e-book The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma

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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.


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Reading this book has been an enriching experience! Readers will find his analyses of dharma insightful, challenging, and honest--doing full justice to the world's most complex, exciting and honest poem.

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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.

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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. 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.

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

Such things happen only rarely in our generation, and we should all be grateful to Gurcharan Das for this gift. It provides a subtle reading of episodes in the Mahabharata.


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  6. 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. 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 book that wears its learning so elegantly and presents its arguments with such panache. And with Gurcharan Das as guide, even familiar paths seemed to lead through fresh landscapes The secular humanism and intellectual humility that shines through this beautiful book shows that--along with everything else--the Mahabharata can provide just what the modern world needs.

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

    Das' rehabilitation of Yudhishthira is inspiring I came away feeling more whole. Ian Proudfoot, Sanskrit scholar, Australian National University " The Difficulty of Being Good represents an attempt by Das to bring together the two sides of his life, the literary and the practical. The result is a highly personal and idiosyncratic, yet richly insightful meditation on the application of ancient philosophy to issues of modern moral conduct and right and wrong.

    Have a question about this product? 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 Gurcharan Das. In his new book, Gurcharan Das turns to the Mahabharata in order to answer the question, 'why be good?

    The Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma-in essence, doing the right thing.

    The Difficulty of Being Good by Gurcharan Das

    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.