Tarakeshwara or Tarakeshvara (Sanskrit: तारकेश्वर, Tārakeśvara; Hindi: Tārkeśvar) is a form of the Hindu god Shiva in his role as a psychopomp, a ferryman or deliverer of the soul into freedom from rebirth (moksha).
The temples are connected to the "Taraka", the "ferryboat mantra" or "mantra of the crossing" believed to guide the spirit of the dying to moksha. One Shivite form of the prayer is Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama ("Om, Victory to God with his shakti, victory, victory to God"), supposedly taught by Shiva to his wife Parvati. Another is Rām-Rāmāya Namaḥ, taught by Yajnavalkya to Bharadvaja in the Ramottaratapaniya Upanishad.[n 1] Supposedly, one dying in the temple at Benares hears Shiva himself reciting one of these mantras.
- There are still other forms which vary according to sect and the god of the devotee.
- Ashley-Farrand, Thomas (1999), Healing Mantras, New York: Ballantine Wellspring for Random House.
- Bjorg Bjarnadottir (2014), Transfer in Kashi and the River of Time, Partridge India, ISBN 978-1-4828-4051-3.
- Bowker, John Westerdale (1991), The Meanings of Death, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-39117-2.
- Dhavamony, Mariasusai (1982), Classical Hinduism, Documenta Missionalia, No. 15, Rome: Gregorian University Press.
- Eck, Diana L. (1982), Banaras: City of Light, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 978-0-307-83295-5.
- Jackson, William Joseph (1994), Tyāgarāja and the Renewal of Tradition: Translations and Reflections, Delhi: Motilal Bandarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1146-1.
- Keshavadas, Sadguru Sant (1976), Ramayana at a Glance, Delhi: Motilal Bandarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0545-3.
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