Mr. George Riddell: Speaking of reincarnation, this brings to mind the idea of the wheel of Karma. Now on the wheel of Karma, a person or a soul is reincarnated in human form. Or can he be reincarnated in other forms?

Sri Chinmoy: Let me say as a preface to my answer that the soul is in this table, the soul is in the chair, the soul is in the plant, the soul is in everything. The soul, of course, is in human beings. It is all a matter of the degree of manifestation. The Christ had a soul, I have a soul, we all have a soul. In the case of the Christ, He had the Supreme’s all-pervading Consciousness. In the ordinary person's case, his degree of manifestation is not anywhere near that. Similarly, the soul that is in this table, this chair, is nowhere near our soul in degree of manifestation.

But, in answer to your question, once the soul has come into human incarnation, once it has accepted human life, it does not, as a rule, accept animal life. Once upon a time, we were all in the animal kingdom, but as a general rule, the soul does not enter into animal incarnation from the human state. But very rarely it happens that people are still in the animal consciousness although they have a human body. They are in the animal kingdom with their passions and lust, lowest vital desires. In such cases the Supreme allows the particular human being, the human soul, to enter into a particular animal to enjoy itself, to work out and throw away all these lowest vital movements. There the soul remains, say for six or eight months or a year. But it does not mean that the soul has to remain perpetually in the animal kingdom. No. And only in very rare cases does the soul go into the animal world. We have got a human body and from here we grow — from man we grow into the superman.

Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 3, No. 9,10, Apr. — 27 May 1968, Aum Centre Press -- Santurce, P.R., 1968