What is the Vital?

In his philosophy, Sri Chinmoy often uses the term vital. It is a term more common in Indian spirituality and not so well known in the West.

The vital is a part of our being which gives life force to the body. A very rough approximation would be a 'subtle body'

The vital gives us dynamism, energy and enthusiasm. The vital also embodies negative emotional qualities such as anger and frustration. In this respect, Sri Chinmoy often refers to the

  • 'higher vital' - dynamism, enthusiasm.
  • 'lower vital' - aggression and unlit emotions.

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Question: What is the vital?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two vitals in us: one is the dynamic vital and the other is the aggressive vital. The aggressive vital is the animal in us; it wants to devour the world. The dynamic vital does not want to devour; it only wants to energise the world that is fast asleep. Millions of people are still fast asleep. They are not aware of God; they are not aware of truth-light. But with the dynamic vital we can arouse slumbering humanity.

Excerpt from Flame Waves, Part 8 by Sri Chinmoy   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Question: What is the distinction between the vital and the physical?

Sri Chinmoy: The physical as such is blind and very limited. By nature, the physical is lethargic; it doesn't want to budge an inch. The vital is sometimes dynamic and sometimes aggressive. The vital very rarely will take rest. And the vital rarely cares for inner light. It is like a mad elephant. When the spiritual light enters into the vital, if the vital is not ready to receive, the vital will be crushed, broken to pieces.

But when the vital receives some of the soul's light, or when it has surrendered to some extent to the soul's dictates, it will undoubtedly have some purification. And that vital, instead of standing in the way of God-realisation, will help considerably. It will serve the soul in accelerating its onward journey.

There is the vital proper and there is the physical vital. The physical vital is inside the body and, at the same time, around the body. This is the vital that is deeply connected with the gross physical. But the vital proper is not part and parcel of the body. It is in the body, but it has its own independent existence. It is like the difference between the mind proper and the physical mind. The physical mind is in the physical acting the way the physical wants, whereas the mind proper has its own existence. Similarly, the vital proper will never be identified with the physical vital, The vital proper we use only when we try to fulfil a great aim or great mission on earth. Mighty kings and potentates are usually born with that kind of vital. Great leaders-not the so-called political leaders, but leaders of mankind-are born with that kind of vital proper, dynamic vital.

The physical can easily be distinguished from the vital, because the physical, by nature, will not open. It is like a blind child. It does not want to aspire. Constantly we have to feed the physical as we feed a child. But this physical eventually begins to aspire and it becomes proud of its inner reality. The physical is the cage and inside is the soul, the bird. When the cage, the outer body, becomes conscious of the fact that it has an invaluable treasure inside it, then it tries to exert its own power to help the soul, the heart, the mind and the vital in their combined aspiration and in their combined efforts to fulfil God's Will.

Excerpt from Perseverance And Aspiration by Sri Chinmoy   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Question: What Is the vital?

Sri Chinmoy: The navel area is the vital region and below the navel is the lower vital region which houses the sex forces.

Excerpt from Purity-River Wins by Sri Chinmoy   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Do not reject the aggressive
And destructive vital.
Ask your vital to become
Constructive and dynamic.
Your vital will do
Many good things for you.

Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 17 by Sri Chinmoy