Canto 13: māra-vijayaḥ
Victory Over Māra

Introduction

Māra, from the root √mṛ, to die, means the Killer, the Destroyer, the Evil One. Vijaya is from vi-√ji, to conquer or to emerge victorious.

And just as Chandaka is ostensibly the object of turning back in Canto 6, and Arāḍa is ostensibly the object of seeing in Canto 12, Māra is ostensibly the object against whom the bodhisattva emerges victorious in the present Canto.

In attaining this victory, however, the bodhisattva does not engage with Māra directly at all. Rather, under the bodhi tree, the bodhisattva just sits there, letting Māra be as wrong as he likes.

An alternative Canto title that more accurately conveyed this sense, then, would be “Māra, and Emerging Victorious.”

 

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tasmin vimokṣāya kṛta-pratijñe rājarṣi-vaṁśa-prabhave mahārṣau /
tatropaviṣṭe prajaharṣa lokas tatrāsa saddharma-ripus tu māraḥ // 13.1 //

As there he sat, having formed his vow, in the direction of freedom – as that great seer, sprung from a line of royal seers, / Sat right there – the world rejoiced. But Māra, the enemy of true dharma, trembled. //13.1//

yaṁ kāma-devaṁ pravadanti loke citrāyudhaṁ puṣpa-śaraṁ tathaiva /
kāma-pracārādhipatiṁ tam eva mokṣa-dviṣaṁ māram udāharanti // 13.2 //

Kāma-deva, “God of Love,” they call him in the world, the bearer of the brightly-coloured bow and bearer, equally, of flower-arrows; / That same despot in his playground of desire, the hater of liberation, they call Māra Māra, from the root √mṛ, to die, means “the Destroyer.” 01. //13.2//

tasyātmajā vibhrama-harṣa-darpās tisro rati-prīti-tṛṣaś ca kanyāḥ /
papracchur enaṁ manaso vikāraṁ sa tāṁś ca tāś caiva vaco ’bhyuvāca // 13.3 //

His own sons, Hurry, Thrill and Pride, and his three girls, Fun, Pleasure and Thirst, / Asked him what was troubling his mind; and he said this to those boys and girls: //13.3//

asau munir niścaya-varma bibhrat sattvāyudhaṁ buddhi-śaraṁ vikṛṣya /
jigīṣur āste viṣayān madīyān tasmād ayaṁ me manaso viṣādaḥ // 13.4 //

“Over there a certain sage, wearing the armour of resolve, and drawing the bow of strength of mind, with its arrow of sharpness, / Is sitting, with the intention to conquer realms that belong to me – that is the reason for this despondency of my mind. //13.4//

yadi hy asau mām abhibhūya yāti lokāya cākhyāty apavarga-mārgam /
śūnyas tato ’yaṁ viṣayo mamādya vṛttāc cyutasyeva videha-bhartuḥ // 13.5 //

For if he succeeds in overpowering me, and expounds to the world the path of disentanglement, / Then today this realm of mine is empty, like the defunct domain of an errant lord. Vṛttāc cyutasyeva videha-bhartuḥ. More literally, “Like [the realm/domain] of a videha lord who has fallen from good conduct.” The literal meaning of videha is without (vi) a body (deha), hence deceased, defunct. But Videha is also the name of a country, of the capital city of that country (Mithilā), and of the king of that country (especially Janaka). EHJ noted that the Videha king is presumably the Karāla-janaka mentioned in BC Canto 4: And ‘the Dreadful Begetter’ Karāla-janaka when he abducted a brahmin maiden, / Though he thus incurred ruin, never stopped attaching to his love. //BC4.80// Perhaps it was Aśvaghoṣa’s intention to allude to this downfall of Janaka on the surface. But the line as translated suggests that Māra, despite his bluster, knew what a bubble his empire was – one false move and it would be gone. 02 //13.5//

tad yāvad evaiṣa na labdha-cakṣur mad-gocare tiṣṭhati yāvad eva /
yāsyāmi tāvad vratam asya bhettuṁ setuṁ nadī-vega ivātivṛddhaḥ // 13.6 //

So, while he has yet to attain the Eye, while he remains within my range, / I shall go to destroy his vow, like the swollen torrent of a river breaking through a dike.” //13.6//

tato dhanuḥ puṣpa-mayaṁ gṛhītvā śarān jagan-moha-karāṁś ca pañca /
so ’śvattha-mūlaṁ sa-suto ’bhyagacchad asvāsthya-kārī manasaḥ prajānām // 13.7 //

Then, grabbing his bow made of flowers and his five world-deluding arrows, / He with his offspring in tow approached the foot of the aśvattha tree – to the fig tree where a horse rests easy, went he who causes people’s minds to be uneasy. A play on aśvattha (“Where a Horse Rests Easy”; name of a genus of fig tree) and asvāsthya, being uneasy, being not well in oneself. 03 //13.7//

atha praśāntaṁ munim āsana-sthaṁ pāraṁ titīrṣuṁ bhava-sāgarasya /
viṣajya savyaṁ karam āyudhāgre krīḍan śareṇ’ edam uvāca māraḥ // 13.8 //

And so Māra addressed the sage, who was quietly sitting, still, Āsana-stham ostensibly means “remaining seated” but (as in the case of Asita in BC1.52) it carries the hidden meaning of being devoted to sitting in stillness. 04 wishing to cross beyond the ocean of becoming. / Keeping his left hand on the tip of his weapon, while playing with an arrow, Māra said this: //13.8//

uttiṣṭha bhoḥ kṣatriya mṛtyu-bhīta cara sva-dharmaṁ tyaja mokṣa-dharmam /
bāṇaiś ca yajñaiś ca vinīya lokaṁ lokāt padaṁ prāpnuhi vāsavasya // 13.9 //

“Up, up! You death-fearing kṣatriya warrior! Follow your own dharma. Set aside the dharma of liberation. / Subjugate the world, using arrows and sacrifices, and from the world obtain the position of an Indra, highest among the bright ones. //13.9//

panthā hi niryātum ayaṁ yaśasyo yo vāhitaḥ pūrvatamair narendraiḥ /
jātasya rājarṣi-kule viśāle bhaikṣākam aślāghyam idaṁ prapattum // 13.10 //

For this path is a glorious path to travel, forged by the most ancient of Indras among men; / Whereas, for one born into an illustrious house of royal seers, this way of a beggar is not a praiseworthy way to go. //13.10//

athādya nottiṣṭhasi niścitātman bhava sthiro mā vimucaḥ pratijñām /
mayodyato hy eṣa śaraḥ sa eva yaḥ sūrpake mīna-ripau vimuktaḥ // 13.11 //

Or if today you will not stand up, O determined man! then be rigid! Loosen not your vow! / For this arrow that I am holding up, is the very arrow that I let loose at Sūrpaka, the fishes’ foe. Sūrpaka, aka Śūrpaka seems to be identified here with the mīna-ripu “Fishes’ Foe” mentioned by the striver in SN Canto 8, as part of his tirade against women: The daughter of Sena-jit the Conqueror, so they say, coupled with a cooker of dogs; Kumud-vatī, ‘the Lilly Pool,’ paired up with Mīna-ripu, ‘the Foe of Fishes’; / And Bṛhad-rathā, ‘the Burly Heroine,’ loved a lion: there is nothing women will not do. // SN8.44 // In SN Canto 10, Nanda, in describing his own torment, appears to refer to the incident Māra has in mind: Therefore pour on me the water of your voice, before I am burned, as was The Fishes’ Foe; / For a fire of passion is going now to burn me up, like a fire rising up to burn both undergrowth and treetops. // SN10.53 // 05 //13.11//

spṛṣṭaḥ sa cānena kathaṁ-cid aiḍaḥ somasya naptāpy abhavad vicittaḥ /
sa cābhavac chantanur asvatantraḥ kṣīṇe yuge kiṁ bata durbalo ’nyaḥ // 13.12 //

And barely touched by this arrow, [Purū-ravas,] the son of Iḍā, though he was the grandson of the the moon-god Soma, lost his mind; / And ‘Good Body’ Śan-tanu also became out of control – what, then, will become in a degenerate age, of someone other, who is not so forceful? Durbalo ‘nyaḥ. Ostensible meaning: a weakling (durbalaḥ) who is different (anyaḥ) from those mighty ancients. Hidden meaning: one who, being different (anyaḥ) from what people think, eschews compulsion and uses expedient means which are indirect and not forceful (durbalaḥ). 06 //13.12//

tat kṣipram uttiṣṭha labhasva saṁjñāṁ bāṇo hy ayaṁ tiṣṭhati lelihānaḥ /
priya-vidheyeṣu rati-priyeṣu yaṁ cakravākeṣv iva notsṛjāmi // 13.13 //

Up! Up!, therefore! Quickly stand up! Come to consciousness! For here stands ready, with darting tongue, this arrow / Which, at fun-loving lovers who are head over heels in love, any more than at greylag geese, Greylag geese, or cakravāka ducks, like swans, are famous for naturally forming strong emotional bonds for life – so Māra sees them as not requiring the intervention of his bow and arrow. 07 I do not unleash!” //13.13//

ity evam ukto ’pi yadā nir-āstho naivāsanaṁ śākyamunir bibheda /
śaraṁ tato ’smai visasarja māraḥ kanyāś ca kṛtvā purataḥ sutāṁś ca // 13.14 //

Not interested, even when spoken to like this, Śākyamuni, the Śākya sage, never broke his sitting posture at all, / And so Māra shot the arrow at him having sent to the fore his daughters and sons. //13.14//

tasmiṁs tu bāṇe ’pi sa vipramukte cakāra nāsthāṁ na dhṛteś cacāla /
dṛṣṭvā tathainaṁ viṣasāda māraś cintā-parītaś ca śanair jagāda // 13.15 //

But even when the arrow was unleashed at him, [the sage] thought nothing of it; from constancy, he did not budge. / Seeing him like this, Māra sank down into despondency and, filled with anxious thought, he said in a low voice: //13.15//

śailendra-putrīṁ prati yena viddho devo ’pi śambhuś calito babhūva /
na cintayaty eṣa tam eva bāṇaṁ kiṁ syād acitto na śaraḥ sa eṣaḥ // 13.16 //

“When Benevolent [Śiva] – god though he was – was pierced by the arrow, he toppled into the lap of the Mountain-King’s daughter. The Mountain-King’s daughter means Pārvatī who, as told in Kālidāsa’s epic poem Kumāra-saṁbhava, “Birth of the Prince,” made up her mind to win the love of the theretofore ascetic and aloof Śiva. The prince in Kālidāśa’s title is Kārttikeya, the god of war, son of Pārvatī and Śiva. 08 / This man gives not a second thought to the very same arrow! Does he maybe not have a heart? Or is it maybe not the same arrow? //13.16//

tasmād ayaṁ nārhati puṣpa-bāṇaṁ na harṣaṇaṁ nāpi rater niyogam /
arhaty ayaṁ bhūta-gaṇair asaumyaiḥ saṁtrāsanātarjana-tāḍanāni // 13.17 //

