Question: The smoke from the fire got into everything in my store and it made everything smell. My question is, did it also get into the soul of the store?

Sri Chinmoy: No. The earthly smell cannot permeate the soul. The soul cannot be touched or attacked by the smell unless it wants to be. If the soul wants to see how bad the smell is by becoming part and parcel of the smell, then the soul can do so. It is like having a garbage can. If you have a garbage can, what do you do? You dispose of the garbage because you don't want to keep the foul smell inside. But again, if you want to be inside the garbage can, who prevents you? Nobody! The soul also tries to get rid of this smell as soon as possible. If you keep the garbage for a long time and either unconsciously or deliberately enjoy the smell, then naturally you will have something of the smell inside you. It depends on how long you keep it.

In the case of the soul, if the smell remains for a few days, it is nothing. The soul has the capacity to remain undisturbed and unperturbed. But if you do not clean the place for months, then the soul's compassion will take the smell not as a smell, not as an abstract thing, but as a being. The soul takes it as a solid, concrete being that is helpless. Then the soul shows its compassion and tries to identify itself with the smell. At that time the soul will embody the smell and it will take some time before the hour comes when you can get rid of it. But here I clearly see that the soul will not be affected, because it will be a matter of only a few days before the smell is gone.

If a soul is very undeveloped or unripe, or very restless, we say that the soul is destructive. How can a soul be destructive? It can be destructive by becoming one with its stupid mentor, the unaspiring vital, and by mixing with the vital. Then we say that the soul is destructive. The soul itself is not destructive, but it is mixing with the vital to such an extent that it has been eclipsed by the vital. Sometimes the soul mixes with the vital in the hope that it will be able to change the vital in its destructive aspect; it is using its will-power to try to transform the vital power. It enters from the subtle vital into the gross vital with the hope that very soon it will create aspiration in the destructive vital. So the soul, out of infinite compassion, becomes one with the destructive vital in order to transform it. But if the soul is not strong, then it can be temporarily eclipsed by the destructive vital. At that time we say that it is a destructive soul. First you try from a distance to transform the darkness, using a flashlight. But if you see that it is not working, then you go there with your soul's light, with your aspiration and your dedication, and you try to transform it.