Verse 57: Mara cannot find the path taken by those who are endowed with virtue, who live mindfully and have been freed from moral defilements by Right Knowledge.1
1. Arahats having eradicated moral defilements are no longer subject to rebirths; so Mara, for all his power, cannot find out where such arahats go after death. (The Commentary)
The Story of Thera Godhika
While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (57) of this book, with reference to Thera Godhika.
Thera Godhika was, on one occasion, diligently practising Tranquillity and Insight Development, on a stone slab on the side of Isigili mountain in Magadha. When he had achieved one-pointedness of the mind (jhana) he became very ill; that impaired the effectiveness of his practice. In spite of his sickness, he kept on striving hard; but every time he was making some progress he was overcome by sickness. He was thus inflicted for six times. Finally, he made up his mind to overcome all obstacles and attain arahatship even if he were to die. So, without relaxing he continued to practise diligently; in the end he decided to give up his life by cutting his throat; at the point of death he attained arahatship.
When Mara learned that Thera Godhika had died, he tried to find out where the thera was reborn but failed to find him. So, assuming the likeness of a young man, Mara approached the Buddha and enquired where Thera Godhika was. The Buddha replied to him, “It will be of no benefit to you to learn of the destination of Thera Godhika; for having been freed of moral defilements he became an arahat. One like you, Mara, for all your power will not be able to find out where such arahats go after death.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 57: Mara cannot find the path taken by those who are endowed with virtue, who live mindfully and have been freed from moral defilements by Right Knowledge.
Dhammapada Verse 57
Maro maggam na vindati.