Atma is the Nameless, Formless
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
delivering His Divine Discourse on 30th March 2006,
From Bhagavan's Ugadi Discourse
in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 30th March 2006
father Drupada organised a Swayamvara (choosing of bridegroom by
the bride) to perform her marriage. Thousands of youth, princes
and kings came to his court to win the hand of Draupadi in this
Swayamvara. Just as King Janaka had declared that he would give
his daughter Sita in marriage to the prince who could string the
bow of Lord Siva, King Drupada arranged a Matsyayantra (a device
with replica of fish). The condition of the contest was that
whosoever was able to hit the eye of the fish revolving high
above on a pole with an arrow by looking at its reflection in
water below would be successful in winning the hand of his
Extraordinary Qualities of Draupadi
Many valorous youth and princes who were confident of their
victory tried their luck without any success. This was not an
ordinary test that everyone could succeed. Many people thought
that it was easy, but in reality it was not so. When no one
could succeed in the contest, the entire assembly fell into a
stunning silence. The Pandavas were also present incognito in
this assembly. Krishna, who was also present, looked at the
Pandavas and smiled. At that point of time, the Pandavas spoke
to each other in whispers. Soon after this, Arjuna walked
majestically towards the Matsyayantra, smiling all the way. He
was totally calm and composed. Looking at the reflection of the
fish in water, he shot an arrow. When it hit the target
successfully, the entire assembly went into raptures. All the
people looked at Arjuna in admiration with great delight.
Handing over a garland to his daughter Draupadi, Drupada asked
her to garland Arjuna.
At that time, the Pandavas were staying in the house of a
potter. When they went to their house along with the bride,
their mother Kunti was inside the house. Even before entering
their house, they announced to their mother that they had earned
a very valuable fruit. Their mother replied from inside the
house that they should share the fruit equally between
themselves. The Pandavas always obeyed the command of their
mother and honoured every word that she uttered. They went
inside and offered their salutations to their mother and vowed
to follow her command religiously. In this way, Draupadi became
the wife of all the five Pandavas. The Pandavas dutifully
accepted the command of their mother. But, how could the world
accept this? It is the duty of the children to obey the command
of their parents, irrespective of the fact whether the world
accepts it or not. People, however, accepted this in view of the
intimate relationship that existed between the five brothers.
How can one consider somebody as one's wife? Not merely because
one is married to her. One can call her as wife only when one
considers her as half part of his body. Many people questioned
Krishna how Draupadi could be called a Pativrata (chaste wife)
when she was the wife of five husbands. Then Krishna described
her qualities which earned her this noble ideal. She dutifully
obeyed the command of her husbands. She would never say to any
one of them that she had no time to serve him. She was satisfied
with whatever she got in life. She was the supreme example of
chastity and none could match her in this respect. She never
asked for anything beyond the means of her husbands. A true
chaste woman is one who conducts herself according to the
condition of her husband. The husband should also recognise the
qualities of his wife and have equal concern for her. Only then
can both of them lead a virtuous and noble life.
Looking at her virtuous conduct and her power to control the
five senses, Dharmaraja told Draupadi, "You do not merely belong
to us; you are the embodiment of primal energy." Her father
Drupada had also held this view and considered her as the
embodiment of divine energy. Only those who achieve control over
the five senses and the five elements can rule the world. Only
such people can know the reality of the world and conduct
themselves in a righteous manner. One who has complete control
over one's senses can achieve the greatest heights in life.
Draupadi was endowed with great power of discrimination and she
could discriminate between who was good and who was bad. Both
good and bad are present in this world just like darkness and
light. She encouraged all those who were virtuous and imparted
sacred teachings to evil-minded people to transform them. Not
only she had control over the five senses and five elements, she
had thorough knowledge of Pancha Koshas (five sheaths of the
soul) and Pancha Pranas (five life-breaths) also. She could
differentiate between Atma and Anatma (Self and non-Self). Thus,
she set an ideal to the world and earned a good name.
Draupadi taught that one should do one's duty with dedication.
