Sri Chinmoy: Spiritual progress does not depend on our physical ability or inability. One can make progress even when one is dying. It is his hour, his life is ending, but still he has inner aspiration, there is an inner cry. So this inner cry can give him progress. Again, spiritual progress one can make even after one has just left the body, provided one has maintained a connection with Mother Earth.
One thing is called conscious progress and another thing is called unconscious progress. If the brain is damaged, our physical mind will not be able to know if we are making progress. When the brain is damaged, we cannot make conscious progress; but unconscious progress is there because the inner heart does not depend on the brain. Only the physical mind will not be able to know how much progress the inner heart has made in and through the physical body. Progress is always noticeable with our inner eye. With our human eye we don’t see the progress, even if there is nothing wrong with our brain. But our inner eye constantly shows us the progress that we have made in each incarnation, no matter how much the physical is suffering.
So if there is inner cry, then there is bound to be some progress. Brain damage or senility cannot stand in the way of our inner progress. Outer progress may be limited with brain damage; how can you expect any progress in the outer life? But in the inner life, as long as one remains on earth, he can make progress if there is an intense inner cry, which does not depend on the brain at all.