Mara dispatched three pleasure-girls from the north quarter to come and tempt him. Their names were Tanha, Rati and Ranga. Fa Hian (Beal), p. 120.
Now mighty Mara, spirit of the air,
The prince of darkness, ruling worlds below,
Had watched for Buddha all these weary years,
Seeking to lead his steady steps astray
By many wiles his wicked wit devised,
Lest he at length should find the living light
And rescue millions from his dark domains.
Now, showing him the kingdoms of the world.
He offered him the Chakravartin’s crown;
Now, opening seas of knowledge, shoreless, vast,
Knowledge of ages past and yet to come,
Knowledge of nature and the hidden laws
That guide her changes, guide the roiling spheres,
Sakwal on sakwal, boundless, infinite,
Yet ever moving on in harmony,
He thought to puff his spirit up with pride
Till he should quite forget a suffering world,
In sin and sorrow groping blindly on.
But when he saw that lust of power moved not,
And thirst for knowledge turned him not aside
From earnest search after the living light,
From tender love for every living thing,
He sent the tempters Doubt and dark Despair.
And as he watched for final victory
He saw that light flash through the silent cave,
And heard the Buddha breathe that earnest prayer,
And fled amazed, nor dared to look behind.
For though to Buddha all his way seemed dark,
His wily enemy could see a Power,
A mighty Power, that ever hovered near,
A present help in every time of need,
When sinking souls seek earnestly for aid.
He fled, indeed, as flies the prowling wolf,
Alarmed at watch-dog’s bark or shepherd’s voice,
While seeking entrance to the slumbering fold,
But soon returns with soft and stealthy step,
With keenest scent snuffing the passing breeze,
With ears erect catching each slightest sound,
With glaring eyes watching each moving thing,
With hungry jaws, skulking about the fold
Till coming dawn drives him to seek his lair.
So Mara fled, and so he soon returned,
And thus he watched the Buddha’s every step;
Saw him with gentleness quell haughty power;
Saw him with tenderness raise up the weak;
Heard him before the Brahmans and the king
Denounce those bloody rites ordained by him;
Heard him declare the deadly work of Sin,
His own prime minister and eldest-born;
Heard him proclaim the mighty power of Love
To cleanse the life and make the flinty heart
As soft as sinews of the new-born babe.
And when he saw whither he bent his steps,
He sent three wrinkled hags, deformed and foul,
The willing agents of his wicked will—
Life-wasting Idleness, the thief of time;