Chapter 8 — Bhushunda Describes the Tree and the Temple of Illusion

Bhushunda continued and said:—

Now vidyadhara, you have heard how the mundane tree comprises the earth with her mountains and cavern abodes, and stretches to all sides and touches the skies bearing all living beings continually moving and living upon it. Such is the tree of the world that grows out of the seed of egoism. But when this is roasted by the fire of reason, it ceases to sprout forth anymore.

What is visible does not exist. “I” and “you” are not a positive reality. The fallacy of their existence is completely burnt away by the knowledge that all is identical with God. The thought of “I” and “you” becomes the seed of the world. Therefore, the thought of non-ego and no you removes the idea of egoism and you, and this is the true and best knowledge of God.

Think of the nonexistence of the world before its creation. Tell me, where was this knowledge of egoism and the other, or this delusion of the unity or duality? Those who strive diligently to get rid of their desires altogether, according to the instructions of their spiritual teachers, truly become successful in obtaining the supreme state. As the confectioner becomes skillful in his profession by learning and practicing of the art of confectionary, so the inquirer after truth becomes successful by constant application and by no other means.

Know that the world is a wonderful phenomenon of the intellect. It does not exist in outer space as it appears to the naked eye, but in the inner mind. As a picture is the copy of the pattern inscribed in the painter’s mind, so the opening and closing of our thoughts unfolds or obscures the world to us. 10 This thought or fancy of the mind makes us see a large building supported on huge columns, studded with gems and pearls and gilded with bright gold. 11 It is surrounded by a thousand pillars of precious stones, rising high like the peaks of Mount Sumeru and emitting the various colors of the rainbows, glittering with the brightness of the evening sun on clouds. 12 It is furnished with many a fountain for the enjoyment of men, women and children living under it among the decorations of all kinds of animals. 13 It is full of elements with its enemy of darkness that is light. Darkness and light are its alternate results, hence it has derived its name as picture.

14 There are lakes of lotuses with kalpa trees beside them for the sport of women who pluck their flowers to decorate themselves, flowers that scatter their fragrance as plentifully as clouds sprinkle their rain all around. 15 Here the great boundary mountains are as light as toys in the hands of children. The breath of little children toss and whirl them about like playthings. 16 Here the bright evening clouds are like ladies’ glittering earrings and light autumn clouds are like flying fans and flappers. The heavy clouds of rainy season move as slowly as the waving fans of palm leaves. The orb of the earth moves about under the canopy of the starry heavens like dice on a chessboard. 17 Here all living creatures and the sun and moon move about like dice and the king and queen on a chessboard. The appearance and disappearance of the world in the arena of vacuum are like the gain or loss of a chess piece in a game played by the gods.

18 A thought long dwelt upon and brooded over in the mind comes to appear as really present before the sight of its creator. 19 In the same way, this world of forms is a visible representation of the thoughts of the mind. It is as an exquisite performance of the artist’s mind from a prototype grafted in the soul. 20 It is the apparition of an unreality, present in appearance but absent in substance. It truly is the appearance of an unreality, by whatever cause it may have come to appear.

21 It is like the various forms of ornaments made of the same gold substance. The vault of the world is as full of ever changing wonders as the changeful and wonderful thoughts of the mind. Therefore the cessation of thought causes the extinction of the world. 22 Hence it lies entirely within your power to have or leave the world as you may like. Either disregard your temporal enjoyments, if you seek your final liberation, or continue in your acts and rites in order to continue your repeated reincarnations through endless births and deaths.

23 I understand you have attained a state of reason and you have purified your soul in this your second or third stage of yoga. I believe you will not fall back down to a lower order. Therefore hold your silence and rely on the purity of the soul and shut out all that is visible from your sight.