On being asked by Shri Adi Shankaracarya about himself, a young boy replied in the form of a verse, negating all descriptions of himself as human or god, by caste or stage of life. His next 11 verses, encapsulated Advaita-vedanta asserting that he is the Atman, the one eternal Consciousness, the jiva, jagat and Ishvara being but illusory. Since the boy’s experience of the Self was as vivid as a fruit in his hand, Acarya Shankara named him ‘Hastamalaka’ (a gooseberry in one’s palm).
The 12-verse response came to be revered as Hastamalaka-stotra, upon which Shri Shankara himself wrote a commentary.
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