Therefore this one calls not for the flower-arrow, nor for a Thrilling, nor for the deployment of Fun; / This man merits, at the unlovely hands of demon throngs, Bhūta-gaṇa is given in the dictionary as 1. the host of living beings, and 2. a multitude of spirits or ghosts. The latter definition is the ostensible meaning here – “demon throngs.” But in the hidden meaning Aśvaghoṣa is going to describe a number (gaṇa) of real individual beings (bhūta), inviting us to investigate the reality of each individual on a case by case basis, thereby seeing that our initial impressions are ever liable to be false. 09 frights, rebukes, and beatings.” //13.17//

sasmāra māraś ca tataḥ sva-sainyaṁ vighnam śame śākya-muneś cikīrṣan /
nānāśrayāś cānucarāḥ parīyuḥ śala-druma-prāsa-gadāsi-hastāḥ // 13.18 //

No sooner then had Māra called to mind his personal army, in his wish to form for the Śākya sage an impediment to peace, / Than multifarious followers had gathered round, carrying in their hands spears, trees, javelins, bludgeons and swords. //13.18//

varāha-mīnāśva-kharoṣṭra-vaktrā vyāghrarkṣa-siṁha-dviradānanāś ca /
ekekṣaṇā naika-mukhās tri-śīrṣā lambodarāś caiva pṛthūdarāś ca // 13.19 //

Having the faces of pigs, fish, horses, donkeys, and camels; In the hidden meaning, the line reminds us, with our two eyes, two ears and a mouth, of our shared inheritance. In our faces, human beings and the animals cited are the same. This corresponds to the universal, idealistic thesis. 10 having the snouts of tigers, bears, lions, and two-tuskers; In support of the anti-thesis, the second line causes us to question whether our human noses are the same as elephants’ trunks? 11 / One-eyed, many-mouthed, three-headed; In the hidden meaning, a description of being limited in one’s view, speaking unreliable or changeable words, and being indecisive or subject to various emotional states? Hence an ironic description of everyday human life? 12 with big bellies, just hanging, and with broad bellies, expanding; In the hidden meaning, a description that makes one things of a happy buddha, with big pot-belly. 13 //13.19//

a-jānu-sakthā ghaṭa-jānavaś ca daṁṣṭrāyudhāś caiva nakhāyudhāś ca /
kabandha-hastā bahu-mūrtayaś ca bhagnārdha-vaktrāś ca mahā-mukhāś ca // 13.20 //

Having no knees and thighs, or having jars for knees; Below the surface, an ironic suggestion of what it feels like after a long spell sitting in lotus? 14 equipped with large teeth and equipped with nails; Daṁṣṭrāyudhāś caiva nakhāyudhāś ca ostensibly describes monsters armed with tusks and armed with claws. But daṁṣtra can also mean a human tooth, and nakha can also mean a human nail. 15 / Having big-bellied barrels for hands, A suggestion of hands that are totally free from undue tension, lying in the lap of a person who is sitting? 16 and many embodiments; with faces split in half, and mouths of epic dimensions; A suggestion of the many forms in which a buddha manifests himself or herself for the purpose of preaching the Dharma in which two-sidedness is investigated and transcended? 17 //13.20//

bhasmāruṇā lohita-bindu-citrāḥ khaṭvāṅga-hastā hari-dhūmra-keśāḥ /
lamba-sphico vāraṇa-lamba-karṇāś carmāmbarāś caiva nirambarāś ca // 13.21 //

Grey as an ashen dawn, spotted with red marks; carrying their skulls-and-backbones in their hands [or in their elephants’ trunks At the end of a compound -hasta means 1. holding in the hand, and 2. (of an elephant) holding in the trunk. Ostensibly Aśvaghoṣa is describing terrible monsters holding in their hand the skulls and spines of others, but the ironic intention is to describe nothing more or less fantastic than real elephants, using their trunks to point their own skulls and spines in the direction they want to go. (Elephants were decorated in India since ancient times with the tilaka, or red spot painted on the forehead.) What is the teaching point? Again, it may be to remind us that first impressions can be misleading, especially in demonizing the seemingly monstrous other. 18]; having the smoky-coloured hair of monkeys; / With pendulous hips and pendulous elephant-ears; clothed in hides and with nothing on; //13.21//

śvetārdha-vaktrā haritārdha-kāyās tāmrāś ca dhūmrā harayo ’sitāś ca /
vyālottarāsaṅga-bhujās tathaiva praghuṣṭa-ghaṇṭākula-mekhalāś ca // 13.22 //

With half their faces white; with half their bodies green [or with half their tree-trunks green] Kāya means 1. the body, 2. the trunk of a tree. 19; some coloured also coppery-red; or smoky-grey or reddish-brown or black; / Some, again, with their upper limbs The meanings of bhuja, similarly, include 1. the arm, of a human body, or of a terrible monster, and 2. the branch of a not-at-all-monstrous tree. 20 cloaked by snakes, and with girths fully girdled by sounding bells; //13.22//

tāla-pramāṇāś ca gṛhīta-śūlā daṁṣṭrā-karālāś ca śiśu-pramāṇāḥ /
urabhra-vaktrāś ca vihaṁgamākṣā mārjāra-vaktrāś ca manuṣya-kāyāḥ // 13.23 //

[Having the stature of palm-trees, while grasping stakes, or the stature of children, with mouths open wide and teeth sticking out; / Or having sheep’s faces and birds’ eyes, or cats’ faces and human bodies. //13.23//] This verse is probably an interpolation. 21

prakīrṇa-keśāḥ śikhino ’rdha-muṇḍā rajjvambarā vyākula-veṣṭanāś ca /
prahṛṣṭa-vaktrā bhṛkuṭī-mukhāś ca tejo-harāś caiva mano-harāś ca // 13.24 //

With hair strewn about, with topknots, with half-shaved heads As when a monk is in the process of shaving his head. 22; encompassed in lines of thread, As when clothed in a kaṣāya. 23 and with their headdresses lying in disorder; / With delighted faces, and with grimaces, carrying off vital energy and carrying off hearts and minds. The meanings of hṛ include 1. to carry off, to rob, and 2. to capture or captivate. 24 //13.24//

ke-cid vrajanto bhṛśam āvavalgur anyonyam āpupluvire tathānye /
cikrīḍur ākāśa-gatāś ca ke-cit ke-cic ca cerus taru-mastakeṣu // 13.25 //

Some as they progressed sprang wildly into action; ones who were different, again, sprang up, each towards the others; / Some played in emptiness, Ākāśa: 1. free or open space, emptiness ; 2. the sky. 25 while some roamed about on the tops of trees. In the hidden meaning, when the Buddha sat on Vulture Peak he might have roamed over the tops of trees with his eyes. 26 //13.25//

nanarta kaś-cid bhramayaṁs triśūlaṁ kaś-cid vipusphūrja gadāṁ vikarṣan /
harṣeṇa kaś-cid vṛṣavan nanarda kaś-cit prajajvāla tanū-ruhebhyaḥ // 13.26 //

One, brandishing a three-pronged weapon, danced In the hidden meaning, he or she moved freely and joyfully, being in possession of the means which is the noble eightfold path, with its three prongs of śila, samādhi and prajñā. 27; one, tearing to pieces a bludgeon [or a string of sentences], The meanings of gadā include 1. a series of sentences (as analyzed by teachers of the Buddha’s teaching), and 2. a club or bludgeon (as targeted by enemy fighters). 28 thundered; / One, in his aroused state, moved like a bull; one, from the body-grown, The meanings of tanū-ruha listed in the dictionary include 1. hair, 2. feather, 3. wing, 4. son. But tanū-ruha literally means “body-grown” i.e., “grown on a body” (like hair or feather) or “grown out of a body” (like a son) or “developed by means of a body” (like wisdom?). 29 blazed forth. //13.26//

evaṁ-vidhā bhūta-gaṇāḥ samantāt taṁ bodhi-mūlaṁ parivārya tasthuḥ /
jighṛkṣavaś caiva jighāṁsavaś ca bhartur niyogaṁ paripālayantaḥ // 13.27 //

Such were the ‘demon throngs’ which, on all sides, stood surrounding him who was the root of bodhi, The old Nepalese manuscript has tam bodhi-mūlam, which refers to him (tam; masculine), the bodhisattva, as the root of bodhi. EH Johnston amended to tad bodhi-mūlam. Since tad is neuter, the phrase thus refers to the root (mūlam; neuter). The Tibetan translator evidently read the original as taṁ bodhisattvam. See also verses 32 and 42. 30 / Wanting to capture, and wanting to destroy, In the hidden meaning, wanting to grasp the true purport of the Buddha’s teaching, and wanting to destroy ignorance. 31 letting be done the will of the master. Ostensibly bhartṛ, the master, means Māra – but not, of course, in the hidden meaning. 32 //13.27//

taṁ prekṣya mārasya ca pūrva-rātre śākyarṣabhasyaiva ca yuddha-kālam /
na dyauś cakāśe pṛthivī cakampe prajajvaluś caiva diśaḥ saśabdāḥ // 13.28 //

Beholding, in the beginning of the night, that hour of the battle between Māra and the Śākya bull, / The sky did not shimmer but the earth did shake, and the four quarters did blaze forth resoundingly. //13.28//

viṣvag vavau vāyur udīrṇa-vegas tārā na rejur na babhau śaśāṅkaḥ /
tamaś ca bhūyo vitatāna rātriḥ sarve ca saṁcukṣubhire samudrāḥ // 13.29 //

From every direction the wind blew in wild gusts. The stars did not shine, the hare-marked moon did not show itself, /And Dark Night covered herself in an extra layer of darkness. While all the oceans churned. //13.29//

mahībhṛto dharma-parāś ca nāgā mahā-muner vighnam amṛṣyamāṇāḥ /
māraṁ prati krodha-vivṛtta-netrā niḥśaśvasuś caiva jajṛṁbhire ca // 13.30 //

The nāgas, as bearers of the Earth and committed supporters of dharma, not looking kindly on the hindrance to the great sage, / Their eyes rolling angrily in Māra’s direction, hissed and snorted, and came unwound. //13.30//

śuddhādhivāsā vibudharṣayas tu sad-dharma-siddhy-artham iva pravṛttāḥ /
māre ’nukaṁpāṁ manasā pracakrur virāga-bhāvāt tu na roṣam īyuḥ // 13.31 //

But the divine sages of the Pure Abodes who are devoted, it seems, to the aim of perfectly attaining the True Dharma, / In their minds, out of dispassion, produced sympathy for Māra, so that they, in contrast, did not become angry. //13.31//

tad bodhi-mūlaṁ samavekṣya kīrṇaṁ hiṁsātmanā māra-balena tena /
dharmātmabhir loka-vimokṣa-kāmair babhūva hāhā-kṛtam antarīkṣe // 13.32 //

When they beheld that root of bodhi beset by that army of Māra, whose essence was desire to do harm, / Those whose essence was dharma, desiring the liberation of the world, whispered “Hā!... Hā!..” into the middle space between heaven and earth. Antarīkṣe, “into the intermediate space between heaven and earth,” seems to suggest finding somewhere between the wild spontaneity of the earth-bearing nāgas and the holier-than-thou attitude of divine sages. 33 //13.32//

upaplavaṁ dharma-vidhes tu tasya dṛṣṭvā sthitaṁ māra-balaṁ mahārṣiḥ /
na cukṣubhe nāpi yayau vikāraṁ madhye gavāṁ siṁha ivopaviṣṭaḥ // 13.33 //

But when the great seer saw, as an affront to that method of dharma, Māra’s army standing by, / He did not budge, nor was he bothered at all – he was like a lion among cows, sitting there in the middle. Madhye... upaviṣṭaḥ, “sitting in the middle,” reinforces the sense of finding somewhere between two extremes.34 //13.33//

māras tato bhūta-camūm udīrṇām ājñāpayām āsa bhayāya tasya /
svaiḥ svaiḥ prabhāvair atha sāsya senā tad-dhairya-bhedāya matiṁ cakāra // 13.34 //

Then Māra, to the phantom army he had mobilized, gave the order to strike fear into the sage; / And so that war machine of Māra’s making – in which each was possessed of his own power – made up its mind to break the sage’s composure. //13.34//

ke-cic calan-naika-vilambi-jihvās tīkṣṇogra-daṁṣṭrā hari-maṇḍalākṣāḥ /
vidāritāsyāḥ sthira-śaṅku-karṇāḥ saṁtrāsayantaḥ kila nāma tasthuḥ // 13.35 //

Some, with more than one tongue trembling and hanging down [or wagging and then wavering], with acutely savage bites, and yellow-red orbs for their jaundiced eyes, / With jaws gaping apart, and ears as solid as pegs, stood there purporting to be terrifying. //13.35//

tebhyaḥ sthitebhyaḥ sa tathā-vidhebhyaḥ rūpeṇa bhāvena ca dāruṇebhyaḥ /
na vivyathe nodvivije mahārṣiḥ krīḍat-subālebhya ivoddhatebhyaḥ // 13.36 //

From them, as they stood there like that, so horrid in their appearance and in their hearts, / The great seer did not flinch and did not shrink – any more than from naughty infants at play. The descriptions that follow, then, illustrate the power of the means of simply sitting still, without flinching or shrinking. 35 //13.36//

kaś-cit tato roṣa-vivṛtta-dṛṣṭis tasmai gadām udyamayāṁ cakāra /
tastambha bāhuḥ sagadas tato ’sya puraṁdarasyeva purā sa-vajraḥ // 13.37 //

Then one of them, turning his angry gaze upon [the sage], raised a club in his direction, / Whereupon his arm with the club became immovable – as in ancient times did the arm of Indra, ‘Destroyer of Strongholds,’ with the thunderbolt. The Mahā-bhārata relates several such instances of Indra finding himself temporarily incapable of movement. In perhaps similar vein, Dogen wrote in Fukan-zazengi of Zen ancestors being “caught by the still state.” 36 //13.37//

ke-cit samudyamya śilās tarūṁś ca viṣehire naiva munau vimoktum /
petuḥ sa-vṛkṣāḥ sa-śilās tathaiva vajrāvabhagnā iva vindhya-pādāḥ // 13.38 //

Some, having lifted up rocks and trees, were quite unable to unleash them at the sage; / With their trees and likewise with their rocks, down they fell – like the Vindhya foot-hills when smashed by the thunderbolt. //13.38//

kaiś-cit samutpatya nabho vimuktāḥ śilāś ca vṛkṣāś ca paraśvadhāś ca /
tasthur nabhasy eva na cāvapetuḥ saṁdhyābhra-pādā iva naika-varṇāḥ // 13.39 //

Rocks and trees and axes unleashed by some who had sprung up into the clouds, / Stayed up there in the clouds and did not fall down – like the many-hued foot-beams of a twilight nimbus. //13.39//

cikṣepa tasyopari dīptam anyaḥ kaḍaṅgaraṁ parvata-śṛṅga-mātram /
yan mukta-mātraṁ gagana-stham eva tasyānubhāvāc chata-dhā paphāla // 13.40 //

One who was different put above himself a blazing mass of straw, as high as the mountains’ peaks; / As soon as he released it, it just hung there in the emptiness, then shattered, at his suggestion, into a hundred pieces. //13.40//

kaś-cij jvalann arka ivoditaḥ khād aṅgāra-varṣaṁ mahad utsasarja /
cūrṇāni cāmīkara-kandarāṇāṁ kalpātyaye merur iva pradīptaḥ // 13.41 //

