H C Singh

The Difficulty of Being Good

Eminent Indian writer of English, author of ‘India Unbound’ has brought out in 2009 another masterpiece entitled ‘Difficulty of Being Good’, which is based on the philosophy of dharma as outlined in Mahabharata.

There is no doubt that it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to be good even in modern times because of competition in all spheres, injustice, corruption, favouritism, nepotism, particularly in countries like India where there is no compulsory education, no guarantee of employment, no doles for unemployed and no old age pension. Two basic ideas are ‘envy’ and ‘dharma’ as elucidated by Gurcharan Das after a thorough study of Mahabharata are given below from his book :-

“The Mahabharata tells the story of futile and terrible war of annihilation between the children of two brothers of the Bharata family. The rival cousins, Kauravas and Pandavas both lay claim to the throne. To reduce feud, Kingdom is divided but the jealous Kauravas are not content and plot to usurp the other half of the kingdom through a rigged game of dice. Yudhisthir, the older Pandavas loses everything in the game, the kingdom his brothers, his wife (Draupadi) and including himself to his rival Duryadhana. Yudhisthir’s wife queen Draupadi is dragged before Duryadhana in the assembly of nobles where his brother Duryadhana tries to strip her. After losing the game of dice and the kingdom and everything, Yudhisthir is exiled for 13 years, 12 years he is required to spend in forest and one year in the kingdom he lost, but in disguise so that no one can recognise him. During the exile Draupadi, presses Yudhisthir to raise an army and defeat Duryadhana and get back his kingdom and all the honour he lost by rigged game of dice. But Yudhisthira who believes in Dharma says that he had given the word he will honour it. Dharma is a ship that guides one to the farthest shore.”

Both the evils of envy and greed of following Dharma are relevant even today just as these have affected mankind for thousands of years. At the national and international level, envy and greed led to two great wars during 20th century. In 1st world war from 1914 to 1919 Germany tried to conquer the whole world and to become the only great power but was defeated causing death of millions and devastating almost all the European countries including Germany itself. But Germany did not learn lesson and under fascist Hitler once again embarked on the conquest of world, this time with the support of Japan, a rising Asian country. Hitler, too, met the fate of Kaiser William in the second world war 1939 to 1945. In addition Hitler’s fascist government had killed 6 million Jews in Gas Chambers. This time, even Germany was occupied by victorious Allies for a few years. There are the most horrible consequences of envy in 20the century. Had Germany followed Dharma which required the king or the ruler of a country to further interests of its subjects and those interests of the state or country? According to philosophy of Mahabharata if a king follows Dharma, there will be rule of law and justice and the king who follows Dharma is known as “Dharma raja.”

As there are enemies as neighbours as were the Kauravas in Kurukshetra war, it is difficult to practice ‘Dharma’. Practice of Dharma became difficult when there is war with an unjust neighbour like Durjyadhana. Accordingly India and Pakistan have been at war number of times because Pakistan never believed in ‘Dharma’ and does not believe even today because of its support to terrorism. That is why US President Obama has said that “Pakistan has cancer of terrorism” training and sending terrorists to USA to destroy Twin Towers and to India to attack Taj Hotel killing hundreds of innocent people, innocent men and women. So long as cancer of terrorism is there in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq there can not be lasting peace in the world. Thus Muslims and Christians should follow Dharma in their dealings with countries and individuals. Then alone there can be peace and harmony in the world. Dharma and it practice is essential between individuals, too. Brothers should not fight for patrimony leading to court cases or violent deaths, which is happening. There should be ban on gambling, too. Dharma is: Be intent with actions not on fruits of action. It is difficult be good by both, countries and individuals. But that is essential in the modern world to avoid envy as between two cousins in Mahabharata and a war of annihilation like Kurukshetra war.

Towards the end of Kurukshetra war when only Durjyadhana remains alive and is in hiding, Krishna considered a God allows Bhima to kill Durjyadhana by deceit. In Gurcharan Das’s words “Krishna justifies it as without Krishna’s intervention, to kill Durjyadhana without deceit would not have been possible as Kauravas were great warriors. Krishna’s defence is that once peace talks failed and Durjyadhana refused to part with five villages to the Pandavas, the only thing that mattered was victory for the just side. Krishna now becomes grave and tells the victors: “Kaurava were great warriors and you could not have defeated in fair fight, so I had to use deceit, treachery and magic on your behalf” (page XXII of book).

It is evident from the above that even god Krishna, for the sake of justice for saving Arjuna and Drana used deceit and trickery from the above mentioned facts as outlined by Gurcharan Das from Mahabharata, it is clear that so long envy and jealousy are there and terrorism and suicide bombing prevails, there can not be peace and harmony between nations even in 21st century. Difficulty of being good for the nations and citizens will be there.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Political Commentary, Religion, Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment