Tara is the goddess of compassion. From the Sanskrit root ‘tr’; ‘Tara’ means to ‘take across’, referring to Tara’s role in helping us to traverse through samsara (‘world of illusion’).
Her mantra: ‘Om tare tuttare ture svāhā’, is one of the most well known mantras in the tantric tradition (there are over 72 million!). Mantras are sacred words with spiritual potency and are generally used to transport the mind from ordinary thinking to stillness.
Mantras are also seen to have an intrinsic vibrational quality. Sri Aurobindo clarifies: ‘The function of a mantra is to create vibrations in the inner consciousness that will prepare it for the realisation of what the mantra symbolises and is supposed indeed to carry within itself‘.
Below is a breakdown of what the Sanskrit words of this mantra mean.
Om: (also known as ‘Aum’), represents the substratum of creative sound that sustains the Universe; a primordial, cosmic sound. Sanskrit symbol: ॐ
Tare: salvation from mundane dangers and suffering; a protection from worldly dangers such as floods, crime, dangerous animals and traffic accidents.
Tuttare: deliverance into the spiritual path conceived in terms of individual salvation. Tara offers individual protection from the spiritual dangers of greed, hated, delusion: factors that cause individual suffering.
Ture: a deliverance from an aspiration for personal enlightenment, into the altruistic path of universal salvation (the ‘Bodhisattva path’).
Svaha: ‘hail’ or ‘hail to!’ We could view this final blessing as symbolising the recognition that we are, ultimately, Tara. 🙏