Goddess Durga is the personification of Shakti (power) and manifests herself in nine forms. These nine forms of Durga are worshipped one after the other on nine days and nights of Navratri. Devi (or Goddess) Brahmacharini is second among the nine embodiments of Goddess Durga and is worshipped on the second day of Navratri. She is the devout and unmarried form of the Goddess.
To know about the Goddess’ previous form – Shailputri, read my blog post: Navratri Day 1: Worshipping Devi Shailputri through artwork
This is the coloured sketch, I made, of Goddess Brahmacharini.
Let me tell you the story behind Her origin, how the Goddess came into being. As I mentioned before in my previous post, the Goddess took rebirth as Parvati, the daughter of Lord Himalaya. Once, when she was busy playing with her friends, Narad – the Divine sage visited her and read her palm and made a prediction, “You are destined to marriage with a great ascetic who was with you, in your previous birth as Sati. You have to perform severe penance for him if your fate should come true.” After hearing the prediction, Parvati told her mother that she would marry none except Shiva – the great ascetic, otherwise she would remain unmarried. Parvati was advised by Narad to perform rigid Tapasya or penance for long eras. Parvati, while performing Tapasya, endured extremely biting cold, intense flames of Sun, and hammering of rain. For many years, She abstained from water and food. According to Hindu mythologies, She was on diet of Bilva leaves for thousands of years while She prayed to Lord Shiva. And this way, She devoted herself completely in worship of Lord Shiva. This great penance and sacrifice pleased Lord Shiva to be Her divine consort.
This, Her name ‘Brahmacharini’ comes from the word ‘Brahma’ meaning tapa or penance.
Goddess Brahmacharini is depicted walking on bare feet and has two hands She holds a rosary in Her right hand and Kamandal (water utensil) in Her left. Rudraksha beads are Her most adored ornaments. She is pure, divine and full of heavenly bliss.
Today, the air reverberates with the Sanskrit verses in reverence to the Goddess.
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, Brahmacharini rupena sansthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!
The goddess who is omnipresent as the divine Brahmacharini.
I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her again & again.
To know about the Goddess’ third form – Chandraghanta, read my blog post: Navratri Day 3: Worshipping Devi Chandraghanta through artwork