Friday, September 22, 2017

1092. Tara (Dasha Maha Vidhya)

After Kali the next of the Dasha Maha Vidya, the ten wisdom aspects of Shakti is Tara Devi. She resembles Kali in appearance and she protects. “Trayathe itti Tara”, she protects hence she is Tara. Her manifestations is not to slay any demon in the outer world, but to annihilate our inner enemies.

Amazingly Tara is adored by followers of both Hinduism as well as Buddhism. As I do not know much about how and why Buddhists revere her, I will share only from the Hinduism angle here. Tara Devi depicts both Soumya (Kind) as well as Ugra (Fierce) forms of Shakti. In her Ugra roopa she has four-arms in one she holds a cleaver and in the other a severed head. The cleaver she holds is called Jnana Churika, the cleaver of Knowledge. With that cleaver she is able to cut away whatever is deluding, divisive and discontent in us.

The severed head in other hand is the ego which has emerged out from the way we perceive and formulate our opinion based on our perceptual experience. To let us comprehend our inner nature Tara Devi uses her cleaver to cut away that ego in us. Aslo she enables us to come out of the false notions of our imperfections, inadequacies, and impediments thus releasing us from the bondage of conditional living. In her other hand she has a pair of scissors which she uses to cut the attachments. Those attachments which are causing hindrances to the seeker who is on the path of liberation. Finally in the fourth hand she holds a lotus which symbolises awakening.

This Ugra form of Tara Devi is similar to Kali but there is another form which is Soumya that is more pleasant and embodied with maternal tenderness. It is said that it was this aspect of Shakti which was the reason for the origin of Tara. We find her sitting on a lotus holding Shiva who is in the form of an infant on her lap. She suckles him and the milk from her breast counters the poison that Shiva had gulped at the time of Samudra Mantana.

The poison which emerged out from the ocean at the time of churning of the ocean was consumed by Shiva, earning him the name Nilakanta. Though Parvathi had restricted the poison at his throat, it had to be diluted. Shakti took the form of Tara Devi to breast feed him so that the poison gets weak.

May Tara Devi help us to fight our inner enemies....!

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