Sri Chinmoy answers, part 13
Questions on the soulSCA 481-530. These questions on the soul were answered by Sri Chinmoy on 27 November 1996.
Question: When I was in the hospital after my accident, I had what you called an experience of my higher self. Was it a one-time event, or will I have this experience again?Sri Chinmoy: You can have the same experience again, if so is the Will of God. But I know that you have had experiences much higher than the one you had at the hospital.
Question: I feel that my soul is the force of my life. Am I correct?Sri Chinmoy: You are absolutely correct. Your soul is the only God-fulfilment and God-satisfaction-force of your life.
Question: Does the soul enjoy any special kind of music?Sri Chinmoy: Yes. The soul has a special liking for the music of Silence transcendental and universal.
Question: How can I constantly feel my soul's love for you?Sri Chinmoy: Just turn your life into a river of heart-tears. Then you will be able to constantly feel your soul's love for me.
Question: When one makes unconditional surrender, is there a sense of thrill that one experiences? If so, is this the soul's thrill?Sri Chinmoy: When one makes unconditional surrender, one definitely experiences the soul's thrill at the very outset. But afterwards, something infinitely higher and deeper than this thrill one not only experiences and realises, but actually becomes.
Question: If the soul at times has trouble illumining the other members of the being, what is it that eventually allows the soul to come to the fore and lead the unruly members — body, vital, mind and heart?Sri Chinmoy: The soul gives the opportunity to the unruly members of our being — the body, vital, mind and heart — to become obedient to God on their own. But when the soul feels that it is almost a hopeless case, the soul uses its abundant God-given power to bring these unruly members under control so that they will be forced to see the Light and walk along the road of Light. It is like a human mother who, in the beginning, pleads with her children to become good, divine and perfect. When she sees that they are not paying any attention to her and she has exhausted all her patience, she punishes them and compels them to become good children to her liking.
Question: Sometimes I ask my soul to send you a special message. What happens at that time?Sri Chinmoy: If your prayer is genuine and self-giving, you are bound to feel spontaneous joy when your soul brings me a special message from you.
Question: What is the fragrance of the soul?Sri Chinmoy: Each soul has a special fragrance of its own.
Question: Are all souls the same size and the same shape?Sri Chinmoy: Never! Why should they be? They do not believe in communism.
Question: How can we feel that our soul is accompanying us in all our activities?Sri Chinmoy: If you are doing all your activities prayerfully, soulfully and self-givingly, then you are bound to feel that your soul is accompanying you.
Question: How can we know what the soul wants?Sri Chinmoy: Dive deep within, dive deep within. Shed bitter tears sleeplessly. Then you will know what your soul wants from you.
Question: When our soul takes human incarnation, at what point does the outer life begin to separate us from our soul? How can we prevent this?Sri Chinmoy: When the mind develops, it creates a sense of separativity. At that time the problems start. But if you can live in the heart and bring the soul's light to the fore to illumine the mind, then the separation between the mind and the soul can be prevented.
Question: What can we do in order to feel that the soul is always monitoring our life's activities?Sri Chinmoy: We must dive deep within and become a divine child, and then smile and smile like a beautiful morning rose at others and also at our own activities. Then we will be able to feel our souls monitoring our lives.
Question: Is there a special relation between a mother's soul and her child's soul?Sri Chinmoy: Normally there is, but it is not always so. At times a soul enters into the physical body of the mother in spite of her intention or wish. Again, sometimes a particular soul does not want to enter into the physical body of the mother, but the mother's soul pleads with that soul to enter into her body.
Question: What is the difference between the inner self and the soul?Sri Chinmoy: There are many inner selves, whereas each individual has only one soul. There are inner selves as well as higher selves, but there is only one soul for each individual.
Question: How can I have a sweeter and more intimate relationship with my soul?Sri Chinmoy: Just think of your own children when they were infants and absolutely helpless without you. If you can have the feeling that you depend entirely on your soul's help the way they depended upon you, then you can have a sweeter and more intimate relationship with your soul.
Question: When are we in our soul?Sri Chinmoy: We are in our soul when we are inspired to do everything lovingly, devotedly, self-givingly, plus unconditionally.
Question: What happened with Leonard Bernstein's soul when he died?Sri Chinmoy: God sent one of His Archangels to receive Leonard Bernstein's soul and to take it to an extremely high plane of consciousness.
