The Universe as Theatre - The World as Drama

Theatre - Drama – Cinema
The Deep Mystery partially unveiled….


This essay is an attempt to understand the universe by comparing it to a theatre.
In a theatre dramas are produced.... tragedies and comedies, romances and satires,  mysteries and farces.... all designed to keep the attention of an audience spell bound. Advaita Vedanta intimates that something similar is occurring in the universe.

In advaita there are 6 ways of knowing… Perception (Pratyaksha), Inference (Anumaana), Verbal Testimony (Shabda), Comparison (Upamaana), Postulation (Arthaapatti), Non-Recognition (Anupalabdhi).  This essay is simply an exercise in comparison. Comparison is not the highest or most certain form of knowledge, but by making the comparison between the universe and a theatre… genuine knowledge can appear in the mind.

Nisargadatta says Brahman is producing a drama all around you. That statement gives a clue to the function of one part being played in the universe…. Brahman is the ‘producer’ in the Theatre.

The analogy of drama-cinema to world-universe is astonishingly accurate, so much so that the concept and invention of the human theatre must have been inspired by, and exactly modelled on, the philosophical basis of the universe itself?

If so, then various questions arise relating to the parts, the constituents, and functions present in the human version of the theatre…..  what are they in the corresponding “spiritual” or advaitic version?

Here are some possible answers?

The Comparison

1.    What is the theatre?

The Universe. (Jagat)

Creation.  A creative performing art.  Because there is more than one theatre,
theoretically it could be concluded there is more than one universe?

2.    What is the stage?

The World. The planet Earth. (Samsara or Loka)

Shakespeare once said…
“All the world is a stage…” In another sense… the stage is your own world.
The world in your individual mind. The world is in the mind, and probably no where else? It is all in the Mind. Therefore the stage is the theatre in the mind, or the world in the mind. The stage is the world in your mind.

3.    What is the screen?

The mind. (Manas?)

The screen is that which reflects the projections of light upon itself. The screen is the mind, or that which reflects the presentations of  consciousness upon it. The screen is flimsy. It can easily tear. Only when it suddenly tears can you realize that it is a screen. Until the crack appears you are engulfed in its hypnotic reality. Until the crack appears you believe that the world is real. When the crack appears you realize that the world is merely a projection of the light of consciousness upon the screen of your mind. When the crack appears you realize the world is an illusion.

4.    What is behind the screen?

Clear space (Akasha). There is nothing there.

Apparently there is nothing really there. The screen has to tear or split suddenly for the audience to realize, by looking through the crack, that there is nothing really there behind the presented illusion. Only clear space (ether, Akasha) is behind the appearance of everything upon the screen of the mind. Some jnanis say that the Absolute can be regarded as the space that makes the appearance of everything possible. That is to say: the Absolute is the ether, or that beyond the ether… the void (Sunya). The mind is then merely the reflective surface of space, the reflective surface of inner space.

Of course at the end of most plays, everything is revealed. Another way of saying this is… just as you begin to understand things, life ends. Therefore at the end of life, at death, there will be an opportunity to see things falling away, illusions dissolving, and a glimpse of what is behind the screen?

5.    What is the scenery?

Super-impositions (Adhyasa), appearances in the mind.

In the theatre the scenery is usually painted upon the back cloth, or the screen, which by analogy intimates that the scenery of the world is a mere artistic projection onto the screen of the mind. In this sense the analogy of the cinema is more exact that the analogy of the theatre… because in the cinema light coming from behind one, over one’s right shoulder, is being reflected by the screen, by the mind.

6.    What is meant by “behind the scenes”? 

Behind ordinary consciousness. (Asraya or Param)

Behind the scenes there are stage-hands, spirits, semi-divine beings, arranging the production, all quite out of sight, all beyond the range of ordinary consciousness. To ensure the theatrical illusion is completely maintained it is necessary that none of these theatre assistants are ever glimpsed. The world on the stage and screen is the Avayakta, and behind the scenes is the truth, the Paramarthika. Behind the scenes means beyond the range of the limited human faculties.

7.    What are the props?       

The physical world of Bodies. The physical body (Annamaya Kosa).

The physical body props up consciousness. Food contains the distillation of captured light. The physical body is composed of food, which is composed of captured transformed light. Light is consciousness (Chaitanya). Therefore the physical food
or body is a mechanism for presenting and maintaining consciousness in the mind, which is the same thing as presenting light in its transformations in the mind. Light, in its various forms, creates the theatrical illusion to the observer who is dying every heart-beat nadir and is resurrected every heart-beat flux.. by light. Each frame (the moment or a memory) of the uncoiling film is shown one at a time, one heart beat at a time, but we do not notice this and join it all together… therefore it seems to move. 

A clever illusion.

8.    What are the costumes? And the make-up

The Persona, the person in the drama, the person who you have, at conception, agreed to be in the world. (Pranamaya Kosa or an aspect of Avarana).

 Persona consists of personality and false personality. A costume is something you put on, get into, in order to become, to appear as, someone you are not. At the end of the day, at the end of the performance, you are glad to take it off, let it fall at your feet, and tread on it, joyfully free. At the end of a life, at death, the costume falls away in front of you. The costume or personality is not natural, and rarely resembles your natural self, since no one is expected to play merely themselves in the play. In a play no one is their self. In the universe no one is their self. The Persona is acquired in the dressing rooms for the performance and taken off at the end of the show and given back. The dressing rooms are part of ‘behind the scenes’ and, once in the glare of the stage lights, no one remembers much about them, until the end when you return there for the unrobing. At the end, at death, someone unrobes you, strips you of your personality.

9.    What are the parts that are being played?
The Jiva is the part.

The part (jiva, natural body) is a projection (Vikshepa) of the actor (Buddhi, spiritual body).

