108 names of Tara

Tam-Tara

Tam-Tara

Tara is a female bodhisattva in the Mahayan Pantheon. The name means, one who ferries across [samsara]. It is said she purposely chose to remain in the female
Tara-2 form to prove the female is not inferior to the male body in any way. In past aeons she has emanted herself it varoius ways. In our present aeon, she has emanted from Avalokiteshvara’s tears. 
   
Tara’s worship is very popular in Tibetan. It had also been very popular in Indian Mahayana. 21 emanations of Tara exist, the most popular being Green Tara and White Tara. She is usually invoked to overcome fear and in times of danger. Tara was later absorbed by Hindu Tantra from Buddhist Tantra. A very late Hindu Tantra, Brihannila Tantra, dated to the 17th Century explains the visualization of Goddess Tāriṇī as follows.
 
[…] one visualizes the letter “āḥ” in a red lotus. Again, above that one visualizes the letter “tāṁ” on a white lotus situated above that. Above that, again one visualizes the letter “hūṁ” with a blue color. […]  the top of her head is adorned with [the Buddha] Aksobhya […]
 
The Tantra is in the form of a conversation between Shiva [in the form of Bhairava] and his Consort Shakti. The Buddhist connection is not too hard to find out in the above description of the Goddess.
 
It is possible that the shrines dedicated to Tara were converted to the Vedic Religion after Buddhism’s decline in India. In fact, the famous Meenakshi Temple, at Madurai, South India is said to have been a Tara temple in the past. Interestingly, the Goddess Meenakshi has a Green Hue, which suggests that she was Green Tara. Buddhist figures have been found inside the temple. Also temples dedicated to the so-called draupadiyamman in Tamil Nadu, Southern India is also speculated to have been Tara Devi Temples in the remote past. The folk deity herself being originally Bodhisattva Tara.
 

tārāṣṭottaraśatanāmastotram

 

Introduction

 

The scene is beutifully set at the magnificent Mt. Potalaka, the abode of Arya Avalokiteshvara. Mount Potalaka is filled with various kinds of flowers, jewels, animals and the sweet songs of the Kinnaras. Various Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Gandharvas, Sages, Bodhisattvas and Lords of Ten Bodhisattva Bhumis throng the place. Also, Various wrathful deities along with Hayagriva surround the place. There, Lord Avalokiteshvara proclaims the Dharma to the great assembly. Thereupon, Bodhisattva Vajrapani out of compassion asks Avalokiteshvara, the ways by which the Sentient beings bound by various fears can free themselves from Samsara. Avalokiteshvara replies that by the Power of Amitabha’s vow was born the Mother of the World (Lokamata) . Tara is born to save the beings, she illuminates the entire world. She makes the three world to shake, there by causing fear to the demons.

 

[The following are direct quotes by Tara. The Sanskrit Equivalents are given along, with the Sandhi split]

  

Tara-Green

She holds the Nilotpala (Blue Lotus) in her hands, and proclaims, “Do not Fear  ! Do not Fear ! (mā bhaiḥ mā bhai). For the Protection of the World, I was produced by the Jinas (Conquerers) (jagat saṁrakṣaṇārthayā aham utpāditā jinaiḥ). In the Woods, during battles, when filled with various fears (kāntāre śastrasaṁpāte nānābhayasamākule ) when only [my] names are remembered, I protect the sentient beings always (smaraṇāt eva nāmāni sattvān rakṣāmi ahaṁ sadā). I will ferry the sentient beings out of the ocean of various fears (tārayiṣyāmi ahaṁ sattvān nānābhayamahārṇavāt) . Therefore, the Sages sing me in the world as Tara (one who ferries across) (tena tārā iti māṁ loke gāyanti munipuṁgavāḥ), After holding their hands together, showing respect (kṛtāñjalipuṭo bhūtvā tataḥ sādarasādhvasaḥ)”.

