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Paintings > Folk Art > Goddess Tara - The Second Mahavidya
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Goddess Tara - The Second Mahavidya

Goddess Tara - The Second Mahavidya

Goddess Tara - The Second Mahavidya

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Watercolor on Patti
Artist: Rabi Behera

12.0 inches X 18.0 inches
Item Code:
PL61
Frame
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Tara, who as a rule is listed as number two among Mahavidyas, is second to none among them except Kali. Not so much in Hindu or Brahmanical pantheon as in the Buddhist, Tara has a much wider presence outside the Mahavidya-periphery. Alike she has an early presence datable to around the fourth-fifth centuries of the Common Era and emerges thus much before the Mahavidya-cult evolved. With an appearance identical to Kali she has always enjoyed considerable popularity and importance in Hindu pantheon, especially among Tantrika deities. In iconographic manifestations, like Kali, Tara is also often represented as standing on a supine body, as in this painting. Of the Tantra Tara is as potential a deity as Kali. Besides her place in Hindu tradition she is the central deity of the Buddhism, especially the Tibetan, where she is worshipped almost like a national deity. Tara also occupies a significant position and wields considerable influence in Jainism. She has strong Vaishnava links and is claimed to have been created to defeat the thousand headed Ravana.

Not merely in the Buddhist myths that portray Tara as the goddess of tempestuous seas helping the masses wade their path to safety and redemption, even in Hindu and Jain traditions she is revered as the goddess who guides out of troubles and all kinds of turmoil. Almost all theologies equate sea with life, miseries, misfortunes and trials with sea's uncertainties and upheavals, and a being, with the sailor paddling a boat across it. Thus, allegorically Tara, the goddess of tempestuous oceans, is also the goddess who helps the being wade across all difficulties and misfortunes occurring in life and attain salvation. In some texts, Tara is also seen as the potential of re-creation, which equates her with Saraswati possessing such potential in Hindu tradition. In Jain tradition Tara and Saraswati merge into each other. Here Tara has highly diversified role and form. Brahaddharma purana perceives Tara as representing time, the same as does Kali.

On the contrary, as one of the Mahavidyas, which is essentially a Hindu context, Tara is always fierce, often having a form which strikes with horror, and as exceptionally moody and harmful, holding a pair of scissors in her hands. Here in addition she also carries a sickle, lotus and bowl of fire.

This painting was created in the Vaishnava city of Jagannatha Puri.


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