This book examines the essence of what constitutes being good using the Mahabharata as a reference point.
Summary Of The Book
What exactly constitutes being good? Each one of us is faced with the choice between good and bad in decisions we make, from the mundane to the major actions that could have significant implications.
The author has explored the questions of morality and Dharma through the Mahabharata.
Most religious texts are concerned with morality. But The Mahabharata is a text that analyses this question obsessively. The whole story is that of a conflict between right and wrong, between moral integrity and amoral pursuit of self-interest.
But there are no black and white divisions here. All the characters experience moral conflicts. While the Pandavas are mostly good, they are not pure and flawless beings. They are essentially human, with all the inherent human failings.
The Kauravas and their camp are not wholly evil and have some good traits. But they are mostly ruled by passions and perceived wrongs, and are driven by self-interest above all else.
As the author points out, whenever a character in The Mahabharata transgresses the rules of Dharma, the action stops as all the other characters nearby weigh in with their opinions. This happens even during the War itself.
The author wanted to find answers to the current moral dilemmas through an exploration of The Mahabharata. Could he find answers to the present moral degeneration in all fields of human endeavours like politics, society, and every other field through the ancient text?
The Pandavas don’t necessarily want a fratricidal war, but they do not want to give up their rights. The Kauravas do not care what means they use, as long as they can get what they want. In the end, both sides break rules to achieve victory.
The Mahabharata does not favor the idealistic and pacifist path of giving up everything in order to avoid a war. It also rejects Duryodhana’s amorality. Ultimately, it favors the pragmatic solution. Be good, but do not let yourself be exploited.
As the author puts it, an upright statesman should be prudent and tread the middle path. Turning the other cheek sends out wrong signals, signifying weakness. A ruler must also be ready to use the ‘Danda’ or rod of force when required.
About Gurcharan Das
Gurcharan Das is an Indian author, columnist, and commentator. Six Indian publications carry regular columns by him. He also writes periodically for international publications.
Gurcharan Das has been writing since he finished college and his books include The East India Company: The World's Most Powerful Corporation, Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth, India Unbound, The Elephant Paradigm India Wrestles With Change, Merchants of Tamilakam: Pioneers of International Trade, and A Fine Family: A Novel.
His writing, mainly non-fiction, explores every facet of India, from its ancient past to current times. He has also written a work of fiction called A Fine Family.
Gurcharan Das was born in 1943 in Lyallpur in the current Pakistani province of Punjab. After the Partition, his family moved to India. Gurcharan Das studied at Harvard University. He graduated with Honors in Philosophy. He later attended the Advanced Management program of Harvard Business School, where he is featured in three case studies. He has been the CEO of Procter & Gamble, India, and Vice President of Procter & Gamble, Far East. Later, he was Vice President and Managing Director of Procter & Gamble, Worldwide. After a 30 year career spanning six countries, he took early retirement in 1995 and became a full time writer. Currently his regular columns are featured in six Indian publications which includes Times Of India and five other publications in Hindi and regional languages. He also writes guest columns for Times magazine, New York Times, Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING GOOD
dr. nirbhay karandikar
5 Jul, 2012
A relook at the basis of life - Dharma
16 Nov, 2011
7 Dec, 2011
Read Mahabharata Instead
sujit kumar das
6 Aug, 2012
A life changer
1 Jul, 2013
A excellent work by Das
7 Sep, 2012
An excellent read
26 Jun, 2012
A MUST have for your collection!
13 Feb, 2012