Book Review: Amish Tripathi’s Dharma – a lesson for today’s youth.


In the year 2020, on the occasion of India’s honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi birthday, some Twitter activists trended the hashtag #NationalUnemploymentDay. Owing to covid-19 crisis and probably not so good economic policies, the unemployment rate in India was on a record high.

The prime minister is answerable to his/her citizens and generating employment is a primary duty of the government. Also, it is well within your rights to convey your displeasure to him/her through any legitimate way. However, scrolling through the trend, I was hit by a tsunami of tweets.

Surprised, I texted a friend and said, “This seems to be blown out of proportion. People waste too much of time trending some random stuff.”

He replied, “What’s surprising, given the rate of unemployment in India. What else can they do?”

In response, I pasted a LinkedIn webinar on “Skills that are driving jobs.”

He retorted, “Do you think poor helpless people can do this?”

My final reply was, “If they can waste time writing rubbish on Twitter, they can very well use another social media platform like LinkedIn to learn valuable skills. Moreover, the broader point is that instead of blaming someone for their problems, people can think of resolving the same.”

The essence of the above conversation is that at the end of the day, your life is wholly your responsibility. You may find a thousand reasons for the mess you are in. However, as Mark Twain once said, ‘Don’t go around saying that the world owes you a living; it owes you nothing.’

The dichotomy and Dharma

Amish Tripathi and Bhavana Roy present a dichotomy of human life in the book ‘Dharma’ using two words viz. कर्मठ and लापरवाह which translates to Diligence and Negligence.

Having said that, finding employment is one aspect of human life. However, what about the human mind? All the challenges/problems ever faced by humanity have originated from a sick mind. Every disaster originated from a heap of unsorted thoughts. Hence, isn’t the human mind a bigger responsibility? Yet, in modern times, this is the most ignored aspect of life.

Hence, the authors dissect a variety of characters from our ancient epics/stories to illustrate the common dilemmas of human life. They analyze the psychologies of various men/women to remind us of our bigger responsibility: our mind.

It was a negligent mind that turned Duryodhana into the reckless destroyer, while Arjuna diligence was able to pause before embarking upon damage.

The Yudhishthira before the hall of dice was following rules blindly, while after the event, he turned into a wise leader, who understood the spirit of Dharma rather than the letter of it.

Wasn’t it Karna’s duty to stop Duryodhana, the way Kumbhakarna poked Raavana, though staying rock solid with him?

What ego gratification did Bheeshma get by gambling away the future of his kingdom at an unborn child? Wasn’t this negligence of princely duty?

Did Dronacharya ever realize that his unreal expectations out of childhood promises would lead to untold destruction? Wasn’t this negligence of brahminical wisdom?

Similar situations, different responses.

We may profess that circumstances led these men to make those decisions. However, in similar scenarios, people acted differently.

Let’s say, for example, Lord Rama sacrificed the kingdom for his father. However, he did not disrespect the wishes of his people and hence accepted the throne at his return from exile, when Bharata persuaded him. But, In the case of Bheeshma, the kingdom was in dire need of him when Vichitravirya died without producing an heir. Yet, he did not break his vow. Also, Lord Rama followed rules. Yet, he broke them when necessary (while slaying Vali), unlike Yudhishthira before the game of dice.

Kumbhakarna was loyal to Raavana. Notwithstanding, he made sure that he expressed his disagreements, unlike Karna.

These examples illustrate the essential dichotomy of Diligence and Negligence. Now, whether you work on your skills(diligence) or blame the government(negligence), whether you keep feeling victimized like Duryodhana(negligence) or you proactively work on yourself like Arjuna(diligence) is the choice you have.


If you want to buy a paperback version of this book, you can do so using this link. Please note that this is an affiliate link. If you buy through it, we will get some commission and in turn, will help us sustain this effort if bringing insights to you.

Also read: Decoding Dharma – Beyond Good and Bad


Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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