कलङ्कः कस्तूरी रजनिकरबिम्बं जलमयं
कलाभिः कर्पूरैर्मकतकरण्डं निबिडितम्।
अतस्त्वद्भोगेन प्रतिदिनमिदं रिक्तकुहरं
विधिर्भूयो भूयो निबिडयति नूनं तव कृते॥
kalaṅkaḥ kastūrī rajanikarabimbaṁ jalamayaṁ
kalābhiḥ karpūrairmakatakaraṇḍaṁ nibiḍitam |
atastvadbhogena pratidinamidaṁ riktakuharaṁ
vidhirbhūyo bhūyo nibiḍayati nūnaṁ tava kṛte ||
kalaṅkaḥ - dark spot (in the moon); kastūrī – musk; rajani kara bimbaṁ - rays of the moon in the night; jalamayaṁ - watery; kalābhiḥ karpūraiḥ makata karaṇḍaṁ - (rays of the moon are) edible camphor in an emerald cup; nibiḍitam – full to the brim; ataḥ tvat bhogena – therefore, for Your enjoyment; pratidinam idaṁ - like this every day; rikta kuharaṁ - becoming emptied; vidhiḥ - Brahmā; bhūyaḥ bhūyaḥ - again and again (repeatedly); nibiḍayati nūnaṁ - surely fills it up; tava kṛte – for Your sake.
“The dark portion that is visible to us is musk. The moon’s watery orbit is the emerald cup. Rays of the moon are the edible camphor in the emerald cup that is filled to its brim. When the cup becomes empty by Your usage, Brahmā repeatedly fills the cup for Your sake.”
There are two types of interpretations possible for this verse. Moon’s disc is compared to a emerald cup, which is filled with the water sourced from the moon. This water is mixed with edible camphor and Parāśakti takes bath in that cup. As and when the cup is emptied, Brahmā fills the cup with water and adds musk and camphor. The moon shines only in the night and by referring to Her bath during the presence of moon, it means that She should be worshiped in the night. Brahmā filling up water for Her next bath means, dawn of the day.
But there appears to be a more pronounced subtle meaning. During full moon days (paurṇamāsa), moon is opposite to the sun with all the kalā-s. Kalā means a digit of the moon. Moon has sixteen digits and each of these digits have a specific name ruled by sixteen devi-s. However, these devi-s do not represent fifteen tithi nityā devī-s discussed in the eighth āvaraṇa, who are worshiped outside the innermost triangle of Śri Cakra. These sixteen kalā are invoked while consecrating viśeṣārgya at the commencement of navāvarṇa pūjā. These sixteen kalā devi-s are Amṛitā, Mānadā, Pūṣā,Tuṣiṭi, Puṣṭi, Rati, Dhṛiti, Śaśinī, Candrikā, Kānti, Jyotsnā, Śrī, Prīti, Aṅgadā, Pūrṇā and Pūrṇāmṛitā. These sixteen kalā devi-s represent sixteen vowels of Sanskrit. (Further reading: Eighth āvaraṇa)
She is seated in the middle of the moon and Lalitā Sahasranāma 240 says, Candra-maṇḍala-madhyagā, which means that She is in the middle of lunar orbit. But the subtle conveyance of this nāma is different and is given below*. At the time of amāvāsyā (new moon day), She becomes one with the sun. Lalitā Sahasranāma 275 says Bhānu-maṇḍala-madhyastā, which means that She in the middle of the orbit of the sun. She is not alone here; She is with Śiva, where the union between Śiva and Śakti takes place (Lalitā Sahasranāma 999 Śiva-śakty-aikya-rūpiṇī). Chāndogya Upaniṣad (I.vi.6) says, that the Self effulgent Brahman resides in the midst of the sun. A question may arise as to why this cannot be explained as Parāśakti. This argument can be negated on two counts. Upaniṣad while describing this uses two words that describe masculinity. The first word is puruṣaḥ and the other word is śmaśru. Puruṣa generally means a man and to substantiate this, the Upaniṣad uses another word śmaśru, which means beard. Both of them refer masculine characteristics. Further, Śivasahasranāma 64 says, ‘sūryāya namaḥ’ which means that He is in the form of the sun. Śivānandalaharī (verse 58) describes Śiva as ‘koṭisūryaprabhaḥ’, which means that He shines infinite times powerful than the sun. Kaṭha Upaniṣad (II.ii.15) explains this further. The verse says,
na tatra sūryo bhāti na candratārakaṃ
nemā vidyuto bhānti kutoyamagniḥ
tameva bhāntamanubhāti sarvaṃ
tasya bhāsā sarvamidaṃ vibhāti|”
”न तत्र सूर्यो भाति न चन्द्रतारकं
नेमा विद्युतो भान्ति कुतोयमग्निः।
तमेव भान्तमनुभाति सर्वं
तस्य भासा सर्वमिदं विभाति॥
This means, “in the presence of Brahman, the sun does not shine, nor do the moon and stars, nor does lightning, let alone this fire. When Brahman shines, everything follows. By Its light, all these are lighted.” Going by these citations, it can be conclusively proved that Śiva is the sun; sun is only a miniscule of Śiva. Hence Śiva Sūtra-s describe Śiva as Prakāśa (the Supreme Light with which everything else is known).
