Mar 232012

The pages of Indian history are illumined by the lives of great women radiating brilliance from different spheres of action.These stories are taken from the ” Great Women of India ” series, published by Shri Ramakrishna Math.

Today we talk of empowering women. But in Tara we have one whose native intelligence enables her to make way wise political decisions and guide the course of history.

Tara was the daughter of Susena, and was married to Vali, the monkey king of Kishkinda. Vali was very strong and his body was stated to be hard like steel. Vali and his brother Sugriva were devoted to each other.

Everyone honestly believed that Vali had dies in his fight with a demon. So Sugriva was crowned king and Tara became Sugriva’s wife according to the local custom. But when Vali reappeared Tara transferred her loyalty to him once again. In his wrath against Sugriva, Vali took away his wife Ruma and chased Sugriva away. Having lost both kingdom and family Sugriva took refuge in Rishyamuka mountain.

Rama, who was in search of Sita, came to Rishyamuka and made friends with Sugriva, who promised to help Rama in tracing the whereabouts of Sita but wanted Rama to help him in regaining his lost kingdom from Vali. When Rama agreed Sugriva challenged Vali to a fight. Tara tried to restrain Vali and advised him to put away his anger, and desist from fighting Sugriva. She wanted her husband Vali to think calmly. She told Vali that Sugriva who had run for his safety would not have dared to challenge him for a fight, unless he had the help and protection of a strong ally. According to her intelligence reports, Sugriva’s confidence stemmed from his friendship with Rama and Lakshmana, the two princes of Ayodhya. Tara’s appeal was powerful, as it added military considerations to the usual moral approach. But it failed to make any impact on Vali, as anger clouded his intellect. He declared that he would just teach Sugriva a lesson, and then let him go. Tara could not do anything more but she was gifted with the knowledge of mantras. She performed protective rites and sent Vali to fight with her prayers for victory.

A fight between Sugriva and Vali ensued. Sugriva was in distress against the powerful Vali. So Rama stood behind a tree, shot an arrow and brought Vali down to the earth. Vali lay stretched on the ground covered with blood. Life was fast ebbing out of him. On hearing that Vali had been slain by Rama, the monkeys started fleeing in terror. Tara rose to the occasion. She rebuked the monkeys and rallied them as any queen may be expected to do when the king falls. As Vali was fully aware of the qualities of his wife, he took special care during his last moments to impress upon Sugriva the necessity of consulting her on all important occasions.

Tara emerges as a bold and shrewd person possessing tact and resourcefulness in abundance. She was a diplomat, an expert in statesmanship, and intelligence enough to anticipate coming events. She put an appearance of patient submission in the interests of her son Angada and won for him the compassion and sympathy of all.


— Courtesy ” Great Women of India ” published by Shri Ramakrishna Math.

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