A tenderly conceived figure with timeless youth, the goddess has been conceived with divine lustre and great quiescence on her face. Her figure has been adorned with brilliant jewels : beautiful ‘kundalas’ on her ears, variously designed neck and breast ornaments, belly-band and an elaborate crown with repeats of ‘tri-ratna’ motifs symbolic of three Buddhist cardinals : Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Her beautifully pleated ‘antariya’ – lower wear, spread over her legs and down on the seat, and her elegantly designed sash lying on her shoulders, arms and unfurling on either side are exceptionally beautiful. An angular face bowed a little with a broad forehead and pointed chin, hair with curling contours not fully cover by her crown and knotted coiffure in its centre, sharp straight nose aligning with elegantly moulded eyebrows, small cute lips, three-fourth closed lotus eyes, a well defined neck, broad shoulders, a tall figure with tall arms, fine long fingers and tender feet, all reveal her sublime beauty and absolute womanhood.
The supreme female deity in the Buddhist line, more impressive and effective, Tara is often equated with Buddha in her compassionate nature and the power to redeem. Buddhist texts contend Tara to be the utmost powerful divinity, so much so that her ‘smile made the sun to shine’ and her frown, ‘darkness to envelop the terrestrial sphere’. As the perfection of wisdom and embodiment of the highest metaphysical principle Tara is Prajnaparmita and is considered as having priority over Buddha. She is revered as the light and the prime source of Buddhahood. In Mahayana Buddhism Tara’s significance is far greater. She is venerated as the mother of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Similar to Brahmanical line where all deity-forms look like the forms of Devi, the primordial female power, all female deities in Buddhist line look like different forms of Tara that the Buddhist texts designate as the ‘Tara’s Bhedas’ – forms of Tara. Though more popular in Tibetan worship-cult, Tara is the universal deity of Buddhism. Texts perceive her as the most benevolent, compassionate, gentle, protective and playful deity full of youth and vigour.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.