Meaning of the game
Our perceptual world comes to us through the mechanisms of mind and intellect, which alter, color, and reject. Perceptions are received through organs that cannot perceive more than a millionth part of the total electromagnetic energy spectrum.
Thus the world that is known to us at any given moment is but one of an infinity of simultaneous events, any one of which could he perceived in an infinite number of ways because of the infinite number of possible organizations of mind and intellect. The possibilities are quite simply beyond comprehension.
Western science has specialized in the study of the sensory realm: the perceptual, phenomenal, material world. Its explorations have been carrying material science to a unifying point, a set of principles operating throughout the known cosmos. These principles transcend time and space. The light we receive from some galaxies is over 100,000,000 years old, yet it follows the same rules governing the light from our own sun, which is only nine light minutes distant.
These principles are expressed in formulas such as E = mc2 and 3A3 (the organizing principle of every diamond in the universe). From diversity we are approaching a unity, expressed in the formulas of the physical sciences.
The Western mind has created a periodic table of the elements, which lists 103 fundamental organizations of matter. This is the essence of the West’s understanding of the phenomenal world.
Eastern man, however, pursued a different course. In India, particularly, a temperate climate and the easy cultivation of crops did not force him to devote his energies to the struggle for survival that motivated the development of natural sciences in the West. Eastern man worshipped nature as a kind Mother principle and did not develop a conquest of nature that would prevent his own survival. The scientific spirit of Indian sages and seers turned inward to investigate the complexity that is human consciousness. Hence the science of tantra, yoga, and the ideas expressed in the Upanishads.
As general principles were discovered operating in the phenomenal world, so too were principles discovered in the operation of human consciousness. Yogis explored the labyrinth of the self and discovered seventy-two primary states of being. These states arc the squares of the game of Leela, a periodic table of consciousness.
Within the seventy-two states, man acts out his karmic drama, play ending only when he attains total understanding of the game—Cosmic Consciousness. Play can be interrupted by the cessation of the principle of desire, but without a complete understanding of the game the true end of the game does not occur: desires are seeds of karma, and they can sprout any time they find suitable conditions to germinate. The player tosses his die, letting the forces of karma determine where he lands. He moves through the spaces and the various planes, up arrows and down snakes, until he is able to vibrate harmoniously everywhere, in all spaces. Ups and downs must lose their meaning.
The tossing of the die provides the variable link between the player’s symbol and its movement across the game board. It is in the fall of the die that the principle known as svnchronicity operates. Synchronicity is a term coined by the psychologist Carl Jung to explain the links that sometimes form between two seemingly unrelated events in the phenomenal world. Synchronicity is the fulfillment of a need by some agency outside the conscious control of the individual self. It is most easily understood in the context of interpersonal relationships. In a sense, synchronicity is being in the right place at the right time; and in reality, it is a continuous process.
In the game of Leela the need is understanding, the knowledge of how and where the player is experiencing at a given moment. The outside agency is karma, which determines the fall of the die. Leela is a game of synchronicity. Synchronicity simply means that all events in the phenomenal world are related and can be understood in their relationship if only a proper link can be forged. This game is such a link.
To strengthen the link, the player supplies an object of personal meaning to represent himself on the board. This is his symbol, and it moves across the board in accord with the tossing of the karma die. What is important is the pattern of movement of this symbol across the board. To understand this pattern—and the nature of the stages through which the player travels—it is necessary to understand more of the thinking on which the game board is based.
There is no death in this game. There are ups and downs, and changes in vibration levels, but there is no death. The spirit that is the individual self playing Leela does not die. It is the symbol, the body, moving across the game board with the toss of the karma die, which changes form. The individual self is a portion of the Lord, a limited manifestation of Cosmic Consciousness, the Supreme Self. The Divine dwells in the inmost being of man and cannot be extinguished. There is a vital unity of soul and body in man, as in the symbol and the player. The end only comes when the player reaches Cosmic Consciousness, the eternal state, the path from which there is no return. Here the player becomes the divine existence, beyond all modes and qualities. This is liberation. Death is change in form, not in spirit. It does not even exist on the material plane, because matter also is neither created nor destroyed but only changes form. Change of form is not real; it is a transitional phase in the world of phenomena, which is also an aspect of the Supreme, a reflexion of the Supreme Self. The cosmic process is an interaction between the two principles of Being and not-Being.
If we look at this game as a microcosm, we will find the complete octave of the macrocosm. As in a living organism the energy moves from plane to plane, from conception to birth, childhood to adolescence, youth to old age during a span of years, so the player operates from seven psychic energy centers moving up and down from chakra to chakra, and there are corresponding observable changes in his gross behavior.
Human life is a series of cycles: seven days for establishing conception, that is, for establishing the chemical nature; seven months to complete the formation of the body in the womb; and the seven major cycles of seven years each—the length of a complete lunar cycle—during which one moves through each of the psychic centers. In the game of l.eela each of these seven cycles constitutes one horizontal row. The first center is the first row, and so on.
In the first cycle, to the age of seven, the player is too much himself-self-centered.
In the second cycle, seven to fourteen, he starts relating to a group of friends and living in the realm of fantasy. Attraction to the opposite sex, development of the aesthetic sense, and an interest in the fine arts also start at this age.
In the third cycle, fourteen to twenty-one, he wants to establish his identity. He wants power and affiliates himself to a group or ideology.
In the fourth cycle, twenty-one to twenty-eight, he begins to develop a sense of responsibility. He can now understand about others and appreciate their attributes.
In the fifth cycle, twenty-eight to thirty-five, he starts instructing others from his own experience and assumes the role of a teacher, often with the responsibilities of parenthood.
In the sixth cycle, thirty-five to forty-two, he becomes an observer of his own energy patterns and reviews his past karmas in the light of experience.
In the seventh cycle, forty-two to forty-nine, he is generally well settled and lives his life with the aim of finding and merging with truth.
This is the normal course of human development, but the environment into which the player is born dominates his pattern of thinking to a very high degree—and the karma die leads a player into the mouths of so many snakes of attachment that many people spend the whole of their lives on lower levels. There are others for whom all snakes seemingly vanish, and arrows magically appear to boost them to their goal in four or five moves.
The seven planes through which the player must pass before he reaches the eighth plane—the plane beyond all planes—are the seven chakras. Normally, energy would flow through these centers in a pattern synchronous with the vibrational rhythm of the player. During every twenty-four-hour period, life energy passes through all the seven chakras. At sunrise it is in the third chakra, and after sunset it comes to the seventh. Thus the energy is influenced by solar, lunar, and gravitational forces. But since few of us can live a pure and natural existence, complex blocks are formed in the energy pathways. It is not able to flow regularly and properly through the organism, creating a disparity between the mental and the chronological ages.
Each chakra has particular characteristics that enable the player to determine where he is vibrating at any given moment, particularly with the help of this game.
The first chakra is located at the base of the spine, midway between the anus and the genitals. Individuals vibrating here are insecure and are primarily concerned with physical survival. The sense of smell is dominant. The element of the first chakra is earth—the grossest manifestation of reality—and its color is yellow. The main problem of this chakra is violent behavior, which can arise from deep-rooted insecurity. However, the same insecurity can be a positive factor, as the motivating force behind the development of material technology. First-chakra people sleep ten to twelve hours nightly, on their stomachs.
The first chakra appears as the physical plane, the fifth square on the first row of the game. It is the plane of genesis, maya (the illusory perceptual world), anger, greed, delusion, conceit, avarice, and sensuality.
When a player enters into the game he has to pass through these nine squares. There are no arrows to lift him out of the first chakra, because these aspects of the first chakra are fundamental to human existence. If he does not feel concerned with society's value judgments, then he will know that all these things are important for human life. But if he is concerned with the world and its judgments, then he will say, “Well, anger is very had. Greed is very bad. Vanity is very bad. All these things are very bad.” They do create disharmony and bad body chemistry, increase selfishness, destroy inner peace, and so on, but as Shakespeare reminds us, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” It we look deeper, from the point of view of survival (toward which firstchakra consciousness is oriented), we will see that without attachment, without greed, without a craving to find something more, life stagnates. II there were no anger and no vanity, the fun of the theater (Leela) would be lost. These various moods and temperaments provide color, the basic impetus for individual development. They are thought to be bad things, because they are connected with the lower, animal self. But we must see that they are also responsible for the growth and development of our rational, human, and divine self.
By mastering the first chakra the yogi obtains freedom from disease. By overcoming basic hang-ups he becomes open to knowledge, and no longer asserts himself so much. He learns to abstain from lower desires and attachments. Tantric scripture says he can become invisible if he wishes to.
In the second chakra, the player is caught up in the perception of his sensory organs. It is located in the region of the sex organs, with taste being its dominant sensory mode. Water is its element, and so it is characterized by luminous white or light blue. The principal problems associated with this chakra are corruption and disorder, ensuing from the loss of energy that comes from overindulgence in the sensory domain, and fantasy. But this same sensuality is the impelling force responsible for all the creative arts. One who vibrates in the second chakra sleeps eight to ten hours nightly in the fetal position.
The second chakra contains two arrows — purification and mercy, and two snakes — jealousy and envy. It contains the astral plane, the plane of fantasy, and the plane of joy. Here are found nullity and also entertainment, the essence of the spirit.
By mastering the second chakra the yogi becomes generally beloved. He can command the love of any animal or beast and can control the elements. He is freed from all his enemies and illuminates like the sun. He becomes well versed in prose, poetry, and reasoned discourse and can conquer lustful desires.
In the third chakra, the dominant characteristic is the recognition of the ego and a search for the immortality of the embodied being. As a fetus in the womb one receives nourishment to sustain development from this center. It contains the great junction of the right and left sympathetic chains with the cerebrospinal axis and is located at the root of the navel in the lumbar plexus, with connected sympathetic nerves concerned with the production of sleep and thirst. Sight is its dominant sensory mode. Fire is its element, and red the associated color.
The main problem of this chakra is exertion of power, imposing the will of the ego on others. The positive attribute is the organizational skill generated out of the altruistic use of power. One who vibrates here generally sleeps six to eight hours nightly on his back.
This third chakra is the celestial plane, and it contains three arrowsselfless service, dharma, and charity. There is one snake—bad company. It is the plane of sorrow, good company, atonement, and karma.
By mastering the third chakra one is able to destroy sorrow and disease and gain knowledge of different lokus (worlds). One develops the healing power. It is a chakra of stability, accumulation of power, accomplishment, command, control, and the worldly achievements necessary to ground one’s ego.
In the fourth chakra the player becomes aware of karmas, the behavioral patterns of his life. He is vibrating from the heart region, the seat of the celestial wishing tree. The heart is the abode of the conscious principle—the life—and seat of prana. This chakra is the center of the seven: three are above and three below. Thus the heart chakra is influenced by higher and lower forces simultaneously. Air is the associated element, the color is smoky grav-green, and the sensory mode is tactile.
The main problem of the player here is a tendency toward imbalance, spending too much time trying to rectify that which was. Faith (bhakti) is the motivating force in his life. He sleeps on his left side, five to six hours nightly.
This is the plane of balance, and apt religion is the arrow that takes the player higher. The snake is irreligiosity, which takes the player back to delusion. Here are the planes of sanctity, fragrance, and taste. Here also are purgatory, good tendencies, and clarity of consciousness.
By mastering the fourth chakra the yogi becomes like Jupiter, the lord of speech. His senses are completely under control. He is dearer than the dearest to women. His life is inspired, and poetry flows in his speech like a stream of clear water—uninterrupted. Scriptures say he is able to transfer himself to another body. His very presence is inspiring, and he has no enemies. He gains the power to become invisible, and unnoticeable, and he can levitate at will. He is able to see objects of both the visible and invisible universes and has the ability to travel any part of the world by the exercise of his willpower. He gains mastery over time.
In the fifth chakra the player has realized compassion and wants to share with others how he has been able to resolve those karmas he has confronted. This chakra is located in the throat, at the junction of the spinal cord with the medulla oblongata. It is the chakra of gyana (also spelled jnana)—knowledge. The player becomes a knower, a gyani (jnani). Without formal instruction and study he becomes knowledgeable of all scriptures (sbastras). He is constant, gentle, steady, modest, courageous, and free from diseases and sorrows. He is merciful toward everybody; he has no expectations. The main problem is authoritarianism: “This is the only way.”
Beyond the realm of the senses, this chakra is the center of akash (ether). The elemental color is smoky purple. The player who vibrates here meditates on soham (so = that; ah am = 1 am): “That I am”—the sound his breath makes as he inhales (so = sound of inhaling) and exhales (ham = sound of exhaling). His obsession is logic, and his boon understanding. His intellect becomes free from the impurity of worldly pursuits, and he can see past, present, and future within himself. Meditation upon the pit of his throat enables him to overcome hunger and thirst and to achieve steadiness. He sleeps four to five hours nightly, changing sides.
The fifth chakra is the human plane, and right knowledge and gyana (jnana) are the arrows that can take the player up. Ignorance is the snake. It is the plane of the positive, negative, and neutral life-breaths (prana, apana, uyana). Here he is born as Man (a representative of higher consciousness as opposed to animal nature), and gains the understanding of energy, Agni (fire).
One who masters the fifth chakra can rejuvenate himself at will. His presence opens one to the knowledge of the Self, and in it one is able to understand the mysteries of nature and recognize the presence of divine knowledge in every existing phenomenon.
In the sixth chakra the dominant concern is tapasya, the austere task of raising consciousness ever higher. This is the center of command (agya, also spelled ajna) over movements. The player vibrating here has no problems. He is beyond seeing any possibility as a problem. He is centered in the third eye, the region of the pineal gland. He meditates on the sound Om, and on the sound of his breath, which he now hears as hamsa (ham = I am; sa = That) “I am That.” There is a difference between soham and hamsa. In soham the yogi is in duality—he relates himself to the Supreme Consciousness, saying and feeling that That (Supreme Consciousness) I (individual consciousness) am. In the sixth chakra the duality dissolves, and undivided unity establishes itself in his consciousness. He is no more himself the individual, but he realizes that he is the Supreme Consciousness. He dwells in that union and meditates on his true nature. He is beyond the realm of the elements.
Conscience is the arrow here, and violence the snake. In this, the plane of austerity, we understand the operation of the solar, lunar, and neutral currents. Pittgala and ida, which arc the carriers of solar and lunar currents, come up to here from the mooladhar chakra and go to the nostrils, right and left, functioning with the breath. A carrier of neutral currents and kundalini, sushumna moves into the Sahasrara. From this plane, spiritual devotion—bhakti—can take the player directly to Cosmic Consciousness, the only direct path to liberation in the game, beyond both earth (the place of refuge) and the liquid plane (the plane of fluidity).
The player who masters this chakra obtains great psychic powers, and all karmas earned by him during different lives in the past are destroyed.
In the seventh chakra the player is beyond all pleasure and pain. He dwells in the thousand-petaled lotus at the crown of the head. Scriptures mention that one who establishes himself here in the seventh chakra becomes a master of eight siddhis: (1) anima, the power of becoming, (2) mahima, the power to enlarge, (3) garima, the power to become heavy, (4) laghima, the power to become light, (5) prapti, the power of reaching anywhere and everywhere, (6) prakamya, the power to realize all wishes, (7) ishatva, the power to create, and (8) vashitva, the power to command all. These powers, or siddbis, make him siddba-purusba, a real master, who by will can create anything. He does not become inert or inactive but is filled by the light of Supreme Consciousness and bliss.
But it is here that egotism can overtake him, and the siddbis, which are a great asset, can prove fetters; or inertia, tamas, can draw him down to illusion. On realizing the plane of reality he can experience positive and negative intellect—the latter a snake, which draws energy down to the second chakra. This is the plane of happiness, the gaseous plane, the plane of radiation, and the plane of primal vibrations.
The eighth horizontal row is beyond chakras. The seat of Cosmic Consciousness, it is the plane of the Absolute. Each of these nine squares is a God-force: the phenomenal world, inner space, bliss, and cosmic good. There are three phases of energy, which manifest with creation: (1) the dynamic/positive, (2) the inert/negative, and (3) equilibrium—rajoguna, tamoguna, and sattoguna. Tamoguna is responsible for evolution; sattoguna for dissolution or liberation. If Cosmic Consciousness is not realized, the player has to descend to earth to rejoin I.eela until he achieves liberation by reaching and landing in Cosmic Consciousness. Tamoguna takes him back to earth, the playground of karma, where he must work his way back up from the sixth chakra.
I.eela is the nature of Supreme Consciousness, the playful nature. The phenomenal world is manifested Leela. The play is beginningless as well as endless. Leela is the great adventure and the great discovery. Again, and again, and again, and again—without any loss, and without any gain—this endless game is played. Those who realize the play in the game are not caught by the game board and know it as the Leela (divine game) of Leela-Dhar (Cosmic Consciousness). Those who identify with the squares and planes of the game board are played by the game board; and the game board becomes maya, the great veiling power that binds the mind. It is maya that creates the phenomenal world. It is Leela that makes it a great adventure. Tanias brings the player to maya—and boundless love and spiritual devotion to Cosmic Consciousness. Spiritual devotion is the great discovery in the game board of Leela, created by maya of Supreme Consciousness in order to enjoy himself-—to play hide and seek with himself. There is no purpose and no responsibility in Leela. In the words of Maharishi Raman:
The ideas of purpose and responsibility are purely social in nature and are created by mind to exhort Ego. God is above all such ideas. It God is immanent in all and there is no one except him, who is responsible tor whom?
Creation is expression ot inherent laws in the source of creation.
This inherent law is the playful nature of the Divine, which is Leela.