Acting on the Stage of Life


Sri Vasudeva once spoke on the concept of life as a drama or a play. It’s not a new idea, but I liked his description of it. He said, “ When we create a drama, then we know that whatever we are doing doesn’t change the essential character of the person.  Let’s say I am playing a vagabond or a thug in a drama – even though I’m appearing evil and negative in the drama or the play, my essential being, Sri Vasudeva, is not being changed by this drama that I am playing. So all the roles that we play in life, father, mother, friend,  teacher, doctor, lawyer – whatever it might be – all these are dramas because they don’t change the essential nature of the Self.

These are roles that we assume and these are roles that we’re going to have to leave behind when we leave this life.  Our ego may become transformed, influenced or shaped by these experiences but the Self, which is beneath the ego, is unchanged by the whole.  From the viewpoint of the ego that’s involved, it may not seem to be any drama but from the viewpoint of the Self, it’s all a drama.”

When I look around me and examine the many roles I play and the roles played by those who engage with me I can see that I perceive those roles to be large, minor, sometimes funny, sometimes serious…I can describe those roles in many different ways. Now how can I relate to the Being that is untouched by the role, the script and the action being played out? Let me look at myself. Which part of me is influenced by the experiences?  Is it the part that contributes to my feeling of identity, my idea of who I am, how I think about myself, perhaps my personality?

When I look at a movie sometimes I get caught up in the character and the script and forget that this is just an actor on the screen. So what do I already do when that happens? How do I view actors and what can I learn from them to help me to understand the unchanging nature of the Self? I can use my intellect when I get caught up and remind myself that it is only a movie.

It’s interesting to contemplate the unchanging nature of the Self.  One of my favorite excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 says “Indestructible is the presence that pervades all this; no one can destroy this unchanging reality.  Our bodies are known to end, but the embodied Atman (Self) is enduring,  indestructible, and immeasurable. It is not born, it does not die having been, it will never not be; unborn, enduring, constant, and primordial.” It goes on in another part to say, “Weapons cannot not cut it, fire does not burn it, waters do not wet it,  wind does not wither it. It is enduring, all pervasive, fixed, immovable, and timeless.  It is called un-manifest, inconceivable, and immutable.”

So what traps us in the pain and misery if our Self cannot be tainted by any experience? It could be that we are identifying with the roles and the ups and downs of the actors on the stage, forgetting the play.  We don’t consider a movie to be good unless there is some drama to it, may be some light moments, some challenges, sometimes a little romance, these are also ingredients in the play of life. We say the actors are good when we forget that it’s a role they are playing. What would happen if we consciously were to remind ourselves in the different roles that we play that this, like a movie is only for a short time, and it’s only a role, not our true Self? I wonder if it will help me to play the roles more effectively. Can I drop the roles when they are complete like an actor moving from one movie to another, today playing one character tomorrow another? Do I even recognize when the role is done, when there is no more in the script and it’s time to move on to another drama?

Don’t you admire the skill of actors and wonder what lessons we could learn from them in how to become the master player of our life? How are your acting skills?

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3 Responses to Acting on the Stage of Life

  1. ram0ram says:

    dear and divine …… a value for time blog….. thanks for sharing….a sensitive and kind human Madhavi……a fine wisdom post….a fine enlightened master to guide you….

    normally I read one or two blog a day but there many many post…… it makes to understand better….

    Birth is like start of the film , death is like end of the film , life is to watch the film to know our role and God’s part. definition or acting changes with roles but original name or God’s part normally appear at end of the film….even in the start of the film..but that we forget once our memory starts building in childhood and in all the makeups of different roles search this original face only….

    you are fortunate to mirror the original face early…..

    love all.

    • chanmadhavi says:

      Dear Ramoram
      I like what you say, “Birth is like start of the film , death is like end of the film , life is to watch the film to know our role and God’s part.” Thank you for your presence and wisdom.
      luv
      madhavi

  2. esther says:

    How exciting! Im going to try it out right away!!.. ‘Im just an actor playing this amazing play of life’.. 🙂

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