Question: Guru, what is the best way to feel our soul's inseparable oneness with you, only with you?Sri Chinmoy: The best way to feel your soul's inseparable oneness with me is to feel that you are a rose and I am touching you petal by petal with my heart's infinite concern, compassion, tenderness, sweetness and fondness. Every day your heart is blossoming like a rose-soul in your heart-garden, and I am playing the role of the God-sent divine gardener for you.
Question: How can I tell if my soul is pleased with a decision I have made?Sri Chinmoy: If you feel spontaneous happiness for no outer reason whatsoever, then you have made the right decision.
Question: Is there such a thing as a bad soul, or can an individual be so bad that his very soul becomes bad?Sri Chinmoy: The soul can never become bad. It is the individual life that can become bad. The soul is a conscious portion of God's own Divinity. Therefore, the soul can never become bad.
Question: Does the soul like to have fun? What kind of fun?Sri Chinmoy: When the Absolute Supreme asks the cosmic gods and goddesses and the souls to play hide-and-seek with Him, all the souls that participate in the game enjoy God-fulfilling and God-satisfying fun.
Question: Does remembering childhood experiences help you be more aware of your soul?Sri Chinmoy: Not necessarily so. No matter how sweet the childhood experiences are, they have to be continually transcended in order for the seeker to become aware of the soul's existence and to consciously participate in the soul's divine activities.
Question: What is the best way to feel closer to the dear ones who are in the soul's world — in my case, my dearest mother, who passed away many years ago?Sri Chinmoy: First of all we have to know for sure whether the particular soul — let us say, the soul of your dearest mother — is in the soul's world or not. The soul may have taken another human incarnation. Granted that your mother's soul is still in the soul's world, you have to dive deep, deeper, deepest in your meditation and feel you are right on her affectionate, Elysian lap, where you can feel you are the lord of the universe. You have to feel that your entire being is inundated with her infinite fondness for you. In this way, it is not only possible and practicable, but also inevitable that you will feel not only your closeness but your oneness with your mother, who is not physically with you anymore.
Unfortunately or fortunately, your dearest mother's soul is no longer in the soul's world. She has taken a new incarnation.
Question: What are some of the soul's daily activities?Sri Chinmoy: The soul has many activities which it carries out on a daily basis. Every day the soul sees the possibilities of the body, vital, mind and heart. The soul tries to inspire each member of its family and, while inspiring them, it fulfils the Will of the Supreme. But alas, very often the body, vital and mind vehemently resist the soul's operation.
Question: Is there any stage between the disciples' knowledge of the soul and realising the soul?Sri Chinmoy: Knowledge of the soul is not enough; we have to realise the Supreme inside the soul, inside the heart. The soul one can realise but, in the proper sense, it is the Supreme who has to be realised in the body, vital, mind, heart and soul. Through spiritual discipline one can have not only the knowledge of the soul, but the wisdom of the soul.
Question: Guru, when will my soul come to the fore?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on your aspiration. If your aspiration is intense, sincere and always climbing high, higher, highest, then you can expect your soul to come to the fore.
Question: Can a soul complete its relationship with another soul, learn all lessons, and end the connection?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, souls have done this. The soul easily can and does end its relationship with another soul. In one incarnation, two or three souls may come into the same family but in the following incarnation, the souls may not keep any connection whatsoever. One may be reincarnated in Africa and one in France, and they may not keep any outer connection.
Question: Is the soul identical to the causal body?Sri Chinmoy: The physical body, the subtle body and the causal body have nothing in common with the soul. The soul belongs to another category. The soul can operate in and through the physical body, the subtle body and the causal body, but they are not at all identical. Even the causal, subtle and physical are not at all identical, so how can we expect the soul to be identical to the causal body?
Question: How can we know what our souls want?Sri Chinmoy: If you dive deep within and pray and meditate with your heart-tears, then you will be able to know what your soul wants from you.
Question: Guru, sometimes I feel an inspiring wave of energy or a shiver go across my physical when I have a good or divine thought. Is this a way for my soul to show its satisfaction through the physical?Sri Chinmoy: If you are inspired to dedicate yourself completely and unconditionally, then you get a kind of thrill. When you get a thrill, not simply from inspiration, but from action, then you can rest assured that it is the satisfaction of your soul. When you have started acting divinely, then you feel the soul's satisfaction.
Question: Guru, what does the soul do in Heaven?Sri Chinmoy: Whatever the Supreme asks the souls to do, they do lovingly and unconditionally in Heaven.
Question: Does the soul stay always with the same body from birth, or does it sometimes leave the birth-body before physical death to allow a more advanced soul to take over the body to complete a special mission?Sri Chinmoy: While on earth, the soul remains in the body. When the soul finally leaves, the body dies. During the course of our lifetime, the soul usually leaves the body only for a few minutes at a time. Definitely the soul leaves many, many times to visit other souls or other human beings. Each person's soul goes to visit other persons, but more than eleven hours if the soul remains outside the body, there is a serious danger that the soul may not be able to come back into that body.
Question: How can we use our imagination to see our soul?Sri Chinmoy: We do not use our imagination to see our soul. By imagining and imagining our high, higher, highest meditation of the past, we can enter into that high meditation once again and give new life to our present meditation. In that case, imagination becomes a solid reality. But we do not use imagination to see our soul. True, we may imagine something, but the soul can take any form it wants to take. We may imagine the soul in one way, but the reality may be totally different. To see the soul, one has to aspire sincerely, aspire devotedly, aspire self-givingly. Not by imagination but by aspiration one can see the soul.
Question: Does the soul ever make a mistake in choosing a particular physical body, mind or vital in order to fulfil its mission?Sri Chinmoy: Some people say that it does, but I am of the opinion that the soul does not make a mistake. On the highest plane the soul makes a decision according to its capacity, but it may have the same experience as a human mother. A human mother wants to have a very good son, but if the son becomes delinquent, the mother says, "I made a mistake by bringing this particular person into the world." In the case of the soul, it is not a mistake. The soul sees the potentiality and possibility. It may expect the body, vital and mind to accomplish something by a certain date, but if the body, vital and mind are not aspiring at all, they delay. The soul is very beautiful, but the body, vital and mind may be very undivine. At that time we human beings say the soul made a mistake, but the difficulty is that the body, vital and mind are not as spiritual as the soul.
If the members of a particular family are very undivine, we may feel that the poor soul came into a bad family. Again, we have to remember that the soul itself chose to take incarnation in that family. If I make a choice, I have to be fully responsible for that choice. The soul expects someone to be very good, spiritual and divine. It is not a mistake; it is only that the soul starts its journey with a kind of hope. It is we human beings who make mistakes with our constant insecurity, jealousy and impurity. The soul does not suffer in that way. The soul says, "I brought this body, vital and mind into the world to do something great and good," but owing to ignorance and many wrong forces, the body, vital and mind are not able to comply with the request of the soul.
Question: How can we live in the soul only?Sri Chinmoy: Through the constant, sleepless and breathless inner cries of the heart we can live in the soul only.
Question: At what point do seekers who do not have the guidance of a living Master become responsible for knowing the will of their soul?Sri Chinmoy: If an individual does not have a spiritual Master and does not practise spirituality, then the soul will never expect him to know the soul's will. But if the individual is a sincere seeker, then his sincerity will make him responsible for knowing the will of his soul. If he does not have a Master, no harm. If one has accepted the spiritual life, one does not need a Master to know the will of the soul. His utmost sincerity will get the answer. But if one has a Master, it expedites his progress. The Master can tell the disciple, "This is what your soul wants." The other way is a very long process. If you have no teacher, self-doubt can come in. You may say, "I am only a human being; I do not have higher guidance." That is self-doubt. Even when you are doing the right thing, you may feel you are doing something wrong.
Once we accept the spiritual life very seriously and sincerely, we are responsible for knowing the will of our soul. If we do not listen to our soul, we will always make mistakes. If we do not know the will of the soul, our progress will be extremely, extremely slow. We must try — through our prayer, meditation, aspiration and self-giving — to know the will of the soul. This is the only way we can know the will of the soul.
Question: I have heard that people can receive guidance from the soul, not only during meditation and other times of listening to the "still, small voice within," but even by writing out a question and then listening inwardly and writing down the response they hear. Can you comment on this process?Sri Chinmoy: We can listen to the dictates of the soul, or feel the presence of the inner voice, without being guided by a very deep meditation. Even in the hustle and bustle of life we can hear the inner voice, but if we meditate, then it becomes extremely easy to listen to the voice within. Without practising spirituality we may hear the inner voice, we may even see the soul, but we will doubt our experience. We will say, "This cannot be the soul; this voice is not coming from the soul." But if we have a very good, deep meditation, we can hear the voice, we can see the soul with inner certainty.
Meditation is the best way. The other way, we may hear the voice, but we will not know for sure that it is the voice of the soul. It is by meditating that we are convinced that we are hearing the voice of the soul or seeing the soul. If we do not meditate, there will be self-doubt. Even if we see the soul, we will say, "This cannot be my soul."
Question: Does the Supreme limit the soul's choice as to what form it takes? For example, why would a soul be an ordinary cat instead of a majestic lion? Or a beggar instead of a doctor who helps people?Sri Chinmoy: No, the Supreme never limits the choice — not at all. The Supreme creates the soul. As He creates a soul for a cat, even so He can create a soul for a human being. Everything is in the process of evolution, and evolution is a slow process. The Supreme does not limit the soul. Whatever form the soul wants to take, the Supreme allows. But if the Supreme wants a particular soul to be inside the body of a cat, it has to take that form, because it is a divine game. In a game all the participants do not play the same role. In football, somebody will be a goalkeeper, somebody will be a halfback and somebody will be a fullback. So many different positions they take! Like that, each soul also has to play a special role. In the process of evolution it has to go through many experiences.
Question: Should we pray to our own soul for the soul's forgiveness?Sri Chinmoy: You can, but if you pray to the Supreme, that is more advisable. The Supreme is infinitely more compassionate than your own soul. If the Supreme forgives you, then the soul cannot say anything. If the soul sees that the body, vital, mind and heart are committing the same mistake again and again, then the soul feels sad if the Supreme does not punish them for being so undivine. But if you pray to the Supreme for forgiveness and the Supreme forgives you, then the soul is also bound to forgive you. It is like a high school teacher and a high school principal. The high school teacher may be displeased with you; he may even want to throw you out. But the principal has the right to keep you.
To come back to your question, if you have betrayed the soul or if you have not paid any attention to the soul, then you can pray to the soul for forgiveness if you want to. But instead of praying to the soul, the best thing is to pray to the Supreme for forgiveness. That is the wisest thing to do.
Question: When a ghost makes an appearance, is that the soul that we are seeing?Sri Chinmoy: Ghosts are dissatisfied vital beings. The soul is not a vital being. A dissatisfied vital being takes the form of a ghost. The soul is all-loving, all-knowing. It will never play the role of a ghost. The soul comes for illumination and perfection. It is absurd to say that the soul would take the form of a ghost.
Question: Is there a soul-significance to the place where something happens?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, when something very special happens, it has something special to do with the heart of the place or the place itself. If something very spiritual is happening, the soul is bound to be there and the place is bound to be significant. This is not the case for silly, ordinary, mundane events, but if something very special is going on at a particular place, the soul's divinity has to visit that place and stay there for some time to watch what is happening. If necessary, it will illumine or transform what is happening. Again, if something positive is happening, the soul of the place tries to expedite the journey of the seekers.
Question: It seems some souls would be disciples as good as, or better than, the disciples you have. Why don't those souls come to you?Sri Chinmoy: There is a special hour, a choice hour, God's Hour. When God's Hour strikes, those souls who are either your equal, or far better than you are, will all arrive.
Question: Does the soul of a country evolve like other souls?Sri Chinmoy: The soul of a country evolves in its own way, not like the soul of a human being, but eventually it may take human incarnation.
Question: Then what happens to the country? Does it take a new soul, or does it evolve in a different way altogether?Sri Chinmoy: It has happened that the souls of some countries want to reincarnate in a human form and the Supreme sanctions their wish. When the country-soul enters into a human body, at that time the Supreme creates a new soul and puts it into that country.
Some mighty souls who were previously country-souls have become very famous, world-famous, when they have taken a human body, because of the gratitude that was offered to them. The soul may have received tremendous affection, love, gratitude and worship, unconsciously, let us say, from the human beings living in that country. Perhaps some patriots and revolutionaries worshipped their country. In India they sang:
If the revolutionaries and patriots love their country like a human being, if they admire, adore and worship their land as a tangible reality, then the aspiration, the devotion that the soul gets from those human beings can be of great help when the soul takes a human body. This has happened in the case of some souls of countries who have become kings, emperors and other world figures. Again, they may be very bad after becoming kings and emperors in future incarnations because their body, vital and mind may not be totally aspiring. That has also happened. While they were country-souls, the souls were able to manifest their divinity; but when they took human form, the darkness and ignorance that the human body cherishes stood in the way of the soul. In such cases the soul finds it extremely difficult to manifest the divine light on earth.
