मनस्त्वं व्योम त्वं मरुदसि मरुत्सारथि-रसि
त्वमाप-स्त्वं भूमि-स्त्वयि परिणतायां न हि परम् ।
त्वमेव स्वात्मानं परिण्मयितुं विश्व वपुषा
चिदानन्दाकारं शिवयुवति भावेन बिभृषे
manastva vyoma tvam marud asi marut srathir asi
tvam apas tvam bhumis tvayi parinatayam na hi param
tam eva svatmanam parinamayitum visva vapusa
cidanandakaram sivayuvati bhavena bibhrse
The mind you are, the sky, the wind too, also the charioteer of the winds.
You are the water, as well as the earth; apart from your manifest form there is nought else indeed!
You, in order to manifest your own self, taking a universal form
Of mental bliss substantial, do assume the role of Shiva-bride, and thus triumphant rule.
Now, as we pass on to Verse 35, we have first to notice that there is a descending series of items, not necessarily elemental or physical in the ordinary sense; but tending to be psycho-physical, as understood in the Bhagavad Gita (VII;4 ) (See bottom of this page), where it says that the mental factors participate with the elemental earthly factors in an imperceptible gradation of mutual interpenetration. Advaita cannot recognize any duality between matter and mind. The same vertical parameter has to pass through whatever series is supposed to make up a total personality, whether of a god or of a human being. The verse in the Gita gives an ascending series, but here it is a descending one, with mind mentioned first. Slight variations in nomenclature or description would be found in the Upanishads or other contemplative texts, such as the "eight cities" (puryastakam) of Sankara's "Vivekachudamani" (Verse 96). The same kind of series of items can be found in endless variety in literature. What is important for us to note here is that, beginning with mind, which is not physical, we are tracing stable entities or categories which fall along the line of a vertical descending parameter, terminating with a reference to earth, or terra firma, which is fully horizontal in its status. Here again, a logarithmic spiral between bases and apexes of triangles has to be kept in mind.
The six levels are seen to be preserved intact in descending order; starting with mind and touching the lower limit of earth. A cancellation is implied at every level, where a stable equilibrium is to be established between opposing forces. The lowermost limit of final cancellation is marked by the status of young wife-hood conferred on the Devi. The Devi could be meditated on at any level, suiting the temperament of the supplicant or votary concerned. Between the different levels, when properly cancelled out, no vestige of duality is supposed to exist either as the end of, or as the means to, correct contemplation of absolute beauty, which is always the same high value implied in each of the verses of this work. Whether we call each stable position a Chakra (wheel), an Adhara (a basis or foundation), a Mudra (gesture), or a cancelled-out value of Laya Yoga, is not important in Advaita Vedanta. Hatha Yoga could be viewed in the light of the same dynamism of cancellation. The principle of cancellation is thus the basis of each of these verses, as also of this work as a whole. This is not understood by Vedantins of the present day who label Sankara a Mayavadin (one giving primacy to the notion of Maya) without entering into the full spirit of his uncompromising speculation. With this principle in mind let us consider the remaining three enigmas contained in this verse:
1. "Apart from your manifest form there is nought else indeed" (tvayi parinatayam na hi param)
This finalized description must refer to the various grades of horizontalization involved in the process of creation or becoming. A ripe mango can be said to have reached its final limit in the process of becoming mature, in itself, by itself and through itself. This process of becoming is not to be confused with the process of evolution as between different species of animals, which is another subject altogether. It is to be understood in the same sense that twilight can be seen as a maturation of the light of noontide. As everything has to be comprised within the scope of the two parameters, vertical and horizontal, the statement here that there is nothing left out of the picture is quite justified epistemologically.
2. "Taking a universal form" (visva vapusha)
Horizontal becoming has primacy in this verse over the vertical becoming of Verse 34. Pushing abstraction and generalization to its final limits to arrive thus at the notion of the horizontal parameter, always to be understood in just and proportionate relation with its own verticalized relational counterpart, gives us the universal form that is under reference here. Although it is to be understood philosophically, when applied to the personality of the Goddess for purposes of contemplation, it is not repugnant to the spirit of this verse to say that the Goddess became a pleasing and beautiful young wife for the sake of Shiva, whose love must necessarily control and condition the universal form.
3. "You assume the role of Shiva-bride" (sivayuvati bhavena)
It is of the essence of womanhood, which is negative in its import, to establish a reciprocity between the eternal feminine principle within herself and the eternal masculine principle, represented here by Shiva at the Omega Point. This reference, then, to a beautiful young bride triumphantly ruling at the opposite limit from that of Shiva is quite justified.
