The origin of this beautiful Stotram can only be related as follows: Once, during Sage Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to a particular village, a brahman named Prabhaakara approached the sage and begged him to assist with his son, who was deemed to be dumb and foolish because he does not speak to anyone or mingle with friends or family.
The great Sage, upon meeting the boy, knew that he was a great and noble soul and that his aloofness and silence were a choice of meditative contemplation.
To display the young boy’s greatness, the sage conversed thus, कस्त्वं शिशो कस्य कुतोऽसि गन्ता किं नाम ते त्वं कुत आगतोऽसि । एतन्मयोक्तं वद चार्भक त्वं मत्प्रीतये प्रीति विवर्धनोऽसि ॥ (“Who are you, O student? What is your name? Where did you come from and where are you going? Please tell me what you know”)
The young boy’s response was in 12 verses. The great sage was so pleased that he gave the name of Hastaamalaka to the young boy, symbolizing the ripeness of fruit in hand to the in-hand sweetened maturity of the young boy. The 12 verses became known as the Hastaamalaka Stotram. This stotram perfectly outlines the gist of Advaita philosophy.
The question from Shankaracharya:
कस्त्वं शिशो कस्य कुतोऽसि गन्ता किं नाम ते त्वं कुत आगतोऽसि ।
एतन्मयोक्तं वद चार्भक त्वं मत्प्रीतये प्रीति विवर्धनोऽसि ॥
Kastvam shisho kasya kuto-asi gantaa
kim naama te tvam kuta aagato-asi.
Etan-mayoktam vada chaarbaka tvam
mat-preetaye preeti vivardhano-asi.
Who are you, O Student? What is your name? From where have you come, and where are you going? What are you made of, O young child? Kindly increase our happiness by answering these questions.
कः who/what तवम् you, yours शिशो pupil, student, disciple कस्य whose कुतः from what place असि you were गन्तव्य destination किम् what (when, how etc) नाम name ते your त्वं you कुत from where, from what place आगत arrived, came असि you were एतन्मय made or consisting of; such a kind ओक्त pupil, invoked, addressed (also उक्त said, spoken) वद say, speak च and अर्भक young one, boy, child, small प्रीत्या with joy, gladly, affectionately मत religion, counsel, intellect प्रीति in a friendly way विवर्धन prosperity, promoting, increasing असि you
Hastaamalaka’s opening introductory response:
नाहं मनुष्यो न च देवयक्षौ न ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियवैश्यशूद्राः।
न ब्रम्हचारी न गृही वनस्थो भिक्षुर्न चाहं निजबोधरूपः ॥२॥
Naaham manuṣhyo na cha deva-yakshau
Na brahmachaaree na grihee vanastho
bhikshurna chaaham nijabodha-roopah.
I am not a person, not a God and not a demon. I am not of any caste or creed. I am not a celibate, not a householder, not a renunciate, not a beggar. I am pure intellect.
न not अहम् me, I मनुष्यो humans, human species न not च and देवा god यक्ष spirit, ghost ब्राह्मण क्षत्रिय वैश्य शूद्राः Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shoodra (the castes) ब्रम्हचारी celibate गृहस्थ householder वनस्थ hermit, renunciate भिक्षु mendicant, beggar च and अहम् I am, me निज innate बोध knowledge, enlightening रूप consisting of
Hastaamalaka’s detailed response:
निमित्तं मनश्चक्षुरादि प्रवृत्तौ निरस्ताखिलोपाधिराकाशकल्पः ।
रविर्लोकचेष्टानिमित्तं यथा यः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥१॥
Nimittam manash-chakshur-aadi pravrittau
Ravirloka-cheṣhṭaa-nimittam yathaa yah
The reason our eyes and mind can perceive is the existence of light from the sun. The appearance of the sky, space and the world is all a concept of perception. And, like how the sun gives cause for all manner of life to thrive, I am of efficient Eternal Cause. I am pure eternal consciousness.
