Question: How many incarnations do souls usually have to go through before they realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: Each time the soul comes into the physical, into the earth-consciousness, it is an incarnation. Now, the soul has to go through the mineral life, plant life, animal life, human life. It takes many thousands of years to reach the human stage. Then, once the soul enters human incarnation, it takes many thousands of years before it realises God. But again, some are tired soldiers. They want to take rest for a long time between incarnations, so they make slow progress. Others come back again and again, but make no progress at all. Like bad students, they keep repeating the same course.