She exhorted all to exercise control over their desires and
discriminate between good and bad, imbibing all that was good
and giving up all that was bad. One should never forget to
perform good actions and discharge one's duties, she advised.
Everyone should discharge his duty with dedication and should
not interfere in the duties of others, she counselled the
people. "You may have wife and children. It is your duty to
fulfil your responsibility towards them, but at the same time
all your desires should be directed towards the path of goodness
and righteousness", she said. Thus, she became an ideal to the
world and showed the path of truth to one and all. One can
attain Dharma only by following the path of Sathya. Sathyannasti
Paro Dharma (There is no Dharma greater than adherence to
truth). There can be no Dharma without truth. It is the path of
truth that leads one to God.
Follow the Path of Sathya and Dharma
Everyone should perform his duty meticulously and adhere to
Dharma. Even an ant follows its Dharma. Wherever it finds food,
it carries it to its place and consumes it. It does not harm
anybody nor does it steal anything from anybody. All the birds
and animals follow their natural Dharma and conduct themselves
accordingly. The path of Dharma is the same for the Cheema (ant)
and Brahma. The same principle of truth is present in both. This
truth was propagated by Draupadi. She also taught that one
should not become a victim of the six inner enemies, namely,
Kama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed) Moha (attachment),
Mada (pride) and Matsarya (jeaslousy).
Anger is the greatest enemy of man. One with anger cannot follow
the path of Dharma. This is contrary to human nature. One should
not unnecessarily show anger towards others.
anger will not be successful in any of his endeavours.
He will commit sins and will be ridiculed by one and all.
His own people will abandon him.
He will lose all wealth and respect.
His anger will ruin him completely. (Telugu Poem)
another great enemy of man. Whom should you hate? Should you
hate those who oppose you or those who have harmed or those who
dislike you? No; none of these. You should hate only the evil
qualities. You should extend your love and support to those who
follow Sathya and Dharma. If you hate Sathya and Dharma, you are
not a human being at all. Truth is the basis of all virtues. By
following the path of truth, Draupadi could experience peace and
love. She taught that one should restrain from violence. One
should not indulge in violence through one's actions, words and
even thoughts. By following the path of truth, Draupadi set the
greatest ideal to the world.
As you Sow, So you Reap
By exercising sense control, man can achieve great heights in
life. Damayanti was a woman of great virtues like Draupadi. She
earned this name as she was endowed with Dama (sense control).
The senses are wayward by nature, and it is difficult to control
them. Man should, however, do his best to control them and put
them to right use. Why has God given you ears? Is it to hear
vain gossip? Never listen to anything that is bad. Listen to all
that is good. Why has God given you tongue? It is not merely to
satisfy your sense of taste. It has been given to sing the glory
of God. Just as the tongue accepts all that is tasty and
palatable and rejects all that is bad and unpalatable, man
should accept all that is good and reject everything that is
People think that it is God who is the cause of their happiness
and sorrow. But it is not really so. Each one is responsible for
his actions and reaps their consequences, good or bad. God is
the eternal witness and does not interfere in this. He neither
gives happiness nor sorrow. If you talk endearingly to someone,
he will also speak to you in the same loving manner. But if you
talk in an arrogant way, you will get a similar response. As is
the action, so is the reaction. The reaction, reflection and
resound are based on your own thoughts, words and actions; God
is not responsible for them. If you stand before a mirror, you
will see your own reflection. In whatever way you speak to
others, you will have the resound in the same way. Whatever
thoughts you have in your mind, they will be reflected back to
you. It is therefore essential for man to know whether his
thoughts and actions are good or bad. Whatever good or bad you
experience is the result of your thoughts, words and actions.
When any bad thought comes into your mind, give it up
immediately. If you conduct yourself in this manner, you will
become a true devotee of God and achieve liberation.
Everyone has to face the consequences of his actions, whoever
he may be.
No one can know what lies ahead for him in future.
