Tara Dressed in Leaves

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In Tibetan, the Sanskrit name Parnashavari meaning "leaf-clad goddess," is pronounced like Loma Gyunma.



<Sundari woman, Nepal Crown copyright 2009.  Read about UK Development programmes at  www.research4development.info/caseStudies.asp


Like other forms of Tara, Parnashavari Devi is viewed as the Wisdom of Amoghasiddhi, and a manifestation of the Compassion of all Buddhas.  She is invoked to protect us from contagious diseases. 

She is variously depicted as a glorious golden six-armed figure, or a wrathful dark blue hag with two arms standing in lunging posture (Skt. alidha), or lovely and riding a peacock, or as a very chubby crouching six-armed figure, or perhaps the most ancient form -- a kneeling green figure dressed in layers of verdant leaves who is brandishing a similarly layered fan.   Karma Kagyu practice is of a 2-armed green form (see bronze statue, farther down this page.)

There is also a Nyingma terma lineage form where she is riding a boar (male pig / swine.)

Meditation on Parnashavari and the recitation of her mantra (see below) are believed to strengthen one's resistance to contagious diseases.  One invocation declares that she "prevents all epidemics that torture . . . beings."

In the 18th-century narrow Tibetan painting linked above, likely intended as a wall panel, she appears in her skirt of layers of leaves with a garland about her neck in a lush landscape filled with offerings of wish-fulfilling jewels and other auspicious objects.  In the foreground, birds swim in a stream amidst floating treasures.  In her six hands, she holds attributes that include a stalk of fresh leaves representing the healing power of medicinal plants.   (Jeff Watt)

Other Descriptions

According to Thomas E. Donaldson (Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa), the Dharmakosha-Samgraha describes the 6-armed form of Leaf-clad Tara as having 3 faces -- yellow, red, and green.  In her 3 right hands, she holds a double-dorje, a club and an arrow; in her 3 lefts, a lasso, lotus and bow.   The same document however, also describes her carrying a noose and wielding an axe (Skt: parashu.)




< Some attributes, either broken or stolen, are absent from this old bronze image.




In the Sadhana-mala, #149 describes her as green, with Amoghasiddhi at the crown, having a blue right face and a white left one.  Her expression portrays an "angry laugh."

Sadhana #150 describes Parnashavari Tara with 2 arms.

Parnashavari is also described as an ogress (Skt. pisachi ) with a protruding belly, who is youthful, clad in a tiger-skin and garment of leaves, and trampling diseases and pestilence.  The Ekalavira-Chanda-Maharosana Tantra suggests that, as an ogress -- a flesh-eater -- offerings of foods such as roasted fish are suitable.

Some of Parnashawari's other epithets are:  Sarvamariri-prashamani -- healer of all epidemic diseases, and Sarvashavaranam Bhagavati =  Lady / Goddess, Healer of the Shavari.


Ritroma's epithet means "Mountain Mendicant [wandering yogini]" and she is the 20th of the 21 Taras.

According to a Sakya transmission (Jetsun Chimey Luding in Paris, 2008), in the form called Ritroma, she is a semi-wrathful white Tara having one face, two arms.  (Meat is not permissible before this practice.)






Ringu Tulku (April 30, 2009.)

"Parnashavari," HimalayanArt.org

Lama Tenzin, KSDL, Toronto, ON, Canada (June 2009.)


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