Mara tries to prevent the going forth, telling the Prince that in seven days he will inherit an empire; the Prince does not listen
When Prince Siddhattha had ridden the horse through the city gate into the moonlit night, a voice like music arose from close to the city gate. That voice forbade the Prince from going forth.
The Prince asked, "Who are you?"
The sound answered, "My name is Vassavadi Mara."
Mara [the Buddhist personification of evil or obstruction to goodness] informed the Prince that in seven days from that day, the Wheel treasure would arise, and the owner of that Wheel Treasure would be the Prince. The "Wheel Treasure" referred to by Mara was a term meaning that he would become Emperor.
The Prince: "I know this already."
Mara: "In that case, for what purpose do you go forth?"
The Prince: "For complete knowledge (sabbanutanana)."
The sabbanutanana referred to by the Prince was attainment of Buddhahood. All the above is given according to the description of the Pathamasambodhi and Buddhaghosa's Commentary to the Dhammapada. The story is rendered in the form of a allegory (puggaladhitthana).
An "allegory" is the rendering of something not visible to the eye or cognizable by the senses, an "abstract" [namadhamma], into a scene or an action by a person, just as a writer of stories expresses feelings through the characters in his story. If no such example were give people would not understand and the story would fall flat.
The allegory given above, if rendered into realistic terms [dhammadhitthana], would be: "Having passed through the city gates, the Prince, who was still an unenlightened being, although firmly bent on his resolve to become a Buddha, was also, in another part of his mind, still worried about the city."
The poet gave his worry the concrete form of Mara trying to prevent the Prince's departure, but the Prince defeated him. That is to say, he defeated Mara, or defeated the worries which were his inner enemies.
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