But this much is sure that everybody has to reap the
consequences of his actions. Even the mighty Rama suffered the
pain of separation from His wife and cried like an ordinary
Good and bad coexist. It is not possible for anyone to separate
them. When you cultivate more of goodness, the bad in you will
become absolutely insignificant. There is no need to use any
force to drive all that is bad. When you forget bad, goodness
will develop in you in full measure.
This is the message I would like to give you on this day. Do not
think that the New Year will give you some new fruits. The
fruits that you earn will be based on your qualities and
actions. All that you think will be reflected back to you.
Everything is the result of your thoughts.
World is Reaction, Reflection and Resound
Once there was a cowherd who used to take the cows for grazing
to a place surrounded by three mountains. One day when the cows
were grazing, he sat down under a tree and started singing a
song in praise of God. As he sang the song, he heard its echo.
He thought that someone was imitating his song to tease him.
Therefore, he shouted in anger at the invisible intruder, and
heard its resound in the same angry tone. In this state of
anger, he went home and did not even take his food. His mother
asked him why he was so upset. He narrated what had happened.
Next day, his mother accompanied him and came to know that it
was his own echo which was the cause of his trouble. In the same
manner if you criticise or abuse anybody, all that will come
back to you. The world is nothing but reaction, reflection and
resound. Whatever you do will come back to you, and nothing
else. This is the divine law. Those who are full of love will
see love everywhere. Those who are full of hatred will see
enemies all around. Therefore, love and hatred do not come from
outside. They have their origin within you. The good and bad you
experience arise out of your own feelings. God is not
responsible for any of these. God is Nirguna, Niranjana,
Sanathana (attributeless, pure, final abode). It is only your
feelings that change. God is changeless.
All your feelings are reflected back to you. Everything is
within you. Whatever you experience is the reaction, reflection
and resound of your thoughts and feelings. You see somebody
laughing and you think that he is laughing at you. But how can
you conclude in this manner? Once a famous wrestler was doing
exercise on a road early in the morning. At that time, a lady
was coming from a village to sell milk and curd. When he looked
at her, he felt she was laughing at him. The wrestler became
angry and said to the woman, "How dare you laugh at me? Do you
know who I am? Are you aware of my strength?" The woman replied,
"I am not laughing at you. You are so strong that you can stop a
speeding car with one hand. What is the use of your physical
strength if you lack forbearance?" All our notions are based
upon our deluded feeling.
Be Good, Do Good, See Good
No doubt, your innate feelings are good. But they undergo change
depending upon what you see and hear. It is the external
impulses that are responsible for changes in your thoughts and
feelings. Truly speaking, there is no human form. In fact, there
is no form at all. It is because of your illusion that you see a
form and give a name to it. It is a sign of foolishness to think
so. You may think that you are highly educated and very
intelligent. But how can you call yourself so if you are
ignorant of your true Self? You can be called truly educated
only when you know your real nature. If you do not know your own
truth, how can you know the truth of others? First of all, you
should control your mind. Only then can your worship and prayer
be fruitful. The mind is the root cause of the world. Manah Eva
Manushyanam Karanam Bandhamokshayo (mind is the cause for
bondage and liberation of man). It is comparatively easy to
control the body, but not the mind. When Pramila, the ruler of
women's kingdom captured the Aswamedha horse and defeated Arjuna
in the battle, Arjuna told her that she could arrest his body
but not his mind. It may be possible to capture the whole world
with army, weapons and bombs, but it is not possible for anyone
to capture the mind. When you gain control over your mind,
everything else will come under your control. Therefore, you
should make all efforts to control your mind. Then you are sure
to become an ideal and great person. First and foremost, you
should know your mistakes and try to rectify them. Only then can
you aspire to become a Mumukshu (spiritual aspirant). Knowingly
or unknowingly you may have committed some mistakes. Once you
know your mistakes, you should have repentance. Repentance is
true atonement. This is the royal path which leads to divinity.
There is little use in performing Puja (worship), Vratas
(rituals) and Yajnas without repentance and atonement.
