Body and soul

Francisco Matos Paoli: I am extremely grateful to be meeting with you. You are a poet, a mystic. That is very special, because we are both living with God as the Guide of our mutual lives. There is perhaps some difference between Occidental mysticism and Oriental mysticism, but we can all realise that in human endeavours there is an identification between the body and the spirit. What is your belief?

Sri Chinmoy: My belief is also the same. You call it 'spirit', and we use the term 'soul'. The body is the temple in which the soul resides, and the soul is the deity that is housed in the temple. If there is no temple, then the deity will have no place of abode. The body is the manifestation, and inside the body is the essence. We need the body to manifest what we have within. If there is no body, then we cannot embody anything.

This is your house. This house is protecting you. At the same time, if you do not give life to the house with your achievements, with your poetical capacities, with your wisdom-light, with your inner spiritual development, then this house, which is like the body, is of no avail. Both the inner and the outer are complementary realities. We need the body in order to house the divinity within us. Again, the divinity needs the body to manifest its reality. So the body and the soul go together.

Francisco Matos Paoli: And there is also, after death, a spiritual body?

Sri Chinmoy: Yes. There are three bodies — physical, subtle and causal. This is our physical body. Inside the physical there is our subtle body. It has the same form as the physical body, and we may sense it, but we can't touch or feel it with our hands. With our inner vision, with our third eye, we can see it. Then there is the causal body, which keeps the quintessence of our life here on earth. Here we do many things, we get many experiences. The quintessence of all the things that we do and grow into forms our causal body. We call it a body, but it is not like our physical body. It is very tiny.

Francisco Matos Paoli: Yes, there is a physical and a spiritual interrelation — what you call the cosmic apprehension of life and the spiritual apprehension of life — and you can't divide that realm, because sometimes existence transforms into essence and vice versa, essence transforms into existence.

Sri Chinmoy: It is like water and ice. Water becomes ice; again, ice becomes water. At one moment it is essence, and at another moment it is substance. Reality is also like that. Reality is both with attributes and without attributes, like God with form and God without form. Here also, essence and substance are inseparable.