By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Nivrtti, NivRtti, Nivrritti
Nivṛtti literally means ‘withdrawal’.
Pravṛtti and nivṛtti are the two words often met with in the works on the Vedānta. They mean activism and withdrawal. The path of the gṛhastha or the householder is pravṛttimārga and that of the sanyāsin, the monk, is the nivṛtti-mārga. A householder is actively engaged in several works advocated by the scriptures to fulfill his duties at the personal, the family and the social level. The entire social structure depends upon this activism on his part.
On the other hand, a sanyāsin is expected to spend most of his time in the contemplation on the ātman/Brahman and teach others the path to perfection, out of the fullness of his own experience. For this, he has to give up all other activities which he might have been doing in an earlier stage. This giving up is nivrtti and the path of the sanyāsin is called nivṛttimārga.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore