Question: When the soul takes incarnation, are the astrological forces also chosen or is the soul more or less stuck with the astrological conditions that happen to prevail when it descends?

Sri Chinmoy: The soul is not ‘stuck’. The soul is descending and the planets are recording what is happening. It is like somebody standing on the street corner observing you while you are going to the bank. On the way to the bank you may pass this individual or that individual, and the person on the street is observing your movements. But you are not seeing him or paying any attention to him because you are focusing only on your destination. When the soul is descending, its destination is earth. We cannot say that the planets are compelling the soul to come down or take a particular body. The planets have nothing to do with it; they are only recording what is happening.

That is why I say a person’s astrology can be nullified. It is like a tape. You say something on a tape; but if you want to erase it, then you can record right over what you said with something new. When the soul is descending, it is not inviting people to watch and write a book. From the planets the astrologers are making a chart and predicting what will happen. Sometimes their prediction comes true, but if God’s Grace descends, then everything may be nullified.