 

Vajrapani then requests Avalokiteshvara to proclaim the 108 names of Tara, which grants various benefits.  Then, then Lord of the World (jagannātha) Avalokita, with a smile and Mudra in his right hand, appreciates Vajrapani, and declares the names that grants benefits and which can help to reach Sukhavati

  

śrīmatpotalake ramye nānādhātuvirājite | 
nānādrumalatākīrṇe nānāpakṣinikūjite || 1 ||
 
nānānirjharabhāṅkārairnānāmṛgasamākule | 
nānākusumajātībhiḥ samantādadhivāsite || 2 ||
 
nānāhṛdyaphalopetaṣaṭpadodgītaniḥsvanaiḥ | 

kinnarairmadhurodgītairmattaravāraṇasaṁkulaiḥ || 3 ||
 
siddhavidyādharagaṇairgandharvaiśca ninādite | 
munibhirvītarāgaiśca satataṁ suniṣevite|| 4 ||
 
bodhisattvagaṇaiścānyairdaśabhūmīśvarairapi | 
āryatārādibhirdevairvidyārājñīsahasrakaiḥ || 5 ||
 
krodharājagaṇaiścānyairhayagrīvādibhirvṛte | 
sarvasattvahite yukto bhagavānavalokitaḥ || 6 ||
 
vyājahāra tataḥ śrīmān padmagarbhāsane sthitaḥ | 
mahatā tapasā yukto maitryā ca kṛpayānvitaḥ || 7 ||
 
dharmaṁ dideśa tasyāṁ ca mahatyāṁ devaparṣadi | 
tatrāpaviddhamāgamya vajrapāṇirmahābalaḥ || 8 ||
 
parayā kṛpayā yuktaḥ papraccha cāvalokitam | 
taskaroragasiṁhogragajavyāghrādisaṁkule || 9 ||
 
sīdantyamī mune sattvā magnāḥ saṁsārasāgare | 
baddhāḥ sāṁsārikaiḥ pāśai rāgadveṣatamomayaiḥ || 10 ||
 
mucyante yena sattvāste tanme brūhi mahāmune | 
evamukto jagannāthaḥ sa śrīmānavalokitaḥ || 11 ||
 
uvāca madhurāṁ vāṇīṁ vajrapāṇiṁ prabodhinīm | 
śṛṇu guhyakarājendra amitābhasya tāyaṇīḥ(ṇīm) || 12 ||
 
praṇidhānavaśotpannāṁ mamājñāṁ lokamātaram | 
mahākaruṇayopetāṁ jagaduddharaṇoddhṛtām || 13 ||
 
uditādityasaṁkāśāṁ purṇenduvadanaprabhām | 
bhāṣayantīmimāṁ tārāṁ sadevāsuramānuṣān || 14 ||
 
kampayantīṁ ca trīn lokān trāsayantīṁ yakṣarākṣasān | 
nīlotpalakarāṁ devīṁ mā bhairmā bhairiti bruvan || 15 ||
 
jagatsaṁrakṣaṇārthayāhamutpāditā jinaiḥ | 
kāntāre śastrasaṁpāte nānābhayasamākule || 16 ||
 
smaraṇādeva nāmāni sattvān rakṣāmyahaṁ sadā | 
tārayiṣyāmyahaṁ sattvān nānābhayamahārṇavāt || 17 ||
 
tena tāreti māṁ loke gāyanti munipuṁgavāḥ | 
kṛtāñjalipuṭo bhūtvā tataḥ sādarasādhvasaḥ || 18 ||
 
jvalayatyantarikṣe tāmidaṁ vacanamabravīt | 
nāmāṣṭaśatakaṁ brūhi yatpurā kīrtitaṁ jinaiḥ || 19 ||
 
daśabhūmīśvarairnāthairbodhisattvairmaharddhikaiḥ | 
sarvapāpaharaṁ puṇyaṁ māṅgalyaṁ kīrtivarddhanam || 20 ||
 
dhanadhānyakaraṁ caiva ārogyaṁ puṣṭivardhanam | 
āyurārogyajanakaṁ sarvasattvasukhāvaham || 21 ||
 
