The game of snakes and ladders originated in India. One very mature design of this game is the Buddhi Yoga.
When Britishers came to India, the board games played in India caught their attention. Children were playing on a square board, with some snakes and some paths and lots of cryptic writing. Adults played on square chequered boards and had chequered cloth arranged in a cross. Many people played with geometric markings on clay and mud.
Some of the sailors wanted to join. The laughter and the evident enjoyment on the face of the players were inviting others to play the game. They did not understand the language, they came from a different world. They saw life completely different. However, they still smiled, and they wanted to be a part of this fun.
When they boarded their ships again, they wanted to take a part of the fun. Gyan Chaupar, Pacheesi, Chaturang, Navakankari were all games that would travel with these sailors. The sailors purchased some, re-created some in their free time onboard and converted some to suite their own culture and sensibilities.
Years later, Lord Macaulay brought the British education system to India, as a more “progressive form of thought”. The games of chess, snakes and ladders and ludo become popular indoor games among the elite. The similarities to our existing board games made them easy to adopt and they soon replaced the ancient versions.
The British promoted the game of snakes and ladders as a game of virtues and vices. This is a very close cousin to our present version, we call it “ludo”. This version of the game can be played quite mechanically and becomes mundane. The repetitiveness and the lack of any possibility to engage make it a game just for children.
Buddhi Yoga, on the other hand, is about awareness and consciousness. The more you engage with it, the more you enjoy. The more you focus on it, the more it reveals. Its design incorporates different levels of human maturity and makes it appealing to all ages and for all times. We know from our experience that we enjoy our work, only when we “engage” with it. Buddhi Yoga helps us train our thoughts to engage in every karma that we do. Therefore, enjoy every moment of our lives. This is the yoga that connects our mind to our actions. Thus, making us more aware and revealing to us the pleasure of living!