Jantunam Nara Janma Durlabham (out of all living beings, human
birth is the rarest). It is not easy to attain human form. Man
is not a mere mortal. He is verily divine. Daivam Manusha Rupena
(God is in the form of a human being). If you do or think
something bad, you are not divine. First of all, you should
become a good person. Be good, do good, see good. This is the
way to God.
Develop the Qualities Exemplified by Rama and Sita
First of all, you have to control your mind. Offer your mind to
God. He can do everything for you. Have firm devotion to God
with firm faith that He is everywhere.
Do not doubt that God is here and not there. Wherever you
search for Him, He is there.
Where is God? Sarvatah Panipadam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham,
Sarvatah Sruthimalloke Sarvamavruthya Tishthati (with hands,
feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He
permeates the entire universe). Ordinary people are not able to
recognise this truth. God is present in all beings, be it a
small insect like an ant or a big animal like an elephant or a
lion. He is present in a particle of sand and also in a particle
Discharge your duty earnestly with devotion to God. Put your
knowledge into practice and earn a good name. I never prevent
anyone from pursuing his studies. But along with acquiring
secular knowledge, you should acquire spiritual knowledge also.
Proper enquiry of the mind and purity of heart are very
You have completed one academic year, and you will now go home
for vacation. You will be looking for your results and searching
your roll number in the list of successful candidates. More than
searching your roll number, search your heart. If you have
really written well, you are sure to find your roll number. On
the other hand, if you have not written your examination well,
you should not be delighted even when you find your roll number
in the list of successful candidates. It is not the number of
marks that are important. What is important is that you should
become number one man (loud applause).
This morning our students sang the song conveying the message
that one should have a son like Rama and a daughter like Sita.
You may aspire to have a son like Rama and a daughter like Sita.
But, how is it possible when you have the demonic qualities of
Ravana and Surpanakha? If you want a son like Rama, you should
follow Dharma like Him. If you aspire to have a daughter like
Sita, you should have the virtues as exemplified by Sita.
Whatever form you aspire for, you should cultivate the same type
of qualities corresponding to that. Only then can you attain
harmony, tolerance and peace. Where is peace? Peace lies in the
control of the senses. If you are not able to control your
senses you cannot attain peace; you will get only pieces. If you
want to be peaceful, you have to imbibe the qualities of
quietude and composure. Let anybody criticise, abuse or hit you;
you should maintain your composure. When someone criticises you,
do not take it to heart. Think that his tongue has produced some
sound. You have nothing to do with it. If you receive the abuses
hurled at you, you will be affected by them. Otherwise, you will
not be disturbed. Even if somebody beats you, think that he has
beaten your body and not you. In fact, none can ever harm or
hurt you, because you are not the body. If you have such a firm
conviction, then you will not have anger or hatred towards even
those who abuse or assault you. Therefore, firm conviction is
most essential for peace.
Offer your Heart to God in Prayer
Draupadi had deep devotion for Krishna. She prayed to him, "Oh
Krishna! I worship You day and night. Oh Lord! Be compassionate
and protect me. If You are compassionate towards me, then I will
not be bothered about any other thing in life." Draupadi faced
many challenges and ordeals in life, but her devotion towards
Krishna remained unaffected. Thyagaraja said, Oh Lord! I have
been praying to You incessantly, why are You depriving me of
Your love and compassion? What is that I have not offered to
You? I have surrendered my wealth, my family and even my soul to
You. Now, please come to my rescue. I seek refuge only in You.
Mere words are not enough when you pray; you should offer your
heart to God in prayer.
Man has a name and a form, but the Atma transcends both. It has
neither a name nor a form. People like some particular names and
forms. One cannot have faith in many names and forms, but one
can surely have faith in the formless principle of the Atma
which is present in all. Na Atma Sakshi (my Atma is the witness)
is a common saying, which shows that people have faith in the
Atma. That is why Atma is the common name for all. Some may pray
to Rama, others may pray to Krishna. Names and forms are many,
but Divinity is one. Atma is the nameless, formless divinity.
When you worship such a formless and nameless divine principle,
you will certainly attain Divinity.
(Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, "Prema
Mudita Manase Kaho ?")