I know the story of how Devi Tara feed her milk to Shiva to make him conscious again after drinking poison but why did in all the pictures she is shown standing over Shiva?

I know why Kali depicted with foot over Shiva but why did Tara?

  • Tara is shown standing over Lord Shiva because she was a form of Kali. This is truth.
    – Samrat
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 17:00
  • The answer of Samrat is truth because Bengalis are the biggest devotees of Goddess Kali and I am also a Bengali and Bengalis know many true stories of Kali. In Kolkata,all people are devotees of Kali and if anyone can visit Kolkata,they will see many Kali temples and Kolkata have a two famous Kali Temples named Kalighat and Dakshineshwar. I also live in Kolkata. So,I know many stories of Kali and I know that Devi Tara is a form of Kali.
    – Topo
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 14:39
  • Both are names of the Divine Mother. Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 11:07
  • The linguistics would suggest that Kālī is in reference to her "great, terrible, fearful, & awesome" nature and that Tara is in reference to her "surpassing, passing beyond, & conquering" nature. Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 8:13
  • whats the reason behind the query ? are you upset about it ? Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


The story of Devi Tara's feeding milk to Shiva is well-known, but that form is worshipped only at the Tarapith temple at Birbhum, West Bengal.

There are several dhyana-mantras of Devi Tara, Who is the second of the Dasa-Mahavidyas. The dhyana -mantra mentioned in the Tarini-Tantra (quoted in the Purascharyarnava) describes Her as

shabasya upari deveshi , meaning the Goddess is standing on the Shava-Shiva.

Shava means a dead body. According to the Gandharva-Tantra

shava iti akshare brahma-vaachakah preta-nirnayah, meaning the dead (shav/preta) represents the (Nirguna) Brahman whereas Devi standing on Him represents the Saguna-Brahman.(Reference: Sastramulak Bharatiya Shaktisadhana, Upendrakumar Das, RMIC, vol.1, page 475).

Goddess Kali also stands on Shava-Shiva. According to Tantra, both the Devis are actually the same despite some difference in Their forms .As the Pranatoshini-Tantra reads

taarakatvaad sada taaraa yaa kaali saa eva nishchitaa,(kanda 5, pari. 6) meaning that the name Tara of Devi is because she liberates(traana) and there is absolutely no difference between Kali and Tara.

The story of Shiva's lying on the earth to stop Devi Kali's destructive dance and Her getting ashamed because of standing on Him and so Her toungue being shown out---all these are man-made stories and has no scriptural basis by the way.

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