The Orpheum

The Literary and Theatrical Art of Transcendental Realism

Adi Da Samraj, 2008
In addition to his books of spiritual, philosophical and practical teachings, Adi Da Samraj is the author of a literary trilogy titled The Orpheum: The Tragic History of The Recent Return of Orpheus, or, The First Room In Three Books. 

The novels tell the mysterious and heartbreaking story of the life and death of the "Great Sage” Raymond Darling—and they are designed to draw the reader or viewer into what Adi Da called "the maze of ecstasy," where the separate self is understood to be a fiction, a false presumption or myth, arising in a more fundamental and lasting reality or truth.

The Mummery Book, 2007
Theatre Set
From the time he began writing these novels, Adi Da intended the Orpheum trilogy to be performed theatrically—as a means of assisting each person attending the performance to be profoundly drawn into a transformative subjective process. 

The first book of the trilogy—The Mummery Book—was written by Adi Da in late 1969, in a few weeks of concentrated energy and ecstasy, and as the culmination and fruit of years of intensive, nearly non-stop writing. He expanded the text in later years, adding new sections in 1998. Adi Da wrote the next two books of the trilogy in 2005 (The Scapegoat Book) and in 2006 (The Happenine Book). 

Each of the “Three Books” of The Orpheum tells stories of illusory realities—shattered reflections of infinite points-of-view—all simultaneously taking place in Reality, the “First Room” that is prior to point of view.

The Mummery Book, 2007
Dad, Young Raymond Darling, Raymond Darling

The Mummery Book tells the story of Raymond Darling as he experiences the ordinary, dream-like and visionary events of his birth and childhood; as he loves and tragically loses the beautiful Quandra (a loss that begins the process by which Raymond realizes the Reality of non-separation); and as he is subsequently imprisoned in a mental institution by his own church for his radical insistence on the living, present reality of Truth.

The Scapegoat Book is a series of dialogues in the mental institution between Raymond and his captor-priest Evelyn Disk—embodiment of the ego—who both draws out and refuses Raymond’s teaching of non-duality. A work of fiction and philosophy, The Scapegoat Book reflects to humanity the core egoic activity: first glorifying but then isolating and destroying the ego-conceived object of veneration.

The Happenine Book again recounts Raymond’s life, teaching and revelation—in this book, through a posthumous collection of manuscripts and tape recordings, along with the Great Sage’s paintings, drawings, and photographs. This collection—left behind by Raymond Darling “for all of us to find”—presents a kaleidoscope of narrative and non-narrative forms, ranging stylistically from traditional realism to post-modernism.

from The Mummery Book:

    Raymond Held! Quandra, and she Held! him—in each-in-the-other’s arms. And warmed each other—now and then. With small kisses—on each other’s head, and arms.

The Mummery Book, 2006
Raymond Darling and Quandra
    And they each wept—alone—together. Mourning the “What” they could not speak to say.

    And their Broken! hearts of mortal, human love were Living-Water-Drenched!—with sorrowing their one-another. And how, that they, exactly, lived—and lived, at all. And how, that he could, never, now, forget her. And how, that she could, never, now, forget him. Except, there is the all-the-other-worlds, that do not know them—and, yet, will come-and-go—forgetting them!, forever, in the natural flow.

    And, when their tears were all pulled up, from the final peg that measured both their feeling-hearts—and natural exhaustions dried the mortal source of Loved-Ones-Well—Raymond’s Quandra sleeped away.

    And Raymond put her—Deep and down—within the would-be-Wedding-bed of grass. And—as a Bridegroom might have bent, to flatten, neat, his drowned Bride’s funerary pall—he smoothed her flower-of-gowns. And walked—away.

from The Scapegoat Book:

    The Great Fool, Evelyn Disk, says, in hasty thoughts, his pretendedly “immense” (and immensely self-agitated) reply to his Captive, the Avatar and Great Sage, Raymond Darling (always calmly and indifferently seated, there, in His simple ordinary institutional wooden chair, next to His, likewise provided, simple ordinary institutional wooden table):

Adi Da Samraj reciting The Scapegoat Book, 2006
with Evelyn Disk, Meridian Smith and Raymond Darling
    In me, the oceanic space of infinity, the overloaded arky boat of all the seeming universe is rolling in a screaming toss of everything—all moved by the inexhaustible wind of tedious, relentless opposites, and even weirdly blown, by the invisible thinking mind of natural Nature’s brain-God-Who. What, do I care? I am as patient as a communally enmudded clam—and neither the nacre nor the seeming silver metal bothers me, who am the sea itself.

