The body is mortal, while the soul is eternal. What is the importance of having a body?
The soul is eternal and the body is perishable, true. But we have to know the supreme importance of three things: first, the embodiment of Truth; second, the revelation of Truth; third, the manifestation of Truth. It is on earth and through the physical body that the soul can manifest its own divinity which is the infinite peace, infinite Light, infinite bliss. This earth is the field of manifestation and at the same time, this earth is the field of realization. God-realization can be achieved only here on earth and not in other spheres, not on other planets, not in other worlds. So those who care for God-realization have to come into the world. The soul has to accept the body because the body is absolutely necessary here on earth for the manifestation of the soul's divinity.
On the one hand, when the soul leaves the body, the body cannot function; the body dies. On the other hand, when the soul wants to manifest, it has to be done in the body, with the body. So we have to know what we actually want. If we want to negate the body, destroy the body, what can the soul do? It has to leave the body. But if we want to achieve something here on earth and if we feel the necessity of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, then it has to be done with the conscious help of the body. The body is the instrument of the soul. In the Katha Upanishad it says: "The soul is the Master, the body is the chariot, the reason or intellect is the charioteer and the mind, the reins." The body needs the soul, the soul needs the body. For the realization of the highest and deepest Truth, the body needs the soul; for the manifestation of the highest and deepest Truth, the soul needs the body.