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Published: Mon, Aug-24-2009
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(This is a page of information on the Snakes and Ladders game published in the October, 2009, issue of Hinduism Today as part of our Hindu History series Chapter Three, "Hinduism Endures: 1100 to 1850." To download the entire lesson and for teaching materials on all three lessons, go to Educational Resources.)

### Rules for Playing the Game:

1. You will need to print out the game board on one or more pieces of paper (if you don't have a large format printer) and to make at least an 11 by 17 inches playing surface. You will need one die (or six cowrie shells...) and markers for each player. Two to four players is most common.
2. The aim of the game is to reach square 68, the plane of Siva. This is moksha, freedom from rebirth.
3. There are various ways to set the order of play. It is common for each player to roll the die once, with the highest number going first, next highest, second, and so on. Ties at this stage are broken by another roll of the die.
4. All players start with the markers off the board. As each rolls the die, they advance to the square equal to the number of the die, one to square one, two to square two and so on. On subsequent throws, they advance the number of squares of the die. Notice that the squares are numbered in what is traditionally called "ox plow" fashion: back and forth on the board, after the pattern of an ox plowing a field.
5. If a player lands on a ladder, he advances to the top of the ladder and continues play from there. If he lands on a snake, he slides down the snake to the square at the tail of the snake.
6. To complete the game the play has to land exactly on the 68th square. As everyone plays until they reach this square, the game doesn't really have a winner, just as in Hindu philosophy everyone ultimately achives moksha.
7. A player may land on 67. In this case, if they throw a one, they advance to 68 and are finished. If they throw a 2, 3, 4, or 5, they advance the appropriate number of squares. If they throw a six, they stay on 67 and roll again their next turn.
8. A player may go beyond square 68 on their roll. If they land on 72, they slide back to 51. However, if they land on 69, 70 or 71, they must throw the die each time it is their turn until they advance to the next possible square. They have to keep throwing the die each time it is their turn until they land exactly on square 72, from which they slide back to 51 for another try.

### Playing On-Line

You can click this link, Victoria and Albert Musuem, to play the traditional Jain version of Snakes and Ladders on-line.

### Sanskrit Terms for Each Square

1. janma: birth
2. maya: illusion
3. krodh: anger
4. lobh: greed
5. bhu-loka: earth plane
6. moha: delusion
8. matsar or matsarya: avarice
9. kama-loka: plane of sensuality
10. shuddhi: purification
11. gandharvas: devas of music
12. eirsha: envy
13. antariksha: higher astral plane
14. bhuvar-loka: lower astral plane
15. naga-loka: underworld
16. dwesh: jealousy
17. daya: mercy or compassion
18. harsha-loka: plane of joy
19. karma-loka: plane of karma
20. daan: giving
21. saman paap: atonement
22. dharma-loka: plane of dharma
23. swarga-loka: heavenly plane
24. ku-sang-loka: world of bad company
25. su-sang-loka: world of good company
26. dukh: sorrow
27. parmarth: selfless service
28. sudharma: true faith
30. uttam gati: good tendencies
31. yaksha-loka: plane of nature spirits
32. maha- or mahar-loka: plane of devas
33. gandha-loka: plane of fragrance
34. rasa-loka: plane of flavor
35. narka-loka: netherworld
36. swatch: clarity
37. jnana: wisdom
38. prana-loka: plane of energy
39. apana-loka: plane of elimination
40. vyana-loka: plane of circulation
41. jana-loka: creative plane
42. agni-loka: plane of fire
43. manushya-janma: human birth
44. avidya: false knowledge
45. suvidya: right knowledge
46. vivek: conscience
47. Saraswati: Goddess of Wisdom
48. Yamuna: River Yamuna
49. Ganga: River Ganga
50. tapa-loka: plane of austerity
51. prithvi: earth
52. himsa-loka: plane of violence
53. jala-loka: plane of water
54. bhakti-loka: plane of devotion
55. ahamkara: ego
56. Omkar: plane of first sound
57. vayu-loka: plane of air
58. teja-loka: plane of light
59. satya-loka: plane of truth
60. subuddhi: positive intellect
61. durbuddhi: negative intellect
62. sukh: happiness
63. tamas: darkness
64. prakriti-loka: plane of nature
65. uranta-loka: plane of inner space
66. ananda-loka: plane of bliss
67. Vaikuntha-loka: plane of Vishnu
68. Rudra-loka: plane of Siva
69. Brahma-loka: plane of creation
70. satoguna: good qualities
71. rajoguna: active qualities
72. tamoguna: dull qualities