July 20, 2009 – Special Divine Discourse on Atma

It turned out to be a wonderful evening at Prasanthi Nilayam - an evening that began like any other day, progressed and ended in a very special manner. As it happens everyday, the bhajans began at 5:00 p.m. and were on when Swami arrived for darshan on a special white chair. It was a wonderful sight and Swami looked so different and beautiful. The saffron of His robe stood out against the white of the chair. Even His hair was seen in all its glory as it stood out against the white backdrop! Swami moved through the ladies side and into the gents’ side via the central students’ area.

Swami arrived on the stage and sat for the bhajans. At about 5:30 p.m., prasadam was brought to seek His blessings before the distribution. Swami blessed it but as the distribution was about to begin, He told them to stop. He then moved around the portico for a bonus darshan and blessings round for all those seated there. And now, arriving on stage, He asked for the podium and mikes! He told Prof. Anil Kumar to speak. For about 20 minutes, the professor spoke on the Upanishads and the principles of Tat Twam Asi and Aham Brahmasmi. He also dilated on the various Vedic declarations on Swami that highlighted His reality and nature.

As he concluded, Swami blessed him and asked Mr. S. V. Giri to address the gathering. He too spoke on the Upanishads and other holy texts. When he was explaining the meaning of Upanishad as, "To sit near the Guru", Swami corrected as, "Down", meaning not only near the Guru but also below the Guru! That correction was however low in volume and was understood only by those whose eyes were riveted on Swami. After his speech, Swami decided to deliver His discourse. Needless to say, there was thunderous applause. Here is the exhaustive summary:


All ask Swami about Atma and none ever understand it. All that has been spoken about the Upanishads are only words. It is said that the Vedas gave rise to the Upanishads but in reality, the Upanishads gave rise to the Vedas. Without the Upanishads, there is no Ramayana, Mahabharata or the Gita; those are mere books.

The ancient sages studied and investigated thoroughly and found that the Atma was the basis for all. Atma is the changeless primordial principle. It has a birth and death when it takes up the body. Shivaratri is not the birthday of Shiva. Shivam means auspiciousness. It is everywhere as declared in the Vedas - "Sarvatah panipadam tat Sarvatokshi Shiromukham. Sarvatah Shrutimalloke Sarvam Aavrutya tishtathi."

Whatever the eyes see, the ears hear or all that is said are all Brahman. Sound, light, speech, movement, etc. - all of these are Brahman. There is nothing apart from that principle. This kerchief, for instance, is Brahman. It arose out of threads which in turn were made of cotton. This is not a cloth in reality but just interwoven threads. It can become either a gown or a dhoti or even a saree.

A powerful mind is that which can convey the Atmic prompting. Without mind, there is no movement at all. So investigate into the mind. The mind keeps changing and that is why it is called the monkey mind. What the mind conveys is not the Truth if it is not prompted by the Atma. Without Atma, there is no Chitta (awareness) and without that, there is no Viveka (discrimination).

The infant grows into a boy, lad, man and becomes a householder. All are same and one cannot exist without the other. The fundamental is the Atma.

People give different forms to the Atma. Some give it the form of the primordial sound - Aumkara. Others call it Tat Twam Asi. It is the same in all. One became many. Just like a mother become a mother and a baby after delivery. The pranava, Aumkara, arises out of the navel as we chant it; it is divine. But all cannot chant Aum. So, they take up other names like Rama, Krishna, Allah, Jesus and the like.

God has no form in reality. The form is used only as an indicator. The form is chosen out of liking. Whether you like Venkateswara, Rama or Krishna, all the forms you have are from Ravi Verma (an artist) paintings! You may shift between forms but all are one.

Ekameva Adviteeyam Brahma. The Brahman is only One and without the second. People imagine and get delusional and that leads to confusion. In a drama, a boy dons the vesture of Krishna. The next scene, he comes as Rama. Though the names you call him are different, the same person arrives. The variations are only due to our delusion.


If you think someone is bad, he appears thus. It is so, also when you think someone is good. It is all based on your feelings towards that person. All these are based on thoughts. Thoughts change due to change in mind.

