It is a creation of the first abhinna, which entails what we may call "mind over matter".
In Buddhism, these sorts of things don't serve much purpose, unless you wish to impress and convince your relations that you have just become a fully awakened buddha, and that they should really listen to what you are about to teach them. cf. the twin-miracle. Or you wish to let a few fire-sacrificing ascetics think that you are the Fire-God so that they'll shut up for a bit and listen to some Dhamma. Just that sort of thing.
Better to work on that last abhinna, extinction of mental defilements. That is much more important.
That was what I thought initially too, but the paragraph comes just before the paragraph on Abhinna powers.
"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the modes of supranormal powers. He wields manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds. Just as a skilled potter or his assistant could craft from well-prepared clay whatever kind of pottery vessel he likes, or as a skilled ivory-carver or his assistant could craft from well-prepared ivory any kind of ivory-work he likes, or as a skilled goldsmith or his assistant could craft from well-prepared gold any kind of gold article he likes; in the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to the modes of supranormal powers... He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.
"This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.
There is also another section which I'm quite unclear on.
The First Visible Fruit of the Contemplative Life
"So, lord, I ask the Blessed One as well: There are these common craftsmen: elephant-trainers, horse-trainers, charioteers, archers, standard bearers, camp marshals, supply corps officers, high royal officers, commandos, military heroes, armor-clad warriors, leather-clad warriors, domestic slaves, confectioners, barbers, bath attendants, cooks, garland-makers, laundrymen, weavers, basket-makers, potters, calculators, accountants, and any other craftsmen of a similar sort. They live off the fruits of their crafts, visible in the here and now. They give happiness and pleasure to themselves, to their parents, wives, and children, to their friends and colleagues. They put in place an excellent presentation of offerings to priests and contemplatives, leading to heaven, resulting in happiness, conducive to a heavenly rebirth. Is it possible, lord, to point out a similar fruit of the contemplative life, visible in the here and now?"
"Yes, it is, great king. But first, with regard to that, I will ask you a counter-question. Answer however you please. Suppose there were a man of yours: your slave, your workman, rising in the morning before you, going to bed in the evening only after you, doing whatever you order, always acting to please you, speaking politely to you, always watching for the look on your face. The thought would occur to him: 'Isn't it amazing? Isn't it astounding? — the destination, the results, of meritorious deeds. For this King Ajatasattu is a human being, and I, too, am a human being, yet King Ajatasattu enjoys himself supplied and replete with the five strings of sensuality — like a deva, as it were — while I am his slave, his workman... always watching for the look on his face. I, too, should do meritorious deeds. What if I were to shave off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?'
"So after some time he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on the ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness. Having thus gone forth he lives restrained in body, speech, and mind, content with the simplest food and shelter, delighting in solitude. Then suppose one of your men were to inform you: 'You should know, your majesty, that that man of yours — your slave, your workman... always watching for the look on your face... has gone forth from the household life into homelessness... content with the simplest food and shelter, delighting in solitude.' Would you, thus informed, say, 'Bring that man back to me. Make him again be my slave, my workman... always watching for the look on my face!'?"
"Not at all, lord. Rather, I am the one who should bow down to him, rise up out of respect for him, invite him to a seat, invite him to accept gifts of robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicinal requisites for the sick. And I would provide him with righteous safety, defense, and protection."
"So what do you think, great king. With that being the case, is there a visible fruit of the contemplative life, or is there not?"
"Yes, lord. With that being the case, there certainly is a visible fruit of the contemplative life."
"This, great king, is the first fruit of the contemplative life, visible in the here and now, that I point out to you."
I'm probably interpreting this wrong, but why does it feel like this fruit of a contemplative life panders to one's conceit about being served instead of having to serve?