Chapter 13 — Bhushunda’s Anecdote of Indra’s Rule of an Atomic World

Bhushunda said:—

The universe contains the totality of existence and appears as a wide extended sphere. It is not in need of any preexistent place or time as recipients of its substance just as ethereal light requires no prop or pillar in the heavens for its support. The fabrication of this triple world is the mere thought or working of the mind. All this is more quiet and calm, more minute and light, and much more translucent than odor residing in the air. The world is a wonderful phenomenon of the intellect. Though it is as minute as a particle of fragrance borne by the wind, the world appears as big as a mountain to outward organs of sense. Everyone views and thinks of the world in the same form and light as it presents itself to him, just as the operations of the mind and visions in a dream appear as they occur to their recipients and to no one else.

5 I will tell an old legend of what happened to Indra, the lord of the gods, when he was confined in a minute particle in times long ago. Once upon a time it came to pass that this world grew up as a small fig fruit on a branch of the great tree of a kalpa age. The mundane fruit was composed of the three compartments of earth, sky and infernal regions which contained the gods and demigods of heaven, the hills and living creatures on earth, the marshy lands below, and troops of gnats and flies. It was a wonderful production of consciousness, as high as handsome full-blown buds with the juice of desire. It was scented with all kinds of smelling fragrances that were tempting to the mind by the variety of its tastes that were sweet to eat.

This tree grew upon the Brahman tree which was overhung by millions of creepers and orchids. Egoism was the stalk of the fruit which appeared beautiful to sight. 10 It was encompassed by artery nerves called oceans and seas whose light is the principal door of liberation. It secreted the starry heaven above and the moist earth below. 11 It ripened at the end of the kalpa age when it became the food of black crows and cuckoos, or if it fell below there was an end of it by its absorption into the indifferent Brahman.

12 At one time the great Indra, the lord of the gods, lived in that fruit, just like a big mosquito lives in an empty pot as the great leader of its company of small gnats. 13 But this great lord was weakened in his strength and valor by his study and his teacher’s lectures on spiritualism, which made him a spiritually minded person and a seer in all past and future matters.

14 It happened once upon a time, when the valiant god Narayana and his heavenly host had been resting and their leader Indra was weakened in his arms, that the demon asuras rose in open rebellion against the gods. 15 Then Indra rose with his flashing arms and fire and fought for a long time with the strong asuras. At last Indra was defeated by superior strength and fled from the field. 16 He ran in all ten directions, pursued by the enemy wherever he fled. He could find no place to rest, just as a sinner has no resting place in the next world.

17 Then as the enemy lost sight of him for a moment, he made use of that opportunity. He compressed the thought of his big body in his mind and became a minute form on the outside. 18 Then through his consciousness of his personal minuteness, he entered the womb of an atom which was glittering amidst the expanse of solar rays, like a bee entering a lotus bud. 19 He immediately rested in that state and his hope of final bliss in the next. He utterly forgot the warfare and attained the ultimate bliss of nirvana.

20 In that lotus and instantly in his imagination, he conceived his royal palace. He sat in lotus posture as if resting on his own bed. 21 Then Indra, seated in that mansion, saw an imaginary city containing a grand building in the middle, its walls studded with gems, pearls and coral. 22 From within the city, Indra saw a large country all around containing many hills and villages, pasture grounds for cattle, forests and human dwellings. 23 Then Indra felt a desire to enjoy that country he had formed in his imagination, with all its lands and hills and seas. 24 Afterwards Indra conceived a desire to possess the three worlds, together with all the earth and ocean, sky and infernal regions, the heavens, planetary spheres above and mountain ranges below. 25 Thus did Indra remain there as lord of the gods in possession of all abundance for his enjoyments.

Afterwards, a son was born to him named Kunda, of great strength and valor. 26 Then at the end of his lifetime, this Indra of unblemished reputation left his mortal body and became extinct in nirvana, like a lamp extinguished for lack of oil. 27 Kunda reigned over the three worlds. Then, having given birth to a boy, he departed to his ultimate state of bliss after the end of his life term. 28 That son also ruled in his time, then departed at the end of his lifetime to the holy state of supreme bliss. He also left a son after him. 29 In this manner a thousand generations of grandsons of the first Indra have reigned and passed away in their time. There is still a prince named Ansaka reigning over the land of the lord of the gods.

30 Thus generations of the lord of immortals still hold sovereignty over the imaginary world of Indra in that sacred particle of sunbeam in empty air. That atomic particle is continually decaying and wasting in this long course of time.