Question: You mentioned that one of your disciples had seen your face of a previous incarnation during meditation. Why would he see a previous physical body?Sri Chinmoy: One can get an inner experience, an inner vision from looking at a picture. People can get different experiences depending on what is within them. When one identifies with my consciousness, this is not only the consciousness of this incarnation, it is the consciousness of millennia which is constantly growing. When consciousness is embodied in the physical, it is easier to grasp it and be convinced that it exists. I have this physical body, previously I had other bodies, but deep inside me there is a soul. Ordinary people cannot see my soul, but they can see my physical form. When this disciple looked at me, it was impossible for her to see my all-pervading inner consciousness; she got the vision of a past incarnation of mine to convince her physical consciousness that I take different names and different forms. When we are in this physical world, we understand everything that exists in the terms of form. All-pervading consciousness cannot be given any decisive form, but if it is necessary for the sake of comprehension, God allows a human being to see a past incarnation.
When you see someone's soul in a dream or vision, you very often see his present body as you know it, but if you go deep into a soul with whom you had some past connection, you may see his former body. That is what happened in this case.
Sri Chinmoy, Meditation: God speaks and I listen, part 2, Agni Press, 1974