The Goddess of Compassion, the second of the Dasha Maha Vidyas (Ten Great Wisdoms). The name Tara comes from the Sanskrit root tr, meaning “to traverse” or “to take across,” which refers to Tara’s role in helping us traverse difficult situations. She is like a boat that takes us across the ocean of samsara. The name Tara is also believed to come from taraka, meaning “star,” which denotes her guiding aspect—she is the guiding light in any challenging circumstance or emergency. She is a savior and protector. Tara is also related to the power of sound. In fact, she is pranava (the primordial vibration), the precursor to the creation of objects. Tara is the nada, the sound-root of all sounds and the source of all speech. Therefore, she is the storehouse of all knowledge and is often equated with Sarasvati (the goddess of knowledge). Tara is also invoked in connection with the acquisition of knowledge and the attainment of a potent capacity for speech. Tara contains all mantras within herself and through her grace, we are taken into Stillness, the ultimate source of all sounds.
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