NEGATIVE ANSWERS ?
"To Adi Sankara's frontal questions demanding self-identification, the 13-year-old lad Hastamalakan commences to provide an answer seemingly in a negative vein. 'I am not a deva or an iyakka; I do not belong to any of the four divisions of society brahmin, kshatriya, vaisya and velala; and I am not to be listed among brahmacharis or family-men or vanaprasthas or sanyasis.'
"What did the disciple imply by these answers? Devas, iyakkas and the likes are mythological celestials who have been elevated from the human level in consideration of the merit acquired by them on this Earth as humans. The moment the stock of their merit is exhausted, as it needs must due to utilisation, they have to plummet down to terra firma, there to toil to pile up fresh merit. An example would be a rich man enjoying the pleasures of a star-hotel. As soon as his wallet is thinned out, he would surely be evicted, would he not be? 'I am not in any intermediate stage like Trisanku but I have arrived at my destination' says Hastamalakan in effect.
"The four divisions in the social set-up that have unfortunately become rigidly stratified in the post-vedic era, were initially designed for the orderly function of the society since man has to depend on cooperative resources for his day-to-day existence. Each demarcation Brahmin or Kshatriya or Vaisya or Velala has a clear role and a set of duties. Hastamalakan avers that having realised and fulfilled the purpose of life, he has transcended social duties.
"By saying he is not a brahmachari or a grihasta or a vanaprastha or a sanyasi, Hastamalakan hints that his education is complete through intuition and he is no longer in need of tuition from outside. A brahmachari is one in the process of learning about Brahman, a familyman has adopted a way of life to clear his imprints, a vanaprastha is training to give up attachment and a sanyasi is one who, having renounced attachment, is still orienting himself to the goal of life, which he has identified intellectually. Hastamalakan makes it clear that he has arrived where he should.
"Having explained in brevity what all he is not, the lad is in a position to announce categorically that he is 'the embodiment of true Consciousness'."
Excerpt from Sage TGNs Talk on Hastamalakam