Sri Tara Dhyanam from Various Tantras

Tārā dhyānam (nīla tantraṃ)  [ तारा ध्यानम् (नील तन्त्रं) ] -

(From Nīla Tantraṃ)

pratyālīḍha-padāṃ ghorā muṇḍamālā vibhūṣitām

kharvāṃ lambodarī bhīmāṃ vyāghra-carm-āvṛtāṃ kaṭau 1

प्रत्यालीढपदां घोरा मुण्डमाला विभूषिताम् ।

खर्वां लम्बोदरी भीमां व्याघ्रचर्मावृतां कटौ ॥ १ ॥

She is standing with Her left foot forward (endorsing the left-hand path of tantra) with a terrific and menacing appearance. She is adorned with a garland (mālā) of skulls (indicating all the syllables of the Sanskrit alphabet and vibrations present in the Creation). She is of short stature, pot-bellied (the entire Creation is within Her), awkward to look at (extremely subtle and beyond the ego and sensory causes called tanmātrās) and donning a tiger skin wrapped all around Her waist (the tiger skin represents Her swiftness, as well as fearlessness, to act upon the calls of the devotees and also represents Her authority over the passion inducing rajas guṇa).


nava-yauvana sampannā pañca-mudrā-vibhūṣitām

catur-bhujāṃ lalaj-jihvāṃ mahā-bhīmāṃ vara-pradām 2

नवयौवन सम्पन्ना पञ्चमुद्राविभूषिताम् ।

चतुर्भुजां ललज्जिह्वां महाभीमां वरप्रदाम् ॥ २ ॥

She is ever youthful and remains the same eternally and is fully accomplished and perfect! She is sporting the five mudrā-s as ornaments upon Herself (the five insignia such as cakri – wreath on the head [chaplet], kuṇḍalaka – earrings, kaṇṭhī – necklace, rucaka – bracelet and mekhala – girdle. On a subtler level, the five hand gestures to control the natural elements of air, water, earth, ether and fire, as well as the five types of prāṇa-s or life supporting vital airs and also the five gestures made as offerings to an idol, such as āvāhanī - invitation, sthāpanī - establishment, saṃnidhāpanī – getting closer to oneself, saṃbodhanī - addressing and saṃmukhīkaraṇī – turned towards), has four arms and a lolling tongue (to slurp up all our karmas and innumerable thoughts and desires manifested in us). She also displays the boon granting vara mudra and is extremely awkward and terrific in appearance.


khaḍga-kartrī-dharāṃ savye vāme muṇḍotpalānvitām

piṅgograika-jaṭāṃ dhyāyen-maulāv-akṣobhya-bhūṣitām 3

खड्गकर्त्रीधरां सव्ये वामे मुण्डोत्पलान्विताम् ।

पिङ्गोग्रैकजटां ध्यायेन्मौलावक्षोभ्यभूषिताम् ॥ ३ ॥

Salutations to the Divine Mother who holds a sword and a large pair of scissors in Her two right arms, as well as a skull cup (representing the egoless empty state) and a blue lotus (evolved consciousness) in Her two left arms. She has reddish-brown single plaited hair (indicating that She is unlike anyone and is the singular reality) and is the Divine Mother, who’s in a primordial immovable, imperturbable and un-agitated state.


bālārka-maṇḍalākāra locana-traya bhūṣitām

prajvalat pitṛ-bhū-madhyagatāṃ daṃṣṭrā-karālinīm 4

बालार्कमण्डलाकार लोचनत्रय भूषिताम् ।

प्रज्वलत् पितृभूमध्यगतां दंष्ट्राकरालिनीम् ॥ ४ ॥

She appears like the rising sun and is red in complexion. She is three-eyed (elevated ājñā cakra) and is terrifying in form and is perceived to be in between the Earth and the realms of the departed souls (in between the living and the non-living) and has a wide gaping mouth, with the jaws dropping downwards.

[The wide gaping mouth is to tear into our internal enemies such as anger, pride, ego, mind and even our physical, astral and causal bodies, housing our accumulated karmas of past and current lifetimes.]

sāveśa-smera-vadanām-asthyālakāra bhūṣitām

viśva-vyāpaka-toyāntaḥ śveta-padmopari sthitām 5

सावेशस्मेरवदनामस्थ्यालङ्कार भूषिताम् ।

विश्वव्यापकतोयान्तः श्वेतपद्मोपरि स्थिताम् ॥ ५ ॥

She is fully absorbed in Herself and is adorned with ornaments made of bones and displays a pleasant, smiling face. She is omnipresent and spans the entire Creation, time, space, matter and all the elements. She is also found in the deep depths of water bodies and also in the most obscure of places as well. She is seated on the top of a white lotus (representing Her evolved state as the Super-consciousness).