The jiva is also known as the soul, the nature, the natural body, the astral body, the ordinary familiar self, etc. You are identified with your nature, with your jiva. You are identified with something that you are not. You are identified with the part, and have become so completely identified with the part that is being played that you do not realize it is not yourself. The jiva with which you are identified, appears with your companion jivas in the incarnation, or incarnations (since the same troop or company of players keep together for some period of time and perform several plays set in different historical eras, which is to say that you tend to meet the same people, the same jivas, in different lives). The jivas (natures) get into the costumes (the persona in the drama)  and become plastered with make-up (false personality) and it is the combination of the three layers that combine to produce the role or character played on the stage (world). But there is perhaps a strange twist in all this dressing up and putting on of clothes…. one part (jiva) is played by you, or more correctly is being played by the spirit (actor) standing behind you, and all the other parts (the other apparent jivas) are being played by divine shaktis. They are suffering their exultations and their ignominies merely to assist in making you the central character in the show… the star. They have better memories than you and have learned the script perfectly, but mechanically, and even know the future… they know exactly what scenes will come next, your every action and every mistake, and how it all ends, and how it is all going to be performed again exactly the same tomorrow. If you are heavily identified in the production, you think it is actually yourself that is playing the part, yourself who is doing the strutting around the stage, speaking the lines of the prearranged script, and yourself who is in control, doing all the acting, etc. If you are less identified you may stand back a little and watch it all happening around you, although because of the previous rehearsals (habit formation), you find yourself speaking the lines and making the gestures quite automatically. The lines come into your mind and you speak them, without realizing that they have been written by someone else (an author-playwright). It is quite difficult for a jiva, your nature, to realize that he is not doing the acting, is not the actor, but is merely the part that an actor is projecting, and when that realization occurs the jiva suddenly realizes that he doesn't exist. Such a jiva realizes that he doesn't say anything because everything is being said through him, and he doesn't do anything, and cannot possibly do anything, because he doesn't actually exist. He is merely an illusory projection of an actor. He is the part, not the actor.

Because there is a double illusion, a play (Janma) within the play (Lila), the jiva accepts a life, a persona in a particular play, one life, one incarnation, not realizing that the jiva himself is a part in a greater play that lasts the whole length of time in the universe, or as long as realization does not occur.

10.    What is the script?

Karma, or more exactly: Parabdha Karma ??

The individual life, the individual life story. The title of the play is  probably
something like: “The life and realization of (your name)”, or more probably perhaps “The Life and Realization of John Ward”.

11.    What are the actors?

The spirits, the spiritual body located in the higher intellect. (Buddhi).

Unknown to you, your nature is nothing but a projection of your spirit. Your spiritual self projects your nature in exactly the same way that an actor projects his part in a play. Therefore your spiritual self is an actor. Just as a part in a play cannot possible know that it is nothing but a projection of an actor, so you, your nature, your soul, cannot possibly know that you are the dramatic creation of a spirit, your own spiritual self. Similarly, Hamlet cannot possibly know that he is nothing but a projection of Laurence Olivier, and further... Hamlet cannot possibly know that he is nothing more than a part in a play. Hamlet, not least to be convincing, believes he is real, a real person, a real being. We also believe we are real until our spiritual self, located behind us, reveals himself to us. Then we realize that we are unreal. Then we realize that we are nothing more than the illusory projection of a spirit. You cannot see your spirit until your spirit chooses to reveal itself to you. When will that be? I do not know. What are these spirits? Just as the actors appear to be floating in the stage lights, so the spirits are floating in the Light, which is to say, floating in consciousness. The source of the Light, the source of consciousness, is in the causal world to which we ordinarily have no access. Just as our natures are insubstantial, so our spirit is equally an insubstantial phenomenon of our consciousness. But is our consciousness our own? Surprisingly our consciousness is not our own. Our consciousness is something emanating from the causal structure of  the universe, just as the theatre lights are not the personal possession of the actors or the parts, but part of the structure of the theatre. In conclusion, you are ultimately neither the actor nor the part he projects. If you believe it is you who is doing the acting, playing the part, then you are engulfed in an illusion from which it is very difficult to free yourself. It is necessary to realize that your genuine self is ultimately neither a nature nor a spirit, nor are you the consciousness that presents the universe upon the screen of your mind, similar to theatrical lights. Your spirit, the actor, lives in and under the theatrical lights. Why? He is performing for you.... the audience.

12.    Who is the audience?

The Witness (Shaksin), the first of the real.

Outside of the universe (the theatre) you are the Absolute, inside the universe you are the Witness. But even the witness is being observed by something…. by consciousness. But even the consciousness is being observed by something.… by awareness? That awareness is the Absolute.

Therefore the witness (Shaksin) is the first of the real, and there is another unknown real. The audience are the only real beings in the theatre, everyone else is either a part in the drama, or a professional working for the dramatic production. But the audience can not live in the theatre, eventually they have to leave and find their way home. The first of the real (the Shaksin) has to leave (Moksha) the unreal (Mithya and Avidya) and find its way (Marga) home (Brahman, the Real, Universal Being). If there remains any desire (Tanha) to see another play then the audience will be back sometime. Only by leaving the theatre (leaving behind, abandoning his Beingness) by the side door can someone in the audience exit into a different street (a parallel octave) and from there hope to eventually find the genuine Self (The Absolute). One has to go beyond Brahman, beyond being and non-being… because Brahman, The Great Being, is part of the theatrical drama. Being makes everything seem real, but ‘being’ is only that factor which makes a drama seem very real. Being is the quintessence of the illusion. Being is that animated movement in the actor which makes the part seem real. Only the witness can observe the deception of ‘being’. ‘Being’ is a construct of Maya. Light creates the forms and Maya sends something out of the theatrical shadows to make them come alive… ‘Being’. A spirit is merely a form, resembling a sculpture, a shaped stone, created in the mind by light, and is static until brought to life by Maya. Latent being is set into motion, animated. Therefore the witness is the first of the real, and he sees that everything else is unreal.

13.    Who is the critic? What is the function of the critic?

 The divine body (Deva).

The divine body has the function to act as conscience, or that which says
“this should not be”.  The critic generally criticizes the actors, and sometimes the conception of the production itself. The divine in you is perfect and criticizes the spirit in you which is imperfect. Only that which is nothing can be perfect, and that which is a ‘something’ must inevitably reveal imperfections. The unmanifest is the perfect, the manifest is the imperfect attempted production or reproduction. The divine body is the representation of the unmanifest in you. It is the fourth level within oneself, and like the Gudjieffian fourth room it is often empty… it is a nothingness. One has to remember that all the bodies… physical body, natural body, spiritual body, and divine body…. are all mechanisms. If you yearn to be spiritual, you are in fact merely wanting to be a finer mechanism. If you secretly wish you were a god, you may not be highly satisfied if ever you became one…. because mechanical tedium would soon set in. In darkness and alone…. you are alone with the nothingness. Most commentators regard critics as puffed up nothingnesses?

14.    Who is the producer?

Saguna Brahman.

