This Sunday we have a story from Deivathin Kural(Voice of God) about Hastaamalaka, who was one of the principle disciples of Sri Shankara Bhagavath Padal. Let us go the story now.
When we think of Sri Shankara, it will be special to think of Adi Shankara's disciples. Sri Shankara, during his journey was staying at a place called SriBali. There came a Brahmana with his son. The child seemed to be grown but he didn't know anything. He didn't know to see, hear, talk. He asked Sri Shankara to bless the boy and make him see, hear and talk. Sri Shankara asked the boy "Who are you and Where have you come from?". The boy who didn't talk from the time he was born, suddenly started speaking. "What does 'who are you' mean if everything is same.?"
He had composed a Stotra as answer to this question. In this Stotra, he says "I am neither a human, nor a god and nor a Yaksha(யக்ஷன்). I neither belong to one of the 4 castes nor to any of the 4 Ashrams(Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa). I am the form of Atma Jnana(ஆத்ம ஞான ஸ்வரூபம்). This Stotra is known as Hastaamalaka Stotra.
His father became very happy and took him back to his home. Alas, he again stopped talking and became a dumb. He again took him back to Adi Shankara and again he started talking wiser than Shankara. His father said "He is not my son but is yours" and left him to Adi Shankara.
Adi Shankara made him one of his principle disciples and gave him the name 'Hastaamalaka'. 'Hasta' means 'Hand' and 'Amalaka' means 'Amla' indicating 'Amla in his palm'. He got the name Hastaamalaka as he could visualise Atma Tatva as clearly as an Amla in the palm. Acharya himself wrote Bashyam for these Slokas utterred by Hastamalakar. It was named as Hastamalakeeyam(ஹஸ்தாமலகீயம்).
In Puri Jagannatha Mutt, which was established by Shankara in the east, Hastaamalaka was the 1st Acharya. There is also a belief that he is the first Acharya of Dwaraka Mutt.