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Harish Johari-A Man of Many Talents

Updated on September 19, 2012

Leela-The Game of Cosmic Consciousness

I first heard the word Leela through one of my spiritual teachers, Gangaji, whose teachings I was introduced to while working in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is an American born woman who found her master teacher, H.L. Poonja, who was a devotee of Ramana Maharshi, an Indian sage in the early twentieth century.

During the three years that I followed Gangaji I would travel to California for retreat and satsang. Gangaji offers ‘satsang’ , (Sanskrit for ‘association with truth’), in various places throughout the United States and the world. The talks would recount the ‘Leela’, or Divine play, that people would fixate on-that we all get caught up in, while never realizing that this is the play of life. So, whenever I would catch myself getting hung up about a problem that I created in my illusionary world, the awareness would make me pause and appreciate the ‘Leela’ in my own life.

The word Leela is Hindu meaning ‘play’ or ‘Cosmic play of life’, and it references how we engage in our everyday life. God loves to create. God’s creations are manifestations that will reflect the divine that is in all places, in all things. Our egos sidetrack us into believing that we have created what we have in the world and forgetting that these forms of energy are from a source that works through our own minds and hands.

It is the Leela that reminds us of our fallibility and brings us down a peg or two. If we are able to recognize this gentle slap and laugh at the humor of it, we are in the place of learning to wake up to our connection to our Divine self. If we do not ‘get it’ we continue to stay ‘asleep’ to what is the truth of our being.

One of the many beautiful sculptures Johari created.
One of the many beautiful sculptures Johari created. | Source

Author and More...

Harish Johari is the author of the book: Leela-the game of Cosmic Consciousness. I was led to this book, as I have been led to many during my lifetime, out of curiosity and purpose. I was curious about the Leela board game and found more than I bargained for during my exploration of the book and game. There is purpose to all things regardless of whether we personally understand what it is at the moment-or ever. The lessons of the book are the lessons of life: Leela, or ‘the Divine play’; Karma, or the ‘law of cause and effect’; and Maya, the ‘illusion’ that we come to believe in our unrealized state are all part of the game, Leela, just as it is part of our own lives.

Johari, born May 12, 1934 died on August 20, 1999. During his lifetime he wrote many books, earned two degrees, ran a family business, became a painter and sculptor, created a guide to the game of Snakes and Arrows-the Leela Game; and was a family man with children. He taught, travelled and lectured.

Harish Johari

Harish Johari
Harish Johari | Source

The Sanatan Society

His students and teachers have reveled in his multiple talents and artistic abilities. They honor him with two websites:, which is an international networking center for anyone interested in the teachings of Harish Johari. This site will take you to explanations of Hindu philosophy, Ayurvedic home remedies, vegetarian recipes, paintings, mantras, and other very useful and free information. The second website is, which offer and promote products that can be purchased to help support the teachers who continue to do Johari’s work.

The entire Sanatan Society has been created to continue the teachings without glorifying the man. According to the website information, the word, “Sanatan means original, universal, eternal and is mostly used as, “Sanatan Dharm”, the ancient word for “Hinduism” as the original, universal, eternal truth, values, laws, religion”. There is such a wealth of information available to the reader on the two websites that it is easy to see why they would want to honor the man: Harish Johari.

Johari's art work

One of the beautiful paintings Johari made.
One of the beautiful paintings Johari made. | Source

Johari's Committment to His Students

Besides Leela-the game of Cosmic Consciousness , Johari was an avid teacher of the chakras in relationship to their tone, color, and vibration. These are explained through his book, Chakras: energy centers of transformation and the companion CD: Sounds of the Chakras. I have both the book and CD and they are written in an easy to follow manner with plenty of diagrams.

Harish Johari was a natural teacher and these ‘lessons’ of life are evident even through his children’s stories. One of the children’s stories he wrote is called, The Monkeys and the Mangos. He has also written a children’s version of the story of Krishna.

If you have visited the hub: Before chutes and ladders there was leela-the game of self-knowledge you will already be familiar with the name of Harish Johari. I was prompted to invite the reader to learning a little bit about the man who authored the guide to the game. Although a version of Leela has been around for 2,000 years, I am hoping that this short bio about Johari will spark an interest that will lead the reader to investigate more about both him and his wonderful contributions to our planet.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Oh, I am so glad that you enjoyed this article about Johari. Not too many people know about him or bother to read this hub. Thank you for your kind words. Many blessings...

