Part I — The three bodies: physical, subtle and causal

Question: For what purpose do we have a physical body?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul, which is a conscious, divine portion of God, has to live inside the physical body in order to make progress. Inside the church is the altar. Similarly, the body is a temple, and inside the temple is the shrine, the soul. The body is our outer protection and, at the same time, our instrument for physical manifestation. Without the body the soul is helpless. Until manifestation takes place in the physical world, we cannot offer the real Truth to the world at large. The purpose of the body is to manifest the Reality of the soul. The soul needs the body to manifest the inner Truth, the divine Truth; the body needs the soul to realise the highest Truth.

When the soul inspires us to do something, it also gives us the necessary capacity. Unfortunately, the unaspiring body, vital and mind do not obey the dictates of the soul. The body, vital and mind give us messages, but these messages are not the inner dictates of the soul. The desires of the body often directly contradict the divine necessities of the soul, because this material body is unconsciousness itself.

When a person begins to aspire consciously, his entire being gradually starts to aspire. His soul aspires, his heart aspires, his mind aspires, his vital aspires and finally his body aspires. When the physical in the aspirant starts to become one with the soul's inspiration and aspiration, then God's Light can find a fit receptacle in him.