कवीन्द्राणां चेतः कमलवन-बालातप-रुचिं
भजन्ते ये सन्तः कतिचिदरुणामेव भवतीम् ।
विरिञ्चि-प्रेयस्या-स्तरुणतर-श्रृङ्गर लहरी-
गभीराभि-र्वाग्भिः र्विदधति सतां रञ्जनममी
kavindranam cetah kamalavana balataparucim
bhajante ye santah katicid arunam eva bhavatim
virincipreyasyas tarunatara srngara lahari
gabhirabhir vagbhir vidadhati satam ranjanam ami
That beauty residing in the minds of superior poets
Resembling that of a forest of lotuses when touched by the tender light of dawn,
He who can thus adore You, who are so dear to Brahma as magenta itself
He, by profound words of most tender, yet overpowering erotic content, shall please the same select ones.

Here, in Verse 16, we have to imagine two sets of persons of perfected aesthetic taste: the creative artists on one side and those who can admire the artist's creation on the other. A good car is not compatible with a bumpy dirt road; nor can a beggar wear satin or silk without making himself look ridiculous. In the same way, the poet must have a reader sufficiently intelligent, or his high-class writings will have no market at all. This is why Kalidasa and other great Sanskrit poets are now going into cold storage forever. In other words, the reader and author belong together in the same context of word-wisdom; they are inseparable counterparts. This justifies the pointed reference to "superior poets" in the first line, culminating in "the same select ones" in the last line The value called word-beauty applies equally to both of them. It is in the mind that the function of good poetry operates, whether by mind-expansion or by mind-contraction, as the case may be. If champagne contracts the mind, LSD expands it. Champagne makes you feel very comfortable but LSD can make you feel like lying on the ground on Mount Tamalpais and saying your prayers again and again.

Now, whether expanding or contracting the mind, there is a neutral abstract point where these two opposite tendencies cancel each other out, according to the non-dual approach of these verses. In order to point out where this subtle but overwhelming beauty resides, the author asks you to think of a pond full of lotuses, with mixed short and tall stalks, resembling a forest. Anyone who has watched a pond of magenta lotuses at just the time when the pink light of dawn streams onto the face of each lotus, as the present writer has had occasion to do, would experience a special overwhelming sense of beauty which does not come from the beauty of the lotus only, but is an emergent factor resulting from the lotus being kissed by the pink rays of the sun. By the blending of the two colours, each having its origin in opposite limbs of the parameter, the amplitude of Absolute Beauty can live and move with all its possible intrinsic variations.


We have referred to magenta as the colour of all colours. It is more than just one of the spectral octave of the seven chromatic colours. Magenta is a colour that participates equally with the two extremes of visible light: infra-red and ultra-violet. The magenta resulting from the meeting of sunlight and lotus is aptly called "magenta itself" in the third line. Aruna is the Sanskrit word for "magenta", as well as a name of the Goddess. Although we tend to consider rainbow colours as transient and unreal, Henri Bergson says that unless somebody proves why a colour is false, he would continue to treat it as real. Sankara here is also justified in calling Absolute Beauty "magenta itself". We neither have to add to nor subtract anything from the real beauty-status of this colour, viewed thus correctly, under the aegis of the absolute, or sub specie aeternitatis, in the context properly limited to beauty.


Beauty, not theology, is the central theme of the present work. The famous opening words of Keats' "Endymion" could be called on here to further support the treatment of Absolute Beauty for itself, by itself and through itself. We can attain the Absolute in many ways, and this is one of them. It is as justified as any other.


Two further points can be clarified in this verse which brings in the mythological relation of Sarasvati to Brahma. Sarasvati is sometimes referred to as the daughter of Brahma, although she is also seen sometimes as his wife. Whether as wife or daughter, the affection is the same when translated into verticalized terms. In this sense, she is dear to the Creator as the source of all real values. Colour is a real value, especially when given an absolute status in terms of magenta, which participates both with the plus and the minus sides of the colour solid, both vertically and horizontally. Sarasvati is a mythological personification of an absolute wisdom-value factor. This has something directly to do with the "most tender, yet overpowering erotic content" alluded to in the last line. No artist in Paris could be considered a great master if he has not proved his worth by correctly painting a nude. This shows that at the very core of art the Goddess of Beauty is to be visualized, not in the vulgarized hobo-like terms of a pavement artist in Monmartre, but at least in terms of a Mona Lisa, so highly prized by dilettantes the world over. If love poetry is forbidden, Shakespeare and Kalidasa would have to resign their jobs. The kind of eroticism described here as "profound words of most tender, yet overpowering erotic content", a value which is the main article of trade for master poets anywhere and anytime, is of a noble rather than a vulgar order. That the biographies of many great men of the world show them to be great lovers only heightens their value as individuals without detracting anything from their greatness.
The noble quality of such an eroticism is indicated by the word gabhiram, which is taken together with sringaram, denotes a very noble and dignified form of erotic mysticism, far beyond the usual vulgar eroticism.

 ("A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases, it will never pass away into nothingness." from Keats' "Endymion". ED)





kavindranam - in superior poets
cetah kamala vana balataparucim bhajante - who adore the sweetness of the mental lotus forest, when touched by the tender rays of sunlight
bhajante - ye santah katicit - such rare good souls
arunam eva - as magenta itself
bhavatim - you become
virinci preyasyas - as one dear to Brahma
tarunatara srngaralahari gabhira bhih - by profound words of most tender, yet overwhelming, erotic content
vagbhih vidadhati - by words he pleases
satam ranjanam ami - to those very good souls he affords pleasure
Eroticism produces poetry.
An earlier, provisional translation:
- of great poets.
- those good men who see in the forest of lotuses in their minds.
- You, who are no other than Aruna (magenta).
- for good ones, they give pleasure
- by means of Saraswati's noble words of love content.





The forest of lotuses is the aruna (magenta) colour, the same as is seen by good men.

They recognize also that the words of love poetry give pleasure to the wise.
There is one wise man who hears the words and another who appreciates it.

The joy of the thing heard and the thing experienced is the same.

Saraswati and aruna are the same.
(Aruna (magenta) = karuna (kindness), ED)




The aruna colour belongs both the dawn and of the lotus.

Nominator words correspond with the denominator experience of the aruna colour.
Saraswati here is on the numerator side where poetry etc.reside.The magenta colour (aruna) colour fills the whole picture.
This is the same thing as apperception in teaching, the fusing of the old and the new - i.e. the previous Verse 15, of which this one is the converse.
(Apperception; in Psychology, "the process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole." ED)

This Verse 16 is the normative reference for the Goddess throughout this work.

The four-fold semantic polyvalence of this verse is found in Kalidasa:
Parvati is watering plants and Parvati is feeding Subrahmanya.
(The reference to watering plants comes from Kalidasa's play, Shakuntala, where she is described as watering the plants in the Ashram garden and the round water-pots are implicitly compared to her breasts. Shakuntala is the eternal feminine, "das Ewig-Weibliche" of Goethe, as is Parvati. ED)
The pot-like breasts of a mother are a holy thing.
You can see God there, He has used his grace to fill them with milk.
The shape of the breasts is very important: it shows that the woman has been meditating very hard; that the intuition to feed the baby is very strong.


(Subrahmanya is referred to in the above diagram as drinking milk from the Devi's breast, in Verse 73 and elsewhere in the Saundaraya Lahari. ED)
In the Bindu or central locus is the abstraction and generalisation of the total value factor.
This is semantic polyvalence.
(Semantic polyvalence: the breasts and the water.pots are not limited to one meaning (semantic monovalence), as is the case with a sign, such as the letter "r" which signifies one sound and one sound only, to the exclusion of other sounds such as "p", "m" etc. On the other hand, the colour red symbolizes many things: blood, danger, "stop!" etc. which is an example of semantic polyvalence. ED)

This is necessarily vague, and it is Aruna (magenta) in colour: it is essence itself.
This also refers to Verse 15; these two must be studied together.
All of these verses which refer to the aruna colour should be taken together.

Anything not affected by place or time is an Absolute, according to Sanskrit scholars.
The magenta colour is Absolute.

Magenta is the result of the cancellation of two opposites.
(The colours blue and red cancel out into magenta when brought together. ED)

An electric fan is switched off but still goes on turning; in the same way, desire, as for example the love of ice-cream, is cancelled out, but it will only be completely gone in ten years or so.

The poet and philosopher and seer are all used interchangeably.
The Saraswati of the previous verse is nearer to the Vedic context, but here also it is the "daughter of Brahma".
Brahma is denominator and gives a denominator touch.

Verse 15, 16, 17, and 18 all go together, as they all deal with colour effects.
Verse 17 also deals with poetry and Verse 18 with light effects.
Turn the light 45 degrees to the right or to the left and you get ultra-violet and infra-red.
(In the same way, different aspects of the Devi are revealed from being seen from different angles, ED)

There are three Devis and three sets of poets appreciating them in different ways.
Verse 17 deals with poetry and Verse 18 with colour.

A mahakavi (superior poet - from maha - great - and kavi - poet) is someone who appreciates the Vedas.

The Devi of the previous verse was white - this one is coloured.
Two light effects from above and from below meet in an actual lotus..