This article originally appeared in the February, 2008 issue of Immanence.
The Tara Goddess figure has many shapes and forms, spanning both Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindus regard Tara as a Mother Goddess, appearing beside other Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The Boddhisattva Tara is seen as the Mother of All Buddhas–hence containing the wisdom of all the Buddhas. Tara also shares her qualities with Kuan Yin, the white ceramic mother-goddess figure often found in Chinese shops. Thus, over much of the planet, Tara depicts the commonly held idea of a loving, accepting Great Mother.
There is a certain color magick with working with Tara, as She appears in several different colors, each one meaning a different direction in one’s meditation. Green Tara is the Mother of Enlightened Activity. White Tara is known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity. Red Tara is a fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things. Black Tara is for power. Yellow Tara is for wealth and prosperity. Blue Tara helps one transform anger. There are 21 Taras, and their praises—too much for one column.
Green Tara is a young, vigorous goddess of activity. She is fierce yet compassionate saviouress. She helps Her followers overcome dangers, fears, and anxieties, with an ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. It is said that Green Tara acts quickly to help those who call Her.
In Her iconography, Green Tara is pictured at ease while ready for anything. Her left leg is folded in the contemplative position, while her right leg is outstretched, so that she may leap up at a moment’s notice. One hand makes the refuge-granting mudra (hand position) while the other makes a boon-granting mudra. Both hands hold the flowers that represent purity and power–blue lotus.
Tara has been popular because of Her approachability – besides embodying the qualities of compassion and mercy, Tara can be accessed without intervention from a lama or monk, making Her a perfect Mother Goddess Figure for all people, and for daily life. She is a way to understanding metta,or compassion and lovingkindness, the path of ever-evolving Buddhism. You don’t need a guru to set your feet on Tara’s path: just start meditating.
To meditate upon Green Tara, sit in the lotus position if that is comfortable, or any position easy to maintain. Chant Tara’s mantra to yourself, using a mala (rosary) if you like. Her mantra is this: om tare tuttare ture svaha. (You could also say the mantra for Chenrezig, the white deity symbolizing unconditional love or compassion: om mani padme om.) Visualize Green Tara sitting before you. Imagine Her compassion, Her mercy, Her enlightened activity filling you. Meditate until you feel at peace, and ready to stop.