Brahman is simply a great mass of being. Brahman is transcendental being. Brahman is the great ocean (Water) into which everything is dissolved without trace. Brahman is the unmanifest, as  comprehended by human vision, and when Brahman manifests, everything comes out of his unknowable depths in pairs, the opposites. At the surface they manifest, and only then know themselves as separate individuals. There is tension between the opposites. The opposites find each other irritating, even though they are companions. Only a small part of the Unmanifest produces the Manifest. 

15.    Who is the director?                                                                                               

 God, Isvara.

God is that which puts things up, and puts things down. In the
ordinary theatre it is the director who promotes people and sacks people. In the
Cosmic world, God promotes those who live for the benefit of others and
demotes those who live for themselves. But through the influence of Maya, the
one often appears as the other. Therefore merit (Punya - good reviews) is very subtle.

16.    Who is the author of the drama?
I do not know. Perhaps it is myself? Nisargadatta says: You created it. 

The unknown. Perhaps Vishnu? Logically the author should be the Creator,
ie Brahma. But the play we appear to be in is so subtle, so intriguing, so cunning, and so weird, that I feel that it cannot be the artistic creation of anyone noble. That rules out Brahma. I feels like the work of someone who is deceptive and playful…. therefore it must be Vishnu?

17.    Who is the owner of the theatre?
                                                                                                                                                                                  I do not know.

The unknown. Perhaps the unknowable Absolute? Advaita says that the Absolute is unknowable, and as the actual owner of the theatre is usually completely unknown to the actors and audience it would seem to be appropriate to ascribe ownership to the unknown Absolute. But is ownership an absolute state? In English law everything is owned by the Crown, the King. Everyone is granted the right to freehold, which means you are free to hold it for a maximum of a lifetime. To hold something is to be attached to it. Attachment (Abhimana). Therefore we are attached to the theatre in the mind and are consequently weighted down to Earth by stones embedding our feet. The stones are in fact myriad unseen attachments. To own is to hold on tightly to something, possession, being possessed. If in truth you have nothing of your own, then ownership is being attached to something which in fact possesses you. So one answer could be…. no one owns anything.  There are many theatrical producers, many directors, many authors… but usually only one owner. Therefore it is the One. As we are all said to be the One, it could also be said that we all own it, and none of us own it?  As the One is everything, the One owns itself. As that is a ridiculous statement it is better to suggest that ownership is a concept superimposed on the One.

18.    Who is the casting director?
The Divine Arranger of Lives. (in Sanskrit ??) Perhaps Shakti?

The divine arranger of lives is hearable but unseeable. Located initially
behind oneself during the process when one is identified with the jiva, especially
at conception, ‘he’ comes to find you. At pre-conception you are Alone and in Darkness, in a distant part of the universe, and you, long identified with the jiva, may be glad of the chance to move. The jiva cannot bear itself. In the darkness and aloneness in an isolated part of the universe you are fixed, you cannot move, cannot evolve. In life, in the theatre, you can move, evolve. At conception the casting director offers you a life, (a part, a dubious character to get into, to play, to take along the Way) but it is not your own life. It seems almost to be someone else’s life? It is clearly not your self. You, the identified jiva, have been long searching for yourself. Although you are free to accept the part or not, you may be tricked into acceptance. 

Out of work theatrical people are always eager to get some role, to be back working, progressing in their career, in the theatre. The divine arranger of lives (the casting director) wants you to take up the incarnation (the part in the drama) and knows how to tweak your weaknesses. Although it is only an insignificant and minor role that you are being tempted with, the casting director indicates a magnificent part (the Holy form of Yourself, Mahat) waiting for you to realize one future day, if you manage to take this dubious part along the entire length of the Way (the Way is your entire theatrical career). There are three probable reactions to the offer: A Brahma will take on the incarnation (the part) from noble impulses, for the love of the good, a Vishnu from a desire to achieve his secret aim, and a Siva from an opportunity to thwart and destroy the whole injust show. After the decision to take up the incarnation occurs, the casting director (the divine arranger of lives) leaves one and goes away to make the arrangements. You are cast into the part. You are cast into stone. You are cast into something resembling a stone sculpture, a form. You are cast into the stone spirit. 

The role, the character, the part, is not actually a real or living entity, although it may resemble that. Upon acceptance, you may glimpse the shadow of the casting director disappearing. The Divine Arranger of Lives has the voice of a male, but if you could turn round and look you might discover that it is a female (the goddess Amba??) with the voice of a male. Perhaps casting directors are related to the Yamadutas, who in Hindusim are the spirits which collect the jiva at death? Presumably those who brought the jiva here into the theatre, come back later to collect their property? More probable, perhaps the Yamadutas are your agent, or someone’s theatrical agent. 

19.    Who or what is the prompt (in the theatre)? or the animator (in the cinema)?

The ‘I am’-creator. Ahamkara.

Ahamkara is an emissary of Maya. Ahamkara makes the static forms
and names appear to be living things, living beings. This is what
Nisargadatta calls “your Beingness”. Just because a form moves and talks and is animated we think it is alive and real… not so, it is simply a form that has been touched by Ahamkara. The touch of Air. Ahamkara, the emissary of Maya, has
the power of a magician, creating the illusion of a living being, a spirit, where
there is really only a form, a static dead sculpture. Just as actors freeze,
motionless, when they have forgotten their lines, until the prompt reminds them,
whereupon the actors become animated with the part again… similarly does
Ahamkara, by the merest contact, or touch, turn the static forms into apparently
living beings… an amazing illusion. All the people in your life, in your drama,
are static forms animated by Ahamkara. All the people in your life are really sculptures, stones. Stones with a touch of beingness, I-am-ness. A truly amazing illusion. 

20.    Who is the projectionist (in the cinema) ?

I do not know. In Sanskrit and Advaita projection is Vikshepa. Vikshepa is an aspect of Shakti-Maya.

It may be Brahma. Nisargadatta says Brahma creates by humming (the whirl of the projector??). Which is to say that Brahma, or more correctly, a Brahma, (because there are said to be many Brahmas), even perhaps an immature young Brahma and not the Great mature Brahma (who is one of the original Triad), creates a universe and everything within it by means of vibration. The vibration takes the form of a Great Rhythm emitted from his mouth… ie a sort of humming. As this is Air and not Fire (ie light, the light of the projectionist, viz light which is a form of fire) it doesn’t  seem to be a good hypothesis to suggest that Brahma is the projectionist? I suggest Brahma because his incarnations carry around with them a certain quantity of golden light. If you find this difficult to believe... look into the eyes of a beautiful noble woman and smile at her... she will respond with a flash of light in her eyes. You will see unmistakably a very brief sparkle of paradisal light in her eyes. It is there and it is gone in a moment. You have discovered that she is an incarnation of Brahma carrying around with her a certain quantity of golden light. One is really asking who or what is the source of Light, ie the source of Consciousness, used by the projectionist to create the illusion on the screen? In advaita projection is Vikshepa. Therefore the film projector or projectionist may be Vikshepa, and the light that the projector uses may be Brahma? This is in the causal realm, and beyond the range of the faculties of the human condition. The causal is beyond both human consciousness and human knowledge. Therefore I simply do not know. It would be good to know and maybe one day one will find out?

