Who is the Goddess Tara?
This page is created with special thanks to Antoaneta Gotea from Hridaya Yoga in France.
Tara is the Goddess of endless compassion. She is one of the ten Cardinal Godheads in Shaktism. Each of these Godheads represents a particular universal energy and each leads to self realization in a different way. The oral Tantric tradition speaks about the origin of Goddess Tara. This story reveals Her cosmic function:
The legend begins with the churning of the ocean between the Devas and Asuras. Lord Shiva drank the poison that was created from the churning of the ocean. As such he saved the world from destruction, but fell unconscious under its powerful effect and his throat turned blue. Tara Ma appeared and took Shiva on her lap. She suckled him and the milk from Her breasts made Shiva recover from the poison.
From this story we learn that one of the most important aspects of Tara is the immediate action in case of danger. Full of compassion the quickest in granting favours. That’s why Tara has been always invoked to allay all kinds of fears. The name Tara comes from the Sanskrit root tr, which means “to traverse”, “to take across”. It refers to Tara’s aspect as the one who takes across any difficult situation. She is the boat who takes us for crossing the ocean of samsara. Tr is also used to denote one who crosses and makes others cross as well. Also the name Tara is considered to come from the Sanskrit word taraka, which means “star” denoting the guiding aspect of Tara. She is the guiding light in any difficult situation and emergency. She is the Saviouress and the Protector.
Tara is also related to the power of the sound. She is in fact the primordial sound, the primordial vibration. Tara represents the compassionate and potent speech that bears the Truth as Tara is the hidden divine vibration of any sound. Tara contains within Herself all mantras and through Her grace we are taken into the silence, the ultimate source of all sounds.
That’s why in Hindu tradition when a child is born, even before 3 days have passed, the mother of the child or some other woman writes with a small shoot of sweet flag dipped in honey or ghee on the tongue of the new born child the three letters of Tara mantra (aum). This practice is considered to bring superb speech, noble thoughts and high inspirations.
There is a special mantra for the Goddess Tara; Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soham
Tara Mantra: Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soham
Om Tara Tuttare Ture Soham is one of the Tara mantra’s. A mantra is a sequence of special sounds and vibrations that are repeated to purify and heal space, body, mind and consciousness from negative energies. “Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soham” is an ancient sacred formula that calls upon the powerful divine energy of Tara. If you bring your awareness to the meaning of the words, the mantra becomes even stronger. Here is the meaning of the Tara mantra, in the words of Bernagchen Rangjung Gyalmo:
Om is the sacred sound representing the entire universe, past, present and future. Tare/Tara is translated as ”the Swift One” , she who saves from suffering and danger. Tuttare means protection. Ture brings the fulfillment on the spiritual path by developing all of the positive qualities and purifying all our negativities. Soha translates as ”so be it”, ”may it be like that” or “May a blessing rest on.
Not everyone will feel comfortable singing a mantra, that is perfectly okay. You can repeat the mantra in your head, just say “Tara” or adapt it to your personal style if that feels more comfortable.
The idea is to call in the strengths that the Goddess Tara is known for in ourselves and over the tree we’ve chosen for our ritual. So if singing a mantra brings you discomfort you can change it. The most important thing is that you feel the connection to what she resembles.