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Dyuta In Ancient Hinduism

Dyuta was a form of gambling present in ancient Hinduism. It is recognized as one of the evils to be avoided by every individual in the Rig Veda. The evil effects of Dyuta are mentioned in Aksa Sukta (X.34), where in the plight of the gambler is poetically described.

Ancient scriptures of Hindu religion show that gambling and betting was a social entertainment to a limited extent. There were gambling houses, which provided a legal sanction and protection for the game. But it has been highly condemned as an addiction and a vice.

The evil consequences of indulging in gambling are illustrated in the Mahabharata through the story of King Nala, and that of Yudhisthira.

The pieces of dice used in gambling are said to be the primary residence of the evil force of Kali (as in Kali Yuga not Goddess Kali).

Dyuta was considered as a royal pleasure in the sense that the king was directed never to shirk away from an invitation of a game of dice. Law makers like Manu and writes on polity like Kautilya severely condemn the indulgence of a king in gambling.

Aksha is the technical name under which gambling is referred to as a pitfall and a vyasana (addiction) to be avoided.

Even Shiva and Parvati’s dice-play is often referred to in Puranas and depicted in a sculpture at Ellora.

The modern versions of ganjeefa leaves or the card games evolved from Dyuta.