Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Runam (Debts) - A paradigm for Ethics

A sense of ethics is anchored in a space larger than the present. So immediate gain and loss do not determine actions. Equations are settled across lifetimes also.

There is the concept of ‘runam’ in smaller things. There is ‘beeyam runam’, ‘uppu runam’ and ‘noone runam’, referring to rice, salt and oil respectively. These are not taken without giving something in exchange, or without payments, as these debts should not be incurred.

Into the runam concept is built the space where wrongs can be accepted and atoned for. For examples when a person gets possessed by a God, he flails his rope and hits out at someone listing the wrongs done. The person, accepts the lashings, accepts his errors in public and accepts the prescribed atonement. After this there is a fresh start. This seems superior to the criminal system where a person is labelled and criminalized, and never really given a clean, fresh start.

Once when a child was adopted, the community was opposed to the notion of adoption, as it was an alien concept. But once the infant came home, the village told the mother, 'There is a past runam between you and her. Look after the child well.', and  accepted the child with complete love.

Annasamy Anna tells me about 'daanam' - the many kinds of daanam. Lakshmamma tells me about 'rinam' (debts), and the many kinds of  'rinam' we have towards one another ... which transcends lifetimes. 

Rinam, a word as commonly used in my village, as dharmam.
Rinam, debt. A word which encapsulates the entire paradigm of living. Understanding that word, and becoming that word. Sets life on course. Dispelling confusion.

Rinam to the land that sustained us through many lifetimes. Rinam to the parents and community that nurtured us.
Rinam to the environment that protected us.
Rinam to our very roots.

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