Vikshepa (projection) is said to be one of the aspects of Maya, the other being Avarana (covering and veiling). Therefore the projector, the projectionist and what is projected may all be related to Maya. But without light there is no credible illusion? Therefore it by the mixing of light and shadow in the cosmic apparatus, the projector, controlled by a projectionist, Maya, that the illusion is projected upon the screen of your mind. Sankara says that ignorance (Avidya)  is created by mixing the real with the unreal.

The source of light is almost certainly Isvara, the Lord God, the white magician. 

21.    What is the coil of film (in the cinema) ?

The individual life.  Kundalini ??

The individual life is coiled up in the form of a disc, or wheel, and probably located in the solar plexus ( slowly unwinding to project one’s life upon the screen of the mind. It is in the form of a memory. Some say it is Kundalini. Others say it is a serpent. It is this ‘mortal coil’. The film consists of frames, stills, which are moments, moments now, moments captured and recorded in memory. Your life is a series of pictures, moments in memory, which pass before your watching consciousness in life, and again silently at death (ie at the end when the film coil is rewound). The projector is a cosmic machine that passes light (consciousness) through the frames (static pictures in memory) and projects them onto the screen of mind (the reflective surface of inner space) and it is (passing) time that creates the illusion of everything moving. If you could stop Time nothing would move. It you could stop the projector nothing would move on the screen. Only the projectionist can switch the projector off? Therefore the projector may be Vikshepa and the projectionist may be Time. Brahma is probably the source of Light passing through the projector.

22.    What is the ray of light being projected (in the cinema) ?

Consciousness. Chaitanya. 

23.    Who is the lighting director?
I do not know. Perhaps Isvara? Perhaps ultimately it is Prakriti.

The unknown. The gross material world, the world of physical bodies, is generally known. The subtle world, the worlds of nature and mind and spirits and gods, is known to some but unknown to others. The causal world is unknown to everyone; jnanis say the causal dimension, the principles of causation, the cause of the universe and its contents, is beyond the consciousness and knowledge of man. The director of lighting in the theatre is never seen by the audience and probably functions at the unknown causal level. One can only speculate. Advaita says all the light, including the light of consciousness, is Isvara's, the Supreme deity. Isvara is believed to reside in the Sun. Therefore, logically, the Sun is the director of light. If you prefer to deify the director of light, and light is acknowledged to be the most sacred, holy, purest, and magnificent of substances, which undoubtedly should have a divine origin, then you may wish to assign Isvara as your director of lighting.   

Perhaps the lighting director is one of the many Brahmas? Brahma is Light, golden light. Siva is Darkness, blackness. Vishnu is Shadow, shadowy, said to be poignantly very like the colour of deer standing in the shade of a forest. But Light is not quite the same as the director of light? Who directs Brahma? Who directs Brahma’s light? I do not know. Brahma's golden light is only one type of light, therefore probably he cannot be the director of all light. 

The Trimurti, the triad of gods: Brahma, Siva, Visnu, are merely the three gunas in divine disguise. Brahma is rajas, the positive guna, Siva is tamas, the negative guna, and Visnu is sattva, the neutral guna. Isvara is Saguna Brahman, which is Brahman with and apparently conditioned by the three gunas. Therefore in the quest to discern the source and director of light.... without which there is no ordinary consciousness, no consciousness of the forms, movements and events in the theatre, at least at the level of the subtle element of fire, tejas, light being a form of subtle fire; although there would still be sound, the voices of actors and stage effects, at the level of the subtle element of air, vayu, while the space, akasha, inside and outside the theatre, would remain unaffected by the presence or absence of sound and light, merely providing the underlying substratum enabling them to manifest.... the quest leads to the intimation that the gunas are associated with the manifestation and direction of light? The gunas manifest at the causal, subtle and gross material levels. In their balanced state the gunas are known as Prakriti, and being perfectly balanced they completely disappear into the Zero of unmanifest Prakriti. Upon a disturbance in the equilibrium of Prakriti, the gunas manifest, and their action and interaction, their endless struggle and forceful attempt to dominate each other, produces the universe, which is observed by Purusha, the higher Witness. Nisargadatta says we are in the universe as the Witness, and outside the universe as the Absolute. Everything else is Prakriti, Nature, even Primordial Nature. Consequently light, and the direction of light, inside the theatre of the universe, is a result of a disturbance in the equilibrium of the gunas, rajas benevolently producing light, tamas malevolently trying to extinguish it and sattva slyly manipulating it in order to use it for a different secret aim. In the theatre, even the lighting director is involved in his own drama.  

The drama of the universe is nothing more that the interplay of the three gunas and the five subtle elements. Light is only a characteristic manifestation of one of the subtle elements, tejas, fire. It finds its response in one of the gunas, Brahma, with his characteristic golden light. The secret of theatrical light, its production, direction and reflection, is to be discovered in this quintessential guna-elements relationship.    

24.    Do the parts in the drama ever know that they are not real?

No, impossible.

Quite impossible, unless the actor acts out a part in which he tells the part to say that it realizes it is unreal. Something like that could be written into the script, but the part cannot know anything, because the part is not anything real. There could be
a drama within the Drama? In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet there is a small play acted out within the Great Play. The small play is actually written by Hamlet himself. But Hamlet is merely a part in the Great Play, and also a part in the small play, a part believing itself to be real, capable of intentional action, and an author and an actor as well within the small play. It is an example of double illusion. In one illusion, ie: in the small illusion, the parts act out Realization, ie they know they are performing a drama, but poignantly they do not realize, and can never realize, that they are mere parts within a Great Drama. For the jiva there is no genuine Realization, it is only pretence.

25.    Do the parts ever know that they are being played by an actor behind them?
It is possible, but...

Only if the actor reveals himself to the part.
Is it ever possible for a part to know that they are merely a projection by an unseen actor behind them?  Again, only if the actor reveals the truth to the part in the drama. Maybe that is part of the script in the play? Maybe that is part of the script in our own play, in the play in which we find our self living. The play we are in is an intensely subtle play. O my God! I am engulfed in illusion within illusion.

