Here are two Sanskrit words. The one is Pravritti, which means revolving towards, and the other is Nivritti, 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 power, and name and fame which always tend to accumulate everything in one centre, that centre being ‘myself’. That is the Pravritti, the natural tendency of every human being; taking everything from everywhere and heaping it around the centre, that centre being man`s own sweet self. When this tendency begins to break, when it is Nivritti or ‘going away from’, then begin morality and spirituality. This Nivritti is the fundamental basis of spirituality comprising all morality and all religion, and the very perfection of it is readiness to sacrifice mind and body and everything for another being.
Hence what is generally called worldliness, in this sense, is pravritti (‘revolving towards’ the lower self) and all attempts to go nearer to God or to grow in spirituality is nivritti (‘revolving away’ from the lower self). The focal point of both pravritti and nivritti is the self. The farther one moves away from the lower self he develops willingness to sacrifice everything for the higher Self.
Willingness to sacrifice everything for the higher Self or for other human beings is Unselfishness. Being unselfish, thus, is what determines how much spiritual one is. This is the best way to know one`s spiritual progress.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda