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by Babaji Bob Kindler 

The author of this nondual stotram, mute from birth, was actually a mahasiddha who had entered into a drowned baby’s body to console the mother.  After the wondrous incident related below, he became one of Shankara’s four main disciples and wandered with him throughout India.  Hasta-amalaka means, “fruit in the palm of one’s hand,” and has symbolically come to represent the state of a knower of Brahman who has clearly attained Self-realization.

IN THE DAYS of Gaudapada and Shankaracharya, the Great Advaitins who conferred upon the world of religion and philosophy the invaluable gift of restoring the truths of Nonduality to their rightful prominence, there lived a man, a Brahmin, with one son.  This man, Prabhakara was his name, had one child, a boy.  To the utter disappointment and mounting alarm of  Prabhakara and his wife, he found that by the thirteenth year of life, his son had never uttered one word.  He appeared to be mute for all intents and purposes.  The doctors could find nothing, and the boy appeared to be perfectly normal.

Now, being a Brahmin, Prabhakara knew that his son, also a Brahmin, would have to earn his keep someday.  A Brahmin studies and reads the Vedas, performs sacrifices with mantras and incantations, and officiates at many ceremonies for the public at large.  How then could his son perform the duties of his caste if he could not even speak?
It was with this nagging concern always in mind that Prabhakara came to know one blessed day that the great Advaitin, Shankaracharya, was coming to his city.  The sage was famed far and wide by this stage of his brief life, and was also known to be possessed of many yogic powers.  This fact brought Prabhakara much hope, for his plan was to bring his son to the great savant and healer for a definitive solution.

On the day of Shankara’s proposed arrival, the city of Sriveli was bedecked with the many colorful banners of the various sects and lineages of the city, and the people were in a festive mood.  Many Brahmin families lived in Sriveli, and the place was famed for its religious scholars of vast learning and erudition.  The great Acharya was also aware of this, and was anticipating arrival into the auspicious center of learning.

After the arrival, and the honorable welcome of Shankara on behalf of the city’s officials, the great preceptor attended the famous temple of Hara Parvati and offered worship to the deities there.  Then he situated himself in convenient lodgings nearby and accepted the many respectful and reverent visitors who flocked to his dwelling for darshan and counsel.  It was then that the Brahmin Prabhakara made his appearance in the presence of Shankara with his son accompanying him, carrying fruits and sweets for offerings to the great teacher.

This famous and exceedingly exceptional moment in time is unique, even in the life of the amazing Advaitin.  It all began with Prabhakara’s testament to his son’s mute condition, and after weeping out his tale of woe he asked the Lord for the reason as to why the young Brahmin was so afflicted.  Without offering any explanation, the great Acharya merely turned to the young boy, now lying prostrate at his feet, and catching his eyes  asked him the following questions: “Who are you, and who do you belong to?  Where are you going in this life, and from where have you come.  By what name are you called?  I would know the answers to these questions, dear boy, for your presence has inspired me greatly.”

The father, the village elders and the gathered villagers looked on as a moment of silence ensued.  Then, to the amazement and awe of all present, the young Brahmin stood, looked directly into the great Advaitin’s eyes, and spoke words of nondual nectar in clear and lucid fashion:

I am not a human, a god,
or a being inhabiting celestial realms.
Neither am I a priest, a warrior,
a merchant or a menial worker.
I am neither monk, householder, hermit, or wanderer.
I am the ever-conscious eternal Self,
infinite and pervading everything.

Without the sun, no terrestrial actions are possible,
Yet the light of Timeless Awareness
allows the sun its moment of glory.
That inner Radiance, vast and conditionless,
illumines the corridors of mind and senses.
And That Light am I, pure and boundless,
attributeless and free.

Comforting and life-giving,
like the quality of warmth in fire,
Whose nature is always awake, all-abiding,
and one without a second,
Who animates inert objects, mind, and senses,
and engages them in action,
That Self-aware entity am I, sublime and indivisible.

As the reflection in a mirror
is identical with the object reflected,
So is the universe identical with the Self,
revealed in the mirror of pure mind.
Thus are living beings perfect images
of the eternal Subject, the undying Self.
And that limitless Self am I,
identical with the Supreme Being.

Remove the reflective surface and the form disappears,
What remains is the formless essence,
the objectless Reality.
Like this, when the external mind is stilled
and focused on Reality,
What is left is oneness, the eternal abode,
my true existence.

Even bereft of sense experience, mental cognition,
and vital functions,
That internal Reality continues to exist,
relying upon nothing.
It is That which animates the senses,
impels the life-force, and awakens the mind.
That perpetual Being am I, Self-effulgent,
illumining the cosmos.

Absolutely unique, the ineffable essence
which is the source and origin of all,
The primal Purusha,
playfully manifesting Itself in Pure Mind,
Who is the one impartial sun,
reflecting in the different waterpots of various intellects,
That One and I are identical,
non-different, inseparable.

It is one homogenous presence
that causes all eyes to see.
It is one omniscient entity
which graces all minds with thought.
It is like unto the sun which reveals
the world of name and form for perceiving.
That One and I are non-distinct
and form one cohesive unity.

The eyes see, the ears hear,
all due to the presence of the Self.
The sun becomes manifest due to That effulgence
which imparts the ability to see to the eyes.
If not for It, darkness and ignorance
would prevail at all times.
The Self and I are one and the same,
free of divisions.

One transcendent sun becomes many,
reflected in the ripples of a lake.
One indivisible Being appears multiple,
animating many bodies.
But relativity ever fails to divide It,
ignorance only momentarily obscures It.
It is undeniably whole,
which is the pervasive condition in all.

The ignorant and naive, beholding clouds,
deem the sun to be non-existent.
These same beings, perceiving nightfall,
imagine the sun has expired.
Ever-present, always shining,
this is even more true of Brahman, the ineffable.
This Self and Brahman are one, not two or many,
and none else exists.

There is only this One, existing in all beings
and all existing in It.
It filters down and touches all hearts and minds,
yet nothing can touch It.
It is like the sky, pure and serene,
subtle and impossible to taint.
That One am I, I am that One,
there can be none other.

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