26.    Can a part ever say anything not already written in the script?
No, impossible.

27.    Can a part move, or do anything, or perform any gesture, or any action,
other than what the actor behind him wishes him to do?

No, impossible.

Does the actor, in turn, do as he is told? 

Yes, he is completely mechanical. Mechanisms do what they are constructed to do. The spirits are all mere mechanisms. Your spiritual body creates your natural body as a form of projection, just as an actor creates the role, or part, he is playing by means of character projection. Therefore if you believe you are the part in the drama of your life, believe you are your nature, identify with your natural self in the world, and believe it is entirely you who act and do things… then you do not realize that you, your nature, your part, has been created by projection by someone standing behind you, someone who is in fact you yourself.

When you first catch sight of the spirit, see your spiritual body, you fall in love with him. You are two lovers. You love what you are. You love him, you love your spirit, because he is you, he is projecting you, and he loves acting. He, your spirit is in love with the part he is playing, in love with you, your nature. The spiritual body loves the natural body, just as an actor loves the part he is playing well. Reciprocally, the natural body loves the spiritual body, because the natural body has always yearned to be spiritual. The jiva is searching for the spiritual life. That yearning has been placed in the jiva by the spiritual actor. The spirit makes the jiva seek him. The spirit is playing with the jiva. What the jiva is seeking is standing behind him all the time, unseen, urging him periodically to search for his spirituality. The non-existent jiva is in search for his spirit. And the spirit is himself all the time. And because the spirit is a mechanism…. someone must have set this up. This appears to be amazing cruelty.
That is what the critic (the divine body, the deva, conscience) believes. ‘This should not be!’

The jiva is searching for his lost spiritual self who, unknown to him, is standing behind him, sweetly smiling. The impulse to search for the spiritual has been placed in the mind of the natural body, the jiva, by the spiritual body. Therefore the jiva does not realize that he is in search for himself. He is searching for his lost spiritual self, who is projecting him while standing behind him. A game of hide and seek? That is the essence of act one of the drama. When the two meet, they instantly love one another, because they are each other. Therefore the play is essentially a romance? It appears to be about love. But consciousness, awareness, the witness, sees that the spirit is a mere mechanism. Therefore, with some regret, leaving behind this form of illusion, this form of illusory love, the search for the Self goes on.
Who tells the spirit what to do? Who tells the spirit to project you, the jiva, the soul, the natural body?

That is the imponderable question. Someone is playing with us, that is all that I can say. I throw out the name Maya. But who knows what Maya is? Maya hides well in the shadows. Who can penetrate the shadows at the extreme limit of human consciousness? Who in the audience can see behind the wings and the shadows of the theatre? Hopefully the jnanis can.

28.    What happens to the parts at the end of the play?
They disappear.

As soon as the actors stop projecting their parts, the parts cease
and vanish without trace, except in the memory of the audience etc.

28.    Do the parts ever leave the theatre?

No, impossible.

No one has ever seen Hamlet leaving the theatre by the stage door.

29.    Does an actor ever reveal himself during a play?

No, not usually.

Why or why not? Answer: because that would spoil the play, and destroy an objective of the play, which depends upon perpetuating the illusion (Maya) until the end. To stop playing the part and to reveal himself as an actor is an occurrence rarely written into the script, and the spiritual body or actor being a professional is merely a mechanism who does what it is precisely programmed to do by its inventor, does exactly what the director tells him to do, exactly what the author intended. No one will ever tell you what is going on behind you. Sometimes, in pantomime some children in the audience do shout out…. “Look! there is something behind you…!!”  But apart from that no one inside the theatre will ever reveal the plot. The inventor of all these spiritual mechanisms has apparently programmed the actors, the spirits, never to reveal themselves, except in tantalizing hints and glimpses, which may be a sub-plot in the particular play being performed? It takes a child like myself…. to shout out…. exactly what I am shouting in this essay…. look out behind you…there is danger! My mother by my side, calms me, whispering ‘it is not real’. She does not want to spoil it for the rest of the audience…. ahh  that gives her away…. so my mother is merely part of the production. 

So what is the plot?…. the plot is that no one will ever tell you anything, not even that there is a plot. The whole cast (the spirits) keep the plot going until it all unravels at the end.

30.    Is an actor a real being or merely a profession?

The actor, the spirit, is surprisingly not real.
The spirit-actor is a profession, which is merely a means to earn a living. Apparently living, yes. Only an apparent living.
What is a living?                                                                                                   

Life (Prana), which is merely apparent life. Quite unreal. The professions are designed to keep the unreal Life continuing. The professionals maintain Life, Prana.

31.    Who or what is real in the theatre?
Only the audience.

But this evokes another question: how many people are in the audience?
How many witnesses are there? One or many? or both? or neither?
This is the question I cannot answer.
I suspect there is only one. There is only one witness… myself.

The physical body (the props), the natural body (the part), the spiritual body (the actor), the divine body (the critic)…. are all mechanistic, simply mere mechanisms. Mechanisms are not real. Even cosmic mechanisms are not real. You are attached (adjunct, Upadhi) to a Cosmic Mechanism. 

32.    What is a repeat performance?

33.    How many repeat performances are there? Or can be? How many recurrences?
Perhaps two, perhaps countless, perhaps as many as there is an audience(Witness) coming back to watch them, as many as there are necessary for self-realization, after which the audience(the Witness), probably does not come back.
Having seen the same play many times, why would one want to come back to see it again. Having extracted everything one can out of it, having extracted all the enjoyment out of it, there is nothing left to tempt one to return to the theatre for a repeat performance? No desire.
34.    Which, of all the people in the theatre, come back the next day to give exactly the same performance, in almost every detail?
Probably everyone.

Which do not return?
Perhaps only the fully Realized Man. He realizes that he has seen it all before.
Eventually he becomes weary of it. Only weariness releases one from the illusion?

35.    Can the same play be played in many theatres, at the same time, or at different times? What spiritually is this?
Yes. spiritually this is different universes in different sides of the mind, or in different lines of time. In parallel lines of time. In eternal time. 

36.    In the human theatre one man can sometimes play several parts, not simultaneously, but so long as he does not appear on stage at the same time. Therefore what is this phenomenon in the spiritual dimension?
This is the Shakti.

