The concept of Nerimo ing Pandum

Nrimo, in Javanese, means to receive. Meanwhile, pandum means giving. So literally, nrimo ing pandum means to receive any form of giving. Another term that can explain the meaning of nrimo in general is legawa or sincerity.  Nrimo is one of the Javanese philosophy of life which contains teachings so that we are grateful for everything that is given to us without demanding something more.

The philosophy of nrimo ing pandum is closely related to the spiritual aspect, nrimo ing pandum is a full acceptance of various events in the past, present and all possibilities that can occur in the future. This philosophy is in line with efforts to reduce the feeling of disappointment if something expected does not match reality in the future.

In the philosophy of nrimo ing pandum, the concept of nrimo is a central concept that is a source of inner peace, the beginning of self-control, and a form of gratitude. The nrimo attitude is not a passive attitude by accepting what it is, but rather an attitude to survive by accepting and realizing one’s condition. In the face of the twists and turns of life, the Javanese are taught to nrimo and legawa (accepting and sincere), be generoush towards others and not grumble for what they do not have. Gratitude is a term that must be underlined to achieve happiness and inner peace.

The three systematic stages of the development of “Nrimo ing Pandum”

First, through a socialization process related to the cultural learning process of the social system. At this stage, the nrimo  philosophy is introduced through examples demonstrated by parents or teachers in schools so that children become accustomed to the pattern.

Second, the process of enculturation through habituation, value cultivation, and daily pratice. At this stage, an individual learns and adapts his thoughts and attitudes to the customs, systems of norms and rules that exist in a culture.

Third, the final stage is the process of internalization—a long process from the time was born until death—in which a person learns to instill in his personality with all the feelings, desires, passions and emotions needed throughout his life. This process can be described in a process of social interaction in the continuous environment of society that makes it assimilated (influenced) by  the nrimo culture of that society, thus forming a character in a person

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In addition to environmental factors, as already mentioned above, another factor that has an important role in encouraging the development of personality in giving birth to typical new cultural behaviors is the psychological factor. Javanese people are famous as a subtle and very polite ethnic group. They are known for their reckless (unwell, reluctant, respectful) attitude. Javanese people have the view that to maintain harmony between people, one must always respect others to maintain values. These things cause Javanese people to easily accept all forms of beliefs and cultures from outside, making them more accommodating to forms of diversity. The nrimo attitude  is the choice of the Javanese to maintain the harmony of relationships and avoid conflicts or tensions.

The character and attitudes of the Javanese forms a culture. In Javanese culture, introspection and acceptance are methods used to respect the feelings of others in order to create harmony and a harmonious life. The disposition of meneng (silence) and nrimo (accepting) attached to the character of the Javanese is a means to avoid conflict and correct themselves, because the Javanese highly uphold harmony and a harmonious life. So, the nrimo character in addition to having vertical dimensions also has horizontal dimensions. The concept of nrimo embraces diversity in life, which is very important in a country with a variety of ethnicities, tribes, and religions such as Indonesia.

The Relationship between Nrimo Ing Pandum’s Philosophy  and the Work Ethic of the Javanese

The existence of misconceptions about the meaning of nrimo ing pandum causes the philosophy to be often considered contrary to the concept of hard work. Some social scientists consider the concept of nrimo ing pandum as one of the causes of the low work ethic of the Javanese. They suspect that the attitude of the Javanese who tend to accept everything as it is causes a fading of motivation to work, just silently waiting for the gift without doing anything.

If you look closely, the philosophy of nrimo ing pandum is followed by makaryo ing nyoto (works in real terms). So, before surrendering oneself must first try one’s best to the maximum. It cannot be separated from each other because the two concepts have an effect on each other and when separated, it can create misunderstandings in the inter-perception. Everything surrendered is not solely done without being preceded by effort.  Nrimo (receiving) is the last resort of hard work. Only after all forms of human effort are deployed can it be carried out. So that in relation to the work ethic of the Javanese, nrimo ing pandum is a form of plenary effort that humans can do as creatures of God Almighty.

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The stigma against the philosophy of nrimo ing pandum is not appropriate. It is not because of the nrimo attitude of the Javanese to be reluctant to live their lives. The ancients have given the example that the Javanese should not just manut koyo kebo dicuk irunge (according to following anything else else says).  nrimo ing pandum is not just a matter of receiving what has been given. This philosophy does not exemplify the Javanese wanting to betrampled on their lives. The philosophy has a noble meaning. Nrimo ing pandum implies that if we have desires do not demand excessively. Whatever is already owned should be grateful with the airy chest. Don’t follow lust. All things belong to God, and in time will return to God. Therefore, we do not need to rush to live life. No need for strange. A simple life will bring inner peace

The philosophy of nrimo ing pandum demands the power to accept what is inevitable without allowing oneself to be drowned in circumstances. The nrimo  attitude taught in the philosophy gives endurance to bear unwanted fate. The philosophy of nrimo teaches us to be neutral. When happy is not excessive and when sad or disappointed does not drag on. This Javanese philosophy is a form of self-exercise to obtain peace of mind, not to teach people to be in the dark, but rather to be alone, to feel satisfied with what God has given. Whatever he is holding hands is done with a heart, not greedy and excessively ambitious.  Nrimo means not wanting what others have, not envying the happiness of others. The nrimo person is a person who gives thanks to God.


Javanese are famous for their nrimo and no excessively ambitious attitude.  Before doing something the Javanese always be careful and consider everything (ability, capacity, condition, time, etc.). When trying to achieve a goal they avoid self-curbed attitudes. They believe that everything related to the result has been determined, so it is not self-imposed. This attitude has an effect on inner calm and peace of mind. With ora ngoyo, people don’t have to feel rushed in trying and working. The attitude of nrimo and ora ngoyo teaches us to curb lust. No act excessively when living in sufficiency and not sadly protracted when in deprivation. We can be ambitious (even required), but don’t be ambitious, because excessively ambitious towards something encourages a person to justify away to achieve his desires. Blindly ambitious is not good for health both physical and mental. The choices made when blinded by ambition have an effect more than just a financial situation. Blindly ambitious causes stress. Therefore, life should be carried out reasonably. Impropriety in the course of life encourages people to tend to mislead.

In Javanese society, ora ngoyo (not forcing yourself) is a corridor in living life. For them, being in life is the same as driving. Man positions himself as a passenger. Life is not carrying a life, but living a life above life itself. The disposition of ora ngoyo yang owned by the Javanese led them to the disposition of nrimo. Through the nrimo attitude, a person will get the peace of the soul and realize that everything has been outlined, so that we don’t have to worry. The Javanese believe that God must be the best way for every human being. However, this does not mean that humans have to be silent, passive, static, and just waiting. Nrimo is not a fatalistic life principle, but rather an alarm reminder to people that there are things beyond their power. Oleh therefore, man needs to lean on himself through a vertical relationship with God.



Best Regards,

Yusli Anggita