*ARDHANARISHWARA STOTRA*
Attributed to Sri Adi Shakara



  1. Her body is fair like the campa flower;
    His body is like camphor.
    She has elaborately braided hair decked with pearls;
    And he has matted hair.
    I bow to Shivah** and I bow to Shiva.
  2. Her body is sprinkled with musk-vermillion powder;
    His body is smeared with funeral pyre ash.
    She has the power of sexual desire;
    And He is adverse to it.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  3. From Her you hear the movement of tinkling anklets and bracelets,
    His lotus feet have glistening anklets of snakes.
    She is adorned with golden armlets,
    And He has armlets of snakes.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  4. Her eyes are like large blue lotuses,
    His eyes are like the red lotus.
    Her eyes are even,
    His eyes are uneven.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  5. She is wearing a garland of mandar flowers in Her hair,
    He is wearing a garland of skulls around His neck.
    She is wearing silks of divine quality;
    And He is clad only by the sky.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  6. Her hair is dark like the monsoon clouds;
    His matted locks flash with the luster of lightning.
    She is Lord of All;
    He is Lord of All.***
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  7. Hers is the dance that creates differentiation;
    His is the dance that destroys everything.
    I bow to the Mother of the Universe.
    I bow to the Father of the Universe.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.
  8. Her earrings sparkle with radiant, precious stones;
    His earrings are hissing snakes.
    He embraces Her;
    And She embraces Him.
    I bow to Shivah and I bow to Shiva.


* The actual title of this hymn is "Ardhanarinateshwara Stotra," or "Hymn to the Lord of the Dance Who Is Half Woman" -- an alternative title assigned to Ardhanari within Shaiva sects. This anonymous composition is attributed to the eighth-century sage, Sri Adi Shankara.
** Shakti is referred to in this hymn as Shivah, or Shivaa -- a feminine form of the name Shiva.
*** Because this hymn has been passed down orally for centuries, from generation to generation, several variant forms now exist. Some Shaiva versions recite this line as, "She is
not Lord; He is Lord of All."