Question: If you develop occult or other spiritual powers in one incarnation, do you keep them in future incarnations?

Sri Chinmoy: Most of the time you accumulate these powers. If you become spiritually rich in one incarnation, then you become richer in your next incarnation — unless you misuse your powers. If you misuse your powers, then they go. My maternal uncle had tremendous occult power. People used to come and touch his feet, begging him to help them. "Oh, please cure my wife," they would say. "She is dying and I cannot live without her." Or, "My cow has been stolen, please help me to get it back." So he would use his occult power without consulting God's Will, and gradually he would lose it. Then he would cry to Mother Kali, begging her not to give him occult power again because he was always misusing it and did not have time to think of her. But Mother Kali always used to give it back to him. She wanted him to learn how to use her gifts properly.

At first my maternal uncle thought that he was being compassionate by helping these people. Later he saw that by using his human compassion he was only creating more problems, because usually it was God's Will that these people suffer the karma that they had earned.