|Place of origin:||Manussa|
|First seen in:||Kinda|
The Mara fed on the suffering and madness of others. It tempted individuals into letting it control them and would create havoc and chaos to pleasure itself. Kinda believed that life and death were a turning wheel, and it was the Mara who turned the wheel. In this thinking, wars would help the Mara, as they created death and the true way to be free of the Mara was to find peace.
Early history Edit
The Mara was an entity created from the evil in the minds of the people of the planet Manussa in the Scrampus system. It was given independent life via the Great Crystal, which the Manussans created in a zero gravity environment. The Mara then founded the Sumaran Empire. (TV: Snakedance) It existed in the minds of its victims and could transfer itself in the form of a tattoo-like mark, to those who yielded to it. It was so evil that it could not bear the sight of its own reflection. (TV: Kinda)
Later history Edit
It was on the planet Deva Loka that the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Adric encountered the Mara. Tegan fell asleep listening to wind chimes and mentally entered the Dark Places of the Inside. The Mara manifested to her as an elderly game-playing couple Anatta and Anicca, who insisted she could not possibly exist, and then as Dukkha, who tempted and tormented her until she agreed to let the Mara take over her body. The Mara used her body to find and possess Aris, one of the peaceful Kinda tribe, leaving Tegan. Kinda tradition did not allow men (other than "idiots") to speak. Aris called himself "Aris, He Who Has Voice" and began to rally them against human colonists led by Hindle. The Doctor was able to prevent the humans detonating a bomb and managed to trap the Mara in a circle of mirrors and face itself, therefore driving it back into the Dark Places of the Inside. (TV: Kinda) Tegan remained very shaken by the experience, as she confided to Nyssa afterward. (TV: The Visitation)
Unknown to all, the Mara still had influence over Tegan. It guided Tegan to take the Doctor's TARDIS to Manussa, the birthplace of the Mara, where a ceremony was to be held to mark the 500th anniversary of its banishment. The Mara used Tegan, the showman Dugdale, and the son of the Federator, Lon, to obtain the Great Crystal to restore itself to physical form. The Fifth Doctor was guided by an old mystic named Dojjen who showed him how to find the "still point". When the Mara tried to make its return at the ceremony, the Doctor concentrated his thoughts with a small replica of the Great Crystal, and by finding the still point was able to repel the Mara. Then by grabbing the Great Crystal, the Doctor broke the Mara's hold over its controlled Manussans, and destroyed its new snake body. This time, the Doctor believed the Mara had been destroyed for good. (TV: Snakedance)
However, the Mara had actually retreated into Tegan's mind a second time. Some time later, after the Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough had been reunited with Nyssa, (AUDIO: Cobwebs) it emerged to possess Tegan yet again. (AUDIO: The Whispering Forest) When the Doctor attempted to drive it out, it changed its tactics and entered into the Doctor's mind, leaving Tegan completely. It then consulted a book in the TARDIS library to find out about its history. Piloting the TARDIS to Manussa (under the pretence of having Tegan examined by a Manussan doctor), it landed the ship about one hundred years prior to the rise of the Sumaran Empire, and embarked on a scheme to bring about the subjugation of Manussa in that time period instead. In the process, keeping the Doctor as its primary host, it possessed several Manussans. It used an experimental Manussan technology (using Manussan blue crystals) to project the thoughts of its hosts into solid matter, manifesting itself physically as a giant snake. However, Tegan and Turlough were able to free the Doctor using a circle of television cameras and screens (similar to the circle of mirrors used on Deva Loka). The Doctor linked the crystal the Mara was using as a link to the material world to the TARDIS so he could reverse the creature's physical manifestation. However, the process required that the crystal be in physical contact with the Mara, and the giant snake, fueled by the despair of the many Manussans it had managed to possess, had swallowed the TARDIS whole. In the end, a young man who had been brought into existence by the crystal technology sacrificed himself by going out into the snake's belly with the crystal, destroying it by "restoring the balance", as one of the snakedancers put it. Before its destruction, the Mara had managed to possess not only numerous Manussans, but Nyssa and Turlough as well. The Doctor stated that the Mara could not be said to have been fully destroyed, as it was inside all human beings. (AUDIO: The Cradle of the Snake)
Minor references Edit
- Jack Harkness said that he sometimes thought the fairies were part Mara. (TV: Small Worlds) Gwen Cooper later stated that fairies were, undoubtedly, the Mara. (REF: The Torchwood Archives)
- Whether this indicates a connection remains unknown, because the reference could have been to the real world mythological concept.
- The tenth incarnation of the Doctor mentioned the Mara to his fifth incarnation when they met. (TV: Time Crash)
Behind the scenes Edit
Mythology and fiction Edit
- Writer Christopher Bailey derived the Mara from a demon of the same name in Buddhist philosophy which, as in Doctor Who, symbolises temptation rather than evil (at least, in the sense of "sinfulness"). In Kinda, Dukkha, Panna, Karuna, Anatta and Anicca's names and functions all derive from Buddhism as well. Dukkha is suffering, and in Snakedance, Tanha is restlessness. The Mara is also apparently aware of its grotesque hideous features, which may account for the circle of mirrors.
- In addition, it seems to have parallels to the Book of Genesis in Kinda, namely a serpent representing temptation in a forested paradise, complete with apples.
- The "Mara" mentioned in the Torchwood episode Small Worlds (quite possibly a deliberate reference to the Doctor Who Mara) come from Northern European mythology. The word "nightmare" comes from folklore about these Mara.
- The creation of the Mara as described in Snakedance has similarities to the origins of the Monster from the Id from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. (Forbidden Planet also influenced the Doctor Who story Planet of Evil.)
- According to interviews with Bailey in Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text, the Mara in Kinda used temptation to behave in culturally disapproved-of ways. In Tegan's case, sensuality (or even sexuality), in Aris's case, aggression, which the Kinda regarded as abhorrent, especially when enacted by a male. Bailey did not welcome the addition of not-so-subtle indications of possession by the Mara, indicated by special effects, feeling instead that the acting of Janet Fielding, who played Tegan, and others, put the point across more than adequately. He particularly disliked the imagery of glowing red eyes which, he said, seemed to hark back to the Christian notion of the Devil.
- Though the Mara stories have a great deal of respect among fans, some consider Mara's appearance as a giant snake (especially in Kinda) unrealistic and it has been cited as an example of Doctor Who's budget letting it down. On the DVD release of Kinda, there is an option to replace the shots of the original prop snake with a computer-generated snake image.