    In me, the oceanic space of infinity, the worldly waves can come and go, or “as” and “be”, as brainy Nature pleases. All the Who-made what that hourly trembles here is, to me, like the briefest dimples on the bubbliest brink within a shaken jar of tea! In my great view, all is merely a maleffluent population of rudest gas—an absurd effervescence, ding-a-linging an inaudible beep in the bubble-bumpkin deep and bowel of all the underwaters under me. What have I to win or lose by floating here—in brain-God’s diving-hole? Where nothing Really is—there, all is actually not. And, so—why not to play? Would You suggest I weep and williwaw here, instead?

    In me, the oceanic space of infinity, the all too familiar universe springs up from brain-God’s dive and deep, like a child-book illustration—imagined, thus, to please an infant mind. In this Really brainless bubble, I am extremely tranquilized. I sit formless in myself—like a vast portion of empty water, contemplating its own equation. Therefore, I am firm and confident in my utopian life of fun—generously consuming all the goods of this good-timing world. Playful doings do not play away my uncaused inward calm—and what increases me can do no harm, nor even add a piece of good, to my “I am”.

    Consciousness itself, the true and very Self, is not an object—nor is it either comprehended or contained in any “thing” of my indolent perception. Neither is any “thing” the brain-God sees a “thing” (or a defining shape) that is the is of Consciousness itself. God’s brain is my brain, too. Is-brain is the only brain that is. Consciousness (itself), the one and only and true and very Self of all (and of all the all that is), is like an infinite ocean of pure, unblemished space. Therefore, no matter what I do, or even only seem to think—I am empty of toxicity, or stain, or shape. I am firm and confident in this, my “unthinkable” variation on the theme of perfect knowledge. Your arguments cannot touch this rock of my acquired faith—because my calculations rest upon the one and only brain, and on the countless lives of all the mortals it has animated to desiring here on Earth.

    I am only Consciousness itself, as You have now and truly said, Beloved Master Raymond. The mind, the body, and the world are merely sleight of hand—a magical illusion, entertaining me. Shall I remove the dewclaw from its hock, and, by an unnatural selection of the parts of my dear shape, seek to press me down below my natural hoof and claw? I am already set above the animal that Nature’s brain has given me to move. Then, why should I now seek to intervene, or choose a plan for my escape? Why should I choose “no”, when even all the “seeming” universe says “yes” to me?

from The Happenine Book:

Does “the ego” exist?

    If “the ego” is represented by the pronoun “I”—or, otherwise, “you”—is “it” thus proven to exist?

    Is the pronoun “I” like wax fruit?

    Is it un-Real—or non-Real—or, is it Real as wax fruit is Real?

    Wax fruit is not natural fruit. It does not grow on a tree. It never was on a tree.

    The Reality of a wax fruit is not with reference to fruit—but is a wax fruit nonetheless Real?

    Is the pronoun “I” Real in the sense that wax fruit is Real? Not with reference to what it seems to indicate, but with reference to what “it”, In and As Reality Itself, Is.

    If the self-presumed “separate brain” is the source of thought, is that not the same as saying a hat is the source of hair?

    If the presumed “separate brain” is the source of thought, are all ideas like wax fruit, having no tree?

    Or do both thoughts and the presumed “separate brain” grow from a certain kind of “tree” that does not otherwise bear “fruit”?

    Is the brain separate?

    What is a “separate brain”?

    What is a “separate brain” separate from?

    If the presumed “separate brain” is the source of all human experience, including all thought, is human experience like wax fruit? And does human experience actually appear in Reality?