The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das

By Gurcharan Das

Why should still we be stable? How should still we be stable? and the way may possibly we extra deeply comprehend the ethical and moral failings--splashed throughout trendy headlines--that haven't simply destroyed person lives yet prompted common calamity besides, bringing groups, international locations, and certainly the worldwide economic climate to the threshold of cave in? In The hassle of Being Good, Gurcharan Das seeks solutions to those questions in an not going resource: the 2,000 year-old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. A sprawling, witty, ironic, and pleasant poem, the Mahabharata is keen about the elusive suggestion of dharma--in essence, doing the best factor. while a hero does whatever unsuitable in a Greek epic, he wastes little time on self-reflection; whilst a hero falters within the Mahabharata, the motion stops and everybody weighs in with a distinct and infrequently contradictory tackle dharma. each one significant personality within the epic embodies an important ethical failing or advantage, and their struggles reflect with uncanny precision our personal known feelings of hysteria, braveness, depression, regret, envy, compassion, vengefulness, and accountability. Das explores the Mahabharata from many views and compares the successes and screw ups of the poem's characters to these of latest contributors, lots of them hugely noticeable gamers on this planet of economics, enterprise, and politics. In each case, he reveals notable parallels that hold classes for everybody confronted with moral and ethical dilemmas in state-of-the-art complicated global. Written with the aptitude and likely easy erudition that experience made Gurcharan Das a bestselling writer round the world--and enlivened by means of Das's forthright dialogue of his personal own look for a extra significant life--The hassle of Being Good shines the sunshine of an old poem at the so much hard ethical ambiguities of recent existence.

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Envy is so pervasive, so natural, that one is often not aware of it. The universal human tendency to envy forces the Mahabharata towards a devastating conclusion. It believes that an envious person cannot be truthful. Such a person cannot be trusted for envy + + + Duryodhana’s Envy / 11 + takes away some of an individual’s liberty. 35 Envy involves an envier (Duryodhana), an envied or rival (Yudhishthira), and a possession (the Pandavas’ talent for success). The possession can be an object (the throne) but it can also be a talent such as Arjuna’s ability with the bow.

Like many in the Indian middle class, I went to an English medium school that gave me a ‘modern education’. Both my grandfathers belonged to the Arya Samaj, a reformist sect that had come up in the nineteenth century. My ancestors did not have the living memory of their own political heritage and this must have been difficult. They had lived under Muslim rulers since the thirteenth century and had regarded political life as something filled with deprivation and fear. After the Muslims, they saw the rise of the Sikh kingdom of Ranjit Singh, and after + + + Prelude / xxxvii + its collapse around 1850, the powerful British arrived with Christian missionaries in tow.

Duty, goodness, justice, law and custom all have something to do with it, but they all fall short. Dharma refers to ‘balance’—both moral balance and cosmic balance. It is the order and balance within each human being which is also reflected in the order of the cosmos. 12 It is the moral law that sustains society, the individual and the world. In the dharma texts, it . 13 The Mahabharata, however, will also challenge this latter meaning. 14 Indeed, the Mahabharata is in many ways an extended attempt to clarify just what dharma is—that is, what exactly should we do when we are trying to be good in the world.

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