Question: How much of illness is due to karma and how much is due to physical factors?

Sri Chinmoy: It is a very complicated matter. Sometimes the constitution of an individual is not strong, either because of hereditary factors or from lack of nourishment during childhood. So he is a victim to sickness quite often. Or sometimes the wrong forces get pleasure by attacking an aspiring soul. They know that they cannot destroy the individual, but they can delay indefinitely his progress, achievements and success. If in the morning we get a headache or stomach pain, how are we going to have our best meditation? If we are physically sick, how can we meditate?

So when we see that we are being attacked, we have to be extra alert. If we are not conscious or careful all the time, then we open ourselves to the wrong forces. In some cases, the wrong forces attack us because we cherish them. Early in the morning I have exposed myself to cold. I know I will catch a cold. I know I will suffer in a few minutes, but I am enjoying the cold. You can call it lethargy or making friends with hostile forces. So here, when hostile forces attack us, we get a kind of perverted joy and it becomes a kind of hopeless case.

But even if we are cautious, still the wrong forces can attack. We have bolted the door, but even then the hostile forces try to enter and steal things from us. But if we leave the door and windows open, they will have more opportunity to attack us. If we are careful and cautious, then there is less opportunity for the wrong forces to attack.