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Tara (Devi)

In Hinduism the goddess Tara (meaning "star") is a manifestation of the queen of time, Kali. As the star is seen as a beautiful but perpetually self-combusting thing, so Tara is at core the absolute, unquenchable hunger that propels all life.

In Greater Path Buddhism she, like many lesser Hindu divinities, has been retained though reclassified as a Bodhisattava. In Tibetan Lamaism, Tara became a symbol of other hungers as well, in particular the spiritual hunger for release from the purely physical world. As such, Tara is the bodhisattava of self-mastery and mysticism, invoked under her 108 names on a rosary of 108 beads. The Tibetan monastics have also promoted a popular cult of Tara as a compassionate, maternal figure -- though her "semiterrific" manifestation as the fierce Green Tara is also to be encountered.

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