Tara Jayanti is an important festival for all the Hindus all over the world. It is mostly celebrated in Shukla paksha of Chaitra Masam on the Navami. Indians celebrate the festival with great devotion and practice. Maha tara, also known as Bhagwati Tara, is considered to be extremely powerful and aggressive. She defines power and shakti.
Tara Jayanti is a significant festival for Hindus. It falls on Navami thithi of Chaitra Masam. Maa Tara is also known as Bhagwati Tara, Tarini Vidya, Ekjata and Neel Saraswati. Bhagwati Tara is known to be as aggressive as Sun’s destructive powers. She is a form of Shakti and destroys the enemies of her devotees. She blesses her devotees with knowledge and happiness. Especially for those people who practice tantric vidya, Tara Jayanti is of utmost importance. Bhagwati Tara is the second of the ten Mahavidyas, first being Kali. The ten Mahavidyas or Dusa – Mahavidya are ten different forms of Divine Mother and represent Shakti in ten different forms. The ten forms in sequential order are Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Chhinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. Mahavidyas are considered Tantric in nature. Great Saints like Vashishtha muni, Vishwamitra, Gorakh and Ravana are known to have worshiped Ma Tara for knowledge, wisdom, power of speech and various siddhis.
Tara Jayanti is not just about religious rituals, but also about celebrating humanity. Offering annadaan (food donation) and vastra daan (clothes donation) on this day is considered to remove many obstacles in education and upliftment. It also helps in dealing with pitru dosha, infertility and unnatural problems.
The festival is a celebration of womanhood. On this day, at least nine girls are worshiped as personifications of Bhagwati Tara. They are gifted with new clothes and other items, along with a bhog.
DEITIES ASSOCIATED WITH THE FESTIVAL:
Bhagwati Tara is worshiped in the form of Neel Saraswati to protect from akal mrityu or any unforeseen event.
ORIGIN AND SIGNIFICANCE:
According to Brahma Purana, before the creation of earth, there was havoc and darkness all around. Maa Kali’s governance was supreme in this turmoil of darkness. A ray of light originated in this darkness and was known as Tara. As she came in such a chaotic time when there was no energy and earth was still taking its final shape, she came to be known as Mahatara. She is known to be the supreme Goddess of every pind. Her weapons are Khdaga, sword and a pair of scissors. There are three main forms in which Bhagwati Tara is known, namely- Neeltara, Ugratara and Ekjatara. She possesses seven different powers namely Paratpara, Ateeta, Para, Chitpara, Tadteeta, Tadpara and Sarwateeta.
According to puranas and other ancient scriptures, Bhagwati was born on the banks of Cholna river in western part of Meru Mountain. She took the neel varna to kill the demon named Hayagriva. She appeared in the Chaitra shukla ashtami tithi. Thus, the day is also known as Tara Ashtami and the night is called Tara Ratri.
When the Devas and Asuras were fighting for the Amrit while churning the milky ocean, a pot full of poison emerged. All the three lokas heaven(swarglok), earth(bhulok) and Hell(patal lok) were inquisitive about who will consume the poison and save the rest of the universe. All the Devas and Asuras turned to Bhagwan Shiva for help who then consumed it for the sake of preserving the universe. However, he did not swallow it due to which his throat became blue in color or neela. This caused great pain to Shiva. When Mata Parvati came to know about this, she entered his body to take the effect of poison due to which she became blue, thus the name Neel Tara.
According to puranas Maa Tara originated on the western part of Cholna river on a coast. Firstly, in Ratnadeep of swarglok, Maa Tara recited Vedas, quotes and sentences in a way that pleased Bhagwan Shiv. He told Maa Parvati that due to the killing of Ravana in the beginning of Adikaal, the form of Maa Tara got famous. At that time Maa Tara’s form was very fiery and was without any clothes, due to which Brahmaji gave an artificial skin like cloth, (Vyaghra charm) to Maa Tara and she was referred to as ‘Lambodri’. According to Tara tantra, the shakti of Bhagwan Ram is due to an invisible power of Maa Tara and it was Ma who finally killed Ravana and thus Maa Tara Jayanti is celebrated as the day to gain supreme power, knowledge and potential.
Maa Tara relieves all difficulties, panic and troubles in the life of a person. People performing aghori sadhana worship Ma Tara as the supreme Goddess. Worshiping Ma Tara on the day of Tara Jayanti fills the life of devotees with peace, prosperity and happiness and also wealth. She is known to bless her devotees with good health, shield from danger, injury and damage. She also provides protection in death-like situations and hence is known as Ma Mrit Sanjeevani.
CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND RITUALS:
Tara Jayanti is an important day for followers of Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism alike. On this day, devotees wake up early and install Ma Tara’s murti after taking a bath. Abhishek or sacred bath is given to Ma and then she is dressed and decorated with vastra and ornaments. Devotees also observe a vrat on this day and consume only fruits at night. Ma is worshiped and offerings of fruits, flowers, lamp and incense sticks are made in reverence to Ma. As a symbol of worshiping Shakti, devotees worship nine young girls and offer them food and gifts.
On the special day of Tara Jayanti Maa Tara is worshipped in a grand way by Sadhaks practising Vam Tantra.
The programme is carried out in following way:
- Guru vandana.
- Guru pujan
- Gau vandana
- Mata abhishek
- Pushpa arpan and Mata shringar
- Ganapathy, Navagrah puja.
- Shri Tara mool mantra, maha yagya followed by purnahuti, Daan and Prasad distribution.
Bhandara is conducted by Vaamtantra on any of the sacred places for the needy ones. People voluntarily donate food and clothes. Charity on this day is of great importance and it purifies all previous sins and acts as a solution for removing doshas and keeping grah shanti.
PUJA VIDHI AND PUJA KATHA:
Tara Jayanti is celebrated with a great vidhi vidhan.
Generally, Maa Tara worship is done at midnight only in ekantha. Devotees are required to follow the following steps:
- Take a bath early in the morning and wear unstitched white clothes.
- Sit facing in the west and clean the worship platform and put a pink coloured cloth on it and place a plate of rose in front.
- After this place Tara yantra on it, with four heaps of rice and four instruments of yantra.
- On the heap of rice, place a clove.
- Place a ghee deepak in front and lighten it.
- Chant Maa Tara mantra, do the Aarti. After aarti, place the Tara yantra in the locker.
- Ma Tara mantra: “Stri Hun Han Hun Fatt”
- The left overs of worship material are buried inside a ground, possibly near a peepal tree.
CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY:
Tara Jayanti is a crucial festival and is celebrated with loads of passion and adherence to rituals all over the world. Maa Tara worship helps to eradicate sins and negativities from life. Where there is darkness, Maa Tara came as a ray of hope. Special yagnas are organized by some communities and Ma Tara Mantra is chanted diligently by people. In some parts of the country, people also worship cows on this day.
BENEFITS OF CELEBRATING THE FESTIVAL:
Maa Tara is the second Maha Vidya. She is known to guide us to the path of knowledge, salvation and acquire power and position. Her worship helps to remove all sins and hurdles from the life of devotees. Maa Tara worship propels the eternal life force and protects us from all dangers and unforeseen harmful events.