I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
The Mother of Liberation
Tara is a Hindu and Buddhist Goddess, who is nowadays mostly worshipped in Tibet. Her two major aspects are the Green and White Tara, the most important, distinctly different and powerful ones. She is a beautiful and complex Goddess.
Tara is Sanskrit, meaning star and the derivative, Tarini, meaning 1. the saving goddess; 2. name of the Goddess Durga which refers to her delivering her devotees from all calamity; 3. star and saviour; 4. name of Devi, the Divine Mother, used in the Tantras; and it is and also the given name of my youngest daughter. Tarini is one of the 108 names of the most powerful Hindu goddess Durga who was created to slay a demon king which none of the male deities were able to do. Thus, a female deity had to be created, Durga. Tara’s Tibetan name is Sgrol-ma, “She who saves.”
Tara is the Goddess of compassion and action. It is not quite clear, whether Tara originated in Buddhism, being originally a queen a princess who had obtained Buddhahood, or Hinduism, being an aspect of the Goddess Durga; but to our purpose, this makes no difference.
The symbol of the star tells us that Tara is a light shining up in the heavens to show us the right path by Divine guidance. Remember that deities are personalised archetypes, so this tells you that you have your own guiding compass within you. Use your crown chakra to connect to the star energy and let the light column fill you completely. When you are not sure which path to take, this will help you get clear guidance of the direction you must follow for the highest vibrational purpose and result.
Tara is a female Boddhisatva in Tibetan Buddhism and is known as The Mother of Liberation. What I would like to add at this point is, the English word “love,” as well as the German “Liebe” are both derived from the same Latin root, meaning freedom or liberty. Thus, love is not conditional, it is not tied to any obligations. You do not have to be or do a certain way in order to be worthy of it and receive it. In fact, you are made of intelligent energy, which is life force and this is quite simply called love and, therefore, you can’t ever be unloved, because it is quite literally not in your nature.
A Boddhisatva is a person who has attained Buddhahood, meaning enlightenment or all-knowing, driven by the motivation of love and compassion for all sentient beings. Anyone can become a Buddha or Boddhisatva. This is not a state of awareness you have to be a specifically chosen one for you to attain. It simply if the falling away of all material illusion (maya, meaning the veil) and seeing the pure essence of everything.
This knowledge lies dormant in all of us, but most do not lift this veil (completely) in a lifetime. When you do and realise that you are nothing else but love, and all limitations fall away, you will understand the true meaning of the saying “love shall set you free” and as love is the truth, you have that proverb covered as well.
Goddess Tara has many aspects, the green one being the one on which I will concentrate on a little more now, even if it is not really possible to explain one without the other.
The traditional mantra for the goddess Green Tara is “Om tare tuttare tuha soha.” A beautiful example of this can be listened to in the following video. This mantra is the second most common mantra heard in Tibet, after the mantra of Chenrezi, “Om mani padme hum.”
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As the Goddess of universal compassion, Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother's love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. In other words, know that you are safe at all times, protected by the all-powerful creative force that is inherent in each of you, your divine essence. You create your own reality and once you know this, you have all the trust in the Divine, in yourself, to only manifest experiences and encounters that are of a high-vibrational character.
There are two very similar myths about Tara, although one does not exclude the other. It is told that Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, cried when he saw the suffering in the world and from his tears, a lotus emerged that, when it opened, revealed the goddess Tara. The other tells that from the tears of his right eye, White Tara was born from this lotus and from his left eye, Green Tara was created in the same manner.
Typically, White Tara, representing Day is depicted on a fully opened lotus and Green Tara, symbolising night, on a half-opened lotus flower. Green Tara embodies virtuous activity while White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion of the goddess who labours day and night to relieve suffering. But there is a deeper meaning in this symbolism still.
Green and White Tara show the harmony and unity in opposites, just like the Chinese Yin/Yang symbol. As White Tara is connected to higher wisdom, receiving in meditational ecstasy, Green Tara is active, taking inspired action for the highest good of all. This symbolism stresses the importance of a balance between connection and going within to focus on the Light/Source and going out into the world, giving this wisdom a form in the material by taking inspired action. One cannot exist in harmony without the other in this physical dimension.
As a Goddess of mercy and compassion, Green Tara brings to the world, which is shrouded in spiritual darkness and thus causing suffering, the light of Divine wisdom and guidance, while White Tara is poised in her meditational inwardly connected state to receive and keep the continuous flow of light energy and its divine guidance alive and flowing, so Green Tara will not “just do,” labouring away and depleting herself in the process with her actions causing no or very little, non-sustainable results, like a band-aid, won’t help when you keep on slashing your own leg with a knife continuously.
On the other hand, remaining withdrawn from the world is not the purpose of a physical incarnation, either, and when you don’t create in the physical, all your most powerful meditations and insights will fade out into nothingness, if not given a shape or form in the “flesh,” in matter, the material world. Thus, balancing both aspects of Tara, White and Green, in perfect harmony, is the highest form of enlightenment.
Connection & Action
Green Tara is iconographically depicted in a posture of ease and readiness for action. While her left leg is folded in the contemplative position, her right leg is outstretched, ready to spring into action. Green Tara's left hand is in the refuge-granting mudra (gesture); her right hand makes the boon-granting gesture. In her hands, she also holds closed blue lotuses (utpalas), which symbolize purity and power. She is adorned with the rich jewels of a bodhisattva.
In iconography, White Tara, whose white colour symbolises white colour signifies purity, wisdom and truth, often has seven eyes – in addition to the usual two, she has a third eye on her forehead and one on each of her hands and feet. This symbolizes her vigilance and ability to see all the suffering in the world.
She is seated in the diamond lotus position, with the soles of her feet pointed upward. Her posture is one of grace and calm. Her right hand makes the boon-granting gesture and her left hand is in the protective mudra. In her left hand, White Tara holds an elaborate lotus flower that contains three blooms. The first is in seed and represents the past Buddha Kashyapa; the second is in full bloom and symbolizes the present Buddha Shakyamuni; the third is ready to bloom and signifies the future Buddha Maitreya. These three blooms symbolize that Tara is the essence of the three Buddhas. In religious practice, White Tara is believed to help her followers overcome obstacles, especially those that inhibit the practice of religion. She is also associated with longevity.
Thus, Tara is the embodiment of the loving and compassionate nature of the Divine feminine principle. She is a wonderfully gentle and kind deity to work with and meditate over. Whereas White Tara has the tender loving energy of the highest kind, Green Tara is somewhat fiercer and feels more powerful and empowering. So when working on strengthening your own capacity to love, your confidence and inner strength, Green Tara would be the better choice.
When you wish to work more on inner matters like loving unconditionally in general, forgiveness and understanding, and helping others best, White Tara would be the best choice. Her energies are gentler and more universal in feeling, whereas Green Tara hones in more on one aspect and heals it with laser-sharp precision.