polarizer and the analyser are placed at angles between 45 and 180 degrees. The magic of the interference of double-polarized lights adds wonder to the beauty of mineral crystals.
In this verse it is a question of being able to see Absolute Beauty, and not just beauty as a unilateral value. Therefore, Sankara indulges in giving detailed instructions to the reader so that the perfect beauty-value intended here could result from common-sense vision, fully revised and corrected in the light of Advaitic doctrine. The raw materials and the finished product have to be put together unitively. In the theological context, it is enough to decorate Shiva and Parvati with a thin crescent at the Omega Point. But Vedanta is not limited to theological adorations. It must reveal the plenitude of an Absolute Value in the context of immortality and not in the context of relativistic samsara (the process of cyclic becoming). It is not enough to worship either Shiva or Parvati as exalted divine personalities, abstracted and lifted out of the world of necessity. It is the normalized vision of plenitude that counts, although one-sided versions might still be dear to religious or theologically-minded persons who want a favourite deity (ishta devata) to adore.






The forehead is a second crescent, one crescent is conceptual, the other is perceptual - they come together.

A popular print of Shiva with the crescent moon and the river Ganges in his hair.
This is "far out", "too much".
You have to take the crescent moon and turn it round, so that it will form a circle with your forehead, which is also shining.

Do not put the two crescents back to back, put them belly to belly - a double correction.

"Your" forehead has one crescent, turned horns-downward;
Shiva's is the other way round, just put the two together (integrating physics and metaphysics) and you get the Absolute.

This is the poet's fancy, as he describes Absolute Beauty.
Take the top crescent of Shiva and turn it upside down.
Turn it upside down and it will contain something.
Together with the other crescent this will make a circle - then close the brackets.


A non-canonical painting associating a version of Shiva with the crescent moon.


Another version:
- Forehead.
- By the brightness of the beauty very pure.
- It shines.
- That which constitutes your second.
- I consider.
- Fixed onto the crown.
- The frail bit of a crescent.
- By reversing position.
- Both together.
- Having thus intimately joined together.
- The fullness of sweetness (permeated fully by nectar sweetness) of ambrosia (besmeared).
- Becomes.
- A (fully developed) full moon.

So, the Devi is married to Shiva and thus wears a crescent moon on her crown, similar to Shiva's.
One crescent is shining on her forehead, the other on the crown.
Which one has primacy?

(Note the parallel with the Devi´s earrings reflected on her cheeks as chariot wheels in Verse 59. ED)

I consider the crown-crescent of Shiva to be the reference - it is the abstract mathematical concept.
So the Devi's crescent is secondary, as compared to Shiva's.
But there is no difference in gradation.
There is no question about their equality.
Epistemologically they are the same.

The approach must have a proper methodology.
Her forehead-crescent is methodologically secondary to the crescent on Her crown.
Ganesha can also have the same crown - it is not just the realm of Shiva.