शिवे शृङ्गारार्द्रा तदितरजने कुत्सनपरा
सरोषा गङ्गायां गिरिशचरिते विस्मयवती।
हराहिभ्यो भीता सरसिरुहसौभाग्यजननी
सखीषु स्मेरा ते मयि जननि दृष्टिः सक्रुणा॥

śive śṛṅgārārdrā taditarajane kutsanaparā
saroṣā gaṅgāyāṁ giriśacarite vismayavatī |
harāhibhyo bhītā sarasiruhasaubhāgyajananī
sakhīṣu smerā te mayi janani dṛṣṭiḥ sakruṇā ||

śive śṛṅgāra ārdrā – Soft and tender love for Śiva; tat itara jane – none except Him; kutsanaparā – expression of seriousness; saroṣa – full of anger; gaṅgāyāṁ - with Gaṅgā; giriśa carite – adventures of Śiva; vismayavatī – full of amazement; hara ahibha – fear from snakes adorned by Śiva; bhītā – frightened; sarasiruha saubhāgya jananī –resulting in redness like a lotus flower; sakhīṣu smerā – smiling at Her friends; te mayi janani dṛṣṭiḥ sakruṇā – Your compassionate glance at me.

“Your glance at Śiva expresses soft and tender love; Your glance all others except Śiva is full of seriousness; Your glance at Gaṅgā is full of anger; when You listen to the adventures of Śiva, your glance expresses amazement; when You notice snakes on Śiva, You express fear making Your face red like a lotus flower in a pond; when you look at your friends, You smile; when You look at me, Your glance is full of Grace.

This verse is one of the master pieces of Śaṁkarācārya. This verse elucidates eight types of Parāśakti’s expressions. The same Parāśakti under different circumstances express different types of emotions.

1. On seeing Śiva, Her Consort, She expresses tender and soft love.

2. On seeing others except Śiva, She expresses seriousness.

3. On seeing Gaṅgā at the top of Śiva’s head, She expresses anger.

4. On hearing Śiva’s adventures acts, She is amazed.

5. On seeing snakes on Śiva, which He wears as ornaments, She expresses fear.

6. On becoming furious, Her eyes become red, like red lotus flowers in a water body.

7. On seeing Her friends, She sports a smile.

8. On seeing Her devotee, She showers Her Grace.  

This verse is a poetic masterpiece. Her emotions change according to the situations. When She is adored as Brahman, how can there be change of expressions in Her according to different situations? When She is Brahman, how can She show favour to someone and be angry with someone? When we can think in these lines, Śaṁkarācārya surely would have thought about this. This verse describes Brahman with attributes, who is also known as saguṇa Brahman. These expressions are possible, only if one is afflicted with three types of guṇa-s, sattva, rajas and tamas (purity and knowledge, passion and action, ignorance and inertia) commonly known as triguṇa. Lalitā Sahasranāma 984 is triguṇa, which means that She is an embodiment all these three guṇa-s. Ego and intellect originate from these guṇa-s. When Lalitā Sahasranāma says that She is triguṇa, it refers to Brahman with attributes, also known as saguṇa Brahman or Brahman with attributes. Without attributes, also known as guṇa-s, creation cannot happen. Thus, this verse subtly conveys that She is the cause for creation. Since, this verse describes Her as an embodiment of three guṇa-s, She is able to express different emotions. Typically, this verse explains how guṇa-s play vital role in one’s life. Unless these guṇa-s are transcended, liberation is not possible. Kṛṣṇa says (Bhagavad Gīta XIV.20) “Having transcended the aforesaid guṇa-s, which have caused the body, and freed from birth, death, old age and all kinds of sorrow, this soul attains the Supreme Bliss.”

Again, Lalitā Sahasranāma 139 is nirguṇa, which means that She is without guṇa-s, also known as nirguṇa Brahman. This nāma contradicts what is said in nāma 984. By saying so, Lalitā Sahasranāma drives home the point that She is Brahman without attributes. The difference between nirguṇa Brahman and saguṇa Brahman is significant and is explained in great detail in Lalitā Sahasranāma. Former is Pure Brahman, who always stands as a witness doing nothing, whereas the latter is the Power of Brahman. This is known as Śiva and His Power Śakti. This verse describes Her as saguṇa Brahman. Being saguṇa Brahman, She expresses different types of emotions that are commonly seen in all human beings. The underlying idea of this verse is that one should transcend these guṇa-s to reach the logical goal of spiritual path.

When She is with Śiva, She expresses tender love for Him. When Her body is so tender, the love expressed by Her towards Śiva cannot be different. They are inseparable like a word and its meaning. When She looks at others, this expression of love is lost and Her looks become different for different persons. She becomes serious when She deals with all others, except Śiva. Holy rive Ganges is worshipped as a goddess. She is seated on the top of Śiva’s plaited hair. Though there are stories regarding this, the fact is different. Śiva is always in perpetual meditation. Parāśakti is present within Him in Her subtle form Kuṇḍalinī and plays within His head and as a result of this, His head emits fire. In order to balance the intent and unbearable heat, Gaṅgā is present on the top of His head to prevent the heat from spreading. Only from this fire, known as kālāgni, He annihilates the universe. He uses His third eye to emit this fire. One seeing Gaṅgā at the top of His head, Parāśakti becomes upset and looks at Gaṅgā angrily. Several sages and saints used to tell Her adventures of Śiva, particularly His destruction of Tripura (three worlds in the sky, middle and earth; Tripura subtly conveys three guṇa-s, which need to be destroyed to attain Her Grace). When they describe His adventures, She is amazed with His heroic acts. When She is near Śiva, She is frightened by the presence of deadly snakes which Śiva wears as His ornaments. On seeing evil doers (demons), She becomes terribly angry and as a result, Her face becomes red like a lotus flower in a pond. Lotus flower in a pond is specifically mentioned in this verse. Śaṁkarācārya’s knowledge is exemplary. He has not merely mentioned lotus flower, but he says lotus flower in a pond. This is because lotus flower loses its original deep red colour after taking it out from the pond. Apart from this intended meaning, he also emphasises that Her face is as fresh as an un-plucked lotus flower. She has lot of friends, with whom She plays in Her palace known as Cintāmaṇi surrounded by small sized bushes and celestial tress in the island of Maṇidvīpa situated in the middle of the nectarine ocean. And finally Śaṁkarācārya affirms that She is showering Her Grace on him. He never pleaded with Her for Her Grace; he simply affirms that She is showering Her Grace on him. In spirituality, such affirmations are extremely important, rather than simple prayers.  

Thus, in this verse, Śaṁkarācārya describes eight types of normal human emotions which are inherent in human mind. He subtly conveys that these emotions have to be transcended to attain Her. He says that She is not different from us, as She exists within and can be attained with ease by developing love for Her. When we begin to love Her, She begins to shower Her Grace. Her Grace cannot be attained by mere devotion, as devotion is part of dualism or Dvaita philosophy.