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Teachings From Hastamalaka of Adi Shankaracharya

A collection of teachings from Hastamalaka of Adi Shankaracharya

Who are you? Whose child are you? Whither are you bound? What is your name? Whence you have come? Oh Child! I should like to hear your reply to these questions.’ Thus spoke Sri Shankaracharya to the boy, and Hastamalaka replied as follows.

I am neither man, God, yaksha, brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, sudra, brahmachari, householder, forest dweller, nor sannyasi; but I am pure awareness alone.

Just as the sun causes all worldly movements, so do I – the ever-present, conscious Self – cause the mind to be active and the senses to function. Again, just as the ether is all-pervading yet devoid of any specific qualities, so am I free from all qualities.

I am the conscious Self, ever-present and associated with everything in the same manner as heat is always associated with fire. I am that eternal, undifferentiated, unshaken Consciousness, on account of which the insentient mind and senses function, each in its own manner.

I am that conscious Self of whom the ego is not independent as the image in a mirror is not independent of the object reflected.

I am the unqualified, conscious Self, existing even after the extinction of buddhi, just as the object remains ever the same even after the removal of the reflecting mirror.

I am eternal Consciousness, dissociated from the mind and senses. I am the mind of the mind, the eye of the eye, ear of the ear and so on. I am not cognizable by the mind and senses.

I am the eternal, single, conscious Self, reflected in various intellects, just as the sun is reflected on the surface of various sheets of water.

I am the single, conscious Self illumining all intellects, just as the sun simultaneously illumines all eyes so that they perceive objects.

Only those eyes that are helped by the sun are capable of seeing objects, not others. The source from which the sun derives its power is myself.

Just as the reflection of the sun on agitated waters seems to break up, but remains perfect on a calm surface, so also am I, the conscious Self, unrecognizable in agitated intellects though I clearly shine in those who are calm.

Just as a fool thinks that the sun is entirely lost when it is hidden by dense clouds, so do people think that the ever-free Self is bound.

Just as the ether is all-pervading and unaffected by contact, so also does the ever-conscious Self pervade everything without being affected in any way. I am that Self.

Just as a transparent crystal takes on the lines of its background, but is in no way changed thereby, and just as the unchanging moon on being reflected on undulating surfaces appears agitated, so is it with You, the all-pervading God.

(Source: Hastamalaka Translation by Sri Ramana Maharshi)