मनस्त्वं व्योम त्वं मरुदसि मरुत्सारथिरसि
त्वमापस्त्वं भूमिस्त्वयि परिणतायां न हि परम्।
त्वमेव स्वात्मानं परिणमयितुं विश्ववपुषा
चिदानन्दाकारं शिवयुवति भावेन विभृषे॥

manastvaṁ vyoma tvaṁ marudasi marutsārathirasi
tvamāpastvaṁ bhūmistvayi pariṇatāyāṁ na hi param |
tvameva svātmānaṁ pariṇamayituṁ viśvavapuṣā
cidānandākāraṁ śivayuvati bhāvena vibhṛṣe ||

manas tvaṁ - You are the mind; vyoma tvaṁ - You are the space; marut asi – You are the air; marut sārathiḥ asi – You are the fire; tvam āpaḥ  - You are the water; tvaṁ bhūmiḥ - You are the Earth; tvayi pariṇatāyāṁ na hi param – thus there is nothing beyond Your manifestation; tvam eva svātmānaṁ - only Your own self; pariṇamayituṁ - manifesting Yourself; viśva vapuṣā –  as the universe; cidānanda ākāraṁ - appearance of Consciousness and Bliss; śiva yuvati bhāvena –the role as Śiva’s Consort; vibhṛṣe – assume.

You are the mind, space, air, fire, water, earth and there is nothing beyond these, as You have manifested in the form of the universe. You have assumed the role of Śiva’s Consort and manifest as Consciousness and Bliss.

This verse speaks about five principle elements (pañcabhūta) ākāśa, air, fire, water and earth. Apart from these five principle elements, the verse also makes a reference to mind. In fact, mind comes first; then only five elements are mentioned. Parāśakti manifests as the universe in successive stages, like a seed sprouting into a huge tree in stages. The tree does not appear suddenly, but grows gradually. This is called evolution (Darwin’s theory). It is called evolution in microcosm and creation in macrocosm.  This does not mean that She also undergoes evolution. As part of Brahman, She never undergoes any changes. Everything else around Her undergoes constant changes, but She never changes. Mind, in association with the modifications of pañcabhūta-s, such as organs of perception and action, get attached to the material world, full of māyā. As a result, one is not able to realize Her entire Glory that is full of Consciousness and Bliss. The verse uses the word cidānanda, which is the combination of Cit and Ānanda. Cit is Śiva and Ānanda is Śakti. Therefore, cidānanda refers to the oneness of Śiva and Śakti; they are not two separate entities but One. Śakti is the Power of Śiva and they are interdependent. Expansion is a part of creation and contraction (not with reference to annihilation) is a part of realization. Contraction is the reverse process of creation. In the process of creation, expansion happens through mind and five subtle elements and during contraction, gross elements become subtle and subtle elements rest in the mind and the mind rests in Her Glory. When the mind perpetually rests in Her Glory, the state of mind is known as cidānanda. Turya is the fourth stage of consciousness and turya itself has seven states which are described as the seven stages of ānanda and cidānanda is the penultimate stage. Ānanda is directly related to awareness of the mind and awareness without any distractions is Pure Consciousness, also known as Śiva. But for ānanda, Cit cannot be attained. In other words, without the Grace of Śakti, Śiva cannot be attained.

Śiva is nirguṇa Brahman and is the cause of everything including Śakti. He is Pure Consciousness and is devoid of any qualities, as indicated by nirguṇa. In order to create the universe, guṇa-s are necessary. Śiva thought for a while and created Śakti and transferred His unique Power of Autonomy to Her and ensured that She creates the universe. Since She is indispensable part of Śiva, She is also called as Brahman. Since She creates the universe, She has guṇa-s (Lalitā Sahasranāma 763 and 984). Therefore She is called saguṇa Brahman. When both Śiva and Śakti remain together, it is the state of Cidānanda (Cit + ānanda); generally this state is known as the state of Śiva. When it comes to creation, it is only Śakti, who begins to manifest by creating five basic elements and their modifications and at the end She creates human beings with mind, intellect and ego. For realization, one has to learn to reverse this process and this process is meditation. Hence it is said that mere practice alone is not enough to attain liberation, but knowledge is also required. Without knowing the route, destination cannot be reached. Knowing is knowledge and the destination is Śiva. Only Śakti, who has the complete authority from Śiva alone can create the universe. In other words, creation begins from the state of Cidānanda (Śiva and Śakti), the subtlest of all the tattva-s to the earth, the grossest of all the taatva-s.  Therefore, it is apparent that without Śakti, as Śiva’s Consort, creation is not possible and for the same reason, She is adored as Supreme Mother or Śrī Mātā. This is the grosser interpretation of this verse.

The verse subtly speaks about kuṇḍalinī.  Parāśakti has three forms – gross, subtler and subtlest. She is worshipped through various conceptualized forms such as Durgā,  Kālī, etc. Subtler form is Her kāmakalā form (Lalitā Sahasranāma 322 kāmakalā rūpā) and the subtlest form is Her kuṇḍalinī form (Lalitā Sahasranāma 110 kuṇḍalinī).  The verse begins with a reference to the mind and then proceeds to earth. Mind is ājñā cakra situated in between the eyebrows; out of the pañcabhūta-s, ākaśa is represented by viśuddhi cakra at throat, air is represented by anāhata cakra at heart, fire is represented by maṇipūraka cakra at the navel, water is represented by svādhiṣṭhāna cakra at the end of the spinal cord and earth is represented by mūlādhāra cakra at the perineum. Lalitā Sahasranāma (465 to 534) also discusses about the mystic centres (cakra-s) beginning with viśuddhi cakra, instead of ājñā cakra, as mentioned in this verse.

She is resting like a coiled serpent in the form of kuṇḍalinī at the perineum and through yogic practice, She is awakened and taken to sahasrāra (crown cakra), where Śiva awaits Her. When She reaches sahasrāra, the practitioner experiences Bliss, a part of Cidānanda and ultimately, the practitioner becomes a realized person, always remaining in the state of Bliss, by practicing.  This is with regard to one’s liberation from the pains of transmigration.

She manifests as the universe through a process, which is fully explained in Lalitā Sahasranāma (256 to 274).  There are three known stages of human consciousness, active, dream and deep sleep states. Beyond these three, there are two more states of consciousness,  turya and turyātīta, where realization and merger with Brahman takes place. The universe has two aspects, macrocosm and microcosm. The highest level of macrocosm is Brahman and the lowest level of microcosm is the material world. When Śiva desired to create, pulsation (spanda) happens in Him and Śakti carries forward this initial throb into the manifestation of the universe. She transforms Herself and enters the three states of normal human consciousness – active, dream and deep sleep. She manifests in these three states as viśva, taijasā and prājña (Lalitā Sahasranāma 256 to 261) in the microcosm. These three states are associated with gross, subtle and causal bodies. These three states originated from vaiśvānarā, hiraṇyagarbha and Īśvarā of the macrocosm.

Thus, She assumes the role of Consort of Śiva by having a clear mandate for creation, etc from Śiva. Without Her, manifestation of the universe would not have been possible