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1 Burnside Religion Eastern- Mahabharata

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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why should we be good? How should we be good? And how might we more deeply understand the moral and ethical failings--splashed across today's headlines--that have not only destroyed individual lives but caused widespread calamity as well, bringing communities, nations, and indeed the global economy to the brink of collapse?

In The Difficulty of Being Good, Gurcharan Das seeks answers to these questions in an unlikely source: the 2,000 year-old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. A sprawling, witty, ironic, and delightful poem, the Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma--in essence, doing the right thing. When a hero does something wrong in a Greek epic, he wastes little time on self-reflection; when a hero falters in the Mahabharata, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and often contradictory take on dharma. Each major character in the epic embodies a significant moral failing or virtue, and their struggles mirror with uncanny precision our own familiar emotions of anxiety, courage, despair, remorse, envy, compassion, vengefulness, and duty. Das explores the Mahabharata from many perspectives and compares the successes and failures of the poem's characters to those of contemporary individuals, many of them highly visible players in the world of economics, business, and politics. In every case, he finds striking parallels that carry lessons for everyone faced with ethical and moral dilemmas in today's complex world.

Written with the flair and seemingly effortless erudition that have made Gurcharan Das a bestselling author around the world--and enlivened by Das's forthright discussion of his own personal search for a more meaningful life--The Difficulty of Being Good shines the light of an ancient poem on the most challenging moral ambiguities of modern life.

Synopsis:

Originally published: New Delhi: Allen Lane; New York: Penguin Group (USA), 2009.

Synopsis:

Why should we be good? How should we be good? And how might we more deeply understand the moral and ethical failings--splashed across today's headlines--that have not only destroyed individual lives but caused widespread calamity as well, bringing communities, nations, and indeed the global economy to the brink of collapse?

In The Difficulty of Being Good, Gurcharan Das seeks answers to these questions in an unlikely source: the 2,000 year-old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. A sprawling, witty, ironic, and delightful poem, the Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma--in essence, doing the right thing. When a hero does something wrong in a Greek epic, he wastes little time on self-reflection; when a hero falters in the Mahabharata, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and often contradictory take on dharma. Each major character in the epic embodies a significant moral failing or virtue, and their struggles mirror with uncanny precision our own familiar emotions of anxiety, courage, despair, remorse, envy, compassion, vengefulness, and duty. Das explores the Mahabharata from many perspectives and compares the successes and failures of the poem's characters to those of contemporary individuals, many of them highly visible players in the world of economics, business, and politics. In every case, he finds striking parallels that carry lessons for everyone faced with ethical and moral dilemmas in today's complex world.

Written with the flair and seemingly effortless erudition that have made Gurcharan Das a bestselling author around the world--and enlivened by Das's forthright discussion of his own personal search for a more meaningful life--The Difficulty of Being Good shines the light of an ancient poem on the most challenging moral ambiguities of modern life.

About the Author

Gurcharan Das is the author of the much-acclaimed India Unbound, which has been translated into many languages and filmed by the BBC. 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. His other books include the novel A Fine Family; a book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm; and an anthology, Three English Plays, consisting of Larins Sahib, 9 Jakhoo Hill, and Mira.

Table of Contents

Prelude: I Take an Academic Holiday

1. Duryodhana's Envy: What man of mettle will stand to see his rivals prosper and himself decline

2. Draupadi's Courage: Who did you lose first, yourself or me?

3. Yudhisthira's Duty: I act because I must

4. Arjuna's Despair: There are no victors in war

5. Bhishma's Selflessness: Be intent on the act, not its fruits

6. Karna's Status Anxiety: How could a doe give birth to this tiger?

7. Krishna's Guile: That is the way it is!

8. Aswatthama's Revenge: Now I feel the whirligig of time

9. Yudhisthira's Remorse: This victory looks more like defeat to me

10: Mahabharata's Dharma: Great king, you weep with all creatures

Conclusion: The Difficulty of Being Good

Appendix: Dharma, the Story of a Word

A Short Bibliographic Essay

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199754410
Author:
Das, Gurcharan
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Gurcharan
Subject:
General
Subject:
Hinduism
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Religion & Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
488
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9.2 x 1.2 in 1.4 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » Zen Buddhism
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » Rituals and Practice
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » Sacred Writings
Religion » Eastern Religions » Indian Religion and Litrerature
Religion » Eastern Religions » Mahabharata

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Product details 488 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199754410 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Originally published: New Delhi: Allen Lane; New York: Penguin Group (USA), 2009.
"Synopsis" by , Why should we be good? How should we be good? And how might we more deeply understand the moral and ethical failings--splashed across today's headlines--that have not only destroyed individual lives but caused widespread calamity as well, bringing communities, nations, and indeed the global economy to the brink of collapse?

In The Difficulty of Being Good, Gurcharan Das seeks answers to these questions in an unlikely source: the 2,000 year-old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. A sprawling, witty, ironic, and delightful poem, the Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma--in essence, doing the right thing. When a hero does something wrong in a Greek epic, he wastes little time on self-reflection; when a hero falters in the Mahabharata, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and often contradictory take on dharma. Each major character in the epic embodies a significant moral failing or virtue, and their struggles mirror with uncanny precision our own familiar emotions of anxiety, courage, despair, remorse, envy, compassion, vengefulness, and duty. Das explores the Mahabharata from many perspectives and compares the successes and failures of the poem's characters to those of contemporary individuals, many of them highly visible players in the world of economics, business, and politics. In every case, he finds striking parallels that carry lessons for everyone faced with ethical and moral dilemmas in today's complex world.

Written with the flair and seemingly effortless erudition that have made Gurcharan Das a bestselling author around the world--and enlivened by Das's forthright discussion of his own personal search for a more meaningful life--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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