Question: Can the soul have characteristics like human personalities? For example, someone may be sweet or cute. Can the soul also be cute or sweet?Sri Chinmoy: The soul embodies all types of divinity, so inside the soul's divinity one may feel cuteness or sweetness. But although the soul embodies all the divine qualities, and sweetness or cuteness may be present, we cannot say this soul is sweet, that soul is cute and so on. All the souls are divine. Inside their divinity it is we who try to see sweetness and cuteness. We say, "This child is cute, that child is sweet," but our perception is on the physical or mental level. It is not like that in the soul's realm. We cannot put a human being and the soul on the same footing. The reality of the soul is on a totally different plane.
Question: Guru, is it likely that a soul which expresses itself through one of the arts, such as music, will continue to do so in future incarnations?Sri Chinmoy: If the soul has not completed its task, it may continue in the next incarnation. Again, the soul may feel that it is not necessary to complete the task; it may want to take up another vocation, to enter into another line. Let us say in a previous incarnation a soul took a certain body and became a doctor, but then as a doctor it felt it had not finished its job; it had not learned everything. If it still has the desire, it may continue as a doctor in its next incarnation. Again, one may become frustrated as a doctor in this incarnation; one may feel it is enough. In that case, one does not have to complete the journey in the next incarnation. One may wish to be something else, to pursue a totally different career. Either the soul may continue in the same line and allow the body, vital and mind to strive for greater perfection, or the soul may think it is not necessary. The soul may say, "I do not want to have perfection in that line or satisfaction from that career; I want to change my career altogether." It is up to the soul's will to continue or to discontinue.
Question: Does the soul ever inhabit two bodies simultaneously or have parallel lives?Sri Chinmoy: The soul is one. Within each body resides one soul. The soul has the capacity, if it wants to, to take a portion of itself out of that body and be in two different bodies simultaneously, but only for a short time. This is a rare occurrence. The soul does not like that game, because although going out of the body is easy, coming back each time is difficult. The body may be very impure, very undivine; the vital may be very aggressive, very destructive. In that case, it is difficult for the soul to come back to the body. So, the soul can be in two bodies if it wants to be. A portion of the soul may be in a second body. But the main portion of the soul has to be always in one particular body.
Question: What is the connection between the inner sun and the soul?Sri Chinmoy: They are two totally different things. The inner sun signifies illumination. Spiritual Masters can have many, many inner suns. One individual can also have many inner suns. Sri Ramakrishna once said a particular person, who was a great spiritual leader, had only one sun, but Vivekananda, his Naren, had eighteen suns. Again, Vivekananda had only one soul. A person can have only one soul, but he can have many, many inner suns — one, ten, twenty or more. Ordinary people have one or two, but highly advanced souls can have three or four. Then again, spiritual Masters, according to their height, can have many inner suns. But there is still only one soul. Vivekananda had eighteen inner suns; unfortunately or fortunately, I have many more. One inner sun is enough to illumine a large number of people and many, many countries.
Question: When you are fat and you lose weight, is that any help to the soul?Sri Chinmoy: Losing weight does help the soul, because the mind becomes clear. When one loses weight, when the body becomes light, the mind does not have that heavy pressure. Again, many spiritual Masters of the highest order were unimaginably, unbelievably fat. India's Troilanga Swami was one of those. Again, some were thinner than the thinnest. In terms of physical fatness, the Jain Master Mahavira and the Lord Buddha were also not thin. God-realisation does not depend on physical fitness or fatness. But, to be perfectly frank, if you are fit and not fat, it helps the mind considerably to start decreasing its normal train of thoughts. At that time the mind does not become jealous or impure. In this way, physical fitness does help the mind, and if the mind becomes clear, the mind is likely to listen to the soul, which it often does not do when it is clouded.
So, to come back to your question, it helps to lighten the mind by losing weight. Again, I am telling you that fatness has nothing to do with the soul, but it has to do with the physical proper, the mind and vital. If the vital and mind are under control, then it is infinitely easier to realise the soul. Physical fitness has nothing to do with the soul, but physical fitness can help the mind. If the mind is in a better frame of consciousness, then definitely the mind can be of tremendous help to the soul. The heart is always eager to be of service to the soul, always. But one day the mind tries to be of service to the soul, and then it may take weeks, months or years for the mind once again to be of any service to the soul.