Sri Chinmoy: The soul never dies. The soul is the immortal thing within us. It is the body that dies. At death the soul gradually goes back to its own region. We have five major elements, five sheaths, which in Sanskrit are called panchabhuta. As soon as the body dies, the physical enters into the gross physical, the vital enters into the vital world, the mind enters into the mental world and the heart enters into the psychic world.
The soul goes back to the soul’s region for a short rest. There are seven higher worlds, like seven rungs of the spiritual ladder, and seven lower worlds. The moment the soul leaves the body it climbs up one rung and then goes up, up, up and covers the seven rungs of consciousness of the seven higher worlds. Then finally it enters into the sea of immense peace. There it takes rest. The length of the rest depends on the individual soul. Some souls come back into the world after six years or ten years or twelve years. The more advanced a soul is, the longer it takes to return. In the case of an ordinary soul which has not been able to manifest much or offer much to the earth, it usually comes back in about six years' time from the soul’s region. But if the soul is very advanced, as in the case of great spiritual Masters, it comes only once in three hundred, four hundred years. And again if it is the Will of the Supreme, then even a very advanced spiritual person is bound to come again after fifteen years or twenty years. But usually ordinary souls come back into the field of creation and manifestation in six years' time.
Before it comes back into the world of manifestation, it goes to the Lord Supreme for an interview. They have a heart-to-heart talk. The soul tells how much it has achieved in its previous incarnation and the Supreme tells it how much it has to achieve in its next incarnation. When the Supreme tells the soul what to do, He gives the necessary power and light to the soul.
Each time the soul comes down like a divine soldier, it enters into the battlefield of life and fights against doubt, obscurity, ignorance, imperfection, limitations, worries and so forth. It tries to reveal its own inner divinity and establish the divine Truth on earth according to its capacity. And then, at the end of its journey’s close in a particular incarnation, it goes back to its own region. When the time comes to return, it tells the Supreme what it is intending to do, and the Supreme either sanctions or disapproves of its plan. Sometimes if the soul is not absolutely clear in its judgement, the Supreme throws abundant light on the soul.