Lila - The Divine Dance of Life

Can we just drop the ego!

“However necessary it may be to say “I” and “mine” for the practical purposes of everyday life, our Ego in fact is nothing but a name for what is really only a sequence of observed behaviours.” -Ananda Coomaraswamy

Letting ego take a back seat in our approach to life can keep us from falling into an emotional rut. What does it all mean I, Me, Mine? Who am I? and where am I going? The big questions of life are always there lurking in the back of the mind. Let’s take a glimpse at the bigger picture from the Vedic perspective of creation, the beginning of time and bring it into the present moment of where we, as co-creators of the universe, are right now. Ananda Coomaraswamy traces lila’s roots, which he contends “must be related with lelay, ‘to flare’, ‘flicker’ or ‘flame’ implying that Lila is the source for the state of spontaneous combustion.

The Divine Lila is equated with Gods playful dalliance in creation; The spontaneous combustion of manifested reality, cyclic patterns of expansion and contraction, unveiling the universe through the echoes of the Cosmic Divine. This is the beginning of ‘burning’ desire and the birth of the Ego Self, “I” is our divine right. Within the desire field of Ego, we also begin to co-create and make life manifest. 

Historically the name Lila was derived from several different sources. It was used as the short form of Delilah, a Hebrew name meaning “lovelorn” and “seductive.” As a Sanskrit name, Lila was the name of a queen who was enlightened by Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge. Suffice to say that from the ancient Rishis observance, ‘Lila’ is all but a play, a theatrical creation of life through the historical ages and we are the actors co-creating with the director. Whether it be a play of love or war our reality is created by the echoes of choice and free will.  After all what is war about, but misplaced ego. Power and greed are fierce ego driven concepts that also exist within our field of desire.

Right now, the Age of Technology is the Lila sometimes coined as, The Age of Aquarius which signifies the unfoldment of a new wave of consciousness. This is bringing our individuality to the forefront of collective consciousness and through the digital networks of information, the deepest and profound issues of life surface and become known. Our awareness is what allows us to be part of the whole matrix of society and be whole unto ourselves. Unlike the Age of Pisces, an epoch lasting over 2000 years, where society was dominated by hierarchical power and religion, we now seek to find our own source of values to live by. We not only question authority openly but also feel free to expose and challenge ourselves to bring out the truth in any situation. 

Our egos are constantly engaging with the immediate cyberspace community with whatever captures our attention. Technology has birthed the age of the ‘Selfie’ and reality TV shows where ego, unlike any previous generations, demands the need to be acknowledged. ‘Selfish selfie’ you may say but as I see it, this self-interest provides the platform for people to express themselves and be who they are. In so doing we realise that when we are looking at each other we are looking at some part of ourselves. 

In other words, human consciousness cannot any longer deny the new evolutionary trend that is being highlighted within the Divine play of existence. The technological age of communication is a reality and on a subtler level has opened the portal of finding connection within ourselves through the expanded world community. Intrinsically, the “I” self, becomes a reflection of the greater whole and within our personal journey of “Who am I?” we come to realize that we are responsible for the consequences that follow our actions. And within the science of Newton’s law ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,’ we start to glimpse the intricacy of nature’s evolving web of life.

The presence of the life’s duality has never been more obvious than now because ‘self’ cannot exist without the expanded community.  I believe that as the technological age has acutely expanded our awareness outward, simultaneously, it has attracted yoga and meditation, equally as expanded on the world-wide-web as a means of inward refection of “Self”. Once an occult Vedic exploration of mind and classified as the science of man, it is now popularly mainstream in many cultures of the world. Why? Because it is a natural counter balance to the over-stimulation of mind; too much information in a fast-paced world.   We are all looking to a means of being able to switch off the mind, relieve stress and find balance. 

In the science of yoga, we turn the power of all our senses to journey within and connect with the inner source of energy, the beginning of time or the flame of Lila. It was interesting to note that Coomaraswamy was a devotee of Lord Shanmukha the 6-faced god representing our 6 senses, the “Light of lights and our innermost self of all.” Sri Swami Sivananda; it translates to mean the energy of our six senses (emotional body) that need to be tamed so that inner wisdom can arise. 

It is at this counter point that enlightens the perspective of the Ego driven “I” self. Within the inner silence, the uncluttered mind has space to resume connection with the flame or cosmic light. It ignites with prana (life-force) which is our messenger and shines with the expression of the heart, spontaneous joy. We feel it in every living cell of our body, a divine union, a longing and an undying love of something other than self.  

If we keep the ego in perspective by becoming the witness to our behavioural patterns, we have the openness to become one with the Cosmic or Divine Lila - Divine Dance of life.  It means that a divine trust in life graces one with being in the right place at the right time and an effortless play begins to emerge because ego takes a back seat in our field of consciousness. Our contribution to the greater good will reveal itself gracefully and this is the union of duality, the Divine Lila.

“The Plan of the Divine Lila or ‘sportive play’ by which the phenomenal worlds have come into existence is one of primary reciprocity between creature and creator. The sole gift that man can offer to God(creator) is love; it suffices to call forth his overwhelming generosity”. -Malachi- 3:9-10

There is a beautiful saying that if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. It gives the hint that perhaps we should let our personal “I” self just relax a little and instead, just observe its actions objectively. Life itself is a Divine guiding light in our evolution of knowing who we are in communion with all that is part of our journey. At times, it is effortless and other times it is not. Did we take the wrong track, we ask ourselves? But this is not the question to ask but rather how can I learn from this to keep the journey positive and not get trapped by the doubts of a stubborn ego. The wrong track is part of being the right track for us to be able to move forward.

A beautiful dichotomy exists within the universal Divine Lila. It combines the polarities of negative and positive energies, Shiva and Shakti, Krishna and Rada, all symbolic of divine energy of opposites that exist in union. And apart from the extreme picture of world events, the rich the poor, the ravaged the blessed we are all part of this creation. We exist to play our role, we are all part of the plan and that ‘now’ is the time for ego to take a back seat, listen to our inner voice of compassion and allow ourselves to become part of the bigger picture. When we acknowledge the ‘I’ self as the nucleus of the bigger picture it expands to resonate within us individually. Our natural role and connection to the web of life becomes more obvious. Let the spontaneous flow of life the ‘Divine Lila’ be our guiding light!