Mara is tired and cranky. The demon tempter has tried everything in his power to prevent this sitting man from attaining his goal, and now he’s finally out of tricks. In a desperate last hurrah to stop Siddhartha he sputters:
So you think you’re going to wake up, do you? Go on then, become a Buddha. Who cares? Who is here to vouch for your achievement? I demand to know, wise guy: who will be your witness?
Siddhartha—under the Bodhi tree, who at this very moment is becoming the Buddha—says nothing. In what has got to be the best possible response to Mara’s harassment (it gives me gooseflesh!), the Buddha silently reaches down and touches the earth with his fingertips.
Boom. Rivers roar, flowers bloom, and the mountains walk. The earth bears witness.