The overall purpose of Sankara in composing these two verses, which do not refer specifically to orthodox textbooks of Tantra or Yoga, is to prepare the mind of the student for an independent revalued version of these popular esoteric disciplines, so as to bring them into line with his own Advaitic doctrine, for which he has stood consistently through his great commentaries. The difference between those commentaries and the present work consists in the fact that here Sankara employs a language in which, to use the terms of Marshall McLuhan, the medium and the message belong to the same epistemological order as interchangeable factors. Essence and existence, as the two main components of absolute reality, could each be understood in terms of the other. When closely juxtaposed they could verify each other and the resultant would be a normalized value factor which is here called absolute beauty. When such a beauty is experienced within the consciousness of a yogi, it conforms to the relational pattern represented by the Sri Chakra. Whether we call stable states of contemplative meditation by the name Chakra, Adhara or even Mudra, it is the same absolute value, without any taint of duality, and resulting from the cancellation of counterparts, that is always to be implied.
Sankara is evidently preparing the ground to bridge the gap between the meditative factors understood in the context of Tantra and the same factors as understood in Yoga, to which series we shall arrive in the very next verse, beginning with the Ajña Chakra. The transition from Tantric factors of contemplation to Yogic ones could gain support from authoritative textbooks on Tantra or Yoga. That would be the more conventional way of understanding their significance. But Sankara, being a fully cultured Sanskrit scholar, refuses to lapse into the use of the conventional clichés of esoteric textbooks. He prefers to rely on literature originating in the Upanishads, and ideograms and iconographic monomarks known to poets like Kalidasa and others before him, so as to bring them into correct and critically valid use, in keeping with the Science of the Absolute (Brahmavidya). Vedanta becomes a system in his hands, as also a vision within the experience of Yogis. We shall see that he even critically revalues the conventional Chakras, as in the case of Verse 38, where the name of the Chakra itself is seen to be omitted.
His attitude in this work is the same as in the Brahma Sutras, where the Samkhya tendency to schematize and categorize is not favoured. Where reality is self-sufficient proof for the Absolute, to resort to schematization and categorization for their own sake only detracts from the realization of the Absolute.
The Yogi experiences beauty within himself. The artist gives to it an overt representation in outer space. Chakras can belong to Tantra as well as to the world of Mantra and Yantra. Semiotic and syntactical processes also conform to the same structural dynamism. In the light of such a unified approach, it is possible to see how Sankara ably revalues not only semiotic processes, as in Verse 17, but also rival Tantric schools, in Verses 32 and 33, to bring all these disciplines in line with Yoga, itself understood non-dualistically and without prejudices and hangovers belonging to its Samkhya origin. We have attempted to show that there is a common epistemology, methodology and axiology underlying these disciplines, which all belong to the same structural whole, where categories and monomarks which have a relational togetherness of their own are referable to parameters or perimeters, vertical or horizontal.
It is a lack of appreciation on the part of pundits and professors of this fully realistic yet non-dualistically valid approach to Absolute Beauty that has been responsible for scholars, even of the stature of Professor W. Norman Brown of Harvard, to doubt the very authorship of this work. It is difficult for them to see how an Advaita philosopher like Sankara could seem to lend support to Tantrism. Professor Brown (pp. 22-28) explicitly states this difficulty as follows:
"It does not seem to me possible to reconcile the teaching of the Saundarya Lahari, as I have sketched it, with the teaching of Sankara....worship is out of harmony with Sankara's teaching"
This is not a text of worship, as Sankara tries to make clear both in the first and last verses of this work, as revealed in the words "one of ungained merit" (akritapunyah) in Verse 1, and "by words your own" in Verse 100.
We find that after these two Verses, 34 and 35, where the new body and the wifely body of Parvati are referred to, Sankara is able to refer to the conventional Chakras one after another, beginning with the Ajña Chakra in Verse 36. In Verse 35 we see that he steers clear of any technological or conventional approach to the various levels in the psycho-physical setup. The dynamism of a contemplative Yoga, revised by him is not to be fitted into the context of dualistic Samkhya, but into what is proper to a full-fledged Advaitic standpoint of its own.
(The Eight Cities (puryastakam) of the Viveka Chudamani, Verse 96: "The subtle vesture they call the eightfold inner being made up thus: voice and the other four, hearing and the other four, ether and the other four, the forward life and the other four, soul and the other inward activities, unwisdom, desire, and action." ED).




