The Bhagavad Gita declares “yoga is skill in works”. For work to be a practice of yoga, there must be first the inward orientation that can make it into a consecrated and focused effort, and outwardly this translates into a skillful organization of the work and a harmonious development, keeping balance that cares for the relationship of the work to the larger framework within which it is taking place. Beauty, harmony and order are not simply aesthetic aspects, but speak to a deeper sense of oneness and caring appreciation of the world of matter, the vital world and the mental world and their interactions. Work that has the characteristics of order and harmony naturally also help create and maintain the quiet, calm, equal poise necessary for the receptivity and manifestation of the divine Force.

Changes that are implemented should arise from the inner, deeper aspiration and meet the needs of the developing circumstances rather than simply being change for the sake of an artificial standard of progress or development, or for the sake of contributing something “new” which the vital and mental ego-awareness wants to do for the satisfaction and attention that creating something “new” can provide.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Orderly harmony and organisation in physical things is a necessary part of efficiency and perfection and makes the instrument fit for whatever work is given to it. … There can be no physical life without an order and rhythm. When this order is changed, it must be in obedience to an inner growth and not for the sake of external novelty. It is only a certain part of the surface lower vital nature which seeks always external change and novelty for its own sake. It is by a constant inner growth that one can find a constant newness and unfailing interest in life. There is no other satisfying way.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Work, Meditation and Love and Devotion, Work pp. 129-145

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.