One day when I was sitting by the side of Bhagavan I felt so miserable that I put the following question to him: "Is the 'sankalpa' (will or intention) of the jnani not capable of warding off the destinies of the devotees?"
Bhagavan smiled and said:" Does the jnani have a 'sankalpa' at all? The 'jivanmukta' (liberated being) can have no sankalpas whatsoever. It is just impossible."
I continued:" Then what is the fate of all of us who pray to you to have grace on us and save us? Will we not be benefited or saved by sitting in front of you, or by coming to you?"
Bhagavan turned graciously to me and said:"...a person's bad karma will be considerably reduced while he is in the presence of a jnani. A jnani has no sankalpas but his 'sannhidi' (presence) is the most powerful force.
He need not have sankalpa, but his presiding presence, the most powerful force can do wonders: save souls, give peace of mind,, even give liberation to ripe souls. Your prayers are not answered by him but absorbed by his presence. His presence saves you, wards off the karma and gives you the boons as the case may be, (but) involuntarily. The jnani does save the devotees, but not by sankalpa, which is non-existent in him, only through his presiding presence, his sannhidi.
Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi recorded by Muruganar
-edited and annotated by D.Godman