The Life of the Victorious Buddha

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The Defeat of Māra [vv. 242-266]

Then, as this great festival with the Lord of the Gods and his hosts was proceeding, the Wicked Māra thought thus: “So this successful prince Siddhattha wishes to escape from my sphere of influence, straight away I will make him unsuccessful”, and he created a thousand broad and terrible arms, and collected various blazing weapons with them, and mounted the charming and fierce tusker called Girimekhala, who was one hundred and fifty leagues in extent. Then, surrounded by his army, which had many faces, fire-coloured hair, broad red circular protruding eyes, terrible lip-biting mouths, snake-like arms, and various weapons, he approached that place, and while roaring a most terrible roar, he ordered: “Seize and bind Siddhattha”; and with the sight of that the hosts of Gods were put to flight, like cotton that has arisen in a violent wind.

Māra the Murderer first made a fierce and noisy wind like a deep roaring storm-cloud, but was not able to move even a corner of his robe with it; then he made fall a terrible and awful rain, like the heavy rain at the dissolution of the world, but not even a drop of water was able to fall near the Incomparable One; then having seen that wonder, with a very sad face, he caused to rain down, an extremely terrible fire like fiery great rocks, ashes and mud, a torrent of weapons like rain, a torrent of blazing charcoal, and sand like rain; but all of these after falling from the sky through the strength and power of Māra, into the vicinity of him who had reached the peak of merit, changed into garlands of flowers.

Then, having made a supremely awful darkness, like the darkness between the worlds, the One of Wicked Character only beheld a mass of exceedingly beautiful light that arose and shone from the Bodhisatta's body like a hundred risen suns destroying the darkness of delusion.

Then, his face altogether red with anger, with a frowning appearance, having an extremely fearsome, deformed appearance, he let fly his most excellent and extremely sharp Wheel-Weapon, which could surely split into pieces Meru the King of mountains, as though it were the soft stem of a palm tree, but with the approach of that weapon he was unable to do anything to that Mine of Virtue. Rather, having ascended into the sky from that place, it became a sunshade made of flowers over his head. And the great many blazing rocky peaks which were hurled at him, having fallen from the sky, became garlands of flowers.

Having seen that, Māra grieved and having approached the vicinity of the Hero, he said: “This unconquered seat has come to me, rise from this seat!” Then the Devout One, who had done many good and meritorious deeds said: “Māra, you said you have earned this seat, who is your witness?”

Called upon like this the Wicked One stretched forth his hand towards his army and said: “All these are my witnesses!” and with a terrible roar of “I am witness, I am witness”, he made them declare their witness. Then he addressed the Bodhisatta thus: “Who is your witness, Siddhattha?”

Then that Incomparable One said: “Here, Māra, I have no sentient witnesses,” and he withdrew his shining right hand from his beautiful dyed robe, like golden lightning emerging from a glittering cloud, and pointed towards the earth - the earth which had witnessed his perfections - and said: “Why are you so silent now?” and having made the earth resound and roar countless hundreds of times, like a roaring storm-cloud, with the elephant-like strength of a Buddha, he brought the elephant Girimekhala to his knees.

Having seen that, Māra having a very sad face, thought: “Now, let him have it, now let him have it!” and like a broken-toothed snake with its arrogance destroyed he abandoned his countless weapons, clothes, and ornaments, and fled with his army as far as the Cakkavāḷa mountain on the edge of the universe.

The hosts of Gods, after seeing Māra's army fleeing in fear and grief, spoke thus: “This is the defeat of Māra, and the victory of Prince Siddhattha!” They rejoiced and worshipped the Hero with fragrant perfumes and so on, and returned to their abodes with countless shouts of righteous praise, clad in festive clothes.