Manas tvam - the mind You are
Vyomah tvam - the sky
Marut asi - the wind You are
Marut sarathir asi - the charioteer of the winds (You are)
Tvam apaha - (you are) the water
Tvam bhumihi - the earth
Tvayi parinamayitum na hi param - apart from Your manifest form there is nought else indeed
Tvam eva sva atmanam - You, in respect of Your own self
Parinamayitum - in order to make manifest
Vishva vapusha - by means of a universal form
Chid ananda karam - of mental bliss substantial
Shiva yuvati bhavena - You assume the role of Shiva-bride
Bibhrse - and thus You triumphant rule.


In this verse we have a descending series of manifested items.
It is a series of values representing Chakras.

The Alpha Point link to the Omega Point is here preserved and a cancellation of counterparts occurs, both vertically and horizontally at the level of each Chakra.

What is in the Numerator is also in the Denominator.
Here the Denominator is filled with Shiva Kanyas (Shiva-maids).
(The Devi in this verse is called "Shiva Yuvati", which has the same meaning. 
This is a reference to Verse 12:
"O Daughter of the high peak, to estimate the equal of your beauty
The best among poets, exercising their fancy, somehow created Brahma and others;
Eager your beauty to see,
heavenly damsels  (Shiva Kanyas) somehow attain to
What is hard even for ascetics to gain; the state of union with Shiva". ED).

The Devi is always manifesting horizontally, having an extreme lower limit, and the young women have their place here as the Devi's attendants.

But there is no Brahma Parinama.
(Tvayi parinamayitum na hi param - apart from Your manifest form there is nought else indeed.
Parinamayitum - in order to make manifest
Parinama, here translated as "manifest form" is literally "change, transformation into"; Parinama Vada is the doctrine of evolution, as proposed by Samkhya philosophy. This must mean that there is no transformation of the of the manifest, positive, numerator side of Brahman. ED).


In this section of the Saundarya Lahari, Section 4, comprising the verses from 31 to 41, the main elements of each of these verses are:

31) Know-how factors
32) Monomarks and letters
33) Garlands of monomarks
34) Vertical participation
35) Descending set of values
36) Ajña Chakra
37) Visuddhi Chakra
38) Anahata Chakra
39) Swadhisthana Chakra
40) Manipura Chakra
41) Muladhara Chakra


The whole of the Kula-path is passed in review.


Verse 35 provides the amorphous material for the Chakras.



Now the poem is swinging to the denominator side.
Here there is a descending dialectical movement within the consciousness of the Devi, without losing absolute parity with Shiva.

Shiva descends without changing status.
He descends within Her consciousness, without losing Absolute content.


Mind, Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth - are terms derived from the Vedic pundits.
(The system of five elements is found in the Vedas, especially Ayurveda. They are called in Sanskrit the "pancha mahabhuta", or "five great elements". ED)

"You, the Devi, are dominating as the ruler of the world, certain Shiva Kanyas (maidens created by You) are there to help You."

Brahman does not evolve - this is a prime presupposition of Vedanta.
However the word "evolution" (parinama - translated as "manifest")  occurs here - in what sense?

(Parinama means literally "change, transformation into"; encountered in the context of a material cause in which the effect is a transformation from its cause as opposed to simply distinguishable from it, e.g. butter made from milk as opposed to cloth made from cotton. ED)
The Epistemology of Vedanta is important here.This is NOT evolution in the accepted Darwinian sense.
We can say that "by appearance You seem to be (manifested as) many functionaries, but the Absolute is not subjected to any process of evolution".
This is evolution in the Vedantic sense; something is evolving in relation to itself - in itself, by itself, for itself.

When "evolution" here complies with these three sets then it is not evolution, but "creative evolution", as in Bergson's work.
The Devi wants to function as a young damsel with a relationship to Shiva.

Without compromising Her absolutist status, the Devi evolves into many Shiva Kanyas (damsels).
(She is described as a "Shiva Yuvati" or "Shiva Maiden", translated as "Shiva-Bride" ED)

This manifestation or change is not fundamental; the Absolute Numerator has a parity with the Absolute Denominator - this parity is not spoiled by the manifestation of the Devi as "mental bliss substantial".

The change does not refer to anything outside the Devi.
You must transcend paradox to explain creative evolution: here it is in itself, by itself, for itself and thus absolute.

This verse contains a great secret which puzzles even the Guru.
These elements: "in You having matured - there is nothing other than You, nothing transcendent to make it evolve; having the universe as its body."

"You are not transcendent, there is only a change in appearance". this is the Vedantic view of "evolution".
The world consists of one universal stuff - this "neutral monism" is between mind and matter. (See Descartes, Spinoza, Russell, Kant, Leibniz, etc.)
Thus the Rationalists, Idealists, Vitalists and Empiricists were all speaking of essentially the same thing.
They have been grouped together by their followers.

Where, for example, did Locke get the idea of the Tabula Rasa?
(In Locke's philosophy, tabula rasa was the theory that the human mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules for processing data. ED)
He got it from the Absolute - everything has its a priori, axiomatic point of origin.
As for this verse, Sankara says the Goddess "reigns supreme"
- this is justified by certain delicate corrections applied to relativity.
The pundits will ask: "What? Corrections within the Absolute, which is supposed to be perfect?

Another version:

- You, the mind
- You, the sky
- The wind you are
- You are the charioteer of the wind - (fire - the beginning of intelligence; in the Upanishads, the chariot is the psychological aspect.)
- You are water
- You are the earth
- In you who are evolved
- Not transcendent indeed
- You yourself
- Your own self
- To cause to evolve
- With your universal body
- In the form of mental bliss (chidananda)
- As Shiva-maid (young maid with the quality of Shiva)
- You rule
"You rule" as a result of the interpenetration with Shiva.
"Evolves" refers to theoretical or negative evolution.
He has written this to bring out the proper epistemology; it is like saying that the magenta colour rules the world.

If you incorporate the husband's functions into the wife, what are you cancelling?
The key here seems to be that She is evolving by Herself.

The mind is at the top, and the earth at the bottom - this is descending dialectics.
The mind has positive consciousness; the earth has negative consciousness.
When you put vertical and horizontal together, you get a substance.
The top accentuates thinking, the bottom accentuates substance.
1) He descends from Mind to Earth in a graded order.
2) The principle of compensation is applied at any level.
Here, the subject is the Goddess; this is more difficult to explain than the prophetic approach emphasizing the mathematical Numerator.