If so, can the same spirit appear simultaneously?
Yes easily. A spirit can take multiple roles, or parts, simultaneously. A spirit can appear in any form it wishes. Vishnu is particularly fond of playing multiple roles, even obscure humble roles. Strangely, the Shakti may even be inside you, behind you.

You may not like that.

37.    Historically, in the human theatre, female parts were played by men and boys… what is the equivalent of this in the spiritual dimension?
The Shakti is said to be the female aspect of each of   
the three chief gods, Brahma-Sarasvati, Siva-Kali, Vishnu-Lakshmi. Three
different kinds of Shakti playing the parts of women in life. Look deep inside a
woman and you may be surprised to see a man there. Cultured women on stage are played by Sarasvati, wanton women by Kali, maternal women by Lakshmi. They have different ear lobe shapes, different nostrils, and different legs. That is how you separate them, detect the different qualities of the actresses, the different gunas.

38.    Does the owner of the theatre create the theatre for the benefit of the audience, for their entertainment, for their education, or for their culture, or as a means of taking away some of their wealth in exchange for a passing show? Does the owner rely upon the theatre to make himself a living?
I do not know.

Usually there is a box office, and you have to pay something.

39.    Why do the audience frequently identify with what they see on the stage?

Because consciousness is one, and therefore identifies with whatever it sees. It identifies with everything because it ‘is’ everything. Is it consciousness or awareness within one that identifies… but I am not really sure. Certainly, there is something looking out from behind and within one, and this awesome consciousness is one with everything that it sees, and identifies with it… probably that is a mistake and it probably causes all the problems… eg identifying with the jiva, identifying with what is presented in front of it by Maya etc, and so the illusory life and its suffering begins without apparent end? Consciousness therefore may not be perfect, may not be an Absolute? Because Maya exploits the tendency of the inner awesome consciousness to identify with what is presented in front of it, the only way to free oneself from Maya is to cease identifying, or more drastically… to abandon consciousness? 

How can one stop consciousness identifying with what it sees? Difficult? Perhaps only by knowledge? Advaita says: “If you can see it you cannot be it.” The advaitic thesis is that consciousness cannot see itself, ie the subject cannot see the subject if the subject is itself consciousness? But consciousness is One, and therefore consciousness sees itself everywhere, wherever it observes consciousness in anything. Lift a stone, cleave a log… I am there. So… perhaps one has to leave consciousness behind? In darkness and alone it ends…. darkness is no consciousness, alone is no multiple being. If you abandon consciousness and abandon being… what is left?  Only knowledge? Is this the final step? Or does one have eventually to even abandon knowledge?  Consciousness (the child), Knowledge (the aged man), Being (the interned spirit), the son, father and holy ghost, are all masks of Vishnu. That is the truth. Therefore I am saddened to have to say that we are all being played with, we are in a masque. We are immersed without much hope of escape in a Great Play, which is Vishnu’s Lila.

40.    There is a main theatre exit through which everybody leaves at the end, and this is the same entrance through which they entered some time before, but usually there is also a small side exit through which a few may leave if it is known to them. There is also the separate stage door through which the actors leave, only for them to come back the next night. Why this separation of exits and entrances? Why is the small side door so little known?

It is like that because we have four heads, one looks forwards at the screen, one looks back into the interior and seeks to get out of the theatre from behind, through the foyer, beyond the theatre ‘facade’, one looks up, and one looks down. These four directions lead respectively (1) to the ocean-Vishnu loka-Brahman-water-the real, (2) to the inner play of light and shadow-Light-Maya-fire-illusion. (3) to the spiritual sky-Brahma loka-air- understanding. (4) to the ground-the fundamental basis of the here and now-Siva loka-earth-truth. It depends what you want. If you want the real, then travel straight ahead along the way to the crossing place, and cross over and dissolve without trace into the unity, into the real, into the transcendental ocean of Brahman upon which Vishnu floats on a bed of a coiled serpent. But if you want to penetrate to the highest cause of it all, then turn inwards and discover who or what is the causal source of the Light and Shadow that combine to create the illusion of world and self. But if you want understanding then intensely study fine culture, discover the mystic tree that has roots in heaven and branches on the ground, and ascend that tree by means of understanding alone, and reach the heavenly world where all support all, all love all, and meet and love yourself, noble Brahma. But if you want the truth, then intensely study only the here and now, which leads to the realization of that which is the fundamental basis of everything, and leave your mind behind as well as any distinctions of good and evil. Then you will join Siva in the depths of the Earth.

All four directions are attractive. It seems better to be real than unreal, better to know who or what is the cause of the illusion that imprisons one rather than to be its victim, better to understand and to love than to be ignorant and selfish, better to reach the truth than to live in the false…. but maybe none of these four are ultimates, none are Absolutes, none are what one is originally in search for? None will satisfy. They may be nothing more than four cells in a very large prison? It is an open prison and the prison bars are simply the transcendental that one reaches when one looks in each of the four directions. If one cannot see beyond the transcendental then how can one know which way to try to make one’s escape? Or perhaps the pursuit of four directions can more accurately be seen as four acts in an epic play? The question is: will a fifth act lead to the end of the epic, the final curtain, the exit, and the home-going? You cannot make your home in the theatre. So… onto the fifth act…

You need not merely four heads, six or seven would be better, eight, nine, zero, who knows? Leave no direction uninvestigated. In the theatre the attention of most people is directed outwards and in front, it is rare to look to the right or to the left. In the labyrinth of the theatre, if you go to the right hand side you merely enter another performance(recurrence) of the same play in a parallel theatre (in a parallel time). 

But there is a small door that is located on the left hand side, at right-angles. Light is an electromagnetic vibration with two sets of waves at right-angles. One wave, in conjunction with the influence of Maya, creates the illusion of the world, and the other set of vibratory waves, at its left right-angles, is the escape route that light itself contains, and presents to you, if you have done something pleasing to the Light, something that perhaps you initially did not want to do, something that even endangered you, which you did for the sake of the good, then Light, as an act of grace, may show you the small door at the side?

If you go through that door you find you have left your Being behind. All that is left of you is consciousness and knowledge, side by side. Your Being or Beingness is merely the touch of Ahamkara upon you, and Ahamkara is an emissary of Maya. The truth is that you have no genuine being. You have no internal and no external characteristics. Travelling along the left right-angle vibrations of Light you pass through the small left side door and out of the theatre and into another street, perhaps a parallel street. Where that street takes one… I do not ultimately know, perhaps to the Absolute. I only know that if you wish to explore that new direction it is necessary to leave your being behind, not least because it is the recipient of all your troubles.

