The following excerpt was taken from “Death and Reincarnation”, by Sri Chinmoy.
The vital sphere or region is simply a world, and that world is also within us. As we have the physical world, so also we have the vital world, the mental world, the psychic world, the soul?s world and other worlds. When we go within, immediately after the physical is the vital world. This vital is operating every day in us. Sometimes our physical consciousness will enter into the vital; other times the vital world enters into the physical. Very often we enter into the vital world in our dreams. When the soul passes from one plane of consciousness to another in our dreams, the first plane it enters into when it leaves the physical is the vital. And when the soul leaves the body and the person dies, the first step on the soul?s journey towards its own resting place, its destination, is the vital world. Some souls suffer there, while others do not. It is like visiting a strange, new country. Some are fortunate enough to mix freely with the people of the new country and understand its culture in almost no time, while others are not so fortunate.
The vital that we have embodied here in this physical is something solid. With our physical eyes we cannot see the vital, but in our feelings, in our inner perception, we can feel it. Again, with our human eyes we can actually see the vital movement and activity here on earth. This vital can take and has taken the real form of a subtle body. When the soul leaves the body and the body stops functioning, this form becomes formless; the vital form that we had during our lifetime enters into the vital sheath. The vital which had form enters into the formless vital. There it takes rest or disintegrates, while the soul travels back to its own region.