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The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma (edition 2009)

by Gurcharan Das

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Member:Kanhaiya_Arora
Title:The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma
Authors:Gurcharan Das
Info:Penguin Global (2009), Hardcover, 488 pages
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The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das

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This book looks at the main characters of the Mahabharata, and plumbs the moral depths of an old HIndu society where answers were no clear cut. The struggle as to what to do is at the heart of the Mahabharata, and this book, to which I did not give proper justice, takes on a journey with the main characters of the epic and their struggles. Their are major chapters devoted to Duryodhana, Draupadi, Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Bhishma, Karna, Krishna, and Ashwatthama. The closely-related families of the Pandavas and Kauravas create a war that may not settle anything, but has enthralled listeners and readers for centuries. At some point I would like to have this book as a reference in my library. ( )
  vpfluke | May 2, 2013 |
While most successful retirees fancy Surfing the sands in an exotic locale, Gurcharan Das decides to study the Mahabharata. Although there are number of books on this epic, this book is different and refreshing and a must read for the current generation people from all walks of life. Gurcharan reads thru each chapter and in his unique style leverages real-world analogy in explaining the essence in simple English. The central theme is the description of the Middle Path in this world intricately mixed with right and wrong in a bewildering manner. Gurcharan does a wonderful job of exploring Yudhisthira’s dilemma and transformation from extreme idealism to pragmatic middle path. He combines his years of experience of knowing India at the grass root level in analyzing and inferring the key messages and the meaning of “Dharma” throughout the epic.

Just being good does not bring about happiness and neither reserves a seat in Heaven, but then why does the epic extol followers to be good and follow the path of Dharma. The book provides the answers. It’s fascinating to read the different interpretations of Dharma espoused by the main characters – Bhishma, Vidura, Yudhisthira and Krishna. Bhisma’s post war advice to the remorseful Yudhishthira is captured brilliantly to convey the meaning of Dharma, which is absolutely contemporary and relevant to today’s real-world.

I would have loved to understand Gurcharan views on the Middle Path India should follow in its engagement with China and how does he view China in the comparison with Duryodhana. ( )
  lrbhat | Oct 5, 2009 |
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The Difficulty of Being Good shines the light of an ancient poem on the most challenging moral ambiguities of modern life.

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