त्वदीयं सौन्दर्यं तुहिनगिरिकन्ये तुलयितुं
कवीन्द्राः कल्पन्ते कथमपि विरिञ्चिप्रभृतयः।
यदालोकौत्सुक्यादमरललना यान्ति मनसा
tvadīyaṁ saundaryaṁ tuhinagirikanye tulayituṁ
kavīndrāḥ kalpante kathamapi viriñciprabhṛtayaḥ|
yadālokautsukyādamaralalanā yānti manasā
tvadīyaṁ saundaryaṁ - Your beauty; tuhina giri kanye – daughter of snow clad mountain; tulayituṁ - comparing by examination; kavīndrāḥ - the best of poets; kalpante kathamapi – incapable of even after taking great pains; viriñci prabhṛtayaḥ - Brahmā and others; yat-āloka-autsukyād – eager to notice Your beauty; amaralalanā – celestial women; yānti – attain; manasā – mentally; tapoubhir – by way of intent meditation; duṣprāpām api – difficult to attain; giriśa-sāyujya-padavīm – becoming one with Śiva.
“Daughter of snow clad mountain! Brahmā and other best of poets are not able to draw a comparison to Your beauty even after taking strenuous pains. The celestial women, eager to have a glimpse of Your beauty, mentally contemplate You to become one with Śiva, which is difficult even through penance.”
Parāśakti, also known as Pārvatī is the daughter of Kind of Mountains known as Parvatarāja (Parvata means mountain range). Because She was born to Parvatarāja, She is known as Pārvatī (Pārvatī means mountain stream).
Brahmā is the god of creation. He is always busy in compiling Vedas. He is a great scholar and is considered as the best poet. His consort is Saravati, is the goddess of letters. Even they are not able to draw comparison to Her beauty, as obviously, Her perpetual beauty cannot be compared. Comparison is only between two equals, as no one has the kind of beauty She has. Though Brahmā being the creator, he is not able to draw comparison to Her beauty and Sarasvati, being the goddess of letters is unable to draw a comparison to describe Her beauty. This inexplicable beauty drew Śiva towards Her.
The most beautiful of the celestial damsels, such as Rati, wife of Manmatha and others want to have a glimpse of Her beauty. They could not go anywhere near Her. As they somehow want to have a look at Her and began to think about Her all the time. This perpetual thinking about an object is called meditation. In fact this is the true meditation. Their entire attention was focussed only on Her and they had no other thoughts. As a result of their single pointed focus, they became one with Śiva Himself. In fact, they never thought about Śiva and their entire contemplation was only on Her beauty. Still they became one with Śiva. This goes to prove that Śiva and Śakti are not different. Śakti is nothing but the independent power of authority of Śiva. Śiva has transferred all His power to Her to create, sustain and dissolve the universe. Therefore, unless She is realized, Śiva can never be realized. This is described in Lalitā Sahasranāma 727, Śiva-jñāna-pradāyinī. Wind can be realized through movements, fire can be realized through heat and Śiva can be realized through Śakti.
There are four types of consciousness. They are sālokya, sarūpa, samībha and sāyujya. Beyond this is kaivalya. Sālokya is the stage where one performs ritual worship, worshipping Her idols or portraits. In sarūpa, the aspirant leaves idol worship and does not differentiate himself from Her. In samībha he goes near Her and in sāyujya stage he merges with Her and ultimately with Śiva. These are the stages of one’s consciousness that finally lead to kaivalya. One has to progress from one stage to another and this progression happens depending upon the level of spirituality. By being spiritual does not mean one has to be religious. Spirituality transcends religious affinities, though religion forms the foundation of spirituality. This verse subtly conveys the stage of sāyujya, as the celestial damsels become one with Śiva. The duration of meditative sessions do not matter. Meditation is a process when one’s awareness is fixed on Her and all other thought processes are totally suspended.
The level of consciousness is the foremost factor in meditation. Three normal states of consciousness are awakened state, sleep state and deep sleep state. These are the three stages of intensity of sleep. In the first state, the intensity of sleep is totally absent. In the same way, meditation also has different intensities depending upon one’s ability to move his consciousness. The quality of consciousness is the sole factor to determine the quality of meditation. Meditation will be of no use, unless one establishes a firm contact with pure cosmic energy from where necessary energy is provided to the universe for creation and sustenance. The cosmic energy is the source of all energies and is derived from Her. This energy in its miniscule form is known as speech, sound, vision, light, etc. Whether one likes it or not, this cosmic energy is present in and around a person. It is omnipresent. Attempting to understand the original source of this energy is known as the path of spirituality. To pursue this path, one requires supreme knowledge, which is different from the routine process of learning. This knowledge cannot be effectively acquired from books or through lectures. This can be attained only by exploring the inner self by inquiring who am I.
Intensive meditative practice enables a person to access the supreme level consciousness. For example, the level of awareness in the active state and in dream state is both external and internal. In the state of deep sleep state, the level of awareness is only internalized. No one knows what is happening around him in deep sleep state. In the same way, a person in the shallow stage of meditation is aware both externally and internally. In the deep stage of meditation, he becomes thoughtless and therefore totally fixed internally. He stands disconnected from external influences and is able to sustain his single pointed focus. This is where the meditation really advances to the next stage. This is the fourth level of consciousness, the first three being awake, shallow sleep and deep sleep. The fourth level of consciousness can be classified into two sub-stages, shallow meditative stage and deep meditative stage. One can easily differentiate between these two stages. In the first stage (shallow), the preliminary effect of tranquilizing is felt which could last for a few seconds to a few minutes. A feeling of relief is also felt. At this moment, he does not seem to want anything in life. A sort of happiness is realized not amounting to bliss. This is the symptom of upcoming blissful stage. Having experienced this stage he wants to experience again and again which prompts him to spend more time in enjoying this experience. Therefore, reaching this stage of meditation is difficult and once this is reached, rest of the meditative process happens automatically leading to the deep meditative stages.
As one progresses, the quality of meditation also increases finally leading to emancipation or Self-realization. Emancipation is enlightenment, the logical conclusion to meditative process. The progress in meditation can be monitored with the duration of remaining in intense awareness. Though this is not possible and also not advisable to make such a calculation, it is possible to mentally calculate the duration of intensive awareness from the level of relaxation and happiness. From a few seconds in the beginning to a couple minutes now is a good progress. But this does not mean that one should meditate for only a couple of minutes. The process is like takeoff of an aircraft to reach higher altitudes and then to descend to land. In the same way, in meditation the consciousness level starts from the lowest level (routine level of awareness that is witnessed during the awakened stage), reach the highest level, remain there for a few seconds to a few minutes and ultimately come back to the normal stage of awareness. The quality of the meditation depends upon the time taken to reach the highest level of consciousness and the duration of sustaining at that level. The human brain is the main factor in managing the different level of consciousness. Meditation is not without scientific proof, but it does not need any scientific proof, as one undergoes personal experience. There can be no better proof than personal experience. The celestial damsels described in this verse are not merely celestial beauties. They represent each and individual human being and Śaṁkarācārya by drawing comparison to them, laid down rules for intent meditation, through which alone, one can attain liberation. Śaṁkarācārya alone is capable of conveying such subtle conveyances through such types of verses, as he was endowed with the Grace of the Divine Couple.