Question: What role does the vital being play in our spiritual progress?

Sri Chinmoy: First, there is not just one vital being. Each person can have four, five, six or more. When I speak of the vital being, I am generally speaking of the main vital being in a person. If the vital being does not aspire, then it tries to devour the good qualities of others. Also, at times it becomes very jealous of the achievement of the mental being. There is also more than one mental being in each person. But there is one principal mental being, as there is one main vital being. But if the vital is aspiring, if there is an integral sincerity in one’s aspiration, then the vital being helps the mental and physical beings.

The mental being cares for light. The vital being cares for power. The physical being cares for manifestation. And the heart, the psychic being, cares for total perfection. If the entire existence of the seeker wants God, then the vital, instead of trying to devour or suppress the mental brilliance and good mental qualities, will use its strength to try to help the mental being. The process is something like this: when the mental being is doing something, the vital being comes and says, “Can I be of any use?” The other being immediately says, “Yes, I need this or that to enter into higher illumination.” Then immediately the vital being plays its role. In the same way, the mental being will use its capacities to try to help the psychic being. But this only happens when the seeker aspires in an integral way.

The vital being is like a knife. A knife can be of immense help to us when we want to cut something. But the same knife can be used to stab somebody, too. So if the vital being cares for light, it can be of great help. But if it does not care for light, then it will always act like a hungry wolf. If it wants to, the vital being can spread its wings and shelter the physical being. But also it can simply destroy one’s physical and mental possibilities. But if there is aspiration in the physical being, in the vital being and in the mental being, these beings will never try to destroy each other or be jealous of one another’s achievements. On the contrary, they will act like a most harmonious family. A seeker will never be able to realise the highest Truth unless and until he has achieved harmony among his physical, vital, mental and psychic beings. These beings have to establish a divine harmony before the seeker can realise the Ultimate Truth.