One of them, burning brightly as the risen sun, unloosed from the sky a great shower of embers, / Like blazing Meru at the end of a kalpa spewing clouds of ash out of golden vents. //13.41//

tad bodhi-mūle pravikīryamāṇam aṅgāra-varṣaṁ tu sa-visphuliṅgam /
maitrī-vihārād ṛṣi-sattamasya babhūva raktotpala-pattra-varṣaḥ // 13.42 //

As it scattered around the root of bodhi, Bodhi-mūla, “the bodhi-root,” ostensibly means the root or foot of the bodhi tree. A hidden meaning, however, may be that the bodhisattva’s exercise of friendliness was the root of bodhi. 37 however, that cinder-shower so full of fiery sparks / Became, through the supreme seer’s exercise of friendliness, a rain of red lotus petals. //13.42//

śarīra-citta-vyasanātapais tair evaṁ-vidhais taiś ca nipātyamānaḥ /
naivāsanāc chākya-muniś cacāla sva-niścayaṁ bandhum ivopaguhya // 13.43 //

While being assailed by these various causes of trouble and pain for body and mind, / The Śākya sage never budged from sitting – for he had embraced his own resolve like a friend. //13.43//

athāpare nirjigilur mukhebhyaḥ sarpān vijīrṇebhya iva drumebhyaḥ /
te mantra-baddhā iva tat-samīpe na śaśvasur notsasṛpur na celuḥ // 13.44 //

Others, meanwhile, spat out snakes from their mouths as from rotten tree trunks. / Those [snakes], as if spellbound in his presence, neither hissed nor reared up nor travelled around. Cf SN16.35: The faults do not attack a man who is standing firm in balanced stillness: like charmed snakes, they are spellbound.38 //13.44//

bhūtvāpare vāri-dharā bṛhantaḥ sa-vidyutaḥ sāśani-caṇḍa-ghoṣāḥ /
tasmin drume tatyajur aśma-varṣaṁ tat puṣpa-varṣaṁ ruciraṁ babhūva // 13.45 //

Others became massive rain-clouds, with lightning and fierce crashing of thunder; / They dropped on that tree a shower of stones which turned into a pleasant rain of flowers. //13.45//

cāpe ’tha bāṇo nihito ’pareṇa jajvāla tatraiva na niṣpapāta /
anīśvarasyātmani dhūyamāṇo durmarṣaṇasyeva narasya manyuḥ // 13.46 //

An arrow placed in a bow by yet another, burned right where it was; it did not go – / Like anger being kindled, ineffectually, in the soul an unforgiving man. //13.46//

pañceṣavo ’nyena tu vipramuktās tasthur viyaty eva munau na petuḥ /
saṁsāra-bhīror viṣaya-pravṛttau pañcendriyāṇīva parīkṣakasya // 13.47 //

But five arrows that one who was different did shoot stayed up there in mid-air, and did not impinge upon the sage – / Like the five senses, during pursuit of objects, when those senses belong to a saṁsāra-fearing scrutinizer. //13.47//

jighāṁsayānyaḥ prasasāra ruṣṭo gadāṁ gṛhītvābhimukho mahārṣeḥ /
so prāpta-kālo vivaśaḥ papāta doṣeṣv ivānartha-kareṣu lokaḥ // 13.48 //

Bent on destruction, one who was different furiously sprang forth, wielding a bludgeon [or a string of sentences], while facing in the great seer’s direction; / His time having come, into free fall he went, helplessly Vivaśaḥ, being helpless, suggests in its hidden meaning body and mind dropping off naturally and spontaneously, not because of my doing, but because of the right thing doing itself (tattva-darśanāt; MMK26.10). 39 – as helplessly as the world falling into calamitous faults. //13.48//

strī megha-kālī tu kapāla-hastā kartuṁ mahārṣeḥ kila citta-moham /
babhrāma tatrāniyataṁ na tasthau calātmano buddhir ivāgameṣu // 13.49 //

A woman, in contrast – Megha-kālī, “the One as Black as a Cloud” – bore in her hand a skull [or a bowl] Kapāla: 1. a cup, jar; 2. the alms-bowl of a beggar; 3. the skull, cranium. 40, in order to delude the mind of the truly great seer [or the mind of a would-be mahā-rishi] Kila: 1. indeed, truly (a particle of asservation); 2. ‘so said,’ ‘so reported,’ pretendedly. 41; / She flitted about there unrestrainedly, never standing still – like the intellect of a flibbertigibbet flitting through ancient scriptures. //13.49//

kaś-cit pradīptaṁ praṇidhāya cakṣur netrāgnināśī-viṣavad didhakṣuḥ /
tatraiva nāsīnam ṛṣiṁ dadarśa kāmātmakaḥ śreya ivopadiṣṭam // 13.50 //

One of them directed a blazing eye, desiring with the fire of his glare, like a venomous snake, to burn [his object] up; / He was blind to the seer sitting right there – as a sensualist is blind to a better way that has been pointed out. //13.50//

gurvīṁ śilām udyamayaṁs tathānyaḥ śaśrāma moghaṁ vihata-prayatnaḥ /
niḥśreyasaṁ jñāna-samādhi-gamyaṁ kāya-klamair dharmam ivāptu-kāmaḥ // 13.51 //

One who, again, was different, lifting up a heavy millstone, exerted himself for nothing, his efforts coming to naught; / He was like one seeking to obtain, through toilsome physical doings, the peerless dharma that is to be realized by the act of knowing and by the balanced stillness of samādhi. //13.51//

tarakṣu-siṁhākṛtayas tathānye praṇedur uccair mahataḥ praṇādān /
sattvāni yaiḥ saṁcukucuḥ samantād vajrāhatā dyauḥ phalatīti matvā // 13.52 //

