We all know how much the act of role-playing is loved by the children, it’s their all time favorite. May be it is one of the oldest ‘Open Ended‘ play activities – as been redefined in modern world. There is no limit to the ways it can be played, irrespective of the number of kids involved and their age group. Everyone is welcomed, with few exception when the team decides to boycott someone or two! It is so impromptu, without any particular scenario or script on mind one spontaneously becomes the character he/she likes to play. Others too follow their own mind and everything just fit as perfectly as the pieces of an artistically crafted jigsaw puzzle. This is not limited to themselves only (the living beings), in fact many dead objects also take appropriate part into their play. Even things that do not exist seem to be miraculously appearing for them and taking part with them. If you ever observed such play, it’s a glimpse into the miniature reflection of the real world from their viewpoint. As the consumerism prevails, nowadays sophisticated toys are available to take the role playing games at the next level, but they are not essential. Considering all these bits and pieces about role playing along with my intense interest in developing toys based on scripture, let’s proceed.
On one fine morning, it stuck to my mind while performing devotional services to archa vigraha (deity) of our beloved Bala Krishna or Laddu Gopal (the infant form of the Lord Krishna). I must state a disclaimer to all the devotees out there, to take this read as light-hearted and childish, as it is meant to be and not in context of an attempt to dilute the elaborate and stringent standards of performing archa vigraha seva (services). For the sake of those readers who are not familiar with these procedures, let me elaborate. The archa vigraha requires almost everything just like any human being may need during the course of a day and night. Moreover, Laddu Gopal being the case of an infant, extra care and pampering is involved! Starting from waking him up in the morning, to bathing him (keeping the water temperature and season in mind), changing his clothes, grooming him with various decorative ornaments, a glance in the mirror to show him how beautiful he looks, providing him toys to play with,offering food, dressing him up for bed time along with sweet lullaby are just among a few things that are done almost everyday with great care and love by the devotees.
Are you connecting the dots, already? Although these two are very different subject matters, one can instantly think of striking similarities between them – that of learning. Whether role-playing or of any other type, playing is in principle linked to learning. Kids enjoy role-playing as it gives them the chance to live the life of grown-ups that is not allowed otherwise, for their safety. As a by product of this role-playing they learn within their Imaginary world, to safely get adapt to the Real environment that they will be graduating to at certain point of time. How wonderfully, it resembles the practice of various devotional services rendered unto the archa vigraha by devotees. Isn’t it our human life the role-playing session into the reflection of some real world where we are destined to graduate someday?
ऊर्ध्वमूलमध:शाखमश्वत्थं प्राहुरव्ययम् ।
छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित् ॥ १ ॥
“It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.” [Bhagvad Gita 15.1]