Title- The Eight Great Victories: {1} The Great Victory Over Devaputta Mara


 

The Buddha’s first Great Victory is the victory over Devaputta Mara. It was on the fullmoon day of Kason (May) in the year 103 Maha Era that the Bodhisatta repulsed the army of Devaputta Mara.

 

 

 

The Bodhisatta, sitting in a cross-legged posture on the invincible throne (pallanka) , made the firm resolution: “Let my flesh and blood dry up and let only my skin, nerves and bones remain! Never shall I unfold this cross-legged posture”. At that time, Devaputta Mara of Vasavatti Celestial Realm knew that the Bodhisatta would gain Buddhahood on that day. He thought to himself thus: “Siddhattha is striving to escape from my three spheres of influence. I can’t give him any opportunity to escape from my domain”. So he marched with a great army to fight the Bodhisatta. Mara’s soldiers were so numerous that the whole universe was crowded with them. The troops in various frightening forms, armed with different kinds of weapons, marched towards the Bodhisatta. Devaputta Mara himself, also armed with various weapons in his one thousand hands, rode on his elephant, Girimekhala. The battle cries of the marching troops rumbled like thunder in all directions.

 

 

 

At that moment, Sakka was blowing his two hundred-cubit-long Vijayuttara conch; Mahakala, the Dragon king, was chanting verses in praise of the Bodhisatta and Brahma Sahampati was holding the white umbrella over the Bodhisatta as a token of paying homage to the Bodhisatta.

 

 

 

However, when Mara’s army approached, the Bodhisatta was alone as those three had fled to suitable places. Mara ordered his men to attack the Bodhisatta from the rear as they did not dare to attack the incomparable Bodhisatta from the front. Then the Bodhisatta thought to himself thus: “Mara and his numerous troops come to attack me. Neither my parents nor relatives are by my side. I have to rely on my Ten Perfections which I have cultivated for a long time. I shall defend them with the power of these Perfections”. Thinking so, the Bodhisatta comtemplated on his Ten Perfections.

 

 

 

Mara raised a violent cyclone in the direction of the Bodhisatta so that the latter would surrender his Invincible Throne. That cyclone was violent enough to crush forests, villages and towns. Yet it could not ruffle the edge of the Bodhisatta’s robe because of the power of the Ten Perfections.

 

 

 

Then Mara attempted to kill the Bodhisatta by drowning him, and so he made the rain fall in torrents. Nevertheless, even the edge of the Bodhisatta’s robe did not get wet. Thereafter, Mara created showers of stones, weapons, flames, hot ashes, sand-storms and mud flows one after another. However, Mara was incapable of harming and frightening the Bodhisatta. Next he created deep darkness so that the Bodhisatta would be scared away from the throne. That darkness again was not an effective attack.

 

 

 

Seeing that all his attacks were in vain, Mara commanded his men by shouting: “Seize Siddhattha. Kill him. Drive him away”. He himself riding on his elephant, Girimekhala, and holding various dreadful weapons, shouted to the Bodhisatta: “Hey, Siddhattha, get off from that throne. That throne is mine, not yours!”

 

 

 

The Boddhisatta, in reply, said: “Mara, you have not fulfilled the Ten Perfections, nor have you exercised the Three Noble Practices, nor have you performed the Five Great Sacrifices. I am the only one who has fulfilled all these. So this invincible throne does belong to me, not to you”.

 

 

 

On hearing the words of the Bodhisatta, Mara lost his temper and threw his various weapons at the Bodhisatta. However, all these weapons proved to be of no effect. At last the Bodhisatta said: “This throne did not arise on account of the merit of your charity. There is no witness to prove that this throne appeared on account of your charity”. Mara asked his troops to bear witness to him. His followers shouted that they bore witness to Mara’s charity. The Bodhisatta put out his right hand, and, pointing to the great earth, said thus: “This throne appeared as the result of my Perfections. Let alone the Perfections accumulate in my various past existences, even the seven great charities made in my life as Vessantara, caused this great earth to tremble seven times. This Great Earth is my witness”. At that moment the great earth, in order to bear witness to the Bodhisatta’s Perfections, trembled violently, causing loud thunderous sounds to appear. Mara and his followers were frightened and they fled in disarray.

 

 

 

After the Bodhisatta had repelled Mara’s armies, dragons, garudas, devas and brahmas shouted: “Devaputta Mara has been defeated. The Bodhisatta has won Great Victory”. They offered scented flowers and perfumes to the Bodhisatta and celebrated his victory in great joy.

 

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