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Theodicy  - Lila 


Why do the good suffer ?

Expanding on an earlier article, I will expand on the aspect of theodicy as divine lila.


Everything we see in the universe is divine lila – play.  Just as you need tragedy, comedy, romance, pathos, victory and loss for a play to be interesting, ‘life’ as its ups and downs to make ‘life’ interesting.  You need a variety of different spices to make dinner interesting.  You need a diverse range of colours to make a painting interesting.  Similarly, life gives us our share of ups, downs and total wipe outs to make life interesting.  Without the full range of experiences, life would be boring, dull and monotonous.  God sends us all the experiences we have so that we can appreciate ‘life’.  He does it so that we can have fun.  Bad times allow us to appreciate the good times and hence we can value the moment when we have "fun".  Life, even our life, is God's nirdosh lila - innocent fun.


Here is an example of nirdosh lila - innocent fun.

When children are playing hide and seek, to us adults it seems incomprehensible that they can have so much fun playing the same game over and over again with the same set of friends in the same setting for hours at an end.  How can it be exciting to look for friends who are purposefully trying to hide from you, avoid you, delude you and even try and trick you so that they can't be found ?  How can it be a mystery to find your friends from the same ‘hiding places’ that ALL of you know about ?  How can it be a "exciting" to play this game endless number of times ?  Every time ?


Yet it is !

Children all over the world, regardless of their cultural background, gender, class, age or ability, love playing hide and seek.  Though simple and familiar, it remains ever fresh and exciting ! 


Because it is "nirdosh lila" - innocent fun. 


Another nirdosh lila is playing catch and being "it".

In a game, if someone is "it" and is seeking other, the rest run away, not because they do not like him, but because that is the "rule" of the game.  The "it" person has to find, catch, touch the others to neutralize them or make them "it".  In life when people, things, opportunities run away from us, it is because we are suppose to pursue them.  But pursue them not out of desire or greed, but lila.  Once you have captured the "other", game plan should be to run and let that "other" pursue you.  If we get stuck with the other, we are playing the game badly.  Sadly, over several lifetimes we have forgotten the rules and are playing this simple game very badly.  We should seek life, its experiences, enjoy its ups and downs, but at the same time remember to "let go".  Only when we let go and let life pursue us, instead of pursuing life, can we enjoy the other side of this game.  Remember, the "it" does not enjoy the game as much as the "others" who are running away from the "it".


These games are played to have fun - simply fun for fun sake. They are not to be taken seriously.

Unlike gambling or other games where the loosing party has to part with something precious, in nirdosh lilas, there is no winner or loser.  Everyone gets to take a turn and everyone has fun running, hiding, being caught and catching others. 



Back to our question of why do the good suffer.   

There is no good and bad in a lila.  There is no suffering in lila.  

What we perceive as good or bad, happy or sad, profit or loss are our perceptions and not the true reality.  Reality is, this is all a divine play, an innocent divine play.  Because we are so engrossed in this play, we, the observer "we", identifies with the victories and losses of the players as if they were our victories and losses.  We falsely feel attachment to the players and their ups and downs without seeing that the players are actually having fun playing whatever part they have been given.  The pursuer and the pursed are having fun.  Those who hide and he who seek are also having fun. 


Another example, Villain and hero of a film may fight on-screen, but off-screen they have a drink together and clap each other on the back for a "job well done".  Audience may boo and cheer them, but the actors know that this is simply a play - lila.  Director who can make us "feel" the emotions of the actors as if they were our own is considered to be the best director.  Director who can make the audience laugh and cry with his expert direction of actors, is the best director.  Director who can convince us, even if it is only for 100 minutes, that "THIS" is the reality and "THIS" is actually happening, he is declared the best director.  When we have the perfect combination of an excellent actor and a superb director, we have the making of a superhit play / drama / film.


Krushna is the best of the best directors.  He is the best of the best actors.  He convinces us time and again, through this life and through several thousand lives, that "THIS" is reality !!!!!!!!!!!!  He does it so expertly that though we all KNOW this is maya, an elaborate illusion, we are all desperate to believe in it and enjoy this maya as if it was real.  When the audience is willing to pay the price and sit in total darkness for 100 minutes to enjoy a film, convince themselves that what they see on-screen is real, convince themselves that "they are playing a part in the plot", laugh and cry on cue, why shouldn't the director be congratulated for creating the best film ever ???!!!! 


So, returning to our question of why do the good suffer.  

It is a part of divine nirdosh-lila.  Because we can't see ourselves as being "apart" from it, we feel we are "a part" of the lila and hence feel we are suffering or enjoying the lila.  But lila is lila.  End result of lila is fun.  


This is not my interpretation of the scriptures or my theory or my invention cooked up in my brain.  THIS is what Veda Vyasa reveals at the end of the Mahabharata.  


Having spent an entire life trying to live an unblemished life, Yudhisthir enters heaven only to find his enemies there.  Incensed with righteous rage, he demands to see where his brothers are.  He is taken to a hellish place and Yudhisthir's despair turns to pathos as he resolves to spend eternity in hell to bring peace to his beloved brothers.  Scene turns and he is asked to bathe in the celestial Ganges and when he comes out, he sees neither heaven nor hell, but sees all the actors of his life-story sitting with their relative deities.  There was no heaven, no hell, no Hastinapur and no Kurushetra.  It was all a divine play and everyone came down from their respective realms to take part in the play of the grand director, Krushna.   


Everyone misses this end because just before the film ends, the audience gets up and leaves to avoid the queue at the car park.  In their rush, they miss the final twist in the tale.  Krushna Dwaipayan Veda Vyasa's master stroke is missed by almost everyone as commentators comment on the characters he has created, the story line, the dramas, the highs and lows, the suffering of the good and the great, yet, crucially, yet, they miss the fact that this was ALL a divine play.  Nirdosh lila - innocent play.



Theodicy - Hindu view

Theodicy - Lila aspect

Lila as per Pushti Marg


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