Sunday, 11 October 2015

Reviewing-The Difficulty of Being Good, a book by Gurcharan Das

 It was pouring heavy last November. I was strolling on the streets of Connaught Place to find myself a decent café. And, that’s how I came across the Oxford Book Store- Cha-Bar, serendipity! I climbed up the stairs and allowed myself to be truly amazed by the incredibly creative décor.

I walked-in soft with my wet soles making quirky sound. My eyes sparkled as I had never come across such wide stock, organized with an amusing delicacy. A book, titled “The Difficulty of being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma” struck me in wonder. It was a book by Gurcharan Das, who was an Ex-CEO of Procter & Gamble India and took an early retirement to solely concentrate more on his literary works.

I picked up the penguin edition of the book and sat myself in the reading lounge with a hot mug of cappuccino. I first roved my fingers over the cover page where the title was printed. I smiled as I realized how compassionate must this man be; for he questions the difficulty of being good. You find people cribbing about this and that, but there are very few who dwell deep to meditate the ambiguity and its root cause.

Das relates this universal ambiguity to the indecisiveness of the characters in the mythological Hindu epic- Mahabharata. Each of the chapter in the book “The Difficulty of Being Good”  examines the characters, the meta-stories, action and moral implications. He tries to question the practicality of the Dharma, the supposed and much celebrated ‘righteousness’ of its characters.
The book is delicately devised and each character depending upon their relevance, are given the space in the discourse. For example; Duryodhana’s envy, Draupadi’s courage, Yudhistara’s duty, Arjuna’s despair, Bhishma’s selflessness.

The book stands out among the existing literature themed on Mahabharata, because this book delivers an altogether different approach of looking at the character. It worships none and rather tries to unveil their lives by showing them in a human light. This perspective enables the reader to be able to relate him/herself to the characters and thereby meditate upon the rightful solutions in their own personal moments of dilemma and ambiguity. It’s a deep and richly intriguing book which I shall advice to the ones who possess an interest in understanding Indian Mythology and their modern existence.

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