Question: When a soul is born in a particular body, does it always stay in that body until the body dies, or does a more advanced soul sometimes take over the body for a particular mission?

Sri Chinmoy: Usually one soul is enough, but every rule admits of exception. On very rare occasions — perhaps one time out of a billion or a trillion — if it is the Will of the Supreme, the soul can be taken away and another can be put in its place. If it is the Will of the Supreme, not only the soul but also the heart can be changed; occultists can do it. Almost always the heart tries to listen to the soul, but sometimes the heart fails because the vital and mind are putting tremendous pressure on it. At that time the heart becomes confused and does not see the light. So if somebody has accepted the spiritual life and the heart is not progressing fast enough, if it is the Will of the Supreme, then the Supreme can change the heart and put in a different one. For various inner reasons it can be done.

When the heart does not listen to the soul, or when the mind or vital or body revolts and does not listen to the soul, then the soul's journey is delayed. At that time the soul cannot run the fastest or manifest God's Will. The soul, heart, vital, mind and body are like members of a family. If you have four children, sometimes one or two listen to you and the rest do not listen. Occasionally, to your extreme sorrow, all your children revolt at the same time. In the seeker's case, not only the mind but also the vital and the body may revolt. And even the heart may be shrouded in darkness. Then it can be a very deplorable situation, for all the children are really bad. But in almost all cases the soul acts like a very compassionate parent. The soul is willing to wait and wait indefinitely in the hope that the children will one day become good. It will wait for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years with the hope that the body, vital, mind and heart will all become good members of the spiritual family.