Others who, likewise, were different, having the semblance of hyenas and of lions, howled with loud laughter and roared mighty roars, / At which beings on all sides made themselves small, deeming heaven, struck by the thunderbolt, to be bursting. An ironic suggestion of irony itself – whereby loud laughter is induced, and the bubble of religious pomposity is popped? 42 //13.52//

mṛgā gajāś cārta-ravān sṛjanto vidudruvuś caiva nililyire ca /
rātrau ca tasyām ahanīva digbhyaḥ khagā ruvantaḥ paripetur ārtāḥ // 13.53 //

Wandering creatures of the forest, Mṛgāḥ. Ostensible meaning: deer. Ironic meaning: forest bhikṣus. 43 and elephants, Gajāḥ. Ostensible meaning: elephants. Ironic meaning: big beasts in the arena of the Buddha’s teaching. 44 letting out calls of suffering, In the hidden meaning, preaching the four noble truths. 45 dispersed in all directions and hid themselves away. / Again, on that night, as if it were day, from every quarter singing sky-goers Khagāḥ. Ostensible meaning: birds. Ironic meaning: meditators who move in emptiness. 46 dropped down to earth, struck by suffering. //13.53//

teṣāṁ praṇādais tu tathā-vidhais taiḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣv api kampiteṣu /
munir na tatrāsa na saṁcukoca ravair garutmān iva vāyasānām // 13.54 //

But even as those individuals, by such sonorous expressions of themselves, were causing all beings to tremble, / The sage did not wobble, and did not make himself small, Saṁ-√kuc means to contract, shrink, close (as a flower). In verse 52, in its hidden meaning, saṁcukucuḥ suggests self-restraint, or modesty, in a good sense – like excellent monks in a culture where the Buddha’s teaching is strong, seeing themselves as only small fish in a big pond. Here na saṁcukuca means he did not shrink, he was not diminished in the face of trying circumstances. 47 any more than would Garuḍa, Garuḍa, “The Devourer,” mighty chief of feathered beings. 48 at the cawing of crows. //13.54//

bhayāvahebhyaḥ pariṣad-gaṇebhyo yathā yathā naiva munir bibhāya /
tathā tathā dharma-bhṛtāṁ sapatnaḥ śokāc ca roṣāc ca sasāra māraḥ // 13.55 //

The less the sage was afraid of the fear-inducing mobs assembled there, / The more did Māra, the enemy of upholders of dharma, out of sorrow and out of rage, attack. //13.55//

bhūtaṁ tataḥ kiṁ-cid adṛśya-rūpaṁ viśiṣṭa-bhūtaṁ gagana-stham eva /
dṛṣṭvarṣaye drugdham a-vaira-ruṣṭaṁ māraṁ babhāṣe mahatā svareṇa // 13.56 //

Then a certain being, being of great distinction, but having no discernible form, just hanging there in the emptiness, Gagana (like the khā of the sky-going birds) is another word which ostensibly means the sky but in its hidden meaning suggests a condition of absence of, for example, attachment to good posture, and absence of associated effort to hold oneself up. One who is “just hanging there in emptiness” (gagana-stham eva) is free of such effort. 49 / Saw Māra seeking to do the seer harm and, without vengefulness or fury, boomed at Māra in a mighty voice: //13.56//

moghaṁ śramaṁ nārhasi māra kartuṁ hiṁsrātmatām utsṛja gaccha śarma /
naiṣa tvayā kampayituṁ hi śakyo mahā-girir merur ivānilena // 13.57 //

“Do not do, O Māra, work that is empty! Let go of hurtfulness! Come to quiet! / For this man can no more be shaken by you than the great mountain Meru can be shaken by the wind. //13.57//

apy uṣṇa-bhāvaṁ jvalanaḥ prajahyād āpo dravatvaṁ pṛthivī sthiratvam /
aneka-kalpācita-puṇya-karmā na tv eva jahyād vyavasāyam eṣaḥ // 13.58 //

Even if fire were to give up being hot, water its wetness and earth its solidity, / With the good karma he has heaped up over many kalpas, this one could never abandon his resolve. //13.58//

yo niścayo hy asya parākramaś ca tejaś ca yad yā ca dayā prajāsu /
aprāpya notthāsyati tattvam eṣa tamāṁsy ahatveva sahasra-raśmiḥ // 13.59 //

For, such is his firmness of will, and his courage, such is his fire, and such is his compassion for living creatures, / That this one will not rise up without having realized the truth – just as the thousand-rayed sun does not rise without dispelling darkness. //13.59//

kāṣṭhaṁ hi mathnan labhate hutāśaṁ bhūmiṁ khanan vindati cāpi toyam /
nirbandhinaḥ kiṁ-cana nāsty asādhyaṁ nyāyena yuktaṁ ca kṛtaṁ ca sarvam // 13.60 //

For, by twirling the fire-stick one obtains the oblation-eating flame. Again, by digging the earth one finds water. / For one who persists, nothing is impossible. Done according to principle, everything is truly done. //13.60//

tal lokam ārtaṁ karuṇāyamāno rogeṣu rāgādiṣu vartamānam /
mahā-bhiṣaṅ nārhati vighnam eṣa jñānauṣadhārthaṁ parikhidyamānaḥ // 13.61 //

