Ekajata: fiercest form of Shakti
(Left) 19th century Thagka of Blue Tara from Tibet; (right) an 18th century painting of Tara from Bengal

Ekajaṭī or Ekajata (Sanskrit: “one plait woman”; one who has one knot of hair), also known as Māhacīnatārā, originated in Tibet and later found her way into India during the time of Nalanda in the 7th century through the Bauddha tantric master Nagarjuna.

Along with Palden Lhamo, Ekajaṭā is considered the fiercest form of Shakti and also the protector of the most secret mantra, the inner tantras and the non-dual state of Dzogchen.

Among the various colours associated with the pantheon of Tara, she is also known as Blue Tara. This is the very goddess who becomes Mahavidya Tara in the Hindu Shakta pantheon. Her upasana is done in a tantric manner using panchamakara and other heterodox rituals.

The single jata on Ekajata’s head is representative of an exceptional yogic focus on the state of absolute and un-compromising non-dual nature of reality. She stands inside a flaming mandala, which is triangular in shape and surrounded by a retinue of the most ferocious Shaktis and servers.

Ekajata smites those who are lazy and hard to wake up the oversleeping kind. She punctures those who approach Her with their egos by orchestrating terrible events until they realise the dharmakaya or body of Dharma, which is experientially similar to the condition of non-duality.

In Ekajata’s right hand, She is sometimes shown holding a blood-dripping fresh heart in her palms, ripped out from those who break their vows of dharma. She is terrifying, but She is also one of the fastest deities to confer true adhyatma onto a steadfast seeker. Her mantras are guarded and almost never revealed to those who are not serious about this path.

In Ekajata’s Hindu iconography, She is shown holding a blue-lotus and scissors representing spiritual knowledge and Her expertise in cutting off intricate knots of karma.

During the reign of the Pala kings in Eastern India, Tara worship was the most popular of Shakta practices. The Palas even had an image of Tara on their royal flag.