In Ramayan, the role of woman is as equal to the role of a man. There is no woman who goes back on her duty and responsibilities. Right from Queen Kaushalya to Trijata, all women have something to teach us. One such chaste woman is Tara, the wife of the mighty warrior Bali.
In the Valmiki Ramayan, Tara is described as the daughter of the monkey physician Sushen. Few other sources mention her as an apsara born from the churning of Milky Ocean and gifted to Bali for his help in the Samudra Manthan. Tara and Bali get married and have a son Angad, who is wise, powerful and devoted to his parents. Tara was not only the devoted wife, but also a lady of conviction, intelligence and courage. She was highly regarded for her intellectual talk and communicative skills.
Shri Ram and Sugirv make friendship with each other and when Tara comes to know about this, just as an intelligent queen does, advises Angad to keep an eye on them. She understands the heroic power of Shri Ram and feels worried about Bali’s safety. When Sugriv challenges Bali for a fight, she suspects that Shri Ram is helping Sugriv. Although initially Sugriv fails, her worry increases when Sugirv re-challenges Bali.
Being the clever one, she suggests to Bali that a combatant would not return back so soon after losing a battle and she suspects that Shri Ram and Lakshman are helping Sugriv. She warns him that appearances are not the same as they are seen and not to take the two princes for mere humans. Tara urges Bali to make peace with Sugriv and return Ruma back and also make friendship with Shri Ram, so that no harm would befall him. However Bali does not agree to this and he goes to fight Sugriv. Tara’s fears come true when Bali is shot by Shri Ram and she rushes to him in his last moments.
Along with Angad, Tara embraces the dying Bali. But even in such great sorrow also, instead of rebuking Shri Ram, Tara accepts Bali’s defeat as a punishment for his bad deeds. Thus, as a truthful woman, she accepts defeat gracefully in the name of Dharma.
However, unable to take the separation from her husband, she requests Shri Ram to kill her also as she believes that as a chaste wife, she has to follow her husband. Shri Ram consoles her and says that wives of valorous heroes never sink into despair. He requests her to understand that the soul is immortal and enlightens her about the cycle of birth and death, thus giving courage to her. Before dying, Bali mentions Sugriv to always seek Tara’s advice as her counsel would never go wrong.
After Bali’s death, Tara stays with Sugriv and advises him in all the matters regarding to the welfare of the kingdom. Tara plays the perfect diplomat in subduing the angry Lakshman who comes to punish Sugriv for delaying his promise to Shri Ram. She convinces Lakshman about Sugriv’s loyalty towards Shri Ram and soothes down Lakshman’s anger.
Tara has all the qualities of an independent woman and is an inspiration in today’s times. She sets an example that the wise counsel of a good natured woman is the key for the success of a man. Hence, Tara’s name stands as one of the great Panch Kanyas known for their chastity, intelligence and faith.