Quotes & Quips


Snakes and Ladders

THE WESTERN CHILDREN’S GAME SNAKES AND LADDERS, OR CHUTES and Ladders, comes from the Indian game for adults called Gyan Chaupar, the “Game of Knowledge.” Gyan Chaupar teaches the Hindu spiritual path to moksha, which is liberation from reincarnation. There are 72 numbered squares on the board listing various virtues, vices, states of consciousness and planes of existence. The ladders start from squares with virtues, such as devotion, and move the player up the board. Snakes are found on squares of vices, such as jealousy, and take the player back down the board.

Play begins at square one in the lower left corner. In the old days, the player threw six cowrie shells on the floor. The number of shells that landed upright indicated the number of squares to move forward. Nowadays dice are used. If the player lands on a ladder, he jumps to the square at the top of the ladder. If he lands on the head of a snake, he slides back down the snake to a low square. The object of the game is to land exactly on square 68, the center of the top row. This square represents liberation from rebirth and entry into heavenly realms. If he lands past 68, he continues to play until he reaches 72, which takes him back to 51 for another try. The game is an entertaining way to learn about making progress on the spiritual path. By cultivating a virtue, such as devotion, one advances. By falling prey to a vice, such as egotism, one goes backwards.



Play today: Download the board and full instructions at http://www.hinduismtoday.com/resources/snakesandladders.


The Possession of Self-Control

Verses from the Tirukural, by Saint Tiruvalluvar

Verse 121: Self-control will place one among the Gods, while lack of it will lead to deepest darkness.

122: Guard your self-control as a precious treasure, for there is no greater wealth in life than this.

123: Comprehending and acquiring self-control confers upon one the esteem of wise men.

124: More imposing than a mountain is the greatness of a man who, steadfast in domestic life, has mastered self-control.

125: Humility is a precious quality in all people, but it has a rare richness in the rich.

126: Like a tortoise withdrawing five limbs into its shell, those who restrain the five senses in one life will find safe shelter for seven.

127: Whatever you may fail to guard, guard well your tongue, for flawed speech unfailingly invokes anguish and affliction.

128: The goodness of all one’s virtues can be lost by speaking even a single word of injury.

129: The wound caused by fire heals in its time; the burn inflicted by an inflamed tongue never heals.

130: Virtue will wait in the streets to meet a man possessed of learning and self-discipline, his anger subdued.




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