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KNOWLEDGE

SEMINAR
A REPORT ON THE BOOK
“THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING
GOOD” –GURUCHARAN DAS

10120AVINASH VUPPALA(10120)
SRINIVAS ADAPA (10110)

SUBMITTED TO

PROF GOVINDA SHARMA


Acknowledgement
We would like to express our gratitude to all those who gave us the opportunity to work
on this report. We want to thank our college SDM Institute for Management
Development and the PGDM for taking us through this course – Knowledge Seminar.

We are grateful to our guide Prof. N. R. Govinda Sharma whose help,


recommendations, suggestions and encouragement helped us throughout the course.
PART—A

Why be good?
Last month, when the whole country was celebrating its 62nd republic day, the family of
the Nashik‘s additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane, was mourning for his
death. This was happened on the night of 25 th January 2011 when Mr. Sonawane was
going to attend a meeting. On the way he found some people adulterating kerosene in a
tanker near a petrol bunk. He stopped and questioned about the wrong doings, and
when he tried to call police officials, they poured kerosene on him and lighted him. They
had burnt him alive.

This is not the only case. There are thousands of incidents like this. It might be
Yashwant Sonawane, or Manjunath, an MBA graduate from IIM Lucknow and an
employee of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) who was murdered for being honest to his
duty, or anybody else for this matter. If these people know that death is the reward for
being good, they might not have followed the good path which they have followed. So
the question arises, ―Why be good?”

The same question was asked by Draupadi in the epic Mahabharata when the
Pandavas went to exile. She asks Yudhishthira, “what is the point of being good
when it only brings grief? What kind of world is it where the bad seem to be
rewarded while the good, who uphold dharma, suffer such hardship? And why do
always bad things happen to good people?”

Yudhishthira responds by saying ―to fight, is easy; but to forgive is more difficult. To be
patient is not to be weak; to seek peace is always the wiser course‖. He also explains
to Draupadi that forbearance is superior to anger. But Draupadi is dissatisfied with his
duty based answer to her question, ―why be good? ‖. Yidhishthira takes a different tack
and says ― He who resolutely follows dharma, attains to infinitude hereafter”.

Yudhishthara was so firm in his decision, that he always followed the principles of satya
and ahimsa even in the times of destitute. But what happened to the principles of a
person like him when he finally decided to fight with kauravas for the throne on the land
of kurukshetra. Even a high principled person like Yudhishthira also changed his
decision and fought the battle. Everybody in this world will get a situation like this, where
the person has to go against his principles. There are times when we have to choose
one among the ‗satya‘ and ‗ahimsa‘.

There was an ascetic Kaushika, who is accosted one day by a group of thieving cut-
throats who are seeking the man who had witnessed their crime. Kaushika had seen the
witness run into the forest and he knows that if he reveals it, he is issuing a death
sentence. He must choose between the dharma of satya, telling the truth, or of ahimsa,
saving a life. In situations like these it is really a foolish thing to follow the dharma of
satya when you know that the person will be murdered. But that is what Kaushika did.
He followed the dharma of satya and became responsible for the death of a good
person.

Sometimes we need to put our principles behind and act according to the situation.
Mahatma Gandhi told ―when someone slaps you, show them the other cheek‖. All the
religions tell the same thing but that doesn‘t mean that you need to be silent when
somebody is hurting you or bullying you. You need to fight back in the times like these.
That is what Yudhishthira did when he fought the battle of Kurukshetra.

DESTINY DETERMINES CHARACTER OR THE CHARACTER DETERMINES THE


DESTINY:

The Mahabharatha explains to us that Yudhishthira had understood the right way to
engage with the world. Yudhishthira actually challenges the old sva-dharma of family
and caste in the epic and instead prefers the universal sadharana-dharma, which
teaches one to behave impartially towards everyone. This concept of being impartial
and compassionate with all beings is called anrishamsya. One who follows anrishamsya
learns not only to identify oneself with the suffering of others but also their happiness.
One begins to ‗rejoice with those who rejoice‘. The concept of anrishamsya is a notch
higher to the concept of Nishkama Karma, a disinterested act (an act without actually
thinking of the benefits of the consequences of the action), advocated by Krishna to
Arjuna in the Gita. This is because, we human beings always tend to think about the
benefits of an action and in the case of anrishamsya, it suggests that it would not only
benefit us but also the people around us.

Such was the character of Yudhisthira and it is this virtue of his which made him a great
king, thus supporting our argument that character does determine our destiny.

Finally what we can learn is, when you follow the path of dharma, there will always be a
victory. If one follows the path of dharma, one may not be successful right away but
ultimately success graces him. Some may not be successful in this materialistic world
but in the eternal world they sure will taste the success. As said in The Bible ―As you
sow so shall you reap‖.
PART B

In this part we will focus on relating the current incidents to that of the
roles in the epic Mahabharata.

SATYAM’S RAMALINGA RAJU :: DURYODHANA AND DHRITARASHTRA


B Ramalingam Raju, CEO of satyam technologies is still remembered by people.
Satyam was one of desired companies by the software professionals in India. People
looked at Shri Ramalinga Raju as an inspirational personality. He developed Satyam to
a considerable level by an incessant hard work of 32 years. Politicians, press and all
used to feel as a privilege to rub shoulders with Satyam Raju. They found every aspect
of Raju marvelous, superb and inspirational. The milestones achieved by Satyam were
also remarkable.