Tārā dhyānam (mantra cūḍāmaṇi) [ तारा ध्यानम् (मन्त्र चूडामणि) ] -

(From Mantra Cūḍāmaṇi)

tasyoparigṛhe devīṃ kharvāṃ nīlamaṇi prabhām

lambodarīṃ vyāghra-carma-samāvṛta nitambinīm 1

तस्योपरिगृहे देवीं खर्वां नीलमणि प्रभाम् ।

लम्बोदरीं व्याघ्रचर्मसमावृत नितम्बिनीम् ॥ १ ॥

Standing atop Her lord, The Divine Mother Tārā appears awkwardly terrific (representing Her subtle form as the dynamic super-consciousness and beyond the ego and the cause of the sensory perceptions – tanmātrā-s) and dazzles in blue light reflecting Her complexion. She is pot-bellied (holding the entire Creation inside Her), wrapped up in tiger skin all around Her waist (represents Her authority over the rajas guṇa) and body and posing in a side stance.

pīnonnata-payobhārāṃ rakta-vartula locanām

lalaj-jihvāṃ mahā-bhīmāṃ daṃṣṭra-koṭi samuj-jvalām 2

पीनोन्नतपयोभारां रक्तवर्तुल लोचनाम् ।

ललज्जिह्वां महाभीमां दंष्ट्रकोटि समुज्ज्वलाम् ॥ २ ॥

She is voluptuous and heavy breasted (She is the Divine Mother who nourishes the entire Creation) and has red round eyes. She appears with a lolling tongue (to slurp up all our karmas and innumerable thoughts and desires manifested in us). She is extremely awkward and terrific in appearance with innumerable sharp teeth (to consume the entire Creation if need be, as Kāli) and exceptional illuminance (the sum total of all the light in the Creation).

nīlotpala-lasan-mālāṃ baddha-jūṭāṃ bhayaṃkarīṃ

śvetāsthi-paṭṭikā-yukta-kapāla-pañca-śobhitām 3

नीलोत्पललसन्मालां बद्धजूटां भयंकरीं ।

श्वेतास्थिपट्टिकायुक्तकपालपञ्चशोभिताम् ॥ ३ ॥

She is adorned with a garland of blue lotuses lending a dazzling appearance to Her. She has twisted hair locks (representing the DNA of the Creation as well as the blending of the Super-consciousness in time, energy and matter and the Oneness of the consciousness present in everything!) and appears extremely terrifying. She is bedecked with a band of five skulls and bones as a head band, lending further to Her terrifying appearance (She represents the five aspects of Creation, Preservation, Destruction, Annihilation and Resurrection).


lalāṭe rakta-nāgena kṛta-karṇāvitaṃsakām

ati-śubhra mahā-nāga-kṛta hāra-mahoj-jvalām 4

ललाटे रक्तनागेन कृतकर्णावितंसकाम् ।

अतिशुभ्र महानागकृत हारमहोज्ज्वलाम् ॥ ४ ॥

She is adorned on Her forehead with a red serpent which wraps around Her ears (complete activation of the third-eye ājñā cakra and the other minor cakras associated with the ears). She is also adorned with a clear and clean serpent resembling a cobra, wrapped around Her like a necklace and emitting great luminescence (complete activation of the vocal viśuddha cakra).

dūrvādala śyāma nāgakṛta yajñopavītinīm

catur-bhujāṃ rakta-māṃsa-khaṇḍa maṇḍita-muṣṭinā 5

दूर्वादल श्याम नागकृत यज्ञोपवीतिनीम् ।

चतुर्भुजां रक्तमांसखण्ड मण्डितमुष्टिना ॥ ५ ॥

A very thin serpent of the width of a blade of dūrvā (durb) grass, wraps like an ornament around Her body, resembling a sacred thread worn from the waist to the shoulders. She has four arms and holds pieces of severed bloody body parts in Her fists.

