Tara's Epithets

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Jeff Watt at Himalayanart.org

"From the tantra known as the Twenty-One Praises of Tara spoken by the buddha Samantabhadra, arises a system of practice with 21 emanations of Tara - 1 for each verse of the praise.  Each form of Tara has a specific colour and accomplishes a specific activity. Based on that, there are 3 well known and distinct lineages:  Pandita Suryagupta, Lord Atisha and the lineage from the Nyingma Lama - Longchenpa.  The 3 lineages do not share the same iconographic forms.  In the Atisha system all the Taras appear in the same basic posture and only differ with the colour of the body.  Aside from these 3 there are other less well known sets of 21 Taras."

Basically the colors are a code for the 4 activities:  pacifying (white), enriching (yellow), subjugating (red) and eliminating (black.) Mixed colors such as orange indicate a combination of qualities, tempered by strong associations, eg. #3.  bluish-yellow, ie. the colour of an old Tibetan turquoise; #20, she wears the traditional garment of an Indian mendicant.

Here is the list according to prevalent tradition: 

1. The Swift Heroine (Nyur.ma.pa.mo) -- red. 
2. Saraswati (Yang.chen.ma) -- white.  Tara "The Great Pacifier" (of kleshas: negative obscurations.) 
3. The Giver of Supreme Virtue (S.nam.chog.ter.ma) -- yellow (blue-tinged.)  "Tara who Increases." 
4. The All-Victorious (Nam.gyal.ma) -- white.  "Tara of the Life Force." 
5. The Giver of Intelligence (Rig.je.ma) -- reddish yellow (orange). "Tara Resonating With HUM." 
6. The Terrifier (Jig.je.ma) -- black (reddish). "Tara Victorious Over the Three Worlds." 
7. The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) -- black. "Tara Who Crushes the Forces of Others." 
8. The Conqueror of Others (Shen.le.nam.par.gyal.ma) -- reddish black. "Tara Pulverizer of the Maras." 
9. The Saviour of the Scented Forest (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) -- white.  "Tara Embodiment of the Three Jewels." 
10. The Conqueror of the Three Worldly Realms (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) -- red.  "The Great Subduer." 
11. The Giver of Wealth (Nor.ter.ma) -- yellow-orange.  "Tara Eliminator of Poverty." 
12. The Auspicious (Ta.shi.dn.je.ma) -- orange. "Tara Bestower of Auspicious Conditions." 
13. The Destroyer of Opposing Forces (Da.pung.som.ze.ma) -- red. "Tara Blazing in Flames." 
14. The Wrathful (To.nyer.chen) -- reddish-black.  "Tara of Wrathful Gaze." 
15. The Very Peaceful (Rab.shi.ma) -- white. 
16. The Blazing Light (Bar.w.od.chen.ma) -- red.  "Tara Who Saves by Means of HUM." 
17. The Subduer of Countless Harmful Forces (Pag.me.nn.ma) -- orange.  "Tara Trembler of the Three Worlds." 
18. The Peahen (Ma.ja.ma) -- white. "Tara Who Eliminates Poisons." 
19. The Invincible Queen (Mi.pam.gyal.ma) -- white.  "Tara Eliminator of Conflicts and Bad Dreams." 
20. The Mountain-dwelling Mendicant (Ri.t.ma) -- saffron yellow. "Tara Eliminator of Diseases." 
21. Rays of Light (d.zer.chen.ma) -- white.  "Tara Accomplisher of All Enlightened Activities." 

 

Another list by "Marpo" (LionCity e-sangha)
1. Gyalkun Thrinle Nyurma Pamo
2. Yangchenma /Saraswati
3. Sonam Chogterma / [ - ]
4. Nampar Gyalma / Ushnisha Vijaya
5. Lhamo Rigjema / Kurukulle Devi
6. Jigjema/ (Bhairavi?)
7. Zhengyi Mithubma
8. Zhenle Gyalma
9. Sengden Nagki Drolma/Khadiravani  (Acacia Forest Tara)
10. Jigten Sum Gyal/ (Trailokavijayi)
11. Lhamo Norterma/Vasudhara Devi
12. Tashi Donje
13. Drapung Jomdzema
14. Phagma Tronyerchen/Bhrikuti
15. Rabshima
16. Barwe Od chen
17. Phagme nyonma
18. Maja chenmo/ Mahamayuri
19. Mipam Gyalmo
20. Ritroma / Parnashawari
21. Ozer Chenma / Marichi.

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