Here, the two aspects are brought together, with emphasis on the negative.
Numerator and Denominator are corrected at any level of the ascending or descending process, by double correction.
Evolution here is in itself, for itself, by itself, through itself.


The process of descending dialectics finds its final negative point in the form of a beautiful woman, since this is an actual, real value. So, of course, She is a "young" woman.
(She is called here "Shiva yuvati" - "yuvati" means a young woman or girl - this is to be compared to the "Shiva Kanyas" (Shiva Maids) of Verse 12. ED)

You cannot "believe" in a hypostatic entity - but the beautiful woman is real and substantive, on the hierophantic, negative side.

But all through this process there is a double correction and compensation, back-to-back, which keeps the absolute value always constant.
So, even the last stage of the descending dialectical process has the same absolute value status as the Omega Point, or any of the points in between.

Mathematical and physical are interpenetrable: She must only descend with the proper epistemology, axiology and methodology.

As long as the ratio is cancellable, then, "Devi rules".
But, She must be affiliated to the numerator Shiva, She must be "Mrs. Shiva".
She can rule as long as the Numerator (Shiva) is there, nothing is lost.
(King Arthur was unhorsed by Lancelot; Arthur laughed and said "It was my disciple, so it does not matter").

This is the opposite approach, but it comes to the same thing.
1) "The fact that is an independent value".
This is an example of epistemology.
2) "That axiomatic truth is at the top - a truth that does not require proof; the perceptive truth, which derives from our perception through the senses, is at the bottom".
This is an example of methodology.
3) To attain salvation - of value to you, personally, the idea of a painting.
This is an example of axiology - beyond logic.

"Man cannot live by bread alone" There are higher ideas; their direction is found axiologically.
ALL DIALECTIC COUNTERPARTS ARE EQUAL - this is an axiological factor

Cancellation is cancellation - whatever the level.

This verse could be entitled:
"A Descending Review of Compensational Values"
"A Descending Scale of Values".
This verse goes from the numerator Mind to Sky, then Wind etc., in a descending process, to Water and then to Earth.
This is reminiscent of the Mind as the charioteer, in the Upanishads.
(From the Katha Upanishad, 3rd Valli:

3. 'Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect (buddhi) the charioteer, and the mind the reins'.

4. 'The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer.'

5. 'He who has no understanding and whose mind (the reins) is never firmly held, his senses (horses) are unmanageable, like vicious horses of a charioteer.'

6. 'But he who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are under control, like good horses of a charioteer.'

7. 'He who has no understanding, who is unmindful and always impure, never reaches that place, but enters into the round of births.'

8. 'But he who has understanding, who is mindful and always pure, reaches indeed that place, from whence he is not born again.'

9. 'But he who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind, he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place of Vishnu.'

10. 'Beyond the senses there are the objects, beyond the objects there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the intellect, the Great Self is beyond the intellect.'

Mind is at the top and Earth at the bottom - with "Mind" as the overall limiting reference.
In between these is intelligence. ED)
(The Chariot image is also used by Plato, in his "Phaedrus". ED)

So, this is a gradation of values:  some things are true logically, some factually, some humanly (in terms of values).
All of these neutralize one another at any point on the vertical axis.
After cancellation, we have always the same unitive Absolute Value.
The chance-factor is the Will of God.
The possibility factor, is the Wind.
In any case, the elements have to be viewed contemplatively as monomarks - so we can say that Fire is the charioteer of the Wind.
Here the Chakras are referred to.
Just as we need the Ether for equations, so we need a horizontal axis to relate to the vertical.
When the horizontal becomes thin enough, it is abolished.
The horizontal is the Devi, the vertical is Shiva.
They cancel out at each Chakra.
They cancel out into a value.

What is lost in the horizontal is made up in the vertical, and vice-versa.
The value here is the knowledge of Brahman, the Absolute.
The more you know the Absolute or Brahman, the more you sympathise with it, the more you BECOME IT.

