Part II — Question and answers

Question: What is the distinction between the vital and the physical?

Sri Chinmoy: The physical as such is blind and very limited. By nature, the physical is lethargic; it doesn't want to budge an inch. The vital is sometimes dynamic and sometimes aggressive. The vital very rarely will take rest. And the vital rarely cares for inner light. It is like a mad elephant. When the spiritual light enters into the vital, if the vital is not ready to receive, the vital will be crushed, broken to pieces.

But when the vital receives some of the soul's light, or when it has surrendered to some extent to the soul's dictates, it will undoubtedly have some purification. And that vital, instead of standing in the way of God-realisation, will help considerably. It will serve the soul in accelerating its onward journey.

There is the vital proper and there is the physical vital. The physical vital is inside the body and, at the same time, around the body. This is the vital that is deeply connected with the gross physical. But the vital proper is not part and parcel of the body. It is in the body, but it has its own independent existence. It is like the difference between the mind proper and the physical mind. The physical mind is in the physical acting the way the physical wants, whereas the mind proper has its own existence. Similarly, the vital proper will never be identified with the physical vital, The vital proper we use only when we try to fulfil a great aim or great mission on earth. Mighty kings and potentates are usually born with that kind of vital. Great leaders — not the so-called political leaders, but leaders of mankind — are born with that kind of vital proper, dynamic vital.

The physical can easily be distinguished from the vital, because the physical, by nature, will not open. It is like a blind child. It does not want to aspire. Constantly we have to feed the physical as we feed a child. But this physical eventually begins to aspire and it becomes proud of its inner reality. The physical is the cage and inside is the soul, the bird. When the cage, the outer body, becomes conscious of the fact that it has an invaluable treasure inside it, then it tries to exert its own power to help the soul, the heart, the mind and the vital in their combined aspiration and in their combined efforts to fulfil God's Will.