Among the different tradition of 21 Tara, here is the detailed description of the Twenty one Taras of the Mahasidda Suryagupta.
The Tara of this unique lineage holds distinctive attributes and mudras. The expressions of the Tara varies from wrathful, semi-wrathful to utterly peaceful. As portrayed in thangka, each Tara has a peculiar iconography that includes the multiples hands and heads or even complex postures and gestures. Click here to view this 21 Tara Thangka in details
21 Taras as Depicted in Thangka:
The Green Tara occupies the central position in this 21 manifestation of Tara thangka, graciously seated on a royal ease pose with her calm and surreal expression. Surrounding here are the other 21 Tara emanations, each precisely depicted in their respective directions.
This set of 21 Tara Mandala of Suryagupta tradition is further described below with their names and details.
1. Pravira Tara:
She seats upon a Dharmakara (which is double triangle seat) on a yellow lotus. She is utterly peaceful and calm and with her red body as bright as fire. She is graciously depicted in a Vajra posture. Her four pairs of hands hold different attributes as:
- First pair of hands holds a Vajra and Bell, crossed over her head. This mudra is is also called the "Utter Joy Mudra"
- Her second pairs of hands hold a arrow and a stretched bow
- Her third pair of her hands holds a wheel and a conch shell
- And the fourth pair has a sword and a lasso
2. Candrakanti Tara:
She seats upon a lotus on moon disc. Extremely white in color, she is smiling slightly. Regarding her iconography, she has one of the complex details among all the Taras. She has three faces and 12 hands. Her faces are White (main face), Blue (right) and Yellow (left).
- Her first pair of hands portrays the meditation mudra
- The second pair holds a Khatanga (trident) and a water vessel
- The third pair holds a wheel and a Utpala flower
- The Fourth pair of hands has a jewel and a bell
- The fifth hand has a Vajra and a vase
- And the sixth pair of her hands has a floral garland and scripture.
3. Kanakavarna Tara:
Also known as the Tara of Golden Hue, she seats upon a multicolored lotus on a Sun disc. She has one face but 10 hands each holding a distinct item. As her name suggests, her body has a golden color.
- Her first pair of hand holds a Rosary and a silk scarf
- The second pair of hand includes a sword and a lasso
- The third pair of her hands brandish an arrow and a lotus
- The four pair of hands has a Vajra and a Bell
- And her final pair of hands has a ritual staff and a bow
4. Usnishavijaya Tara:
She is golden colored and seated on a royal pose over a moon disc on lotus seat. She has one face and four hands which hold:
- Her first right hand depicts a granting mudra (gesture) while the left one has a vase
- The second pair of her hands has a rosary and a staff
5. Humsvara-nadini Tara:
This emanation of Tara has a yellow colored body, and is seated upon a moon disc. Her expression is calm and peaceful. She has one face and two hand just like the main form of White Tara and Green Tara.
- But her right hand is in the granting gesture and the left hand holds a lotus depicting Tri ratna Mudra.
6. Trailokya Vijaya Tara:
She seats upon a red lotus seat and upon a sun disc. She has one face and four hands. Her hands holds:
- The first pair holds a Vajra( right) and a threatning mudra (left)
- The second pair of her hands has a sword and a lasso (noose)
7. Vadipramardini Tara:
She is wrathful in her appearance and has a smoky black color body. She specifically wears a yellow garment. Her four hands hold the following attributes.
- The first pair of hands hold a wheel and a lotus which has a Vajra on top
- The second right hand holds a sword and the left one shows the threatening mudra.
8. Mara-Sudana Vasitottama-da Tara:
She seats upon a red lotus which is above a Sun Disc. One distinct character of her is that of the water dragon which is exactly below her. Her body is yellow in color.
- Her first pair of hand holds a Asoka tree branch and a lotus.
- the second pair of her hands has a jewel and a Vase
9. Varada Tara:
She is the bright red in color that matches the shade of the Ruby. Sitting on a royal ease posture, she resides upon a moon disc on a lotus.
- Her first pair of hands hold a Vajra and Bell in joyful mudra (crossed over her head)
- the second right hand shows the snapping (dancing mudra) while the left one hold a Asoka tree branch that showers jewels.
10. Soka-vinodana Tara:
She is the one sittin with crossed leg posture, red body. She has four hands and one face.
- Her first pair of hand are in prayer mudra over her head
- the second pair of hand holds a sword and a branch that has red flowers
11. Apada-vimocani Tara:
Sitting upon a lotus on a Sun disc, she appears as very wrathful. She has the black body and has two hands.
- Her hands hold a hook and a lasso.
12. Mangalaloka Tara:
Seated upon a multicolored lotus, she is golden yellow in color. Exclusively peaceful in her expression, she resides upon a moon disc. She has four pairs of hands.
- The first pair of her hands holds a Trident and a Jewel at the heart level
- the second pair holds a hook on each side
- Her third pair of hands has a Vajra and a ritual Staff
- The final pair has a Sword and and a Vase.
13. Paripacaka Tara:
She is the one who is wrathful, sits upon a Sun disc upon a red lotus. Her body is red and she has two pairs of hands.
- Her first pair of hand holds a sword and a wheel
- The second pair has an arrow and a bow
14. Bhrikuti Tara:
She is blue black in color with extremely wrathful in appearance. She sits upon a Sun disc on a corpse. She frowns in wrath and has many wrinkles over her face. She has six hands and three faces, blue-black, white and red.
- Her first hands has a sword and a skull cup
- The second pair of hands has a hook and a lasso
- The third pair has a club and a head.
15. Mahasanti Tara:
She is peaceful in expression, seated upon a moon disc in a Vajra posture. She has one face and three pairs of hands.
- Her first pair of hand holds a rosary at heart level and a lotus.
- The second right hand depicts a giving gesture and the left one has a vase with cleasing water.
- The third hand has a club and a lotus holding a scripture.
16. Raga Nisuda Tara:
She has a body of bright red color and seated upon a Sun disc. She has one face and two hands which holds a trident at the heart level and a branch of tree with leaves and fruits.
17. Sukha Sadhana Tara:
She seats upon a sun disc and a white lotus. Her two hands hold a moon at her heart level. She has body of golden color.
18. Samkusumita Tara:
She is white in color with peaceful expression. She seats upon a moon disc and has two pairs of hands.
- Her first pair of hands holds a hook on each side, crossed over her head
- The second pair of hand has a lotus (with a scripture on top) on the left where as the right one shows the granting gesture.
19. Dukha Dahana Tara:
The one with the body of white color, she sits upon a moon disc on a lotus. She holds a furnace at her heart level with her both hands.
20. Sidhi Sambhava Tara:
She is orange in color and resides upon a moon disc on a red lotus. With her both hands, she holds a golden vase at her heart level.
21. Paripurana Tara:
She rides a bull and is white in color. Her expression is defined as semi-wrathful with three eyes on her face and wears a tiger skin as her lower garment.
- Her right hand holds a trident and her left hand holds holds a pearl rosary
The reference to this Twenty one set of Tara according to the Mahasiddha Suryagupta is sourced from "An enchanting array of Assorted Jewels" by Khenpo Lundro Donyo Rinpoche.
Also, if you are interested in 21 Tara of the Chandragomin Tradition, click here to read our article:
Tashi Delek la,
I appreciate these wonderful thangkas & descriptions. They are very clear and helpful.
Sorry to mention it, but I think the images on #9 and #10 are duplicates of #8 and #4 respectively. I look forward to seeing the missing images in future.
Thank you so much,
Sarva Mangalam /|\