निमित्तं cause, reason मनस् mind चक्षुर eyes आदि begin, beginning प्रवृत्तौ produced, occurred, existing निरस्त dispelled, displaced, rooted out, cast off अखिल universe, entire, whole उपाधि peculiarity, appearance आकाश sky कल्पः time, era, (also, ritual, idea, concept, hypothesis)रवि sun लोक world चेष्टा performing, manner of life, effort, endeavor निमित्त cause, reason (अनिमित्त groundlessness, causeless) यथा than (comparison), for instance यः who, that one, the one who स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
यमग्न्युष्णवन्नित्यबोध स्वरूपं मनश्चक्षुरादीन्यबोधात्मकानि ।
प्रवर्तन्त आश्रित्य निष्कम्पमेकं स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥२॥
Pravartanta aashritya niṣhkampam-ekam
Understand the relationship between heat and cold; understand the relationship between what we see, what we think and what the self really is. True advancement comes with understanding the eternal, immovable One who is perpetually always the true nature of the Self. True advancement comes with understanding the Soul, the true self. I am pure eternal consciousness.
यमाग्नि absence of heat/fire उष्णवत् hot weather, (also disease of the bladder) नित्य eternal बोध intellect, knowledge स्वरूपं form or shape, also, wise, learned मनस् mind चक्षु eyes आदि beginning निबोधति understand, know आत्मकानी attached to self/soul प्रवर्तन advancement (also, coming into operation) अंत end आश्रित्य practicing, having recourse to निष्कम्प immovable, motionless एकम one स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
मुखाभासको दर्पणे दृश्यमानो मुखत्वात् पृथक्त्वेन नैवास्ति वस्तु ।
चिदाभासको धीषु जीवोऽपि तद्वत् स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥३॥
Mukhaa-bhaasako darpaṇe drishya-maano
mukha-tvaat prithak-tvena naivaasti vastu.
Chid-aabhaasako dheeṣhu jeevo’pi tadvat
The face you see in the mirror is not really you; it is just an image. In that same manner, life as being seen in the mind is not reality of the soul (the true self). True advancement comes with understanding the Soul, the true self. I am pure eternal consciousness.
मुख face, mouth भाषक making evident or intelligible, enlightening, talking about दर्पण mirror दृश्य view, visual, show मन mind मुख mouth त्व you पृथक्त्वेन singly, one by one नैव no, not at all, hardly अस्ति it is वस्तु actually, in fact, thing, object चिद् indeed, like, even आभास splendour आभासते (आभास्) appear, looks like धिष् mindfully, zealously जीव life अपि too, also तद्वत् like that, in the same manner, thus, likewise स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
यथा दर्पणाभाव आभासहानौ मुखं विद्यते कल्पनाहीनमेकम् ।
तथा धी वियोगे निराभासको यः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ ४॥
Yathaa darpaṇaa-bhaava aabhaasa-haanau
mukham vidyate kalpanaa-heenam-ekam.
Tathaa dhee viyoge niraabhaasako yaḥ
Just like when the mirror is absent, the reflection of one’s face cannot be – and the face exists without a false form of reflection from outer objects, so too when the affliction of the mind only reflects intellect, then true advancement comes with understanding the Soul, the true self. I am pure eternal consciousness.
यथा than (comparison), for instance दर्पण mirror भाव you, emotion आभास virtual, immanent aspect of ultimate reality, semblance of reason हान cessation, relinquishing, gone, departed मुखम् face, mouth विद्यते exist, be found कल्पना idea, hypothesis हीन destitute of, poor, inferior to एकम् one तथा thus, so, as such धी intellect, understanding, comprehension; the distinguishing feature of wisdom that can provide the benefit of the meditation. धी, in this case, refers to the ability of fully absorbing and comprehending the intelligent principle being contemplated. वियोगे separation, giving up, abstention from (subtraction, division) निराभास without fallacious appearance यः who, that one, the one who स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
मनश्चक्षुरादेर्वियुक्तः स्वयं यो मनश्चक्षुरादेर्मनश्चक्षुरादिः ।
मनश्चक्षुरादेरगम्यस्वरूपः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ ७॥
Manash-cakshuraader-viyuktah svayam yo
My true self is separate from my mind, the eyes and the objects perceived by the mind and the senses. My true self is the sight of the eyes and the power behind the senses, which is imperceptible by the senses themselves. True advancement comes with understanding the Soul, the true self (The power behind the mind, body and senses). I am pure eternal consciousness.
