What lies beyond our ordered lives? What lives beyond desires, death and destruction? What lies beyond our perceptions?
Tara, the second of the Mahavidyas is as fascinating, intriguing as death itself. In a culture, where goddesses are mostly well-dressed, adorned with jewels and smiling sweetly, Tara dressed in a tiger skin comes across as a wild child wielding a bloody scimitar, wearing a garland of skulls and dancing on a corpse or Shiva. Her background is not an affluent palace or a serene garden but a cremation ground where most people would not go in their wildest of dreams. Though statues of Kali are still revered in our world, one seldom sees statues of Tara or Shamshan Bhairavi in shops or online. Why is it? Are we scared of death?
Isn’t it interesting to see both Tara and Kali have their tongues lolling all the time? Their swords are smeared with blood. Whose blood? Human or animal? Is that why innocent animals and in some cases even humans are sacrificed to these goddesses? Is that how they offer moksha or liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death?
The name Tara means someone who can take you across. Across what? She is said to live in the cremation ground, a place where everything ends. Some even say that she is the energy of the cremation pyre. The energy that transforms everything- love, hate, empires, destruction, creation and everything else. In a way, she seems like a black hole of the universe from which nothing can escape…not even light.
As humans, we are adrift on the ocean of emotions. Emotions rule our lives. Happiness, sadness, anger, joy govern our actions and reactions. The origin of these emotions is desire that flows like the blood fed by our ego. A desire arises, it longs for the fulfillment; waves of anxiety, expectations and desperation engulf our light. As that desire is fulfilled, another wave arises of happiness, ecstacy, joy. If that desire is not fulfilled, we sink into the depths of despair, pain and sadness. Desire after desire catapults us into new emotional waters- it seems like a never ending storm.
But then, everything must end for nothing lasts forever. Kali as time descends over these desires and Tara laps them up with her forever lolling tongue. She slashes the ego with her scimitar and snips away those bonds of attachments with her scissors. As she dances and transforms our ego and smashes our desires, the lotus in her hand blooms with new creativity which is not born out of the egoic desire but out of the universal expression.
Everything ends. All induvidualism must end. All that is created must be destroyed to create once again. It must be renewed and reborn from its very own ashes.
Tara takes us across the churning stormy ocean of emotions and helps us realize that induvidual desire is never ending. Tara reminds us that we are nothing but the mediums through which the universe expresses itself. When all desire ends, the ego is quelled, the attachments are snipped off, we bloom like the blue lotus in her hand…endless and timeless. At that time, we overcome even death for beyond death of the ego lies endless creativity.
This creativity is different than the creativity that comes from the egoic expression. We experience pure bliss in creating this way because then there is no fear of rejection, failure or no expectation. The creation happens only because the universe has willed it. The creation is neither good nor bad. It just is. Perhaps it is the same emotion that a mother experiences when her baby is born. The joy of creating a life, no matter how it is. That is why this creation can only happen through Tara- a mother who in her endless dance creates the cosmic expression which is beyond all the known boundaries of the universe, which is beyond all ego and knowledge and desire ; where there is nothing but joy of creation!