Professor Joan Chatfield: At what moment does God place the soul into the body? Why does God not reveal to the parents the exact moment?

Sri Chinmoy: My esteemed Professor, there is no hard and fast rule as to when the soul will enter the body. The soul can enter into the body exactly at the moment of conception, or the soul can enter into the body a few days later, a few months later, or even a few hours before the birth of the child. According to the occult vision of seers, the soul can enter into the body as long as 13 hours after the birth of the child.

Similarly, the soul can be away from the body for as long as three days without causing the death of the body. The body can continue to function in its mechanically normal way without the soul's occupancy for short periods of time. Such incidents are very rare, but great occultists and spiritual Masters of the Himalayan heights can testify to the veracity of this fact.

The soul is neither masculine nor feminine. The soul enters into one kind of body or the other, the way one enters into a house. If a soul takes a feminine body that does not mean that the soul itself is feminine. The soul has accepted a feminine type of house. One particular soul prefers a certain type of house. Another soul may prefer a different type of house. With occult power that house can be changed. Science will not believe it.

The soul is like the person who wants to buy a house. He may give the order to the contractors to build the house in a certain way, or he can choose a house that has already been built. In either case, the buyer can decide to enter whenever he wants to, within limits. Like that, the soul is under no obligation to come at a certain time. It can come at any time during the nine months before the birth of the child. It can even come shortly after the birth if it wants to.

When the soul enters the body, if the parents are spiritually conscious, they will see a column of light descending. The soul is made of light, but it can take any form. If the mother is very, very spiritual, she will feel something special on the day that the soul enters. The father also may feel it. The soul of the child is entering the mother's body, but if the father is very, very spiritual, on the strength of his oneness with his wife and his child, the father will feel that something special is happening. God will give them the vision. In the Bible we learn that an angel told Mary that she was carrying the Christ. This has also happened in the case of some other highly developed spiritual figures.