In the centre [of the island of gems] is the wish fulfilling tree. Under this, a sadhaka should meditate on himself as being one with Tarini, as bright as the rising sun, the utmost sphere of light, in a place surrounded by beautiful maidens with fans and bells, wafted by a gentle breeze bearing the odour of scent and incense - Todala Tantra
Tara is quite well known to the West through Her Tibetan manifestations, but some are unaware of the important position She occupies in the Hindu tantrik pantheon. She is the second of the ten Mahavidyas. The major sources used on this page are an important Kaula tantra called Brihad Nila Tantra (see below) and the Tararahasya (Secrets of Tara) of Brahmananda Giri.
The first deals with the exposition of Nila Sarasvati -- the Sapphire Blue Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the Brahma-Shakti, or spouse of the Supreme Deity in his Creative aspect. The other aspects are Vishnu and Mahesh -- all three symbolised in the three heads of Lord Dattatreya, patron guru of the Natha tradition. Some have attempted to separate the Hindu Tara from the Tibetan Tara, but there is little doubt that She is the same Devi. This is shown in a reference to Tara in the Hindu Tantrarajatantra, where Her mantra is given as Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha -- identical to the Tibetan version. Here Tara takes her form as Kurukulla.
The various other forms are given in Brihad Nila Tantra and Devirahasya, under the names Nilasarasvati, Aniruddha Sarasvati, Ugra Tara, Tarini. Nilasarasvati gives as the fruit of worshipping Her poesy and eloquence. This, aside from clearly relating Nilasarasvati to White Sarasvati, also points to this Goddess being the Shakti of the Letters of the Alphabet, the Matrika Shakti. She has an important role in Tantrik cosmology because mantra, words, music are considered to be the very source of the cosmos.
As Matrika Shakti She deludes the entire human race with Her Maya of letters, and words. This has been expressed in a Tantrik form, but, practically speaking, it is sufficient to say that much hypnosis (Maya) comes about via the medium of words. Millions of people have lost their lives through this power. Thus Her power and place in the Tantrik pantheon is quite justified, and Her mantra is described as a Siddha-Vidya, the cause of Maya and Englamouring.