Why is the side door so little known… ?

I do not know.

Generally the people living in one street do not talk to the people in the next street, and sometimes, if the streets have no direct inter-connection, do not even know of their existence. In cities the people in one street usually do not even know of the existence of other people living in a parallel street. Similarly, people in the theatre never notice small side doors, and if they do… often believe only theatre staff are permitted to go through them? At the end they tend to get carried outside, with or against their will, in the great thrust of people passing through the main doors in the foyer. Then they go home… only to return another day. Home is not the end of your theatrical life.

Why are the entrances and exists separate?
Perhaps because the owner doesn’t want his audience to ever escape from his influence, and may want them to repeatedly and continually come back to his theatre to see his plays, many times, sometimes the same play, and sometimes different plays… because it is beneficial to him…. he may shear them of some of their wealth in the process?

Why does Shakespeare say: “a man in his time plays many parts” and
“they have their exits and their entrances”?
He may be referring to reincarnation? Exits and entrances may be births and deaths, but as they are merely parts in dramas, they may not be entirely real births and real deaths? Whatever appears, and makes its entrance, must eventually disappear, and exit. Entrances in the plural suggests that Shakespeare possibly knew that there is more than one type of entrance-exit?  I guess I do not entirely know what the philosophical school of Shakespeare meant by that phraze.

41.    No matter how many dead bodies there are lying around the stage at the end of the drama, they all get up, and line up and smile at the audience, even bow. No matter how beaten up the parts and actors appear to be during the performance, they all come back immaculate and fresh at the beginning of the next performance the following day.     What is this spiritually?
Only the parts (the jivas) die, the actors (spirits) have some degree of immortality within the limitations of the life of the phenomenon of drama in any society, culture or civilization.  The jivas die the instant the spirit-actor stops projecting them. The spirits, each according to the instructions of the director, may keep projecting and thus performing the same part (jiva) many times (in many lives).  In the next performance of the same play or a different play, the rested actor-spirits wear fresh make-up and cleaned costumes (purification). Behind the scenes a process of purification goes on, which is essentially removing the impurities (demons) and attachments (coatings of evil) acquired in life. That which cannot be cleaned (purified), is broken up into its constituents, and thus in fragments goes into the dustbin (Siva’s Hell) for eventual recycling (The new Kalpa).

42.    What is the curtain that comes down at the end?
That concealing factor (Avarana) which hides everything.
That which wishes to withdraw everything to back stage pulls the curtain across your consciousness. The curtain is that which conceals the cosmic world from the mundane world. A window opens briefly, a cosmic being appears and performs some action, then he withdraws closing the curtain behind him. The window vanishes. In one interpretation this is the moment at the end of the drama, the end of one’s life, one life. A Yamadutas appears at the window, seizes you from behind and withdraws you, the jiva, into another dimension, closing the curtain from curious eyes. In another interpretation the curtain is ultimately the dissolution of the universe. Siva entices the whole of creation, all the jivas, to a location (Siva-loka) when they are covered over, and forget themselves for aeons of time. In the nihilism of Siva loka there are fragments of stones, smashed souls, sickle heads, and a multitude of lost beings, forgotten and unremembered. The curtain will only rise again when Brahma remembers himself, and a new theatrical season (Kalpa) begins.

Why does the curtain come down?
So that the witnesses (the audience) cannot see how the production was
created, and how everything is being carefully arranged for another production
tomorrow night. The cosmic forces do not want the witness to know everything.
The Sly Man has an aim and, being sly, the success of his aim depends on the others involved in the transaction not knowing what the ultimate aim is. The Malevolent Man does not wish the casual spectators of death to see what violence and destruction awaits them at their own impending death. The Benevolent Man does not want too many to see the delights of heaven otherwise fawning applications to stay there would fill the place to overflowing? Don’t call us, we will call you?

43. Finally…. At the end of the performance do the audience tend to applaud if they enjoyed the drama, cry at the poignancy of the twist in the ending, or creep away muttering to themselves if they didn’t enjoy it? Why do some people not enjoy the drama?
Bhogis enjoy, by which they grow in being. Yogis do not enjoy and strenuously attempt to reach the truth, a marriage of true minds. Advaitins try to understand. By understanding alone they ascend the mystical tree silently located in the centre of life, with its roots in heaven and its branches reaching down to earth. Understanding is only a stage. Beyond understanding is non-understanding. 

The Self is not an enjoyer.


Examine, study, the ordinary human theatre as intensely as one can, for hidden in its very structure is a philosophy that can help one to understand oneself and the universe, to a depth that one never managed to penetrate before. Everything in the ordinary theatre seems to have a parallel correspondence to something in the spiritual theatre. You will begin to understand much, but there will inevitably come some point of difficulty where it seems impossible to go beyond. One reaches the limits of one’s experience and understanding, and some terms, some theatrical jargon, some technical words, seem impossible to understand spiritually. What has happened is that one has reached the limit of one’s understanding. That is where one has stopped. That is reaching the blockage. Make an even greater effort, a super effort, and one may suddenly go beyond… and reach an amazing realization about oneself and everything. Then life seems worthwhile?

 You can test not only yourself but other people with this intriguing game of theatrical philosophical comparison…. it will show you clearly the point they reach, stop, and can go no further. Therefore it demonstrates precisely the level of realization that has been reached. I have included in this essay the things that I do not understand…. and therefore you can detect my level precisely. What do I not understand? I do not know how many people there are in the audience. Therefore I am not at the level of the audience (Witness) because if I were… I could simply look around and count how other people are there? From memory, when I was once briefly there as the Witness, that which is looking out…. I had the suspicion that there is only one person in the audience… myself. The comparison seems to break down at this point? Surely not? Why? In advaita there is only one Witness (The Shaksin). But, in the ordinary human theatre there are usually many people in the audience, although historically in the early period of the development of the theatrical art sometimes there would only be an audience of one, viz the Prince or King, or sometimes only a very few members of the Royal Family and favoured courtiers also present. In Hamlet, the play within the play is presented  only to the usurping King and his wife, the old Queen, for the purpose of bringing them to the truth. Therefore the inner play seems to be presented to the ‘false’ self alone, and the greater outer play seems to be presented to the audience of many, to everyone? But I cannot decide. I cannot decide which concept is the truth. Am I the One alone, or are there other people? It is the ultimate enigma of the One and the Many. No concept can be the truth? Therefore one probably cannot rely on reasoning, or logic, or comparison, to deduce the truth from a simple allegorical relationship of universe to ordinary theatre. When you reach this block, the mind subsumes?