Why should a person of such palpable achievement turn to crime? Was it just
greed or was it because his stake in Satyam had dwindled to 8.6%, and the company
was in danger of slipping out of the family's control? Raju had two sons and possibly a
sense of filial duty drove him to create companies in real estate and infrastructure, two
sectors of our economy that are only half liberalised, where politicians insist on bribes
upfront for favors delivered. Since revenues from the new companies were far away,
Raju dipped into Satyam to pay the politicians. It might have worked but no one counted
on a downturn and a liquidity crisis. Desperately, he tried to restore the stolen assets
back to Satyam by merging it with his son's companies but that didn't work.

The swindle was worth Rs 7,136 crore, and the deceit went on for seven years. As a
result, the public both Indian and foreign investors have lost around Rs 23,000 crore in
the value of their shares, and over 40,000 employees face an uncertain future.

But the question is ―Why did he do it?‖. We can‘t say it is completely out of greed. It
might have been pride, like Duryodhana's in the Mahabharata, who thought he was
master of the universe and could get away with anything.

The better comparison can be with Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana‘s father. Raju was ruined
by his Dhritarashtra-like weakness for his sons. We should nurture our children, but we
don't need to leave them a company each, certainly not by crossing the line of dharma.
It takes moral courage to resist the sentiment of partiality to one's family. This is why the
Mahabharata challenges the old sva-dharma of family and caste, preferring
instead the newer, universal sadharana-dharma, which teaches us to behave
impartially with everyone.

YUDHISHTHIRA’S WHITE LIE


Drona was very powerful and had the irresistible brahmadanda. He seemed
unstoppable. Krishna hinted to Yudhisthira that Drona would give up his arms if his son
Ashwathama was dead. Bhima went ahead and killed an elephant named Ashwathama,
and loudly proclaimed that Ashwathama was dead. Drona approached Yudhisthira to
seek the truth of his son's death. Yudhisthira proclaimed ‗Ashwathama Hatahath, naro
va Kunjaro va‘, implying Ashwathama had died but he was not sure if it was a Drona's
son or Ashwathama, the elephant. During the latter part of his proclamation (Naro va
Kunjaro va), Krishna blew his conch deliberately, so as to mask that statement. Drona,
who thought his son was slain, was woefully disheartened and laid down his weapons.
An unarmed Drona was killed by Drishtadumnya to avenge his father'sdeath.

Similarly many companies are masking their accounts by covering or fudging the
original accounts. Satyam is a case of fraud and criminality where the internal and
external auditors, and independent directors are guilty of fudging the accounts. This was
such an ingenious crime that no one still understands it. There are many other
companies like Enron, and the recent scams of telecom spectrum, and many others.
Remember, there are crooks in every society, and they will get through the most fool-
proof systems.
We require many courageous people like Draupadi, to check these corrupt people and
question them. Draupadi is an inspiration to free citizens in all democracies. Her
question about the dharma of the king should embolden citizens to question the dharma
of public officials, especially when they confront the pervasive governance failures like
sending troops to fight wars in places like Iraq to the absence of school teachers in
government schools in our country.

BHISHMA :: Dr MANMOHAN SINGH


When Draupadi was being disrobed in front of everyone, they just remained as silent
spectators. No one dared to say that what kauravas were doing was wrong. Even the
most elderly person sitting there, ‗Bhishma‘, didn‘t stop the mean act of kauravas.

Manmohan Singh was no way different from Bhishma. When Draupadi insistently
questioned the ‗dharma of the ruler‘, everyone remained silent. Then Vidura scornfully
spat out at the immorality of silence: when a crime occurs, he said, half the punishment
goes to the guilty; a quarter to his ally; and another quarter falls on the silent.

Our prime minister‘s silence in the 2G scandal has been deeply disturbing. Soon after
Raja announced his fraudulent policy in September 2007, the PM sensed that a crime of
huge proportions was afoot. He wrote to Raja objecting to his policy, asking him to be
transparent. Raja replied immediately, defending himself. On 3 January 2008, the PM
acknowledged this letter—yes, ‗acknowledged‘, as though he had acquiesced. This
gave Raja the go-ahead to issue the licenses. In May 2010, the PM admitted that Raja
had indeed written to him. Why did the Prime Minister fall silent after having objected to
the policy?

A similar conspiracy of silence diminished the office of the president of India in the
summer of 2007. The official candidate for the largely ceremonial office was a woman
congress party leader, Prathibha Devisingh Patil, against whom there were extensive
corruption charges that were widely reported in the press. She had started a
cooperative bank in Maharashtra whose licence was cancelled by the RBI. Her bank
had given illegal loans to her relatives that exceeded the bank‘s share capital. The bank
waived these loans , and this drove it into liquidation. Six of the ten defaulters in
Pratibha Patil‘s bank were linked to her relatives.

During this time nation had a Bhishma like person of unquestionable integrity in prime
minister Manmohan Singh. But he remained largely silent, deferring to his party‘s choice
of the presidential candidate. When asked about this, he called it ‗mudslinging‘ by the
opposition, and the nation believed him.

In the same manner we can relate many of the characters of this epic to that of our daily
life. The partiality and racist feelings of Drona can be compared to that of our politicians.
Karna‘s liking for Draupadi which later turned to hatred when she rejecetd him is similar
to what today‘s youth are doing in the name of love and then torturing girls when their
love is not accepted. Many politicians and government officials are playing the role of
Shakuni by cheating others in whatever way possible. The purpose of the
Mahabharata‘s war, we discover at the epic‘s end, was to cleanse the earth which was
groaning under the accumulated iniquity of its rulers. Our own rulers should prepare for
the same fate as befell the sons of Bharata, unless they act now.