Author Topic: God's Lila and Virtual Reality  (Read 1907 times)


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God's Lila and Virtual Reality
« on: April 08, 2009, 12:38:01 PM »
Bhagavan Ramana used  to say that Sri Sankara, had explained Advaita using the analogy of a mirror, (Sri Dakshinamurti Stotram), but if alive, in Bhagavan Ramana's own time, he would have surely used the analogy of the cinema.  Would it be temerity to suggest
that if Bhagavan had known of the computer game, He might have preferred it to even the cinema?  Virtual reality seems to present a perfect  metaphor in which to explore a Hindu view of life.  Issues of fate and free will, attachment and detachment, good and evil, seem to arise 'naturally', when the computer game is considered in the context of such a vision.  Desire is at the heart of the game and keeps it in motion -- as long as there is delight in play, the lita is sustained.

The game generates its own goals and offers its own rewards and these have to be renounced before the game can be ended.  A player may lose a 'life' in the course of play, but this does not end the game! To do that the player has to see the game through, refuse to play or both.  The loss of life is only means that the player starts again!  The game is governed by rules but these are often revealed only through play.  Players can play against other players or against the computer.  In the latter case, the game will do its best to keep the player engrossed in the game, and prevent him from winning too easily and consequently leaving the game.  The whole universe of play comes into being as the moment of perception and as is the player, so the game, indicating the truth of drshti-srshti.

The game may operate at different levels and often increases in complexity as the player gains familiarity and dexterity. As long as the player defines winning in terms compatible with the game's rewards, he is caught in the world  of eternal repetition and variation, in the oscillation of lila.  Spiritual struggle is impossible until winning is defined as escape from the game.  This is easy in theory!  One has only to stop playing!  In practice, as those who succumb to the "moha" of the game playing discover, detachment is difficult.  Freedom is possible at anytime and can happen in a moment, but it needs a radical act of rejection, a turning away from the unreal.

[A post script:

During US-Iraq war, a father and his two sons were watching the live telecast of CNN on war, somewhere near Basra or Bhagdad or a nonstop bombing of US in and around underground shelters.  The father said:  "I think only Bush can stop the war!"  One of the sons, the elder, said: "No, daddy, only Saddam Hussein (may his soul rest in peace!) can stop the war."  The younger one, totally bored with CNN telecast and itching to watch Tom and Jerry, came and said: " Neither! I can only stop the war!"  He put off the TV!]

(Source: An article by Dr. Sarada Bhanu.  Mountain Path, Apr-June 2007)

Arunachala Siva.