Traditional symbolic representations of the Great Cosmic Power Tara

In the Buddhist tantric pantheon, Tara is often equated with the Great Cosmic Power Kali. The description of the goddess’s form presents her as young, forceful in her terrible aspect, relatively small in stature and with big hips. She wears a garland of human skulls around her neck and her tongue is removed farther out. In the two right hands she holds a sword and a knife, in the two left hands has a skull and a lotus. In this form she is worshiped not only to lead the aspirant to the final liberation, but also to give him profound initiate knowledge, poetic ability, material wealth and success in all actions he takes.

Like Kali, she can be seen as a cosmic power that corrects the non believers, or as a Light that brings the good when they are challenged by the evil forces. Born as a Great Goddess, she can resorb and give birth to the worlds, or she can look like a deity that comforts and feeds the hungry. Like Kali the warrior, she controls the power of time, blesses the physical deprivations of the sages seeking to detach from the physical body to be closer to their Self. Tara’s power is so great that she can destroy an entire solar system.

She is also described as a terrible woman with four arms, standing over a corpse, holding a skull in her first hand, a sword in the second, a blue lotus in the third and begging bowl in the fourth. In her red loose hair, blue poisonous snakes move. The glow of her red eyes reminds us of the fires of hell, and a crown of skulls is braided on top of her head.

Her right hand is in vara mudra and her left hand is in vitarka mudra. Her slim waist contrasts with the full forms of her powerful hips and breasts, being also the ideal embodiment of the feminine beauty. The goddess, dignified and graceful in this manifestation, represents chastity and virtue, and embodies love, compassion and blessing.
To resonate intimately with the Great Cosmic Power Tara, we can relate to this deity in several aspects as follows:
-Tara is associated with the third eye, the full Moon, with the lakes, rainbows and is assigned the numbers 3, 7 and 11.
-Tara’s symbolic animals are the owl, raven, pig and horse.
-Plants attributed to the goddess: the lotus flower, both the open flower and the flower bud.
-Perfumes and scents in resonance with Her are: incense, musk and flavors of rose and daffodil.
-Precious stones and metals that make possible for us to enter in resonance with Tara are: diamond, pink crystal, pink tamarind, emerald, and any pink or green stone.
-In terms of colors, white and green are specified, but the full spectrum of colors may be included.


November 2012

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