[The serpent around Her body is the representation of the Kuṇḍalini energy and She holding the severed body parts in Her fists, is indicating of Her role as the Creator of all life.]

jaṭājūṭākṣa sūtreṇa ṣobhitāṃ tīkṣṇa-dhārayā

khaḍgena dakṣiṇasyordhve śobhitāṃ vīra-nādinīm 6

जटाजूटाक्ष सूत्रेण षोभितां तीक्ष्णधारया ।

खड्गेन दक्षिणस्योर्ध्वे शोभितां वीरनादिनीम् ॥ ६ ॥

She is adorned with a serpent, coiled up on Her twisted hair locks at the top of Her head (Activation of the crown sahasrāra). She holds a sword on the elevated right arm (to slice off our ego and identification with the physical, astral and causal bodies) and roars with a shrilling sound. (Her mantras remove all the ignorance forcefully and elevate us).

tad-adhaḥsthādvīja-vṛnta-kartṛ-kālāṃkṛtāṃ parām

vāmordhve raktanālena digambara manoharām 7

तदधःस्थाद्वीजवृन्तकर्त्त्रिकालांकृतां पराम् ।

वामोर्ध्वे रक्तनालेन दिगम्बर मनोहराम् ॥ ७ ॥

In Her lower right arm, She is holding a pair of scissors with long blades (annihilation of karma and severing of all attachments). She has a dark blue/black complexion. In the upper left arm, She is holding a blue lotus, appears as unclothed and is unfathomable (infinite in Her manifestation and is clothed by the entire Creation).

dadhatīṃ nīlapadyañca tadadhaḥ sthāt kapālakam

jagatāṃ jāḍya saṃyuktaṃ dadhatīṃ kunda-sannibhām 8

दधतीं नीलपद्यञ्च तदधः स्थात् कपालकम् ।

जगतां जाड्य संयुक्तं दधतीं कुन्दसन्निभाम् ॥ ८ ॥

Her feet are dark blue/black in complexion and She is holding a blood oozing severed head (removal of ego and attachments to the body) in Her lower left hand. The entire Creation comes to a complete standstill, when She emerges in a jasmine white complexion form (white Tārā).

dhūmrābha-nāga sandoha kṛta keyūra satvarām

suvarṇa-varṇa-nāgeta kaṅkaṇojjvala-pāṇikām 9

धूम्राभनाग सन्दोह कृत केयूर सत्वराम् ।

सुवर्णवर्णनागेत कङ्कणोज्ज्वलपाणिकाम् ॥ ९ ॥

She is adorned with smoky colored serpents wrapped like braclets around Her upper arms and dazzling golden colored serpents around Her wrists (activation of minor cakras), on all Her four arms.

śubhra-varṇa-mahādeva kṛtasad vimalāsanām

niyantraṇabhiyā tadvat saṃkucat prapadātmikām 10

शुभ्रवर्णमहादेव कृतसद् विमलासनाम् ।

नियन्त्रणभिया तद्वत् संकुचत् प्रपदात्मिकाम् ॥ १० ॥

She is standing upon Lord Mahādeva (Śiva), who has become a pedestal for Her (She is the dynamic aspect of super-consciousness, while Lord Śiva is the static aspect). She restrains fear and danger. She is well proportioned from Her upper body to the feet and is mesmerizing.

śava-pāda-dvayā rūḍha-vāma-pādāṃ hasan-mukhīm

kundābha-nāga-saṃśobhi kaṭi sūtrāṃ trilocanām 11

शवपादद्वया रूढवामपादां हसन्मुखीम् ।

कुन्दाभनागसंशोभि कटि सूत्रां त्रिलोचनाम् ॥ ११ ॥

She mounts upon the lifeless corpse (indicating that She is the power of Lord Śiva) with Her left leg (indicating that following the left handed vāma approach to sādhana, is the best way of earning Her grace) and displays a smiling demeanor. Her waist is wrapped by a white serpent (viṣṇu grantha activation is indicated) and She is three-eyed (elevated ājñā cakra is indicated).

asṛg-raktena nāgena kṛta-nūpura pallavām

sadyaśchinna-galad-raktaṃ muṇḍai-rakta vibhūṣaṇaiḥ 12

असृग्रक्तेन नागेन कृतनूपुर पल्लवाम् ।

सद्यश्छिन्नगलद्रक्तं मुण्डैरक्त विभूषणैः ॥ १२ ॥

Blood red serpents wrap around Her toes as ornaments and appear as off-shoots (the activation of the bottom tala cakras are indicated). She bears a fresh cut head with oozing blood in one of Her arms and looks terrifying.