Here, he will descend from the topmost Adhara or Chakra to the bottom - through six Chakras in all.

The Shad Adharas - these are six Chakras, in each of which we can see how Shiva and Shakti interpenetrate and cancel out at every level, from Mind down to Earth.
So there is a game to be played, within the limits of Mind and Earth.
The limiting instances can be whatever you like, as long as you are consistent.
We first assume the two limits, or factors - like the green and red wires in electricity - which can later be abolished.
These are the Chakras, as described in the next series of verses:
(We have added a series of conventional representations of these Chakras, purely as an anecdotal example of traditional views on the subject and in no way representing the position of Vedanta or of Nataraja Guru. ED).
- The Mind you are (manahatvam) (manas-tvam)
- The Sky you are
- You are the Wind
- You are the Charioteer of the Wind (i.e. Fire)
- You are Water
- You, the Earth
- There is nothing more ultimate than you, thus attaining full maturity
- Parinamayitum (as should be, ED)
(Because you have attained to perfect thinness of the horizontal axis)
- You are yourself, indeed,
- Your own self
- In order to perfect
- With cosmic body (or form)
- The form of subsistence-value
- In the form made of Shiva (Shiva Yuvati)
- You rule


Ajña Chakra is between the eyebrows.
Vishuddhi, slightly lower.
Anahata in the heart.
(List incomplete in the original text.)


Here we have descending dialectics: the Devi will not live in a cave like Shiva, but has Her reference on the negative side.
She assumes a universal body, presenting herself to her husband.
This is in contra-distinction to shaven-headed Jaina nuns, etc..
"You yourself wanted to become the bride, so that Shiva could love you":
All of life is a love affair.


She becomes the wife of Shiva, She returns from being a great Goddess to the first dimension as a humble wife.
(In Kalidasa's play, Shakuntala, the perivrajika (female ascetic) says the Queen will win - how does she know in advance?)



This is a descending series of manifested items.
These are values representing Chakras,


As an added illustration, here is Nataraja Guru's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7, Verse 4. The full commentary is to be found on this website.

bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva cha
ahamkara iti 'yam me
bhinna prakritir ashtadha

Earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, reason also, and
consciousness of individuality: thus here is divided
My eightfold nature.


The enumeration given here is not in the usual strict order
of the twenty-five categories or principles (tattvas) of the
Samkhya philosophy. Samkhya places the tanmatras
(subtle principles of sound, etc.), prior to the mahabhutas
(gross elemental conditions of nature). The Gita here avoids
unnecessary theorization, along Samkhya lines, and begins
in inverse order with the grossest of the mahabhutas (gross
elements) the earth, leading upwards as it were to mind,
reason and individuality-consciousness (ahamkara).
We find also in verses 8 and 9 that these actual gross aspects
of nature are not viewed as matter but as values to which
human beings are related and which enter consciousness
more directly. Thus the unitive nature of the Absolute is
established. But in this preliminary enumeration, the Gita
wishes to err, if at all, on the side of actuality rather than
on the side of far-fetched theory.

By the inclusion of the ego-consciousness in this series of
the lower nature of the Absolute, some factors of
consciousness which properly belong to the intelligent
purusha (self or spirit) of orthodox Samkhya are covered.
On the other hand, the gross earth, when it is referred to as
"pure fragrance"in verse 9, again attains a new and revised

Ascending and descending dialectics move, as it were,
simultaneously in inverse directions, so as to transmute
these divided and separate entities into pearls of value
strung on the thread of the Absolute, and with the Absolute
as the final source-value as stated in Verse 7.

The reference to me bhinna prakriti (my distinct divided
nature) further shows that the duality between prakriti
(nature) and purusha (spirit) which is such a marked feature
of Samkhya, is not given recognition. Instead, each item
mentioned gains a distinct status. The Absolute pervades
nature which itself is an aspect of the Absolute. In Verse 12
a reciprocal relation is indicated.