Question: What do you believe happens when we die?

Sri Chinmoy: When we die, what actually dies is our physical body. This physical body came into the world from the five major elements, called panchabhuta. These five elements, earth, air, etc., enter into their own five sheaths after we die. But the soul, the divine within us, the immortal within us, will never die. It cannot be pierced by weapons. It cannot be drenched by water. It cannot be destroyed by fire. It cannot be blown away by the wind. It is indestructible. When the body dies, this soul passes through the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic realms, and it finally enters into its own region. It rests for a few years there in the soul’s region. When the time comes for the soul to descend, the soul goes back to the Highest, to the Supreme, for His Sanction and Approval. Having obtained this Permission, the soul comes back into the world of revelation and manifestation again.

Each time the soul enters into the physical world, it comes with a new promise to the Supreme, to the Highest, that here in the physical, through the physical, it will reveal and manifest Him. The physical is the fort. It is the house. It is the temple. Inside the temple is the shrine. The soul is inside the shrine. What happens is that in one short span we cannot accomplish everything. We have to accomplish, not with the sense of possession, but with a sense of offering our inner wealth. First, we have to be aware of the inner wealth. The soul makes us aware of the inner wealth when we meditate and concentrate. Then the soul gives us the capacity to reveal the inner Light to the world at large. While revealing, we are manifesting the divinity within us. Now, unless and until we have manifested the Highest Divinity, our game is not over, not complete. So, when we die, the physical dies, not the soul. The conscious instrument, the direct representative of God which is the soul, does not die. It comes back. And each time it comes back to earth, it is with a new hope, a new light and a new aspiration. For spiritual seekers of the highest ultimate Truth, there is no death. It is only a short rest. The divine soldier enters into the battlefield of life. He fights against fear, doubt, anxiety, worries, imperfections, limitations and bondage. When he conquers all these imperfections and negative forces in the battlefield of life, the divine victory dawns on him. So, it is the body that dies and not the soul.

Again, this body will one day be a conscious instrument. Now, the body does not listen to the dictates of the soul. That is to say, the physical mind revolts. On very rare occasions, it listens to the dictates of the soul. Our soul tells us what is good and what is bad. But, in spite of hearing the message from our soul, we do not do the right thing. We are weak. The physical is weak. The physical mind is weak. But a day comes when the soul is in a position to exercise its divine qualities. When the physical and the vital consciously want to listen to the soul, want to be instructed and guided by the soul, then here in the physical we will have a divinised consciousness and an immortal life. The physical will take time to be transformed. But it has to be transformed, totally transformed, so that the physical life can be immortal like the soul.