The senses are not the Atma. The sense organs can touch and see, but the Atma is different. You may say, ‘I saw the tree, I saw the tree’. But the ‘I’ has no relationship with the sense organs. Sight is related to the Atma. But the eye is a sense organ. That which stands between the sense organ and the vision is the Atma. That which makes sound perceptible to the ear is the Atma. The eye has the capability only to see. Ears have the capability only to hear. The tongue can only taste. Each of the sense organs can do only one function. But the sense organs cannot carry out their function completely on their own. Eye can see and not hear. Ears can hear but not see. Hence, each of the sense organs is bestowed with one only one function. It is only Divinity that has all the powers.
The sky is reflected in a pot filled with water. The sky is seen as a reflection in the pot only as long as the pot has a form. Once the pot is broken, the sky is no longer seen. Where has the sky gone? It has its existence. The sky did not come inside the pot. Neither did it go back when the pot was broken. It was visible so long as there was water in the pot. The sky is reflected in the water, and once the water flows out, the reflection of the sky also vanishes. In the same way, our body is like a pot and the mind is like the water. The Atma must always be reflected in this mind. It will be reflected as long as the pot is unbroken. It is there even after the pot is broken but is not visible. We cannot argue of its existence because it is no more inside the body. Hence it is said ‘Atmavat Sarvabhutani’, which means that Atma, which is all pervasive and existing for all times, alone is the truth.
The Atma is limitless. It is called Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram (Truth, Purity and Beauty). These three words look different but they represent the same principle. Without purity, there is no truth. Without truth there is no beauty. Beauty gives glow. Truth lets you know the real nature of any object or a person. Thus, with the help of the other two, purity gives brightness to objects or persons. The united form of all these three components is the principle of Atma.
This is cloth (showing His kerchief). What is the basis for this cloth? Thread is the basis of this cloth. Where did this thread come from? The thread comes from cotton. The true form of all these three different objects is the same. In the same way, truth, purity and beauty are three different words but the meaning they convey is the same. So also is the case with love, beauty, sweetness and glow. One of our ninth class boys talked about these words. There is no difference in these words. The meaning they convey is the same. When the heart melts, love flows. When this love ripens, it translates into beauty. When beauty is experienced it becomes sweetness. In the state of sweetness, everything looks glorious.
First comes the flower. When the petals of the flower gradually drop off, it transforms into a young berry. When this is protected, it grows and forms a ripe fruit. In all these four stages, the content matter is same. But there is huge difference in the sweetness of the unripe fruit and the ripe fruit. The unripe fruit may have an astringent taste. But as it ripens, it becomes sour and once it completely ripens, it becomes sweet. Where from did this sweetness come? It came from the astringent taste. In the same manner, if love is used as an aspect to melt the heart, it gives you beauty. When beauty is tasted, it becomes sweetness. Sweetness is the real component of the Atma. Hence be sweet all the time. That is why the Madhurashtakam says – ‘Eyes are sweet, words are sweet, everything is sweet and the Lord of Mathura (Krishna) is sweetest of all.’ Because of this sweetness, the whole world glows and becomes magnificent. Beauty, joy and sweetness are not the qualities of external objects. These are the qualities within.
Source: Education for Social Welfare, Discourse 10, My Dear Students Volume 5; Divine Discourse on July 2, 1989 at Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam