If you were the supreme Self what would you do? I mean, would you just sit there and be blissfully one and forever and ever and ever? No, obviously not. You would play games. You would, in other words, for the very nature of the fact that I said no energy system is an energy system unless it lets go of itself. So you would let go of yourself.
And you’d get lost. And you’d get involved in all sorts of adventures. And you would forget who you were. Just as when you play a game, playing poker. And although you’re only playing for dimes or for chips, you get absorbed in the game. And nothing really important to win, nothing really important to lose, and yet it becomes fantastically interesting. Who wins and who loses?
So in the same way it is said that the supreme Self gets absorbed through ever so many different channels, which we call all the different beings, in the plot, just like an artist or a writer gets completely absorbed in the artistic creation that he is doing or an actor gets absorbed in the part in the drama.
At first we know it’s a drama. We go to a play and we say, ‘It’s only a play.’ And the proscenium arch tells us that what happens behind that arch is not for real; just a show. But the great actor, he is going to make you forget it’s just a show. He’s going to have you sitting on the edge of your chair. He’s going to have you crying. He’s going to have you trembling because he almost persuades you that it’s real.
And what would happen if the very best actor was confronted by the very best audience? Why they’d be taken in completely, and the one would confirm the other. So this is the idea of the Universe as drama. That the fundamental Self, the Saguna Brahman, plays this game, gets involved in being all of us, and does it so damn well, the it’s so superbly acted that the thing appears to be real. And we’re not only sitting on the edge of our chair, but we start to get up and throw things. We join in the drama and it all becomes whatever it is that is going on here, you see.
Then, of course, at the end of the drama, because all things have to have an end that have a beginning, the curtain goes down and the actors retire to the greenroom. And there, the villain and the hero cease to be villain and hero and they’re just that: the actor. And then they come out in front of the curtain and they stand in a row and the audience applauds the villain along with the hero. The villain, for having been a good villain. The hero for having been a great hero. The play is over. And everybody heaves a sigh of relief, ‘Well, that was a great show, wasn’t it?’
All this World is a big act. Lila, the play of the supreme Self. And it’s therefore compared to a dream, to a passing illusion, and you should not therefore take it seriously. You may take it sincerely, perhaps, as an actor may be sincere in his acting. But not serious, because that means it throws you for a loop. Although that of course is involved. We do take it seriously. But you see one of the great questions you have to ask yourself when you really get down to the nitty-gritty about your own inmost core is ‘Are you serious?’ Or do you know deep within you that you’re a put-on.