Lila (Divine Play)
Lila is a Sanskrit word that means play, sport or pastime. But most often, it is used to refer to life as an ongoing play put on by the divine. Hinduism believes that Brahman is the ultimate Creator and that earth is a manifestation of His in order to play. Since everything comes from Brahman and returns back to him, the world and Brahma are not considered separate "entities". It's kind of like a little girl playing with her dollhouse. She makes all the people move and speak as she is the director and actor. Brahma moves us all as our Higher Self, engaging us in a game of play.
“Brahman is full of all perfections. And to say that Brahman has some purpose in creating the world would mean that it wants to attain through the process of creation something which it has not. Hence, there can be no purpose for Brahman in creating the world. The world is a mere spontaneous creation of Brahman. It is a Lila, or play, of Brahman. It is created out of Bliss, by Bliss and for Bliss.” Ram Shanker Misra
Lila and the word maya have a close connection with each other in regards to the world. Where the word maya typically is translated as illusion, in this sense it does not mean the world is an illusion; it means we see it through our illusory point of views. If we view lila without recognizing Brahman in all parts, we are under the magic spell of maya.
Krishna Das writes, "It's very difficult for people like us, who are identified with our bodies and minds, to understand the concept of lila- the divine play. It's called play because there 's no selfish motive in the action. God's lila or the lila of a great saint, his or her action in the world, is done only for the sake of helping others...The saint's actions come out of the awareness of the oneness of all life and compassion for all beings."
Meditation requires an element of lila. I like how Krishna Das writes in his book, Chants of a Lifetime, that when he does workshops and tells people it is time to meditate, they all sit up straight, get serious and close their eyes. But if he says it is time to sing, everyone relaxes and just sings without the element of thought defining how to do so.
Are you taking life too seriously? Have you lost your element of play? Martin Buber wrote, "Play is the exultation of the possible." How do you know what is possible if you cannot play act the different scenarios?
5/9/2017 08:30:08 pm
Thank you for this great article. What you've said here matches what I hav somehow received via Spirit in my deep meditation sessions. It appears Lila is real and I have been under its spell until now at 41 years of age.
10/29/2020 08:56:03 am
This one of the most succinct, well put treatments of Lila and Maya that I’ve found.
10/30/2020 05:41:51 am
Perhaps you have only "lost" your way in order to discover new paths. Everything is temporary and your inner light will guide you back when you are done exploring:)
11/5/2021 09:27:43 am
Brahman cannot "lose its way." All is Divine Will.
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