Goddess Brahmacharini is a gentle, feminine, beautiful and yogic form of Devi Durga, worshipped on the second day of Navratri. She symbolises “Brahma” meaning penance and Tapasya. She is the one who performs Tapa and repentance. Outwardly she appears smiling with halo glowing around her head; her face bears a resemblance to complete internal harmony. She wears a Sadhavi like white sari with bright orange border and wears “Rudraksha” for ornaments. She holds “Kamandal” on her left hand and “Japmala”(a Rosary) in her right hand. She is a Goddess of wisdom and knowledge. It is said that when Shailaputri awoke her love for Lord Shiva she decided to take a self-righteous path of Yog-sadhana and perform extreme Tapasya to delight Lord Shiva.
One of the myths states that in the beginning Lord Brahma while creating the universe created only holy men. However they were unable to re-create further thereby threatening the sustainability of universe thus made. Saddened and troubled by this Brahma along with other Gods went to Ma Bhavani. She inturn created a female form and created a womb inside females so the universe could go on. Hence when the child is born, he/ she is said to have nine powers of Devi (Daivi Shakti), 16 sanskaars(Garbha-sanskaar) and 42 Guna (virtues) out of which 36 are from mother. Thus we know another avataar of Goddess Parvati as Goddess Brahmacharini – Creator of Brahma.
Goddess Brahmacharini is known to have begun her penance for pleasing Lord Shiva by fasting without any food and water. She only consumed bilva leaves during this fast which lasted a thousand years. She suffered and survived natures wrath like harsh cold winters, scorching sun and poring rains. During this a wild tiger supposedly tried to attack her, but realised her true divinity as Adi-Shakti and resolved to guard her sitting by her side. She continued her chanting of “Om NamahShivay” till Lord Shiva was pleased. At the end of the penance when Goddess Brahmacharini was returning she met a sage who seemed to make fun of Lord Shiva. Goddess raised her hand to curse the sage but realised that the sage was Lord Shiva himself. Realising this Lord Shiva liberated from the sages form and appeared in front of Goddess in his true form. Pleased with her devotion he gave his solemn word to Goddess Brahmacharini that he will marry her.
Goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navratri Puja by the way of offering penance and observing fastwithout any food and water till nine days of Navratri to achieve the divine Shakti of Ma Durga. Disciples chant mantras and stutis (invocation) to Goddess Brahmacharini for health, strength and power.