Here are two Sanskrit words: Pravṛtti, which means revolving towards, and the other is Nivṛtti, which means revolving away. The "revolving towards" is what we call the world, the "I and mine"; it includes all those things which are always enriching that "me" by wealth and money and power, and name and fame, and which are of a grasping nature, always tending to accumulate everything in one center, that center being "myself." That is the Pravṛtti, the natural tendency of every human being; taking everything from everywhere and heaping it around one center, that center being our own sweet self.

When this tendency begin to break, when it is Nivṛtti, or "going away from," then begin morality and religion. … Nivṛtti is the fundamental basis of all morality and all religion, and the very perfection of it is entire self-abnegation, readiness to sacrifice mind and body and everything for another being. When we reach that state, we have attained to the perfection of Karma Yoga.

Class on Karma Yoga. New York, January 3, 1896. Complete Works, 1.85-86.

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