Question: When does the soul decide to incarnate in a certain family in a certain country?Sri Chinmoy: The soul can decide five or six years in advance, a few months in advance or even a minute before the baby leaves the mother's body. It can even decide an hour or two after the baby has left the mother's body. Sometimes the baby is born, but the soul has not yet come. Usually after the baby has been alive for three hours, the soul will no longer enter into the body. Then the baby will not live.
Sri Chinmoy, The soul's special promise, part 1, Agni Press, 1994