Chapter 7 — Bhushunda Describes the Seed of the Tree of the World

Bhushunda replied:—

Having listened to this holy speech by the vidyadhara spirit, I answered his questions in plain words as follows.

Well said, O chief of the vidyadharas. It proves that you are awakened to your good sense by your good fortune. After so long you now desire to be raised out of the dark pit and dungeon of the world. Your holy intentions shine brightly like blazing clouds in midday light, and like pure liquid gold melted down by the fire of right reasoning. Your clear mind will easily be able to grasp the meaning of my advice to you, just as a clean mirror is capable of receiving the reflection of every object set before it. You must give your assent to what I say by uttering the syllable Om. You need have no doubt and may take what I have come to know by my long research as certain truth.

By giving up your ignorance, you well know that whatever you feel within yourself is not your self, and that it is hard to have it, in spite of your long search. Know it for certain that there is no “I” or “you” and no phenomenal world that may be called real. All this is the blissful God who is no cause of either your happiness or misery.

We cannot use reason to determine whether this world is a creation of our ignorance or whether it is ignorance itself, because there being only one simple entity, there is no possibility of the coexistence of duality.

The world appears like water in a mirage. It is insubstantial and though it appears to be something real, in reality it is nothing at all. The phenomena that appear to view are all Himself and nothing else. 10 The world being like water in a mirage, it neither exists or doesn’t exist. There can be no reflection of it either. Therefore it must be only Brahman.

11 The seed of the world is the “I” ego, the subjective self. The “you” or the objective world is derived from the subjective self or egoism. Such being the case, the visible world with all its lands and seas, its mountains and rivers and gods also, is a huge tree growing out of the same original source of egoism.

12 The great tree that represents all the worlds grows out of the particle of egoism. The organs of sense are the juicy roots of this tree, and the far extending sky is the many branches of the main tree of the mundane world. 13 The starry frame in the sky is the netted canopy high over this tree. The groups of constellations are bunches of blossoms of this tree. The desires of men are like the long fibers and filaments of the tree. Luminous moons are its ripe fruit. 14 The many spheres of heaven are the hollows of this large and great tree and Meru, Mandara and other mountains are its great boughs and branches. 15 The seven oceans are the ditches of water dug around the trunk and roots of this tree. The infernal region is the deep pit underlying the roots of this tree. The yugas and other cycles of time are its knots and joints, and the rotation of time over it is like a circle of worms constantly sucking up its sap. 16 Our ignorance is the earth in which it grows, and all peoples are like flights of birds hovering upon it. Its false apprehension forms its great trunk which is burnt by the fire of nirvana and our knowledge of the utter extinction of all things.

17 The sights of things, the thoughts of the mind, and the various pleasures of the world are all as false as a forest growing in the sky, or like silver in white clouds or in the coating of conch and pearl shells. 18 The seasons are its branches and the ten sides of the air are its smaller branches because they spread themselves in all directions. Self-consciousness is the core and essential part of this tree and the wind is the breath of life that fluctuates in every part of this tree of the world. 19 Sunshine and moonbeams are the two flowers of this tree. Their rising and setting represent the opening and closing of blossoms. Daylight and the darkness of night are like butterflies and bumble bees fluttering over them.

20 In the end, know that one all pervading ignorance extends all over this tree of the world. Ignorance stretches from its roots in the nether worlds through all sides of the compass to its top in the heavens above. It is all an unreality appearing as real existence. When egoism, which is the seed of this fallacy, is burnt up by the fire of non-egoism, the tree will no longer grow or give seed for future births in this imaginary world.