You think that you are meditating on a form. But it keeps changing from time to time. That is only contemplation. It is steady for some time but it changes. It is meditation when it is absolutely steady. None have meditated so far but they say so. It is all artificial.

It is not good but it is necessary in the beginning. It should be made steady. Concentration leads to contemplation which leads to meditation.

That is acquired by constant practise. Nobody becomes elder at the minute of birth. It is a process of limited growth. It is wrong to think that everything happens as you will. If that is true, then you will not desire anything. You yourself will not exist then. Know yourself first.

"I am Atma". Then why do you considerate it separate from you? All you do today is full of confusion and depression. That leads to disappointment. The wayward nature is responsible for depression. When examinations are held, you either fail or pass. Change is everywhere.

There is change in the environment, water, air, sound, weather – everything changes. How can you remain changeless? Food also changes. What you eat today, you cannot eat tomorrow. It is only the Constant Integrated Awareness that is changeless.

To achieve that, develop the feeling of oneness. The Atma is the same in all. Bodies are like pots and the mind is the water in the pots. The moon is reflected in every pot. Nothing is true without reflection, reaction and resound.

Children! You do not understand the Atma. It is not the letters 'A', 'T' or 'M'. Have the feeling of oneness. All are one. You do different jobs but the spirit of work is the same. It is from the Truth the whole creation has come and it will dissolve into it. That Truth is the Atma. It is changeless. Satya + Satya + Satya = Satya!

Always speak the truth and speak it pleasingly. Truth gives birth to righteousness and together they give rise to Peace. Then there is no anger, pomp, jealousy and ego. There is only Love.

Hanuman went around the whole of Lanka searching for Sita. Though he searched in the palaces, he realised that Sita would never go to Ravana's palace. When he met Ravana in the court, he addressed him in the singular. Ravana was enraged and said that none had the impunity to address him so.

Hanuman then said that he was the servant of Lord Rama and so he would call him in the singular alone. Ravana ordered Hanuman's tail to be set on fire. Do the demons need any provocation for such deeds? They brought all their clothes and rags and wound it around Hanuman's tail and set it on fire. Hanuman leapt and went to every home in Lanka and set it on fire. 

Everyone was rushing helter-skelter wondering which house to enter and be safe. Only Vibhishana's house was saved from the carnage. It is all karma. You decorate yourself with jewels and brilliant necklaces of gold. It is only the garland of your karmas that accompanies you always and adorns your neck. All good and bad are recorded. Nothing else matters.

As you sow, so shall you reap. When you eat pakodas (a south Indian savory), your belch will have that flavour. Nothing more, nothing less. Keep your actions right.

If you have Love for God, you will automatically fear sin and refrain from it. You will love society. Daiva Preeti, Paapa Bheeti and Sangha Neeti. Earn these three. Do namasmarana. Singing the praises of the Lord leads to liberation. Aham Brahmasmi. Ayam Atma Brahma.

Focus on the Consciousness alone. Follow your conscience. Do not spend time in idle gossip. Have pure looks, thoughts and words. Then you will be perfect and good. The Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagawatham - all teach good ideas. Develop love for god more and more. All else will follow. Then you can experience consciousness. Then you become God. Practise is needed for that experience.

So begin to practise. Even for small things, you have to practise. Then you become perfect. Otherwise, you make mistakes. The first step is to say, I am not animal, I am not demon - I am human. Become men first. Avatars have come to make humanity realise the divinity.

Be perfect as humans first. Accept and follow whatever God has said. Then the experience will come easily. If you follow bad, you become bad. Tell me your company and I shall tell you what you are. Now, do bhajans.



Watch the video of Swami instructing a student to chant "Samastha Jeeva Sukhino Bhavantu"

As bhajans began, Swami asked for the prasadam to be distributed. After the aarthi was performed, the traditional, "Samastha Lokaha Sukhino Bhavanthu" was chanted. Swami instructed that, "Samastha Jeevaa Sukhino Bhavanthu", meaning "Let all the beings in all worlds be happy" should be chanted. That was done as He instructed and Swami blessed the assembly.

On His way to the car, Swami spoke briefly with the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. Ashok Chavan. It was past 7:15 p.m. when He retired into Yajur Mandir.

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