lakṣmyāḥ śriyaḥ sthāpakaṁ ca sarvasattvavivarddhanam | 
maitrīmālambya sattvānāṁ tatkīrtaya mahāmune || 22 ||
 
evamukte jagannāthaḥ prahasannavalokitaḥ | 
vyavalokya diśaḥ sarvā maitrīspharaṇayā dṛśā || 23 ||
 
dakṣiṇaṁ karamuddhṛtya puṇyalakṣaṇamaṇḍitam | 
tamuvāca mahāprājñaḥ sādhu sādhu mahātapa || 24 ||
 
nāmāni śṛṇu mahābhāga sarvasattvaikavatsare | 
yāni saṁkīrtya manujā sampadā syurdhaneśvarāḥ || 25 ||
 
sarvavyādhivinirmuktāḥ sarvaiśvaryaguṇānvitāḥ | 
akālamṛtyunirdagdhāścyutā yānti sukhāvatīm || 26 ||
 
tānyahaṁ sampravakṣyāmi devasaṁghāḥ śṛṇuta me | 
anumodadhvametadvā bhaviṣyadhvaṁ sunirvṛtāḥ || 27 ||

 

Names of the Bhagavati Tara Devi 

 

The following are the 108 names of the Bhagavati as declared by Arya Avalokitesvara. She is equated to the Perfect of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā). She is even called as “Mother of the Vedas ! (Vedamata). Another interesting name is śrīmallokeśvarātmajā (śrīmat-lokeśvara-ātmajā) – The Auspicious one who is born from Lokeshvara. (Conventionally, Atmaja is taken to mean as daughter)

 

oṁ kalyāṇī mahātejā lokadhātrī mahāyaśāḥ |
sarasvatī viśālākṣī prajñā śrīrbuddhivardhinī || 29 ||

dhṛtidā puṣṭidā svāhā oṁkārā kāmarūpiṇī |
sarvasattvahitodyuktā saṁgrāmottāriṇī jayā || 30 ||

prajñāpāramitā devī āryatārā manoramā |
dundubhī śaṅkhinī pūrṇā vidyārājñī priyamvadā || 31 ||

candrānanā mahāgaurī ajitā pītavāsasā |
mahāmāyā mahāśvetā mahābalaparākramā || 32 ||

mahāraudrī mahācaṇḍī duṣṭasattvaniṣūdinī |
praśāntā śāntarūpā ca vijayā jvalanaprabhā || 33 ||

vidyunmārī dhvajī khaṅgī cakrī cāpodyatāyudhā |
jambhano stambhanī kālī kālarātrirniśācarī || 34 ||

rakṣaṇī mohanī śāntā kāntārī drāvaṇī śubhā |
brahmāṇī vedamātā ca guhyā ca guhyavāsinī || 35 ||

māṅgalyā śāṅkarī saumyā jātavedā manojavā |
kapālinī mahāvegā sandhyā satyā’parājitā || 36 ||

sārthavāhakṛpādṛṣṭirnaṣṭamārgapradarśinī |
varadā śāsanī śāstrī surūpā’mṛtavikramā || 37 ||

śarvarī yoginī siddhā caṇḍārī(lī)amṛtā dhruvā |
dhanyā puṇyā mahābhāgā śubhagā priyadarśanā || 38 ||

kṛtāntatrāsinī bhīmā ugrā ugramahātapā |
jagaddhite sadodyuktā śaraṇyā bhaktavatsalā || 39 ||

vāgīśvarī śivā sūkṣmā nityā sarvakramānugā |
sarvārthasādhanī bhadrā goptrī dhātrī dhanapradā || 40 ||

abhayā gautamī puṇyā śrīmallokeśvarātmajā || iti || (108)
tārānāmaguṇānantā sarvāśāparipūrakā || 41||

  

Merits of Chanting the Stotra  

  
In this section, Avalokiteshvara descibes the various benefits that can be attained through chanting this Stotra. They will be free from suffering, comforted and attain wealth. They will attract good fortunes, be free from injuries, attain wisdom, and enemies will befriend them. The will not have untimely death. Demons cannot harm them. They can recall past lives, wherever he gets born, he is not separated from the Buddhas.
  
