Question: I have read in the writings of modern Western philosophers that the soul and the body are inseparable. Can you please tell us your own philosophy on this matter?

Sri Chinmoy: Body and soul are like a house and its owner. The soul is the owner and the body is the house. They are to some extent inseparable for a period of time. We may call the body a temple. Inside the temple is the shrine, the heart. On the shrine is the deity, the soul.

Now let us speak only of the soul and the body, since that is your question. We have to know what the soul can offer us and what the body can offer us. The soul can offer us realisation. The body can offer us manifestation. When we enter into our soul through meditation, we realise Peace, Light and Bliss. Then, through the physical, we offer these gifts to the world. When we look at someone or say something or do something, the physical is manifesting what the soul has experienced or realised. We have meditated here for about twenty minutes. All of us have entered into the realm of soul according to our capacity. Some have greater aspiration, so naturally they have entered deeper into their souls; others have less aspiration and they have not gone very deep. But whatever they have felt in the inner region will now be manifested by the body. About an hour ago when you came in here you did not bring Peace or Light in with you. After you came in you invoked Peace, Light and Bliss. Now this Peace, Light and Bliss have entered into you through the soul, and from the soul they have now entered into your physical consciousness. If you go and stand in front of a mirror you will see the difference between what you were an hour ago and what you are now. This obvious physical difference you will see is due to the fact that the physical consciousness is manifesting the Light that the soul has invoked.

The soul and the body are complementary. Without the soul, without the owner, the house is useless. As long as the soul is inside the body we can hope to realise something, we can hope to manifest something, because the owner is there. But when the owner leaves the body permanently, the body is of no more use. When the owner is there and the body is in perfect condition, then the message of the soul can be revealed and fulfilled. The owner of a store does not work in the street. He works inside the store itself. Similarly, the soul works inside the body, as well as with the body, through the body and for the body-consciousness. The body will manifest what the soul realises. For its manifestation the soul needs the body; for its realisation the body needs the soul. The body offers its capacity in service, and the soul offers its capacity in meditation. In this way they go together perfectly.

But you must know that this is the aspiring and illumining soul. If the soul does not try to inspire and illumine the body, the body will remain blind, ignorant, obscure and impure. And without the body’s co-operation the soul will remain unmanifested, almost useless. Often we see that the soul is crying for realisation and manifestation through the body, but the body is not responding to it. More often we see that the body is physically strong, but it is not aspiring for the inner light and truth which the soul can offer it.

This is our philosophy on the relationship between the body and the soul. Body and soul are not inseparable, but complementary. The soul can exist without the body, although it cannot manifest itself. The body cannot exist for more than a few hours without the soul. For their total mutual fulfilment, body and soul need each other.