Whatever the predominant aspect of the individual nature, the spiritual aspiration seizes upon that as the leading power to carry the sadhana forward. Nevertheless, at some point, it is important to recognize both the value and the necessity of the other aspects for what is after all an integral yoga, with a goal of spiritual realisation and the transformation of human nature based on that realisation. This is different than past yogic practices that focused primarily on liberation and did not concern themselves with the external life at all.

The yoga of works is essential to ensure that the entire nature, including the most external parts, participate in the yogic development and to carry out the actions of transformation called for. Sole focus on meditation or devotion may lead to high spiritual experiences or the goal long sought after in the past of ‘liberation’, but they may, in today’s context, be imbalanced and fail to achieve the purpose of the integral yoga. Thus, work is considered to be essential to provide the balance and the field of opportunity to transform the outer nature.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “To say that one enters the stream of sadhana through work only is to say too much. One can enter it through meditation or bhakti also, but work is necessary to get into full stream and not drift away to one side or go circling there. Of course all work helps provided it is done in the right spirit.”

The Mother adds: “Work done in the true spirit is meditation.” and ” Let us work as we pray, for indeed work is the body’s best prayer to the Divine.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter V Growth of Consciousness, Means and Methods, pg. 101

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 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.