nāmnāmaṣṭottaraśataṁ hyetadyatkīrtitaṁ mayā |
rahasyabhūtaṁ guhyaṁ ca devānāmapi durlabham || 42 ||

saubhāgyabhogakaraṇaṁ sarvakilviṣanāśanam |
sarvavyādhipraśamanaṁ sarvasattvasukhāvaham || 43 ||

trikālaṁ yaḥ paṭheddhīmān śucisthāne samāhitaḥ |
so’cireṇaiva kālena rājyaśriyamavāpnuyāt || 44 ||

duḥkhī syāttu sukhī nityaṁ daridro dhanavān bhavet |
putro bhavenmahāprājño medhāvī ca na saṁśayaḥ || 45 ||

bandhanānmucyate baddho vyavahāre jayo bhavet |
śatravo mitratāṁ yānti śṛṅgiṇaḥ śunakā api || 46 ||

saṁgrāme saṁkaṭe durge nānābhayasamucchrite |
smaraṇādeva nāmāni sarvānbhayānapohati || 47 ||

nākālamṛtyurbhavati prāpnoti vipulāśayam |
mānuṣye saphalaṁ janma tasyaikasya mahātmanaḥ || 48 ||

yaścedaṁ prātarutthāya mānavaḥ kīrtayiṣyati |
sa dīrghakālamāyuṣmān śriyaṁ ca labhate naraḥ || 49 ||

devā nāgāstathā yakṣā gandharvā kaṭhapūtanāḥ |
piśācā rākṣasā bhūtā mātaro raudratejasāḥ || 50 ||

ḍākinyastārakāḥ pretāḥ skandomādyā mahāgrahāḥ |
chāyāpasmārakāścaiva kheṭakā khārdakādayaḥ || 51 ||

vetālāściṁcakā preṣyā ye cānye duṣṭacetasaḥ |
chāyāmapi na laṅghanti kiṁ punastasya vigraham || 52 ||

duṣṭasattvā na bādhante vyādhayo nākramanti ca |
sarvaiśvaryaguṇairyukto vaṁśavṛddhiśca jāyate || 53 ||

jātismaro bhaved dhīmān kulīnaḥ priyadarśanaḥ |
prītimāṁśca mahāvāgmī sarvaśāstraviśāradaḥ || 54 ||

kalyāṇamitrasaṁsevī bodhicittavibhūṣitaḥ |
sadā’virahito buddhairyatra yatropapadyate || 55 ||

  

Notes

  
The following Miscellaneous Mantras appear in the Sanskrit Text of the Stora in the Uwest Edition.
 
1. oṁ locane sulocane tāre tārodbhave sarvasattvānukampini sarvasattvatāriṇi sahasrabhuje sahasranetre |
    oṁ namo bhagavate avalokaya avalokaya māṁ sarvasattvāṁśca huṁ huṁ phaṭ phaṭ svāhā |
    oṁ śuddhe viśuddhe sugatātmaje maitrīhṛdaye nirmale śyāme śyāmarūpi mahāprājñe prabalavarabhūṣite |
    aparājitā mahāraudrī viśvarūpī mahābalā | oṁ suśriye ||28||
 
2.  oṁ tāre kṛpāvare śrīkleśaśravaṇīye svāhā | (After Verse 41)
 
3.  Verse 19 had janaiḥ in Uwest Edition. It is a typo for jinaiḥ (by the Conquerers). 
  

References

1. In praise of Tara – Songs to the Saviouress, Martin Willson

2. Renowned Goddes of Speech – Women, Sex and Speech in Tantra, Loriliai Biernacki

3. Pauttamum Tamiḻum (Buddhism and Tamil), mayilai cīnī vēṅkaṭēcaṉ (Tamil Text)

3 thoughts on “108 names of Tara

    1. Mostly most ashottara shatanama stotras objectively don’t have exactly 108 names, they are either a bit above or below. To reach the correct 108, you may have to split or form compounds as necessary.

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