NOT UNTIL THE ILLUSION BREAKS

A GURU said to his disciple: "The world is illusory. Come away with me." "But revered sir," said the disciple, "my people at homeómy father, my mother, my wifeó^love me so much. How can I give them up?" The guru said: "No doubt you now have this feeling of T and 'mine' and say that they love you; but this is all an illusion of your mind, I shall teach you a trick, and you will know whether they love you truly or not." Saying this, the teacher gave the disciple a pill and said to him: "Swallow this at home. You will appear to be a corpse, but you will not lose consciousness. You will see everything and hear everything. Then I shall come to your house and gradually you will regain your normal state."

The disciple followed the teacher's instructions and lay on his bed like a dead person. The house was filled with loud wailing. His mother, his wife, and the others lay on the ground weeping bitterly. Just then a brahmana entered the house and said to them, "What is the matter with you?" "This boy is dead", they replied. The brahmana felt the pulse and said: "How is that? No, he is not dead. I have a medicine that will cure him completely." The joy of the relatives was unbounded; it seemed to them that heaven itself had come down into their house. "But", said the brahmana, "I must tell you something else. Another person must take some of this medicine first, and then the boy must swallow the rest. But the other person will die. I see he has so many dear relatives here; one of them will certainly agree to take the medicine. I see his wife and mother crying bitterly. Surely they will not hesitate to take it."

At once the weeping stopped and all sat quiet. The mother said: ''Well, this is a big family: Suppose I die; then who will look after the family?" She fell into a reflective mood. The wife, who had been crying a minute before and bemoaning her ill luck, said: "Well he has gone the way of mortals. 1 have these two or three young children. Who will look after them if I die?"

The disciple saw everything and heard everything. He stood up at once and said to the teacher: "Let us go, revered sir. 1 will follow you." (105)