game-of-self-inquiry-snakes-and-ladders-moksha-patam-paramapadham-gyan-chauper
Introduction

“ To Play Moksha Patam is To Make Sense of Life – To Integrate Wisdom of Yoga and Upanishads – To Understand Cause of Your Fortunes and Misfortunes... ” 

Other common names of this game: Snakes and Ladders, paramapadham, parama padam, gyan chauper, moksha patam. More on Wikipedia

Printable Template
Download and print the 5 PDF files. Then cut out and sticky tape together.

Total size will be about 18 x 18 inch OR 43.7 x 43.7 cm.

Current ver: 2.0 (Updated 25 Sept 2021)

About

This is a board game made by the rishis from India. It is based on timeless wisdom of the Vedas.

Thousands of years of collective, everygreen knowledge on a single board.

It's exact date is unknown. Neither is the author.

Author is considered a pen instrument in hands of the Lord. That's why most Upanishads are author-less.

Each square represents player's understanding of scheme of things.

For example in block 6 – general understanding is:

"Best use of MY existence is to accumulate for MYSELF. More for MY family, less for others".

Strong notion of "my" and "mine" is universal ignorance in all ages.

Noone is born free of it.

Right from childhood, "My body, My pain, My toys, My epiphany, My thoughts".

Then in adulthood, it gets more sophisticated, "My enlightenment! My samādhi. My knowledge. My ignorance".

Words have changed. Ignorance remains.

Through course of time, this unquestioned notion gets stirred up.

For example in block 19 – attitude evolves to:

"Noblest use of living is to contribute this person's unique skills to the society. This way everyone benefits, including myself".

Mindset of 19 has exponentially higher rewards over 6.

Although player in 6 won't immediately recognize how honesty for less is better then cheating for more. Especially when there's little risk of being caught.

This is because mind hasn't expanded at level of 19. Stuck in competition mode.

And remember – everyone at 19 was once at 6.

Therefore if 19 dismisses a 6 as clueless – it's because 19 hasn't yet matured to 22. Etc...

So no matter how high the player gets, one is NOT immune to making additional mistakes which cause a fall — symbolized by snakes on the board.

We're students until last breath.

This is meaning of humility, which ultimately blesses the player with a guru who removes the beginningless ignorance of nature of "I" — leading to mokṣa (freedom/liberation).

Purpose

Original intention of game was to educate how to discern right from wrong. Truth from falsehood. And what is "right" and "wrong" in the first place.

Game was meant to show that all pain, suffering and devolution in life is due to mixing up right-wrong, truth-falsehood.

The process is entirely in our hands because we're given a powerful instrument of discernment (viveka).

As dharmic discernment is refined, it's what cultivates wisdom.

And a wise person is qualified to assimilate and hold the higher Upanishadic teachings of self-knowledge (brahmavidya).

Summary: Dharma > Moksha.  That's the intent of the game.

One of oldest name given is moksha patam.

"Patam" means going, falling, flying. Meaning player can go either up or down — depending on one's actions in the game.

Whose it for?

A solo self-inquirer.

Two partners.

Or whole family. Although more then 3 players will come at cost of shorter discussions — else risk  player(s) getting bored.

Keep it short and to the point for the youth.

Ready to play?

Actually the player – you – have been playing this game since beginningless beginning.

Only difference is this time you’ll see how every decision leads to either to progression or regression. Happiness or sorrow. Intelligence or ignorance. Strength or insecurity.

But what determines your decision? Knowledge.

Meaning, an informed decision is only as good as what you know or don't know.

Driver can only choose a different road, long as a map is available.

Otherwise driver is choicelessly bound to the same road, putting up with the traffic jam.

And what determines the quality of your knowledge? Education.

Then how do we gain the right education which leads to prosperity in life? By playing the game. And inquiring into every square (experience) you find yourself in.

It’s true in early years, most decisions are unconscious, impulsive, motivated by instant gratification.

But through hard work, every human being, irrespective of background, culture, privileges — can lift themselves by themselves.

This is what the game is meant to convey. Go and play to find out...

About This Version
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How to Play
Feedback/Questions?

12 Comments

  1. Hari Om 🙂 i have tried to download the game but the “download” button function is not responding at all – it looks like a awesome one though:) THANKS

  2. THANK you Andre:)
    Just to let others know : the link works for me only without the initial ” http:// ” (otherwise the direct download link keeps not responding).

  3. How to start the game and continue to play?
    there are 5 boards
    which board for what
    playing instructions for each board
    and how to come to a conclusion

  4. I’ve just downloaded the file. I’m confused because I imagined there to be 100 squares as this is the measure of liberation so I read. Also the instructions on the print out refers to 68 and there’s only 64 squares. As I missing other pieces, is there more to download. Also when I set it to print on my PC a attached to my printed the print viewing screen only shows 85% of the full image. I’ve downloaded the file to my I pad to see / read the squares. Curious about the names / title of each square in English. Lots of questions. I’m excited to get started but these are the issues stoping me. Thanks you for this works it’s beautiful. Hoping someone can answer my question and points. Gratitude

  5. I have recently become fascinated since reading more about the origins of “snakes and ladders” game concept. Now I’m curious to learn the literal translation from Hindi (?) to English of ‘moksha patam’.

    I understand that ‘moksha’ means something like “liberation from rebirth” but I can’t find the direct and/or deeper meaning of ‘patam’. It doesn’t help when some websites state that mokshapatam means Snakes and Ladders!

    Please – can someone just explain that word?

    I already understand the English interpretation relates to the visual metaphors depicted in Gyan chauper — the ladder, symbolising a climb or ascension to the higher plane, with the snake hugely over-simplified by the British. In a Christian context it symbolises “deceit” and is associated with a “fall from grace” as depicted in the Adam-Eve story. In other cultures though ‘snake’ symbolism is quite enigmatic — concepts of transformation, regeneration, fertility, rebirth…
    (I’m neither christian nor hindi… not religious, just curious and would love to play Gyan Chauper or make my own version too).

    1. mokṣa (मोक्ष) : Highest goal of human life.
      patam (पतम् ) (mas) : (1) Falling (2) flying.

      Thus “Falling from the highest goal of human life”. That’s why whole game is about showing the individual the consequences of remaining fallen (ignorant) in the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra).

      However patam also means “flying”. Thus: Flying (going) to the highest goal of human life.

      Hence “mokṣa patam” is an ideal name because journey isn’t only about falling (going down), but also flying to (going up).

      1. Andre, thank you. I like that it also means “flying” — it inspires some interesting visuals for me. Sorry it took so long to acknowledge – a few “ladders” got in the way (work and new puppy). Not exactly “falling” but life is full of such “sidetracks”. Hmm…. I wonder if diversions and distractions ever feature in the concept.

  6. Hi! I came across this when studying the history of Snakes and Ladders. I am interested in seeing which original source of this version that has been well translated. Would you mind putting an image of the original version up as well?

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