My continuing search to uncover the hidden meaning behind the swans in my dream/divine visitation recently led me to the Soundarya Lahari. There is some debate with regard to its authors, and widely varying interpretations of the words and their meaning, so I can only provide what limited information I’ve found.

From wikipedia:

The Soundarya Lahari (Sanskrit: सौन्दर्यलहरी) meaning “Waves Of Beauty” is a famous literary work in Sanskrit believed to be written by sage Pushpadanta and Adi Shankara. Its hundred and three shlokas (verses) eulogize the beauty, grace and munificence of Goddess Parvati / Dakshayani, consort of Shiva.

The Soundarya Lahari is not only a poem. It is a tantra textbook, giving instructions on Puja and offerings, many yantras, almost one to each shloka; describes tantric ways of performing devotion connected to each specific shloka; and details the results ensuing therefrom.

The Soundarya Lahari is often viewed as being composed of two parts.

Verses 1 – 41 describe the mystical experience of the union of Shiva and Shakti and related phenomena. In fact, it opens with the assertion that Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.

First 41 verses cover the detailed account of internal worship of the Mother. It consists of systematic exposition of the concept of kundalini, Sri Chakra, mantras (verses 32, 33). This depicts the Supreme Reality as non-dual but with a distinction between Shiva and Shakti, the power holder and Power, Being and Will. The Power, that is, the Mother or Maha Tripura Sundari, becomes the dominant factor and the power holder or Shiva becomes a substratum.


Although translations vary,  swans are definitely mentioned twice in the Soundarya Lahari (v. 38 & 91). Verse 38 is of particular interest, because it speaks of a swan pair.

Samunmeelath samvithkamala makarandhaika rasikam
Bhaje hamsadwandham kimapi mahatham maanasacharam
Yadhalapaa dhashtadasa gunitha vidhyaparinathi
Yadadhathe doshad gunamakhila madhbhaya paya eva

I pray before the swan couple,
Who only enjoy the honey ,
From the fully open,
Lotus flowers of knowledge,
And who swim in the lake ,
Which is the mind of great ones,
And also who can never be described.
From them come the eighteen arts,
And they differentiate the good from the bad,
Like the milk from water.


Here’s another translation of this verse:

O Devi, I meditate before the two Swans who drink and enjoy the honey from the lotus of knowledge. The swans swim in the lake which is nothing but the mind of great personalities. The 18 arts are created from the sweet utterings of these swans. They separate the good from the bad like water from milk. (Here the two swans are referring to Lord Shiva and Shakti).

The eighteen arts mentioned in Shlokam No. 38 are; 4 Vedas, Siksha, Kalpam, Vyakaranam, Niruktam, Sandas, Jyotisham, Meemamsam, Nyayam, Puranam, Dharma Shastram, Ayurvedam, Dhanurvedam, Gandarva Vedam and Needi Shastram.  -Source

So, God appeared unto me in a dream as a pair of swans, or hamsas. Could the swans represent Shiva and Shakti?

“In the Tantric cosmology, the whole universe is perceived as being created, penetrated and sustained by two fundamental forces, which are permanently in a perfect, indestructible union. These forces or universal aspects are called Shiva and Shakti.”  -Source

……………………………………………..Shiva and Shakti are one and the same……………………………………

There is no place that He is not.
There is no place that She is not.
They are one and the same.

She is in every thing.
She is in every word.
She is all there is.

See Her in all things.
Hear Her in all sounds.
Know Her in all thoughts.
Feel Her in all feelings.
She is all there is.

She is the one in the three worlds.

Shiva and Shakti are one and the same.

That is the secret.


I’m also driven to understand the rest of my dream, which I have not yet described. The short version is that I passed through two large rooms or courtyards, which opened to the sky. The walls were covered with complex geometrical inscriptions, carved in precious stones and metals, and they were humming and vibrating with warm energy, a life force which spoke to my soul, comforting me and inviting me inside.  I then entered a third dark limitless area in which the swans appeared. These details are also very significant, and I’ll attempt to address that in future posts.

Related info:

A Digest of Discourses on Soundaryalahari (pdf)
Soundarya Lahari sung by Mambalam Sisters on YT