    • manatita44 profile image


      6 years ago from london

      Well written and inspirational. I'm glad that you have found your Path and are seeking to serve or inspire others. Hari Om Tat sat.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Cara! I appreciate your comments. :)

    • cardelean profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Nice job explaning and adding links to your hub. I think that you really created some intrigue among your readers!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL I think you are right about that Gail. Wasn't my intention at all when I started, but what a wonderful surprise! Thanks for checking it out. Have a great w/e.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Cool hub with lots of interesting facts and concepts. Am going to bookmark this hub and check out the websites. You did a great job of wetting the reader's appetite for more information about Johari's teachings.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi B-thanks for being intrigued. I'm glad to know that when I write something that seems off in left field somewhere that others will at least investigate by reading and coming to their own conclusion about whether to pursue the topic. Thanks again. :)

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      9 years ago

      This was such an Interesting and certainly Informative Hub. You always come up with such different topics Denise. Now I too will check out the Man and his work. Thanks for Sharing.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Alicia-thanks for reading and commenting. I'm so glad I've sparked your interest in this man. Happy discoveries to you. Be sure to click the link to the society and it will lead you to some of his remarkable contributions.

      Hi Karen-I recall you and I sharing the experience of the night with Krishna Das. I was privelaged to be involved in his concert in California, a delightful, energized evening of music, chanting and dancing. If ever you have an opportunity be sure to go to the website of Ammachi. (see my hub 4 spiritual teachers I have met for a link). She is a Hindu Teacher/Saint who tours the U.S. every year. Her devotion is to be of service to all people in the world and she is known as the 'Hugging' Saint. (not sure if 'saint' is the right term here, but she is highly revered for all of her charities). Being with her during her celebration tour is amazing. Lots of music, great food, and of course, an opportunity to recieve her infamous hug. Well worth a little drive to an area that she will appear at, if you don't happen to be on her list of tours. Thanks for visiting the site and commenting. Always good to hear from you. :) Enjoy your playtime. LOL

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      9 years ago from New England

      Thank you for such an inspiring article. You paint a picture of Johari as a remarkable human being. I attended a night of Hindu chanting with Krishna Das last spring and since then, have wanted to know more about Hindu philosophy. Love the concept of Leela...and the idea that there is holy aspect of play... a purpose to it...:0) Love to take time to be playful with my daughter! Have a great day!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the interesting and useful information. I’ve encountered the word “Leela” before in my reading and knew that it meant “Divine play” without really understanding its significance. Your hub has definitely sparked my interest! I’m looking forward to finding out more about Harish Johari and Leela.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Mar-I do not know the concept Johari Window, so now I am curious and have to look this up. Thanks for the read and comments. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      9 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      This is so cool and I will be bookmarking and checking out your other article/ references. Now speaking of Holistic...!!!

      Is H. Johari the same as in "Johari Window"? I am forever using that concept in class to compare two variables of any kind? I will definitely be doing more reading on him. Thank you so much.

      Voted UP & UAB-- have a peaceful evening, mar.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Peter, I am so glad to hear that this hub has brought back a place of beauty for you. You are welcome. It seems as if we have more than Detroit and Alaska in common. :)

      Spiritwhisperer-yes, Leela is delightful, LOL Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad it sparked your curiosity.

      Hi Annie-thanks for reading and the vote up. :)

      Ruby-I didn't realize that you also meditate. I don't always use the chakra cd, but it is a good cd to listen to and 'clear' ones chakras.

      Hi Stephanie-thanks for all your great feedback. I'm always 'rewarded' to know that what was written has sparked curiosity in the reader. Thanks. Chakras are the 'energy' centers of the body that exist in all of us. Because they are energy it is 'invisible' in comparison to an organ, such as a liver or heart. But, it is important to keep our chakras unblocked-blocked chakras are blocked energy and can be related to physical and emotional distress. It is a very interesting topic. :)

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      This is great background for your hub about the game of Leela. Johari sounds like a fascinating spiritual leader. I'm particularly interested in learning more about Chakras, and also enjoyed the link that your provided.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very interesting. I've studied some of the subject matter, esp. Karma. I love to meditate. The music to enhance the effect would be nice. Thank you.

    • annmackiemiller profile image


      9 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      how interesting Denise - voted up and awesome

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      9 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yes this hub definitely does what it sets out to achieve. Nicely done and I will certainly be checking out the man and his work. Thank you Leela!

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image


      9 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Long ago in my early life I followed many Hindu and Indian ideas. I was enthralled by the depth and beauty of them. You have brought those images back to me, Thank You, Peter


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