Goddess Brahmacharini is the second one among the Navadurga Devi’s and is also worshipped as the primary deity on the 2nd day of Navaratri.
The name of this Goddess represents the life of Goddess Parvati as Brahmacharini, showing her young age, undergoing tapas in order to reunite with God Shiva as her husband.
Maa Brahmacharini is also called with the name Tapah charini, the one who dedicated herself in tapa.
There are also other names of Goddess Parvati, like Kumari and Kanyaka, which are closely associated with the name of Brahmacharini mata through its meaning and also based on the part of life.
Benefits of Worshipping Goddess Brahmacharini
Worship of Goddess Brahmacharini is believed to increase willpower and attaining higher positions along with the divine bliss of the Goddess.
The worshipping of Goddess Brahmancharini on the second day of Navaratri’s became a part of and parcel of several temples across India.
Literature like the Brahmacharini puja vidhanam explains about the puja rituals of this Goddess.
Goddess Brahmacharini Mata is also known to be associated with the Swadisthana Chakra of Kundalini.
The Iconography of Devi Brahmacharini
In several hymns of Maa Brahmacharini, she is usually represented with two hands holding Akshamala in her right hand and a Kamandalam (aesthetic water pot used for rituals) in her left hand.
(please note that Akshamala contains beads providing feasibility such that it can be used to do Japa from the letters Aa to Ksha. So called as Akshamala and is a bit different one compared to a normal rosary or Japamala)
Generally, in the depictions of the Goddess Brahmacharini, her hands are usually shown adorned with lotuses. Sometimes even the neck, earrings are shown with lotuses instead of jewels or ornaments, indicating her stage of devout to tapas.
Mantra and Hymn of Maa Brahmacharini
Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namaha
Dadhanaa kara padmabhyam akshamala kamandalaha
Devi praseedatu mayi Brahmacharini anuttama
(Salutations to you) The one who is holding a rosary (Akshamala) and a ritual waterpot (Kamandala) with her lotus like hands
Devi, be pleased on me, Goddess Brahmacharini, the uncomparable or unparalleled one (as Goddess Brahmacharini did the penance that is unparalleled with any others).
Story of Goddess Brahmacharini
After the incarnation of Shakthi as goddess Parvati (as the daughter of Menaka and Himavanta), she used to think all the time about reuniting with God Shiva.
Years passed on, the interest in God shiva became more intense.
One day Muni Narada came to Himavatpura and said to Himavantha that the reason Goddess Parvati was born is to reunite with God Shiva and told him that you too know the divine purpose of her incarnation.
Later Muni Narada asked Himavanta to send the Goddess to God Shiva to do the upacharas, as Shiva came to earth for meditating.
Agreeing to Narada’s words, Himavanta sent Goddess Parvati to do the upacharas for God Shiva.
During that time, mata used to do all the necessary things required.
The Acts of Devas to Unite God Shiva and Goddess Parvati
At the same time, Devas were severely affected by the acts of Demon Tarakasura, who had a boon that only the son of God Shiva can kill him, knowing the fact about the loss of Sati to Shiva and thinking that it’s impossible that Shiva unites back with Shakthi.
So all the devas thought to unite Parvati and Shiva in order to get rid of Tarakasura and also for loka kalyana.
To unite God Shiva and Goddess Parvati, all other Devas sent Manmada, the god of Love who used his flower arrows in the presence of Goddess Parvati to move the heart of Supreme God Shiva.
Rather than invoking the feelings of Love, the acts of Manmada angered God Shiva, which resulted in the turning Manmadha into ashes.
All devas understood that taking control of the acts of God Shiva is wrong and returned back to the Deva loka, looking at that situation.
Parvati’s Unparalleled Tapas
However, Goddess Parvati, in order to get united with Shiva, she took another path of doing actions that God Shiva like.
Taking god Shiva as inspiration, Mata has done a great tapas by just eating fruits for several years. Later she continued doing tapas just by eating ripened leaves that are fallen from trees.
Then after, she continued doing the tapa in a more intense way even without eating leaves. (As goddess Parvati had left eating leaves too during her tapas, she got the name Aparna. Aa- means no and Parna means leaves).
Like this, the tapas of Goddess Parvathi as Brahmacharini continued for several years.
The intensity of the tapas spread across the lokas. God Brahma came to the earth and said Mata Parvati to please stop the penance and your wish of getting god shiva as your husband is about to fulfill.
God Shiva reunites with Goddess Parvati
Later in order to test the devotion and integrity of Parvati on him, God Shiva himself came as an old man and talked to Parvati, insulting God Shiva that he lives in smasana, wearing kapalas, and so on.
Maa Parvati replied to him about god shiva does these actions to protect the worlds.
However, God Shiva in the form of an old man, intensified his words that why a beautiful person like you want to marry such a person? And he even criticized the personality of God Shiva in a bad way.
Maa Parvati got angry and said, if you don’t leave now, I don’t care who you are and so on to that old person and she tried to leave from that place.
Then God Shiva, who is present in the old man, revealed his original form to Devi Parvati and said he just came to test her faith in him.
Later, Goddess Parvati married God Shiva and reunited with him.
A temple dedicated to Maa Brahmacharini is present in Varanasi, India.
Usually, in several temples that follows the Navadurga puja vidhi, Pulihora or tamarind rice is offered to the Goddess on this day. However, it may differ between Devasthanam as per the temple customs.