The head in this context is the ego that is being severed and the oozing blood indicates that She is the Creator of all existence and life.

anyonya-keśa-grathitaiḥ pāda-padma-vilambitaiḥ

Pañcāśad-bhir-mahā-mālā śobhitāṃ parameśvarīm 13

अन्योन्यकेशग्रथितैः पादपद्मविलम्बितैः ।

पञ्चाशद्भिर्महामाला शोभितां परमेश्वरीम् ॥ १३ ॥

Her hair is fully tied up and Her lotus feet are raised. She is adorned by a garland of fifty skulls (each representing one of the Sanskrit alphabets - mātṛkā-s) and She is the eternal Truth and singular reality.

jvalac-citā-madhya-saṃsthāṃ dvīpi-carmottarāṃ śukām

akṣobhya-nāga-sambaddha jaṭājūṭāṃ varapradām 14

ज्वलच्चितामध्यसंस्थां द्वीपिचर्मोत्तरां शुकाम् ।

अक्षोभ्यनागसम्बद्ध जटाजूटां वरप्रदाम् ॥ १४ ॥

She is present in the fire of a funeral pyre and She is clad in leopard skin (representing tamo guṇa and Her control over it). She is bound by serpents and is unperturbed by anything. Her hair locks are tied up in a knot at the top of the head (Representing the fully activated Sahasrāra cakra and the raised Kuṇḍalinī śakti) and She grants all our wishes eternally.

evaṃ-bhūtāṃ mahādevīm-ātmānaṃ yāgavastu ca

vijñāpayen-mahādeva paṇḍitohe mahā kaviḥ 15

एवंभूतां महादेवीमात्मानं यागवस्तु च ।

विज्ञापयेन्महादेव पण्डितोहे महा कविः ॥ १५ ॥

Anyone who meditates upon Her true nature and being, becomes a great scholar and poet of incomparable greatness. So says Lord Mahādeva (Śiva)!


Tārā dhyānam (tāropaniṣad) [ तारा ध्यानम्  (तारोपनिषद्) ] -

(From Tāropaniṣad)

viruddha-vākyārtha śarīra-maṇḍale navāmbu dābhāṃ-gurum-unnatodarīm

atīvakharvāṃ nava-yauvanasthā madhaḥstha-śārdūlaka kṛttimūrdhajām 1

विरुद्धवाक्यार्थ शरीरमण्डले नवाम्बु दाभांगुरुमुन्नतोदरीम् ।

अतीवखर्वां नवयौवनस्था मधःस्थशार्दूलक कृत्तिमूर्धजाम् ॥ १ ॥

She is the embodiment of all arguments and philosophies that defy the established patriarchal norms and She stands forth as the Supreme authority, unequalled and has no parallel. She appears like a humungous and heavy cloud with an upturned belly (holding the entire Creation within Her). She also appears imperfect in form (embodies both purity and impurity, good and bad and all dyads, triads etc and is also in a very subtle form beyond the ego and tanmātrā-s.) and She is eternally youthful (unchanging, undeterred, unwavering, one and only Supreme Reality) and clad in tiger skin (representing Her quick and fearless action).

anaikyam-āhatya śavopari-sthitāṃ śavārdham-ālīḍha-parīta-madhyamām

viśīrṇa-varṇāṃ nṛśiraḥ srajodbhavāṃ trayī vivartt-āruṇa locanā-trayām 2

अनैक्यमाहत्य शवोपरिस्थितां शवार्धमालीढपरीतमध्यमाम् ।

विशीर्णवर्णां नृशिरः स्रजोद्भवां त्रयी विवर्त्तारुण लोचनात्रयाम् ॥ २ ॥

Behold the Supreme One, who destroys all multiplicity/dyads/triads as She stands forth upon the body of Lord Śiva with Her feet, distributed over His upper and lower body (creating an impression of a division/half-split, which is the illusion of duality, triads and all multiplicity). She appears in a distorted form (and not shapely), wearing a garland of human skulls, representing all the triads, the three phases of sunrise, noon and sunset. She is three-eyed (indicating an activated ājñā cakra).

