The Essence of Leela: Devotion and Playfulness
Sadhguru looks at the essence of Leela and Krishna’s path of playfulness, and why being playful is the most responsible way to live.
How to keep it on? Though Krishna spoke about all the four fundamental ways in his teaching, he highlighted the path of devotion – not because he thought that it is better than awareness, action, or kriya, but because he saw a large number of people are more capable of emotion than anything else. If you look at your life in terms of wellbeing, let’s say today your business is doing well, your job is going fine, everything is working out reasonably well, but if some emotional issue in your life is down, you don’t notice all those things. On the other hand, let’s say today your job or business has not been going too well, but you come home and on an emotional level, everything is good – then the emotional aspect glosses over everything else.
For most people, emotions are a ruling factor. They can attain peak intensity much easier through emotions than through any other aspect of life. What the path of emotion, devotion or passion demands is a certain abandon. Like Francis Bacon said, “It is impossible to love and to be wise.” If you want to be smart, correct and all of that, it will never happen. Those who want to fall in love should be willing to make a fool of themselves. You should not mind being vulnerable. It is this which scares people off. It is not that otherwise you are not vulnerable. No matter how well protected you are, you are anyway vulnerable to life events. It is just that when you fall in love, you are willing to be vulnerable. You are willingly walking into it.
The advantage is – it does not take any great amount of learning, understanding, or sadhana to walk the path of passion. All it takes is a one-pointed love affair, which is unchanging for any reason. Now you are used to these kinds of love affairs where if you get the necessary takeaway, your love affair is on. The moment you think you do not get it, it is off. That is not a love affair – that is commerce. If you are doing commerce in the stock market, it is okay. But if you are doing commerce within yourself, it is very destructive. It takes away life. Usually, so-called spiritual people say money will take away life, but this is not so. What takes away life is when there is no passion in your life and no effervescence in your emotion. This makes it safe, but the safer you try to make it, the more death-oriented you become, because the safest thing in the world is to be dead. If you are alive, anything may happen.
Only the one who does not judge things as good or bad, for whom whatever happens is fine, is a true devotee. That is a true lover. No matter what happens, he or she is still one-pointed. It may look stupid to people who are calculating. Those who are calculating will live in comfort, but they will never know the bliss of existence. Those who are not calculating, who are living with passion, know the bliss of existence. If you are always calculating how much you put in and get back, you will only know comfort, not the joy of life.
These seven days of Leela were for you to come to a little more passion about life within you. This is not the last day. Leela has to begin now. Leela does not mean imitating Krishna – that would be stupid. Krishna never imitated anyone, nor should you. Leela means you bring playfulness into your life the way you know it.
Being playful has always been seen as irresponsible. They would have told you this when you were a child, and probably, you do the same thing to your children too. If they are playful, you think it is irresponsible. But the most responsible way to live is to be playful with life. It is absolutely irresponsible to walk around with a long face. Being playful is being responsible. Only when you are playful, you can be responsive to life. When you are serious, life around you does not exist for you – it is only about you and your nonsense. You can truly respond to everything in the world only if you are playful. Otherwise, just the burden of it will kill you.
Playfulness is not a philosophy that you have to develop, in the sense of “I’m going to be playful.” The whole existence is a dance of energy. The forces that create this existence are always playful. Creation has always been described as God’s play in this culture. “God’s play” does not mean God is playing with your life and creating misery for you. The forces of creation are constantly at play. If they stop playing, you are finished. Only when all the basic forces within the body play with full vigor, you feel nice.
Playfulness is not your attitude – it is the attitude of the Creator and the creation. If you are in tune with creation and Creator, being playful is natural. Only when you get enslaved by the process of your mind – your thoughts, opinions, ideologies, rights and wrongs, and moralities – you lose your playfulness. All playfulness is gone because you have been ignoring the larger creation and become too attached to the petty creations of your mind. If you were in line with life, if you were in line with creation and Creator, you would naturally be playful.
Only those who are playful can truly tackle problems in the world and do their best without being affected by it. If you try to grapple with problems without the necessary playfulness in you, it will eat you up. That is why so many people with good intentions have been swallowed by the situations in which they existed. You can only handle it if you are truly playful – otherwise, everything will be trouble. For a beginner on the spiritual path who is not yet accomplished, activity is necessary. And if you do not make it playful, activity is killing – no matter what type of activity it is.
If you maintain a few hours of playfulness in a day about what you are doing, even your physical body will start functioning so much better. Your sleep quota will come down and meditation will become a natural process. When you are playful, you are not entangled with the things you do. Once you are not entangled with them, you do not accumulate karma. Then the process of living becomes liberating. With the activity that you perform, you are no more doing karma – you are doing yoga. Once you are doing yoga through the day, life becomes effortless.
Stories of Yudhisthira's devotion to Krishna, and a little-known story of a group of monks and their devotion to Shiva, illustrate how devotion is a tool for dissolution. Explore the power of devotion in this intense series, Devotion. Only on Sadhguru Exclusive! Watch now.