The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma

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9780670083497: The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma

In his new book, Gurcharan Das turns to the "Mahabharata" in order to answer the question, 'why be good?', and discovers that the epic's world of moral haziness and uncertainty is closer to our experience as ordinary human beings than the narrow and rigid positions that define most debate in this fundamentalist age of moral certainty. The "Mahabharata" is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharmaoin essence, doing the right thing. When a hero falters, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and often contradictory take on dharma. The epic's characters are flawed, but their incoherent experiences throw light on our familiar dilemmas. Gurcharan Das' best-selling book "India Unbound" examined the classical aim of artha, material well being. This, his first book in seven years, dwells on the goal of dharma, moral well being. It addresses the central problem of how to live our lives in an examined wayoholding a mirror up to us and forcing us to confront the many ways in which we deceive ourselves and others. What emerges is a doctrine of dharma that we can apply to our business decisions, political strategies and interpersonal relationshipsoin effect, to life itself.

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About the Author:

Gurcharan Das is the author of the much-acclaimed India Unbound. He was CEO of Procter & Gamble India before he took early retirement to become a full-time writer. He writes a regular column for six Indian newspapers, including the Times of India, and occasionally for Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Foreign Affairs.

Review:


''The book is a wonderful combination of the scholarly and the personal, the academic and the meditative. The basic plan works beautifully, building a rich mix of his very, very careful and detailed reading of the text, his other wide reading, and his life in business; an extraordinary blend. I found the use of evolutionary biology and the Prisoner's Dilemma to explain the pragmatism of the Mahabharata absolutely brilliant.''
--Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago


''The book is a remarkable tour de force that connects an ageless philosophical epic to the travails of contemporary society. This book is for the liberal Hindu who does not want his religion co-opted, for the modern Indian who wants to build a fair and inclusive society and for the global citizen who is rendered asunder by moral absolutism. The dharmic challenges we face every day resonate throughout Gurcharan's book. Reading this book has been an enriching experience!''
--Nandan Nilekani, author of Imagining India


''Through a series of bravura readings of the Mahabharata, Gurcharan Das makes a learned and passionate attempt to inform how the great Indian epic might illuminate our present-day moral dilemmas. Readers will find his analyses of dharma insightful, challenging, and honest--doing full justice to the world's most complex, exciting and honest poem.

This admirable book offers precisely the kind of reflection that the epic itself invites--moral, political and public. It shows why the Mahabharata is a classic: because it is ever timely. This superb book is knowledgeable, passionate, and even courageous. Grounded in a secure knowledge of the narrative, it raises key moral problems--from the doctrine of just war to affirmative action to the nature of suffering--and it makes striking attempts to link these with contemporary discussions and issues, both public and personal.''
--Sheldon Pollock, William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Columbia University


''The book is a kind of miracle: a deeply sensitive man suddenly decides to leave his usual routines and familiar roles and to spend some years simply reading the Mahabharata and seeing what the ancient epic has to tell him; he engages profoundly with the text, with the bewildering profusion of its messages, its tormented heroes, and the dramatic events it describes; and he then finds the space and the right words for a thoughtful, highly personal, philosophically informed, skeptical, sustained response. Such things happen only rarely in our generation, and we should all be grateful to Gurcharan Das for this gift.''
--David Shulman, Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies, Hebrew University


''This book is a triple treat. It provides a subtle reading of episodes in the Mahabharata. It uses those readings to raise consistently provocative questions about the character of dharma. And it addresses important questions about the character of our ethical lives....It wears its learning lightly, prompting one to think, and hence it is a pleasure and a provocation.''
--Pratap Bhanu Mehta, political scientist and president, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi


''This wise, passionate, and illuminating book is one of the best things I've read about the contribution of great literature to ethical thought.''
--Martha Nussbaum, Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago


''Gurcharan Das' personal search for dharma in the ancient epic uncovers buried signposts to a desirable future polity. The Difficulty of Being Good is a significant Indian contribution to a new, universal Enlightenment that is not Western in origin or character. It is a delight to read a b --William Dalrymple, The Financial Times


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Gurcharan Das
Editorial: Allen Lane: An Imprint of Penguin Books, New Delhi, India (2010)
ISBN 10: 0670083496 ISBN 13: 9780670083497
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Descripción Allen Lane: An Imprint of Penguin Books, New Delhi, India, 2010. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. First Edition. Printed Pages: 486. Size: 16 x 24 Cm. Nº de ref. de la librería 039735

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Gurcharan Das
Editorial: Allen Lane: An Imprint of Penguin Books, New Delhi, India (2009)
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Descripción Allen Lane: An Imprint of Penguin Books, New Delhi, India, 2009. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. First Edition. 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. Printed Pages: 486. Size: 16 x 24 Cm. Nº de ref. de la librería 033316

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Gurcharan Das
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Descripción Penguin Global, 2009. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0670083496

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Descripción Penguin Global, 2009. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0670083496

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Das, Gurcharan
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Descripción Penguin Global 2009-12-23, 2009. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0670083496 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Nº de ref. de la librería TM-0670083496

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Das, Gurcharan
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Descripción Penguin Global, 2009. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110670083496

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Das, Gurcharan
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Descripción Penguin Global. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0670083496 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.0322063

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