abheda piṅgaika jaṭā-virājitāṃ vibhūṣaṇācchinna sitāsthi bhīṣaṇām

mahāṣṭasiddhi prakarāhi-bhūṣaṇā maṭṭādṛhāsair-jagatām-abhītidām 3

अभेद पिङ्गैक जटाविराजितां विभूषणाच्छिन्न सितास्थि भीषणाम् ।

महाष्टसिद्धि प्रकराहिभूषणा मट्टादृहासैर्जगतामभीतिदाम् ॥ ३ ॥

She is undivided, tawny brown complexioned with matted hair locks [representing Her presence in all the three guṇa-s, mixing of which creates the reddish brown hue (white - sattva, red - rajas, black - tamas). She is the embodiment of all philosophies culminating in Her as the singular reality, projected by the raised hair locks on top of Her head], adorned with uncut white bones as ornaments (representing the Creation). She is surrounded by the eight mystical siddhi devi-s and is adorned by serpents as ornaments (activated cakras). She is in an ecstatic state of laughter, resembling the sound of drums (all the sounds and vibrations of the Creation) and stands forth fearlessly over the entire Creation.

jaṭāsv-anantaḥ śravasośca takṣako mahāhi-padmohṛdi-hāra-bhūṣaṇām

tathaiva karkoṭa-kṛtopavītikāṃ sumekhalāyāmatha deva-vāsukiḥ 4

जटास्वनन्तः श्रवसोश्च तक्षको महाहिपद्मोहृदिहारभूषणाम् ।

तथैव कर्कोटकृतोपवीतिकां सुमेखलायामथ देववासुकिः ॥ ४ ॥

Her coiled hair locks are covered by the great serpent Ananta (activation of the sahasrāra cakra is indicated). She is adorned by the great serpent prince Takṣaka, coiled around Her ears (activation of the minor ear related cakra-s) and a great serpent by name Padma, coils up as a necklace up to the heart (throat and heart cakra activation). Further, a humungous serpent king called Vāsuki, who was the mystical rope that was used to churn the cosmic ocean by the devās and daityās, is coiled and wrapped around Her upper body, resembling a sacred thread worn from shoulder to waist (the cosmic kuṇḍalini śakti is indicated).

saśaṅkhapālaḥ kila kaṅkaṇo mataḥ padeṣu padmaḥ kila nūpura-śriyam

bhujeṣu nāgaḥ kuliko'ṅgado bhujo 'rdhamālāmahatā sthitiḥ sthithā  5 

सशङ्खपालः किल कङ्कणो मतः पदेषु पद्मः किल नूपुरश्रियम् ।

भुजेषु नागः कुलिकोऽङ्गदो भुजो ऽर्धमालामहता स्थितिः स्थिथा ॥ ५ ॥

The conch shell bearing serpent Saśaṅkhapāla adorns Her wrists. The mindful serpent Padma adorns the toes. The strong armed serpent/Nāga king Kulikā, wraps around Her arms forming an eminent half garland/māla at all times and forever.

sitaśca rakto dhavalaśca mecaka stathaiva nāmo'tha sitaśca-pāṇḍuraḥ

bhujaṅgamānām-iha varṇa-jātayo bhavanti sarve munibhir-jvalac-citām 6

सितश्च रक्तो धवलश्च मेचक स्तथैव नामोऽथ सितश्चपाण्डुरः ।

भुजङ्गमानामिह वर्णजातयो भवन्ति सर्वे मुनिभिर्ज्वलच्चिताम् ॥ ६ ॥

She is pale blooded with white nipples and likewise is Her entire complexion (as white/pale yellow Tārā). Same is the complexion of the serpents wrapping Her. All appear similar to the color of the fire in a funeral pyre.

[The white/pale yellow color paired with a funeral pyre, indicates that She is beyond the body, mind and spirit and is pure consciousness].

kapāla-kartrī grathitogra-mūrddhajāṃ sanāla mindīvara kāntimālām

vikoṣa-khaḍgaṃ satataṃ ca dakṣiṇo sva-pauruṣotthair-dadhatiṃ bhujaiḥ sadāḥ 7

कपालकर्त्री ग्रथितोग्रमूर्द्धजां सनाल मिन्दीवर कान्तिमालाम् ।

विकोषखड्गं सततं च दक्षिणो स्वपौरुषोत्थैर्दधतिं भुजैः सदाः ॥ ७ ॥

She holds a severed bleeding head (representing Creation) and a pair of scissors (cut through karmic attachments) on Her left arms. She wears a garland of skulls on Her body (representing the 50 Sanskrit alphabets and the mātṛkā-s) up to Her knees. On the right arms, She holds the stalks of a string of glittering, blooming blue lotuses (raising the level of consciousness) and a sharp shearing sword (to cut the ego) at all times. She has very strong shoulders and persists Her will at all times!