Sankalpa can be translated as 'will' or 'intention'. Bhagavan, along with many other Masters, held that jnanis have no sankalpa. In this state, the Self makes the body behave in a particular way and makes it say whatever needs to be said, but there is no individual choice involved in any of these words or actions. Narayana lyer once had a most illuminating exchange with Bhagavan on this topic, an exchange that gave a rare insight into the way that a jnani's power functions:

‘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 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 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 sannidhi, his 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 sannidhi.’

— Narayana Iyer, The Mountain Path 1968, p. 236