Posted by: puloma9 | August 3, 2010

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders is a classic board game. It is played between 2 or more players on a playing board with numbered grid squares. On certain squares on the grid are drawn a number of “ladders” connecting two squares together and a number of “snakes” also connecting squares together. The size of the grid is most commonly 8×8, 10×10 or 12×12 which actually varies from board to board.

The game was sold as Snakes and ladders in England before Milton Bradley introduced the basic concept in the United States as Chutes and ladders. A newer version was introduced in Victorian England in 1892, possibly by John Jacques of Jacques of London.

Snakes and Ladders originated in India as a game based on certain morality. This game made its way to England, and was eventually introduced in the United States of America by game pioneer Milton Bradley in 1943.

“Moksha Patamu” was perhaps invented by Hindu spiritual teachers to teach children about the effects of good deeds as opposed to bad deeds. The ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, humility, etc. The snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, theft, etc. The moral of the game was that a person can attain salvation through performing good deeds whereas by doing evil one takes rebirth in lower forms of life (Patamu). The number of ladders was less than the number of snakes as a reminder that treading the path of good is very difficult compared to committing sins. Presumably the number “100” represented Salvation. In Andhra Pradesh, Snakes and Ladders is played in the name of Vaikuntapali.

The squares of virtue on the original game are Faith (12), Reliability (51), Generosity (57), Knowledge (76), Asceticism (78); the squares of evil are Disobedience (41), Vanity (44), Vulgarity (49), Theft (52), Lying (58), Drunkenness (62), Debt (69), Rage (84), Greed (92), Pride (95), Murder (73) and Lust (99).

I am amazed that it is much unknown to almost all of us. I did not also know before surfing about the game. It is quite interesting.  I enjoyed this as much as Ludo in my childhood. I just played that but did not think about what it actually represents. Like Ludo playing this game along, I recognized that it also shows us a clear effect of the luck in our practical life.

In our life many opportunities come as the snakes and ladders. Snakes represent the bad luck and ladders represent the good luck. In our life there are two types of luck. One is very much controlled by us and another one most of the time depends on the chances. The board game ladders visibly represents the luck which depends on chances.



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