Story of Tara: Why Queen of Kishkindha, 2nd Panchakanya, Married Sugriva

Panchakanya, the five virgins of Hindu mythology, are regarded as iconic women in ancient texts of Sanatan Dharma. They are the ideal women to follow in Indian society because they represent loyalty, sacrifice, devotion, love, virtue, and beauty. Earlier, I wrote about the story of Ahalya, the foremost virgin, or Pratham kanya, among panchakanya in Indian myth. Today, I am writing about the story of Tara, queen of Kishkindha, an animal kingdom, and the second virgin. Her story is as complex as Ahalya’s in the Vedic Story.

However, panchakanya is a Sanskrit word translated as the five kanyas, girls, maidens, or virgins. Though Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, and Mandodari were all married, they were still considered girls. Why so? It is a mystery, as some of them have more than one man in their married lives. However, they are considered pure virgins by the Indian scriptures.

Shloka in Shastras:

अहल्या, द्रौपदी, कुंती, थारा, मंदोदरी थाथा,

पंचकन्या स्मारेंनित्यम महापथक नासनम

Ahalya Draupadi Kunti Tara Mandodari Thatha

Panchakanya smaranityam mahapataka nasnam


Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, and Mandodari constantly adore these five virgins, or panchakanya, the destroyers of great sins.

Tara: The Woman of Individuality, Principles, and Institution

Sita is the protagonist of the Ramayana and the Queen Consort of Rama, the avatar of Lord Vishnu, and is esteemed as an ideal wife and woman with all virtues. The Valmiki Ramayana, an epic of India, narrates the journey of Rama and Sita. They confront several adventures, threats, battles, people, supernatural events, and the abduction of the heroine by Demon King Ravana. Rama and Lakshmana walk miles to rescue Sita and meet Sugriva, the king of monkeys, and Hanuman, the general of monkeys, as narrated in Kishkindha Kanda, the Ramayana.

Kishkindha Kanda narrates the story of Tara and considers her a hero instead of a heroine.

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Birth of Tara: The Second Among Five Virgins

Panchakanya and the queen of Kishkindha Tara, the second panchakanya, took birth as the daughter of Sushena, a Vanara doctor. She emerged from the water of Sumudra Manthan during the quest for nectar from the ocean. Tara is one of the most charming apsaras described in the Purana and one of the divine pearls that came out of the womb of the great ocean.

Marriage of Tara and Vali

She was the most elegant, with sloppy breasts, a thin waist, and enchanting features. The gods of heaven and the demons wanted to marry her.

The mighty Vanaras, Sugriva, and Vali helped the gods in the churning of the ocean and wanted to marry Tara. Lord Vishnu resolved the confusion and declared that the person standing on the right side of Tara was her husband, and the person standing on the left side was her father. Vali was standing on the right side, so Tara became the wife of the Kishkindha king. The fascinating ancient Vedic Story is narrated in the Bhagavata Purana, Mahabharata, and Vishnu Purana.

These Sanskrit texts narrate how beautiful Tara was inside and out. She was a woman of unbelievable intelligence, well-versed in politics, statecraft, and relations, with amazing abilities to understand the language of beasts (sarvabhutarutajna) and birds.

Tara’s Marriage Relationship with Vali

King Vali was the strongest and most mighty monkey in the ancient texts. Vali married Tara. She had great knowledge of statecraft and was best known for her diplomacy as a counterweight to Vali’s hot-tempered nature. However, Vali rarely listened to her, and as a result, he ended up losing his life at the hands of Sugriva with the help of Rama.

Tara: The Counselor and the Red Flag Barrier to Vanara King

Vali was the hot-headed king of the animal kingdom, and Kishkindha never listened to Tara, the queen and the councilor of her husband. She knew how to rule and proved herself as her husband’s counselor many times. Tara even warned Vali whenever he made wrong decisions.

However, in the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana, Tara played a very crucial role and warned her husband, Vali, to be careful of his brother, Sugriva. She advised him not to trust Sugriva, his brother, who was protected by the Rama avatar of Lord Vishnu. Tara even advised Vali to accept and declare Sugriva as the heir of his kingdom and live peacefully together.

Tara: A Woman Who Stood for a Woman

Tara was genuinely the epitome of womanly virtues, as she possessed all the qualities of righteousness in her character. She was the woman who stood up for another woman to save her dignity. Vali abducted Sugrive’s wife, Ruma. Tara advised Vali not to abduct Ruma, but he rejected her counsel. Tara again warned her husband that death was coming towards him as he had done all kinds of immoral acts. She even explained the laws of humanity and society.

Tara also narrated to Vali that the wife of a younger brother is considered his sister and daughter. He must respect her as his child with care and love.

Abducting the helpless, assaulting a woman physically, or killing anyone is an act of evil. These acts, or sins, must bear the punishment.

Tara’s Grief: The Death of Vali

After the duel between Vali and Sugriva, Vali fell after an arrow struck his back. Tara was in great grief at losing her husband and felt helpless. Tara again mentioned the same to him and reminded him of his sins; therefore, he got punished.

She thought a king who always lay down on a cozy bed had now fallen to the earth like an uprooted tree with blood all over. Kaal had made him submit to his end, and she had to accept her widowhood.

Tara: A Mother with the Purest Heart | Story of Tara: the Second Panchakanya of Indian Scripture

After the death of Vali, Tara wanted Angad, her son, to be the next emperor of Kishkindha. She wanted her only child to be comfortable and live his life peacefully. Tara, the queen of Kishkindha, was afraid of her son’s fate without his father. She expressed her unhappiness and dependency on Sugriva. On the other hand, Tara wished to join her son for Vali’s funeral. After all this, she said that now, as a widow, she had no rights to be a queen and her son no rights to be an heir. Lord Hanuman counseled Tara.

Woman Administrator: Tara Married Sugriva to Make Angad a King of Kishkindha

A woman’s marriage to a younger brother after the death of an elder brother, especially the wife of a king, is considered giving shelter to the queen. The Indian scripture in ancient texts has several stories about how, when a king kills another king who dies on a battlefield, he marries the dead king’s queen and gives shelter to her and her child.

Tara knew this, and she married Sugriva. She was intelligent, had statecraft knowledge, and wanted her son to be the king after Sugriva. Tara was a woman of all shades, and our Indian mythology portrayed several stories about women being loving daughters, beautiful loyal wives, affectionate mothers, dutiful, knowledgeable empresses, warriors, administrators, and whatnot.

She might be emotional, but she possesses a strong personality and a beauty that can lure two men to fight for her sensuality. The protagonist could stand up for her rights and save others too.

Therefore, the story of Tara, the second virgin among panchakanyas, helps Indian women understand their power from time to time and encourages them to stand up for themselves and their rights.

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