Tara:The Second Manifestation of Dasa Mahavidyas

Tara:The Second Manifestation of Dasa Mahavidyas

Tara, the goddess in Hinduism, holds the position of the second among the Dasa Mahavidyas, a group of ten. She embodies the tantric forms of Durga, Mahadevi, Kali, and Parvati. Tara’s essence mirrors that of a star—beautiful yet eternally self-combusting—and at her core, she represents an insatiable hunger that drives all life. In accordance with the Shakti Mahabhagwat, it is believed that she is responsible for creating the initial Seed from which the entire universe originated, taking the form of Lord Vishnu.

Mythology and Legend

Tara’s legend unfolds against the backdrop of the cosmic churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan), a tumultuous event that symbolizes the struggle between the celestial beings (Devas) and the demons (Asuras). When the venomous poison threatened to engulf the world, Lord Shiva, in an act of supreme sacrifice, consumed the poison. This act rendered him unconscious and left him in a perilous state. It was during this critical juncture that Tara emerged as Maa Tara, the savior, and nurturer.

Tara’s act of suckling Shiva

Tara’s role in reviving Lord Shiva draws a parallel to the narrative where Shiva pacifies the ferocious Kali by assuming the form of an infant. In both instances, the divine assumes the position of vulnerability, allowing the maternal instinct of the goddess to surface. Tara’s act of suckling Shiva, counteracting the poison with her nourishing milk, epitomizes her dual role as a fierce protector and a compassionate nurturer.

Tara’s Iconography

Goddess Tara

Tara’s visual representation mirrors the complexities of her character. Standing upon a supine Lord Shiva, her tongue protruding, she shares common elements with Goddess Kali. However, while Kali is often depicted as black, Tara is adorned in blue. Both goddesses wear a necklace of severed human heads, but Tara distinguishes herself with a tiger-skin skirt. The imagery of severed body parts, though unsettling, symbolizes the goddesses’ dominion over life and death, destruction and creation.

Unlike Kali, Tara holds a lotus and a pair of scissors in two of her arms, adding a unique layer of symbolism. Her remaining arms clasp a bloody sword (Kripana) and a skull-cup (Kapala) filled with blood, encapsulating her potent duality—destruction and renewal, creation and dissolution.

Tara in the Puranas

Tara’s presence is documented in various Puranas, shedding light on her veneration across different texts. In the Devi-Bhagavata Purana(Srimad Devi Bhagavatam), her connection to specific geographical locations is emphasized, with her favorite abode being China. Svarocisha Manu’s worship of Tara on the banks of the Kalindi (Jamuna) further emphasizes her significance. The Kalika Purana elaborates on Tara’s fierce demeanor and attributes, highlighting her role as a potent deity embodying the essence of both terror and protection. The Goddess Tiksnakanta is revealed as another manifestation of Tara, sharing her dark complexion and fearsome traits.

Tantric Sources and Worship

Tara’s influence extends profoundly into tantric practices, with a multitude of scriptures and texts dedicated to her worship. Sources like the Taratantra, Brahmayamala, and Nilatantra provide the foundational principles of Tara’s veneration within the tantric tradition. These texts outline rituals, mantras, and visualizations that practitioners utilize to invoke Tara’s transformative energies.

Tara Sadhana, a practice rooted in the desire for wealth, prosperity, and wisdom, encapsulates the essence of her worship. This practice emphasizes tapping into Tara’s boundless energy to achieve sudden material gains and spiritual insights. Through devotion and meditation, practitioners seek to awaken the latent wisdom within their hearts, catalyzing personal and spiritual growth.

Temples dedicated to Goddess Tara

Temples dedicated to Goddess Tara hold a special place in India’s spiritual landscape. From the sacred grounds of Tarapith in West Bengal, renowned for its unique rituals and healing aura, to the serene Tara Devi Temple nestled amidst the Himalayan beauty of Shimla, these sanctuaries offer devotees and tourists alike a chance to seek blessings, find tranquility, and connect with the goddess Tara. These temples not only provide solace from the demands of life but also showcase the diversity and richness of India’s spiritual heritage.

Tara Mantra

1. Ekakshari Tara Mantra (1 Syllable Mantra)

ॐ त्रीं

Om Treem

2. Tin Akshari Tara Mantra (3 Syllables Mantra)

ॐ हूं स्त्रीं हूं॥

Om Hum Streem Hum॥

3. Chaturakshar Tara Mantra (4 Syllables Mantra)

ॐ ह्रीं ह्रीं स्त्रीं हूं॥

Om Hreem Hreem Streem Hum॥

4. Panchakshari Tara Mantra (5 Syllables Mantra)

ॐ ह्रीं त्रीं ह्रुं फट्॥

Om Hreem Treem Hum Phat॥

5. Shadakshar Tara Mantra (6 Syllables Mantra)

ऐं ॐ ह्रीं क्रीं हूं फट्॥

Aim Om Hreem Kreem Hum Phat॥

6. Saptakshar Tara Mantra (7 Syllables Mantra)

ॐ त्रीं ह्रीं, ह्रूं, ह्रीं, हुं फट्॥

Om Treem Hreem, Hrum, Hreem, Hum Phat॥

7. Hansa Tara Mantra

ऐं स्त्रीं ॐ ऐं ह्रीं फट् स्वाहा॥

Aim Streem Om Aim Hreem Phat Svaha॥

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