The Tibetan mall in Bangalore’s Brigade road is rather disappointing. I had expected a mini version of Lhasa’s Barkhor street. Lhasa’s Barkhor street encircles Jokhang temple in the heart of Lhasa. This street is filled with numerous shops selling fascinating Tibetan craft.
In contrast, this Tibetan Mall is a rundown place selling cheap apparel. I had stepped into this mall to find replacement for a broken décor piece in my living room. My living room is filled with artefacts mostly from the Himalayan region collected during my journeys.
Around the corner in a basement adjacent to this mall, I found this little souvenir shop with a good collection of décor items. A beautiful Tibetan Tara idol was the immediate attraction. Here is Tara sitting in Tarasana pose and meditating with peaceful elegance. The right hand holds a chin-mudra providing intuition and a feeling of balance. The left hand holds kartari-mudra with the tip of the ring finger that presses the thumb representing refuge.
The shopkeeper said it was antique piece sourced from Lhasa. I grabbed Tara with a bargain price.
Tara in Tibetan Buddhism is an enlightened Buddha and the mother of liberation. Visual descriptions of Tara can be found in all Himalayan and Tibetan Tantric traditions.
Tara tantra belongs to kriya yoga tantra. Tibetans visualise Tara as twenty-one manifestations and each manifestation offers an energy path that guides an aspirant towards universal consciousness. The lamas say that woman are the best practitioners to dwell into deeper aspects of meditation in comparison to males. Males are reluctant to drop their intellect to be naked in meditation experience that woman are able naturally.
Tara in Hinduism is second among ten Mahavidyas. Mahavidyas are manifestation of Parvati, the one universal energy. Each manifestation offers an energy path that guides an aspirant towards universal consciousness.
Tara stands on Shiva in a corpse form lying face upwards. She is blue in colour with no clothing, wearing a garland of human skulls, blood oozing out of her mouth, flickering tongue and weapons in hand.
Her blue colour represents the unlimited space, her weapons slaying the ego, her sword as a symbol of single pointed focus to transcend limitations and free the aspirants from the cycle of birth and death.
Shiva represents the universal consciousness and Tara the manifesting power. Without Tara, Shiva becomes Shava the corpse.
Tara is Smashan-Tara in cremation grounds to delve and experience reality through deeper meditation.
The Aghori worships Tara during midnight in cremation grounds surrounded by lifeless bodies and burning pyres. Tara appears to the Aghori dancing on corpses. She takes the Aghori into her fold, guides through the practice of Sadhana to liberate the person. The Aghori should overcome the initial challenge of embracing this terrifying form of Tara without fear or repulsion.
Tara sits in the corner of my living room in Tarasana pose with one leg bent, shin on the ground and body slightly bent and meditating with peaceful elegance.
You are welcome to visiting her.