2. तारा TĀRĀ
Tāra means saviour or protector; it also means shining, a mystical monosyllable like om. Often, Tārā is worshiped in both Buddhism and Jainism. There is a story associated with Her origin. When the kṣīrasāgara (mythological ocean of milk) was churned, both nectar and poison were obtained. Though all other gods and goddesses were afraid on seeing the deadly poison, only Śiva remained unperturbed. Hence He is also known as Akṣobha (meaning unperturbed). Śiva consumed halāhala, the deadly poison. While He was consuming this poison, Pārvatī, His Consort, held His throat to prevent poison percolating into His body. As a result of this, halāhala was struck at His throat and it became blue in colour and hence Śiva is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha (blue necked). The power of Śiva to remain as akṣobha comes from Tārā and the power of Śiva to consume halāhala comes from Pārvatī. This is how Tārā Devi is known to us. She has few other forms like Ugra Tārā, Nīlā Sarasvati and Ekajaṭa. She is the primordial sound (śabdabrahman) from which the speech originates. She controls one’s emotions.
She is Nāda and Śiva is Bindu.
नाद विन्दु* कलाती नमो नम। वेद मन्त्र स्वरूपा नमो नम॥
nāda vindu* kalātī namo nama | veda mantra svarūpā namo nama ||
*bindu and vindu are the same.
She appears more or less like Kālī, except the protruding tongue and the chopped head. She also holds a sickle and a scissor in Her left hand and a lotus flower and varada mudra in Her right hands. She is also wearing a garland made of skulls. She is standing on a corpse. It is said that attaining Her is much easier than other Goddesses of Daśa Mahāvidyā. There are no restrictions (niyama) to worship Her. She also represents om. According to some Scriptures, She belongs to uttarāmnāya.
Number of benefits is enumerated if She is worshipped. Important of them are allaying fears, fear from wild animals, water and phantasms, attaining both material and spiritual knowledge. It is said that Tārā Kurukullā drives away evil spirits. She can never be approached with a specific way of worship. Visualising Her all the time is the best way to attain Her Grace. However, it is important that the one who practices Her mantra should never utter lies under any circumstances.
HER DHYĀNA VERSES:
The commonly known dhyāna verse describes Her as follows:
1. “I meditate upon Tārā Devi with three eyes, adorned with white garments, whose lustre is like that of the moon, with crescent moon on Her head and who holds lotuses, a sickle and a skull in Her hands.” This mantra gives all kinds of prosperity and attainments.
There are other dhyāna verses which describes Her like this.
2. She is seated on a swan with four faces and eight hands. She is clad in white dress. She holds a kamaṇḍalu (a vessel for holding water), a lotus, noose, another weapon called śakti, a rosary, a garland, varada and abhaya mudras. Meditating on this form is known as sṛṣṭi (creation) dhyāna.
3. She is in Śvetadvīpa, known as White Island (a mythological island where liberated souls live (they are frequently sent back to earth on various assignments; very close or similar to incarnations). She is with red garments and seated on a red throne. She has one face and four hands. She holds a rosary, a cup filled with inebriant and varada and abhaya mudras. Meditating on this form is known as sthiti (maintenance) dhyāna.
4. She is seated in a boat, in the middle of the ocean of blood, with black garments, wearing ornaments made of bones. She has nine faces and 18 hands. She holds different powerful weapons in Her 16 hands and varada and abhaya mudras in to hands. Meditating on this form is known as saṁhāra (destruction) dhyāna.
This mantra gives all kinds of prosperity and attainments.
1. ॐ ह्रीं त्रीं हुं फट्॥ om hrīṁ trīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
Sage Vasiṣṭha meditated the above mantra for a long time and She did not appear and hence he cursed this mantra and after his curse the above mantra lost its potency. Soon after his anger subsided, he removed his curse on the mantra by modifying trīṁ as strīṁ and thereafter the mantra started yielding fruits. This mantra is thus modified and this modified mantra alone gives results.
2. ॐ स्त्रीं ह्रीं हुं फट्॥ om strīṁ hrīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
3. ॐ त्रीं ह्रां हुं नमस्ताराय महातारायै सकल दुस्तरांस्तारय ताराय तर तर स्वाहा॥
om trīṁ hrāṁ huṁ namastārāya mahātārāyai sakala dustarāṁstāraya tārāya tara tara svāhā ||
Apart from the above mantras, there are eight mantras by which Brahmā and Viṣṇu worshiped Her.
1. ॐ त्रीं ह्रीं हुं फट्॥ om trīṁ hrīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
2. ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं सौः हुं उग्रतारे हुं फट्॥
om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ klīṁ sauḥ huṁ ugratāre huṁ phaṭ ||
3. ॐ हुं ह्रीं क्लीं ह्सौः हुं फट्॥ om huṁ hrīṁ klīṁ hsauḥ huṁ phaṭ ||
4. ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं ह्सौः हुं उग्रतरे हुम् फट्॥
om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ klīṁ hsauḥ huṁ ugratare hum phaṭ ||
5. ॐ हुं ह्रीं क्लीं ह्सौः हुं फट्॥ om huṁ hrīṁ klīṁ hsauḥ huṁ phaṭ ||
6. ॐ ह्रीं हुं ह्रीं हुं फट्॥ om hrīṁ huṁ hrīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
7. ॐ त्रीं हुं ह्रीं हुं फट्॥ om trīṁ huṁ hrīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
8. ॐ त्रीं हुं फट् क्लीं ऐं॥ om trīṁ huṁ phaṭ klīṁ aiṁ ||
1. ॐ ह्रीं स्त्रीं हुं फट्॥ om hrīṁ strīṁ huṁ phaṭ ||
2. ॐ ह्रीं नमो भगवत्येकजटे मम वज्रपुष्पं प्रतीच्छ स्वाहा॥
om hrīṁ namo bhagavatyekajaṭe mama vajrapuṣpaṁ pratīccha svāhā ||
Nīla sarasvati mantra:
Form: She holds in Her left hands the bell and skull and in Her right hands, a trident and a sword. She has crescent moon and She stands on a corpse. This mantra gives victories in arguments in court cases.
1. ॐ श्रीं ह्रीं ह्सौः हुं फट् नील सरस्वत्यै स्वाहा॥
om śrīṁ hrīṁ hsauḥ huṁ phaṭ nīla sarasvatyai svāhā ||
2. ॐ ह्रीं स्त्रीं हुं॥ om hrīṁ strīṁ huṁ ||
Vidyārājñī mantra: (This mantra bestows both material benefits and liberation).
ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं सौं क्लीं ह्रीं ऐं ब्लूं स्त्रीं नीलतारे सरस्वति द्रां द्रीं क्लीं ब्लूं सः ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं सौः सौः ह्रीं स्वाहा॥
om aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ klīṁ sauṁ klīṁ hrīṁ aiṁ blūṁ strīṁ nīlatāre sarasvati drāṁ drīṁ klīṁ blūṁ saḥ aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ klīṁ sauḥ sauḥ hrīṁ svāhā ||