Question: If a person has a very strong personality trait, does that have anything to do with the soul? For example, if a person is stubborn or has some unique quality, what relation does this have with the soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Stubbornness comes mostly from the vital. The vital is very stubborn and the mind is rigid. But any good qualities come only from the soul. From the soul they are received by the heart, vital, mind and body. The heart receives much more than the mind. Sometimes the vital also receives more than the mind. The body receives the least amount of light. The body is like an Indian bullock cart. It always wants rest; its dearest friend is lethargy. If the vital becomes dynamic, then it pushes or pulls the body so the body does something. The body becomes divine only when the vital commands it, like a military commander. If the heart becomes strong, then the heart also can inspire the body.

So any divine quality that you are expressing in and through your life is definitely coming from the soul. Sometimes one particular good quality can be expressed on many planes. The good quality can express itself on the psychic plane, the mental plane, the vital plane or the physical plane. Devotion, for example, can be expressed through the heart, the mind, the vital and the body. When a divine quality that is descending from Above or coming from the soul is expressed on all the planes — physical, vital, mental and psychic — then the seeker becomes really excellent.

Bad qualities also exist. But they come from the mind, vital or physical. Impurity, for example, does not come from the soul or even from the heart. But when too much impurity enters into the heart from the vital and the mind, the poor heart also embodies some impurity. Then the soul comes and tries to save the heart because the soul feels that the heart by nature is good. So the soul puts light into the heart and purifies the heart. Because the mind and vital are quite often very bad, the soul gets disappointed or disgusted with them and lets them take their own time. But the soul does not do that with the heart because it has tremendous love, concern and compassion for the heart — more than for the mind, vital and body.