Pravriti – Nivriti

Table of Contents

Q: Guruji, I want something to happen so that I don’t even get a desire to ask questions?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to have no desire to ask questions is a desire in itself. This is a problem. Jo jaisa hai theek hai – this is sanmati. (Whatever is there, however it is, it is alright. This is called sanmati or right mindedness.) Whether or not you have a question, it’s alright. Whether you get an answer or you don’t, it’s alright. ‘Everything is alright’ is the path of nivriti. Often we say, ‘This is not ok, that is not ok’ and then we retreat in ourselves. In that state you can’t rest. Because when you find something is not ok, your whole tendency is to act towards it. And you are trying to rest while restraining from action with an attitude of action. This causes tension and lack of deep rest.

We need to have two attitudes in life – pravriti and nivriti. It is important to go within when you are tired of working in the world. Nature has made it that way: 12-hour day and 12-hour night. At some places like in the North and South Poles, the night is of around four hours and the day is around 18 to 20 hours. But then in winters, it gets reversed and day is only of four to five hours. So nature maintains that balance. 12 hours day and 12 hours night is the law of nature. Night itself means retiring from any kind of effort. Day symbolizes pravriti and night symbolizes nivriti.

Viveka (discrimination) is to understand what pravriti is and what nivriti is. We think nivriti is getting retired from your job at the age of 60 and being on a holiday. No, the Vedas say, ‘Again and again, adopt the path of nivriti.’ To go within and rest after getting tired of doing work is nivriti.

There are two types of rest. One is inert rest that we get in sleep. It does give some rest but the mind doesn’t get complete rest. Another is conscious rest: you are resting but inside you are aware and alert, that is meditation. Resting with awareness and conscious sleep is meditation.

Meditative rest is far superior for that alone brings real rest to the system. When we want to go into meditation, then the attitude that needs to be adopted is ‘everything is ok’. There is no lack and ‘I don’t want anything at this moment’. When you think ‘everything is ok’, your mind calms down and you go within.

Now when you go within, you get lot of happiness, satisfaction, joy and peace, then you have to come to the path of pravriti. So pravriti is when you find things are not ok or perfect and nivriti is when you repose in the Self and find all is well and perfect. This knowledge comes to you with spiritual practices.

Comments are closed.