मानस mind चक्षु eyes and objects seen वियुक्त disjoined, separated, detached, devoid of (युक्तः joined, sensible, appropriate, right) स्वयं myself, self यो who मानस mind चक्षुरादेर eyes and senses चक्षुरादिः eyes and sight मानस mind चक्षुरादेर eyes and objects seen अगम्य having come, having arrived स्वरूपं appearance, looks, quality स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
य एको विभाति स्वतः शुद्धचेताः प्रकाशस्वरूपोऽपि नानेव धीषु
शरावोदकस्थो यथा भानुरेकः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥६॥
Ya eko vibhaati svatah shuddha-chetaah
prakaasha-svaroopo’pi naaneva dheeshu.
Sharaavoda-kastho yathaa bhaanurekah
To those who are self-realized, who is aware of the ultimate truth, their inner soul shines brightly. That luminous awareness is like the sun that reflects differently from various surfaces but is the same one sun. I am pure eternal consciousness.
य who एको one, only one विभाति seem or appear to be, shines brightly, looks like स्वतः ownership, belonging to oneself शुद्धचेताः pure intelligenceशुद्ध absolute, pure चेतस् consciousness, mind, thinking soul प्रकाश light, best of something, brightness स्वरूप appearance, looks, qualty अपि with, to, within नाना different, diverse एव just, thus धिष् mindfully, zealously शरावोदकस्थो different pots, different containers शराव pot, lid यथा than भानु splendour, master, lustre, lord एक one स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
यथाऽनेकचक्षुःप्रकाशो रविर्न क्रमेण प्रकाशीकरोति प्रकाश्यम् ।
अनेका धियो यस्तथैकः प्रबोधः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ ७॥
krameṇa prakaashee-karoti prakaashyam.
Anekaa dhiyo yastathaikaḥ prabodhaḥ
Even though our eyes can view whatever the sunlight reflects on, we still take time to comprehend what we see since we only see the outer manifestation of the object we are looking at. So too, the inner true self shines constantly, but we take time to comprehend its purity. I am pure eternal consciousness.
यथा than अनेक many, several चक्षुः eyes प्रकाशः light रवि sun क्रमेण gradually, in regular course, by degrees, in order प्रकाशी visible, shining करोति make, do प्रकाश्यम् renown, manifestness, being evident, to be brought to light अनेक of many, not singular (not subject to one) धि intellect, understanding, comprehension यस्त entrusted, to be adored/worshipped तथा such एक one प्रबोधः knowledge, understanding, manifestation (also friendly admonition) स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
विवस्वत् प्रभातं यथा रूपमक्षं प्रगृह्णाति नाभातमेवं विवस्वान् ।
यदाभात आभासयत्यक्षमेकः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥८॥
Vivasvat prabhaatam yathaa roopam-aksham
pragrih-ṇaati naabhaatam-evam vivasvaan.
That which comes to light can be seen but can be deemed to be unfit, improper or unseen by the one who is looking at it. So too, the shining inner self can be unseen or misunderstood by one who has a faulty perception. I am pure eternal consciousness.
विवस्वत् shining forth, diffusing light, god, brilliant one प्रभातं begin to become clear, dawn, break of day यथा than रूप form, figure, appearance अक्षम improper, unfit, impatient प्रगृह्णाति accept, take hold of, grasp, (also, keep separated) न not अभात visible, appearing, shining, blazing एव thus, really विवस्वत् shining forth, diffusing light, god यत since आभात visible, appearing, shining, blazing आभात appearance, shining यत since यक्षम spirit एकम one स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
यथा सूर्य एकोऽप्स्वनेकश्चलासु स्थिरास्वप्यनन्यद्विभाव्यस्वरूपः
चलासु प्रभिन्नः सुधीष्वेक एव स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ ९॥
Yathaa soorya eko-apsvan-ekash-chalaasu
Chalaasu prabhinnah sudheeṣhveka eva
The one sun looks different when the surface the sunlight hits is shifting or changing. But, the sun and sunlight are unaffected by our ability or inability to see its light. Similarly, the inner Self is reflected upon our ever-changing intellect but remains unchanged and unaffected. I am pure eternal consciousness.
