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Gods and Games?

In this section we'll consider the notion of Gods and Games. Do all gods play? Are some cosmologies more playful than others? And we will also focus on the ludic cosmologies of the East and look at the games of some gods.

Divine play is not limited to the Hindus however; Itzak Bentov (2000) also likened the process of involution to a game of hide-and-go-seek, where the Divine hides part of itself under a bunch of blankets.  D.L. Miller (1970), quoting Brown, quoting Bacon comments:


It is a game of hide and seek: “The glory of God is to conceal a thing but the glory of the king is to find it out; as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honor than to be God’s playfellows in that game.” (p. 147)

During a reverie, I had an insight that this divine game might be charades, where we pick a piece of paper out of a hat, and act it out. The only trouble is that we have forgotten that we are just acting it out, and as luck would have it, God is not the greatest guesser!  However, maybe we can change the rules of this game, and impose a time limit and turn in our piece of paper for another one if the game is not any fun anymore.  Whether it is a game of hide-and-go-seek or something else, play and the Divine have been linked together by many throughout the ages. 


The Play’s the Thing—A Persistent Pervasive Notion

  • Great Moments of Western Play or Play’s Greatest Hits

    • Before and After the Fall

    • Shakespeare's Stage

    • Fast Forward a Few Centuries

    • Let the Games Begin Again . . .

  • East Young (Okay Well not so Young) Woman

    • Imaginal Monotheistic Monolog

    • Avoiding the Middle Eastern Mess

Ludic Cosmologies

India provides a rich ludic cosmology.  First, we will see where play fits cosmologically in the scheme of things (just from the name, it stands to reason that play figures pretty prominently). Then we will take a peek, okay more than a peek at paradox, seeing the primary paradox at play, and then as previously promised, it is onto the lila of some of the male members of the Hindu Pantheon: Brahma, Vishnu, and Krishna.  Shiva, will be considered separately, because his play assumes more cosmic proportions, especially his dice playing!


The Games of Some Gods

Lilas come in different forms depending upon the god or goddess with which they are associated.  In other words, the lila of each god is different, depending on the nature of that god.  In this section I will first say a few words about the lilas of Brahma and Vishnu, the creator and preserver gods of the Hindu pantheon and also one of the most popular, well known and well loved lilas, the lila of Krishna.  As previously mentioned, Shiva will be singled out for special treatment, in a separate section.

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