Tara is known to protect from fear and danger, heal illness, increase longevity and increase prosperity. On the ultimate level, she awakens our wisdom so that we can realize the true nature of reality. In Mahayana Buddhist tradition it is believed that practice of Tara mantra or reciting sacred Tara Mantra brings Green Tara’s instant help to overcome all problems and help actualize all our material needs and heartfelt wishes. Goddess Tara is the embodiment of enlightened activity. Tara is a bodhisatta, rather Buddha, who, although totally free from the imperfections of Samsara, remains in samsara to help all those that suffer. Tara protects us from eight great spiritual fears externally symbolized by animals and trying situations described as follows: Eight Great Fears (External and internal):
- elephants = ignorance
- lions = pride
- fire = anger
- poisonous snakes = jealousy
- thieves = erroneous philosophies, wrong view
- imprisonment = greed
- water = desire and attachment
- demons = doubts
Symbolic Meaning of the Manifestation of Green Tara:
Green symbolizes the color of awakened activity and deep compassion. Green also indicates the color of wind and Nature. Tara acts for the benefit of those who pray to her with the swiftness of wind. Her left leg represents renouncement of conflicting emotions. Her right leg indicates that Tara is ready to stand up to come to the help of her devotees. Her right hand is in the gesture of generosity signifying that she bestows boons of ordinary supernormal powers as well as sublime accomplishments such as realization of the nature of the mind. Her left hand is in the gesture of refuge. Her thumb and ring finger are joined to symbolize the union of skillful ways and knowledge. Her other fingers are held up to represent detachment. Her left hand is held as her heart, indicating that her mind is never separate from the Dharmakaya. The stems of the lotuses she holds with her hands indicate that all the qualities of realization have fully blossomed within her. Her charm and beauty reveal that she is the ‘ mother of all Buddhas and her compassion for all beings is flowing continuously.
The ornaments (silks and jewels) she wears bear witness of her masterful qualities and activity. Her straight back shows that her meditation is unfaltering. The moon behind her symbolizes the fullness of inexhaustible happiness.
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā / Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
Tara means “star” or “The one who ferries across”, or “She Who Saves”. Really, she represents compassion in action, since she’s in the process of stepping from her lotus throne in order to help the suffering sentient beings. Tara’s name is said to derive from the verb meaning “to cross” or “to traverse” or “to get to the other side.” The word Tara also literally means “star.” Like a star she shines and helps us guide our lives in a safe direction. A third meaning of “tara” is “the pupil of the eye,” suggesting her as the watching presence, who watches over those who navigate the treacherous waters of life in search of the further shore of liberation.
OM represents Tara’s sacred and enlightened body, speech and mind.
TARE means liberating from all discontent.
TUTTARE means liberating from the eight fears, the external dangers and also from the internal dangers such as ignorance and delusions.
TURE means liberating from duality; it shows the true cessation of confusion.
SOHA means “may the meaning of the mantra take root in my mind.”
Tara mantra symbolic meaning
The syllable Om symbolizes the supreme reality. In the book Om Chanting and Meditation, Amit Ray explained Om as “an eternal song of the Divine. It is continuously resounding in silence on the background of everything that exists.”
The word “ Tāre” represents salvation from mundane dangers and suffering. Tara is seen as a savior who can give aid from external threats such as floods, crime, wild animals, and traffic accidents.
The word Tuttāre represents deliverance into the spiritual path, which is conceived in terms of Nirvana or salvation.
The word “Ture” represents fast deliverance.
The word “ Svaha”, or “Soha” in Tibbetan accent, means: “Hail!”, “Hail to”. It also means “within me”, meaning that Tara is within everyone of us. All of us are potentially Tara.
The female form of Tara
The female form of Tara symbolizes compassion. Though Tara is essentially portrayed a goddess manifested in female form, she is essentially formless and gender-less. Enlightened beings are said to be beyond the limiting conditions of ordinary human consciousness. Hence, they are not defined by the gender of their body. An important passage in a Mahayana Sutra, illustrates this in the form of the following story:
Once Sariputra, one of the major disciples of the historical Buddha met a forest goddess who was spiritually much more enlightened than him. In fact, she was a Buddha. Seeing her female form, which was thought to be inferior in the contemporary society, Sariputra said to the goddess, “Goddess, what prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?
Goddess: Although I have sought my “female state” for all these years, I have not yet found it. Reverend Sariputra, if a magician were to incarnate a woman by magic, would you ask her, “What prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?”
Sariputra: No! Such a woman would not really exist, so what would there be to transform?
Goddess: Just so, revered Sariputra, all things and forms do not really exist. Now, would you think, “What prevents one whose nature is that of a magical incarnation from transforming herself out of her female state?”
Thereupon, to imprint the idea on Sariputra, the goddess used her magical power to cause the elder Sariputra appear in her form and to cause herself appear in his form. Then the goddess, transformed into Sariputra, said to Sariputra, transformed into a goddess, “Revered Sariputra, what prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?” And Sariputra, transformed into the goddess, replied, “I no longer appear in the form of a male! My body has changed into the body of a woman! I do not know what to transform!”
The goddess continued, “If the elder could again change out of the female state, then all women could also change out of their female states. All women appear in the form of women in just the same way as the elder appears in the form of a woman. While they are not women in reality, they appear in the form of women. With this in mind, the Buddha said, ’In all things, there is neither male nor female.’” Then, the goddess released her magical power and they returned to their ordinary forms.
Tara mantra helps to overcome blockages
Tara mantra is often used to overcome physical, mental or emotional blockages and also blockages in relationships. Green Tara is very active and steps down to help all the beings. Only thing required is that we need to resign and let go of our clinging to a particular outcome, because, to cling to a particular outcome is often self-defeating, as it creates unhappiness and agitation, particularly when it involves other people. The more we have Tara’s non-grasping attitude the more happy we are. When chanting the Tara mantra, we need to let go and bring the energy back into ourselves. This will generate immense inner peace and clarity.
Tara mantra protects the mind
Goddess Tara is truly amazing. The Tara mantra protects the mind from negative thoughts and vibrations. By its devotional chanting, one’s awareness expands and then you can feel the power of the blessings of Tara, who is called as the mother of all buddhas. She is extremely powerful, compassionate and very forgiving. The mantra is truly very calming and relaxing. It helps center and calm the noise of the mind which is hyperactive.
People who are chanting the mantra often finds that their inner compassion is awakened. Friendliness and tolerance flower in to our being as the qualities of Tara manifest in us as we chant the Tara mantra. It is believed that reciting her mantra 108 times daily invokes her swift blessings.