When She is with Śiva during new moon day, She is infused with energy by Śiva. Śakti is not a separate entity but the Supreme Power of Śiva (svātantrya śakti). After emerging from this holy union, every kalā is added during śuklapakṣa (waxing moon) and on the full moon day, She is complete with all the sixteen kalā-s. It is also said that during the waxing period of the moon, all gods and goddesses worship Her. It is also said that if She is worshiped during the waxing period of the moon, all types of auspiciousness will be showered on the worshipers. This subtly conveys that worshiping Her during śuklapakṣa gives more benefits. This is more or less in agreement with Lalitā Sahasranāma 610, Pratipan-mukhya-rākānta-tithi-maṇḍala-pujitā**. Therefore, it is said that during waning period of the moon, She sheds one kalā everyday and by the time She unites with Śiva, She is without any of Her sixteen kalā-s. Therefore, a devotee should mentally worship Her during this period instead of performing external worship. After shedding all the kalā-s, She unites with Śiva on new moon day (amāvāsyā) and goes to back to Her Royal Court as Rājarājārcitā (Lalitā Sahasranāma 305) and Rājarājeśvarī (Lalitā Sahasranāma 684), fully energised, as Her source of energy is only Śiva.
Therefore, according to this verse one has to worship Her with all the rituals during waning period and meditate on Her during waxing period of the moon. Further, out of the sixteen kalā-s discussed above, Pūrṇāmṛitā is considered as the invisible kalā. The first fifteen kalā-s form Pañcadaśī mantra and when the sixteenth kalā is also added, all the sixteen kalā-s form the Ṣoḍaśī mantra. Therefore, it would be wise to recite Pañcadaśī mantra during full moon days and recite Ṣoḍaśī mantra during new moon days.
* Candra-maṇḍala refers to the sahasrāra. She is in the middle of the sahasrāra. In the middle of the crown cakra there is an orifice called bindu. She is in the form of this bindu. In fact, in ritual worship of Śrī Cakra, this bindu is the focal point where She is worshipped. The Candra-maṇḍala itself is Śrī Cakra. The moon has sixteen kalā-s and on the full moon day, She is said to be in the form of moon with all the sixteen kalā-s. Reciting Lalitā Sahasranāma on full moon days will bring in all auspiciousness. Śiva is said to reside in the head of agni (fire) and Śaktī is said to reside in the head of the moon and together they sustain this universe (it means that the universe is being sustained by fire and moon referring to Śiva and Śaktī.) This leads to the conclusion that Candra-maṇḍala is Śrī Cakra Itself.
** Pratipad means the first lunar day and rākā means the full moon. In Śrī Cakra, She is surrounded by fifteen tithi nitya devi-s, five on each side of the inner most triangle. The bindu, the central point of Śrī Cakra, where Śaktī is sitting on the lap of Śiva is covered by this inner most triangle. Each of the lunar day is represented by one tithi nitya devi. In Śrī vidyā cult, all these deities are worshipped during ritual worship of Śrī Cakra. Lalitāmbikā is worshipped as mahā-nitya. This interpretation is as per tantra śāstrā-s. Tithi maṇḍala is also referred to in Veda-s, which mentions fifteen names representing fifteen lunar days or tithi-s of waxing moon. In addition to the names of the fifteen deities, Veda-s also refer to one more deity by name Sadā (meaning perpetually) which is known as the 16th kalā of moon. Moon has sixteen kalā-s. Each kalā is represented by a goddess beginning with Amṛtā and ending with Pūrṇāmṛtā and their names are prefixed with each vowel (there are sixteen vowels in Sanskrit).