|“||It is the Mara who now turn the wheel. It is the Mara who dance to the music of our despair. Our suffering is the Mara's delight, our madness the Mara's meat and drink. And now he has returned.||„|
The Mara is a recurring antagonist in the Doctor Who franchise, especially of the Fifth Doctor. It is the main antagonist of the stories "Kinda" and "Snakedance".
The Mara was first encountered by the Doctor on the planet Deva Loka. A creature that dwelled in the dark places of the inside, it had emerged in the past to torment the native Kinda. This appeared to occur in a cycle. Non-telepathic minds were susceptible to it and it managed to use Tegan's mind to cross from the dream world into the physical world, possessing the Kinda Aris. It then tried to have the Kinda attack the base of an Earth expedition, which would have caused the unstable security chief to trigger an explosion that would have wiped everyone out. The Doctor finally repelled the Mara, which had manifested itself as a giant snake, by surrounding it with a circle of mirrors, causing it to retreat out of the physical realm.
The Mara remained in Tegan's mind and was able to use her to guide the TARDIS to its home planet, Manussa. It had accidentally been created there when the Great Crystal had given the evil in the Manussans’ mind form and had ruled the planet for hundreds of years through the Sumaran Empire before being repelled by the founder of the Federation. It possessed the Federator’s descendant, Lon, planning to use a ceremony recreating its defeat to become corporeal again and rule. The Doctor interrupted the process and apparently destroyed the Mara by smashing the Great Crystal during its most vulnerable moment, partway through becoming.
However, the audio play "The Cradle of the Snake" had the Mara remaining in Tegan's mind and possessing the Doctor. It had the TARDIS return to Manussa hundreds of years before it was created, aiming to rule it then. It gained physical form large enough to swallow the TARDIS but was defeated by an act of self-sacrifice, when one of the Doctor's allies left the TARDIS to physically touch the Mara with a crystal.
The short story "The Dreaming" shows the Mara among the threats the Eleventh Doctor fought on Trenzalore, planning to restart the Time War and spread chaos. The Doctor defeated it by playing on the superstitions of its host and repelling it with salt.
- The Mara is based on the Mara of Buddhist legend.