यथा than (comparison), for instance सूर्य sun एक a, one उपश्वस breeze, moving air कश्चन any, someone लासन moving hither and thither स्थिर fixed, stable अस्वपत् not sleeping अनन्य unique विभाव्य to be clearly perceived or observed, comprehensible स्वरूप appearance, looks, nature च and लासिन moving to and fro, dancing प्रभिन्नः split asunder, opened, interrupted, disfigured सुधी intelligence, pious, wise एव really (earnestly) स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
घनच्छन्नदृष्टिर्घनच्छन्नमर्कम् यथा निष्प्रभं मन्यते चातिमूढः ।
तथा बद्धवद्भाति यो मूढ-दृष्टेः स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ १०॥
yathaa niṣhprabham manyate chaatimooḍhah.
Tathaa baddha-vadbhaati yo mooḍha-dṛiṣhṭeh
Perfect yet obscured, shining brilliance yet lusterless to those who embrace ignorance. The sun can be shaded and obscured by clouds, but its light cannot be imprisoned. I am pure eternal consciousness.
घनच्छद involved in clouds अनाधृष्ट unimpaired, invincible, perfect घन dense, solid, thick छन्न obscured, hidden मर्क mind यथा than (comparison), for instance निष्प्रभं gloomy, lusterless, deprived of light मन्यते think, believe, imagine चातिमूढः very foolish, very ignorant तथा thus, so, as such बद्ध captured, imprisoned भाति shine, seem, appear as यो who मूढ़ा foolish, idiotic दृष्टे seen, experienced, observation स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
समस्तेषु वस्तुष्वनुस्यूतमेकं समस्तानि वस्तूनि यन्न स्पृशन्ति ।
वियद्वत्सदा शुद्धमच्छस्वरूपं स नित्योपलब्धिस्वरूपोऽहमात्मा ॥ ११॥
samastaani vastooni yanna sprishanti.
This Self is pure, clear, untainted and untouched by impurity. It is unified and can never be divided. Like the atmosphere and space, it is clear of any impediments. I am that, I am pure eternal consciousness.
समस्तेषु whole, total, united, sit or abide in वास्तु thing, object एकम one वास्तव genuine, true, real (वस्तुषु unreal, devoid of reality) समस्तानि whole, total, united, sit or abide in वस्तूनि object, things स्पृशन्ति touch, take hold of, undergo वियत् atmosphere, sky, air, heaven शुद्ध absolute, pure, correct अच्छ pure, transparent स्वरूप wise, appearance, looks स is नित्य eternal, constant उपलब्धि observation, understanding, perception स्वरूप appearance, quality, nature, wise, pleasing अहम् I am, me आत्मा self, soul
उपाधौ यथा भेदता सन्मणीनां तथा भेदता बुद्धिभेदेषु तेऽपि ।
यथा चन्द्रिकाणां जले चञ्चलत्वं तथा चञ्चलत्वं तवापीह विष्णो ॥ १२॥
Upaadhau yathaa bhedataa sanmaṇeenaam
tathaa bhedataa buddhibhedeṣhu te’pi.
Yatha chandrikaaṇaam jale chañchalatvam
tathaa chañchalatvam tavaapeeha viṣṇho.
A genuine gem appears and glitters differently due to the limitations imposed by the viewer. Similarly, the Self appears different but is pure. Changing circumstances cannot change the purity of Consciousness. I am pure eternal consciousness.
उपाधौ designation, degree यथा than (comparison), for instance भेदता singly, individually, separately सन्मणीनां genuine gem तथा thus, so, as such भेदता singly, individually, separately बुद्धि intellect भेद diverse ते your अपि to, with, within, also चन्द्रिका splendour, illumination जले wash, water, dissolve चञ्चलत्वं unsteadiness, fickleness तवापीह you remove, suppress विष्णो God Vishnu, God the Preserver