One possible intellectual solution to this blockage may be to suggest that there is only one person in the audience, the Witness, myself, and everyone else accompanying me inside the theatre, are none other than divine Shaktis, playing the roles of friends, relatives, and members of the audience. That is rather mind-blowing. Its sounds the ultimate solipsism, a somewhat arrogant thought, full of self-love, and far too over-concerned with oneself, to be true? I realize what seems to be proposed is that I am the only one who is genuinely there, everyone else is but a spiritual phantom of Mind? Or further: I am God, and everyone else is part of myself, who have separated temporarily for the purpose of the entertainment. I have created it all. Surely not?
I don’t like it, I don’t like the universe and its violence, I don’t like the quality of the majority of the people in it, I don’t like myself. Why would I create a universe and a mass of beings disharmonious with myself? It would seem unlikely.

Probably the only philosophy that can accommodate such a belief is one in which God becomes weary of being the One Alone, and part of Himself becomes the universe, and all its myriad beings and things, to fulfil his wish to become the Many, to have companions Consider the myth of Hiranyagarba? Consider also the legend of Purusha who sacrifices himself to become the Many constituents of the universe? God, Isvara, doesn’t like being alone? Preposterous as that may seem…. it could be true? Remember God, Isvara, is not the same as the Absolute. Isvara, God, is conditioned by the gunas, and is Saguna, whereas the Absolute is not conditioned by the gunas, and is Nirguna. The conditioned Isvara could be anything.

Therefore God, Isvara, can be regarded as part of the illusion, or more precisely as an illusion within the illusion. So…. you, the Bhakti, strive along the Way, and reach God, and become God, and then realize that you have identified with yet another illusion. That may be the very drama within the drama, a subtle powerful illusion within the illusion? Maya wants you to believe that you are a god, that your Self at the origin was God.  How could you have forgotten your Self? Of course the truth is you have not forgotten…. you never were God. You never were anything that is conditioned.

But Nisargadatta’s words play in my memory…. he said that Brahman had produced the universe for he, himself, Nisargadatta. Am I merely a part in Nisargadatta’s universe, even though we never met? Or has Brahman also similarly produced a universe for myself? In such a universe Brahman would have produced Nisargadatta for my entertainment? Does the greater entertain the lesser? Is a realized man an object of entertainment? Surely this is all very doubtful. This brings to mind yet another possibility… that there are many theatres, ie many universes, each with one person, one witness, sitting in them being entertained? Indeed, in any great city there are many theatres with one person inside, believing they are rather special, watching the play unfold, with other people beside and around them, who are not independent, but only present within the consciousness. Although such a thesis is possible it is flawed by the concept of being ‘special’. How can one part of an illusion be more special than any other non-existent part. How can a whole be divided into parts so that one part is real and all the other parts unreal? I know that I do not exist, and am content with the truth. Why should Brahman, or the Absolute, produce a universe for someone non-existent? Most doubtful.  Advaita says that Consciousness is One, but appears to be multiple. Similarly Light although having One source can split into a multitude of rays. So, by inference, there are many rays of creation, each with one Self the centre of the spotlight? In these multiple consciousnesses, each Witness believes they are alone with their consciousness, and no one else shares it with them. The individual consciousness appears to be unique, and is a territory exclusive to that individual. But is it? Maybe the solution to that problem is the same solution to the parallel question of how many people are there in the audience? Are there Many or is there only One? Advaita says One. Therefore my Witness is not flawed, looking around it didn’t see anyone else. But there is a final twist… I saw the Witness.

There is a Witness of the Witness. To distinguish between them it is necessary to assign a name to each. Because one Witness appears spatially to look down upon the other, a simple distinction would be to name the first Witness that appears as the Lower Witness, or Sakshin, and the second Witness which observes the first as the Upper Witness, or Purusha. In the theatre Sakshin is the audience seated in the stalls, and Purusha is the audience seated high up in the upper circle, which is colloquially known in theatrical slang as "the gods". Purusha is divine but is not the Absolute. Nor is Purusha the presence of Isvara, the Lord God. Purusha is the highest Witness in yourself, who looks down upon the world like someone looking down upon an arena. In the arena everything occurs, but being high up in the Colosseum everything appears distant and detached. When Purusha looks down upon the universe as an arena, as a place of spectacles, Purusha realizes that he is looking down at the action and interaction of the three gunas: rajas, tamas, sattva. Everything that occurs in the arena is merely the interaction of the three gunas, the interplay of positive, negative and neutralizing forces. The three gunas are Prakriti, primordial Nature. Everything is Prakriti and the detached observer of it is Purusha.  

The Lower Witness, Sakshin has form, The Upper Witness, Purusha, has no form.

Both are real, Sakshin is the first of the real, and Purusha is the second, the other of the real. in the theatre only the audience is real, everything else, the elaborate decorations of the theatre's façade, structure and fabric, the characters and parts in the play, the story, plot, script, the pseudo constructed props, all of it ..... is unreal. Purusha looks down and sees not only the action on the stage, but also the audience, Sakshin, in the stalls engrossed by the performance of the drama. Even the actors, the stage hands, the managerial staff, are not genuinely real, they are professions. Professions are not the genuine self. An actor is only an actor whilst in the theatre, a means to earning a living, because when the actor leaves the theatre at the end of the performance and goes home, he stops being an actor and is able to be himself at last. No one at home struts around like an actor, no one at home continues to be Hamlet, no one at home pretends to be what he is not. Sakshin sees every being as a mechanism. The physical body, the natural body, the spiritual body, the divine body, are all seen to be mechanisms. Physical bodies, natures, characters, personalities, spirits, divine beings are all mechanisms. A definition of the real could be formulated as.... that which is not a mechanism. Even the prompt in the theatre, Ahamkara, the I-am creator, is a mechanism. Purusha sees everything also as a mechanism, but no longer as merely individual mechanisms, Purusha sees everything as a gigantic stage mechanism... Prakriti. Purusha is the witness which is real and everything else is Prakriti, primordial mechanism, which is unreal. Real and unreal are opposites. neither of the opposites is ultimate. Opposites are not absolute. The Absolute is neither real nor unreal. If you go to the theatre seeking the ultimate you will be disappointed, if you go to the theatrical universe seeking the Absolute you will not find it there, because, just like the theatre, the universe is an unreal performance watched by a real observer, but neither is your ultimate self, the Absolute.

Purusha can glimpse the Atman

possibly to be continued.....