Therefore, in his compassion for the afflicted world, as it twists and turns, through illnesses and through emotions like red passion – through breakdowns and booms – / This great man of healing deserves no impediment, as he wears himself out, in his quest for the medicine of knowing. //13.61//

hṛte ca loke bahubhiḥ ku-mārgaiḥ san-mārgam anvicchati yaḥ śrameṇa /
sa daiśikaḥ kṣobhayituṁ na yuktaṁ su-deśikaḥ sārtha iva pranaṣṭe // 13.62 //

And when, by many wrong byways, the world is being carried away, he who, with effort, is willing the right path, / He who knows the terrain, should no more be harassed than should an experienced guide when a caravan has got lost. //13.62//

sattveṣu naṣṭeṣu mahāndha-kāre jñāna-pradīpaḥ kriyamāṇa eṣaḥ /
āryasya nirvāpayituṁ na sādhu prajvālyamānas tamasīva dīpaḥ // 13.63 //

While living beings are lost in a great darkness, he is being made into a lantern of knowing – / It is no more right for a noble Āryan to snuff him out than to snuff out a light being kindled in the dark. //13.63//

dṛṣṭvā ca saṁsāra-maye mahaughe magnaṁ jagat pāram avindamānam /
yaś cedam uttārayituṁ pravṛttaḥ kaś cintayet tasya tu pāpam āryaḥ // 13.64 //

Again, seeing the world sunk in the great flood of saṁsāra and unable to find the far shore, / He has committed to ferry this world across – what man of honour would think evil upon him? //13.64//

kṣamā-śipho dhairya-vigāḍha-mūlaś cāritra-puṣpaḥ smṛti-buddhi-śākhaḥ /
jñāna-drumo dharma-phala-pradātā notpāṭanaṁ hy arhati vardhamānaḥ // 13.65 //

For the tree, deeply rooted in constancy, whose fibres are forbearance, whose blossom is good conduct, whose branches are awareness and good judgement, / The bestower of dharma-fruit, the tree of knowing, does not deserve to be uprooted, now that it is growing. //13.65//

baddhāṁ dṛḍhaiś cetasi moha-pāśair yasya prajāṁ mokṣayituṁ manīṣā /
tasmin jighāṁsā tava nopapannā śrānte jagad-bandhana-mokṣa-hetoḥ // 13.66 //

His purpose is to free living creatures who are bound in mind by the tightly gripping fetters of foolishness; / Your murderous intent towards him is not appropriate when he is exhausting himself to undo the ties that bind the world. //13.66//

bodhāya karmāṇi hi yāny anena kṛtāni teṣāṁ niyato ’dya kālaḥ /
sthāne tathāsminn upaviṣṭa eṣa yathaiva pūrve munayas tathaiva // 13.67 //

For now is the time circumscribed by those actions which he did for the sake of awakening; / Thus, in this act of firm abiding, this one is sitting, in exactly the manner of the sages of the past. //13.67//

eṣā hi nābhir vasudhā-talasya kṛtsnena yuktā parameṇa dhāmnā /
bhūmer ato ’nyo ’sti hi na pradeśo vegaṁ samādher viṣaheta yo ’sya // 13.68 //

For this place here is a navel in the surface of the earth, wholly possessed of deepest-seated core power; / For there is no other place on earth that could absorb the shock waves from the coming back into balance of this one here. //13.68//

tan mā kṛthāḥ śokam upehi śāntiṁ mā bhūn mahimnā tava māra mānaḥ /
viśrambhituṁ na kṣamam adhruvā śrīś cale pade kiṁ madam abhyupaiṣi // 13.69 //

So do not grieve; come to quietness. Do not be proud, Māra, of your greatness. / High rank is precarious and not apt to be relied upon. Why would you, on shaky footing, get above yourself?” //13.69//

tataḥ sa saṁśrutya ca tasya tad vaco mahā-muneḥ prekṣya ca niṣprakaṁpatām /
jagāma māro vimano hatodyamaḥ śarair jagac cetasi yair vihanyate // 13.70 //

And so, having listened to that speech of the other, and having witnessed the unshakability of a great sage, / Māra, deflated, his bubble pricked, went on his way, taking with him the arrows by which, in its heart and mind, the world is struck. //13.70//

gata-praharṣā viphalī-kṛta-śramā praviddha-pāṣāṇa-kaḍaṅgara-drumā /
diśaḥ pradudrāva tato ’sya sā camūr hatāśrayeva dviṣatā dviṣac-camūḥ // 13.71 //

All exuberance gone, its effort rendered fruitless, its stones, straw fire-bombs, and trees, all strewn about, / That army of his fled then in all directions, like a hostile army when hostility itself has done for the chain of command. //13.71//

dravati sapariṣakte nirjite puṣpa-ketau jayati jita-tamaske nīrajaske maharṣau /
yuvatir iva sahāsā dyauś cakāśe sa-candrā surabhi ca jala-garbhaṁ puṣpa-varṣaṁ papāta // 13.72 //

As the Flower-Bannered One surrounded by his acolytes, melted away, defeated, leaving victorious the great seer, the passion-free vanquisher of darkness, / The moonlit sky shone like a smiling girl, and a rain of fragrant flowers, containing water, fell down. //13.72//

iti buddha-carite mahā-kāvye ‘śvaghoṣa-kṛte
māra-vijayo nāma trayodaśaḥ sargaḥ // 13 //

The 13th canto, titled Victory Over Māra,
in this epic tale of awakened action, composed by Aśvaghoṣa.