The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini, also known as Brahmacharini Maa, the second form of Divine Maa Parvati. Brahma means penance, and 'Charini' means who has that achar (behaviour). So Brahmacharini Maa is Maa Durga's manifestation as the one who does penance or 'tapasya.' Devi Yogni and Devi Tapsvini are other names for Brahmacharini Mata.
The beautiful Brahmacharini Devi, also known as Maa Brahmacharini, is depicted holding a Kamandal (water pot) in Her left hand and a Japa Mala (Rosary) in Her right. Maa Brahmacharini appears serene, calm, and graceful in a white saree with a bright-orange border and Rudraksh as an ornament. Mata Brahmacharini is the embodiment of love and loyalty. Brahmacharini Maa is the mightiest of the Nav Durgas and an epitome of knowledge, wisdom, and unwavering dedication.
According to legend, Goddess Parvati's previous incarnation was Devi Shakti, who emulated Herself after Her husband, Lord Shiva, was disrespected and ignored by Her father, Prajapati Dakshya. As a result, the maiden Goddess Parvati was determined to marry Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva had been in deep meditation for years at the time. According to legend, Naradji advised Goddess Parvati to follow a path of severe austerity, performing extreme "tapa" or penance. She survived for a thousand years on fruits and beetroots, then for the next hundred years on only leafy vegetables.
Meanwhile, the Demi-Gods made their way to Kamadeva, the God of love, desire, erotic love, affection, lust, and attraction. The Demi-Gods urged Kamdeva to instil in Lord Shiva a desire to accept Parvati because a demon named Tarkasura was wreaking havoc in the celestial world and could only be defeated by Lord Shiva's son. And because Lord Shiva was deep in meditation, it was critical to make Lord Shiva desire Parvati.
Kamadeva, convinced, shot an arrow of love at Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva is disturbed in His meditation, it is believed that He assumes His Rudra rupa, which is His angry, fierce form. When Lord Shiva was struck by Kamdeva's arrow, He opened His eyes and burned Kamdeva to ash.
On the other hand, while living under the open sky, Parvati was subjected to nature's wrath and harsh conditions such as torrential rains, scorching sun, and biting cold. It is also believed that Maa Parvati practised penance, austerity, and asceticism for thousands of years, subsisting solely on Bilva leaves. She also stopped eating Bilva leaves after this. Because of this, Brahmacharini Mata was given the name Aparna. She went without food and water for thousands of years. Brahmacharini Maa's only single-minded focus was Lord Shiva, and Brahmacharini Devi spent Her entire life worshipping Lord Shiva.
Maa Brahmacharini's Tapa was known to Lord Shiva. So, disguised as an ascetic, Lord Shiva met Brahmacharini Devi and persuaded her not to pursue the perilous path of Tapasya. But Goddess Brahmacharini stood firm in Her resolve. She kept her vow and continued her tapasya. Lord Shiva, seeing her determination, finally accepted Brahmacharini Maa as His wife, reuniting Shiva and Shakti. In this way, the Divine Mother completely dedicated herself to Lord Shiva's worship. This great Tapa (penance) bestowed upon Her the name 'Brahmacharini.' Veda, Tattva, and Tapa are said to be synonyms for Brahma. Brahmacharini Maa's form is tremendously effulgent, calm, and majestic.
Lord Shiva represents the soul or the inner self, while Maa Durga/Parvati represents the mind. This union denotes that after a series of penances and self-control exercises, one trains oneself to achieve the self. Brahmacharini Devi exemplifies this aspect by conducting Herself during Her penance with patience, focused intention, and dedicated devotion to achieve Her desire.
During the Navratri festival, many people fast throughout the day, breaking their fast in the evening after worshipping the Divine Mother and eating only one vegetarian meal, or 'Satvik' food. Devotees worship Devi Brahmacharini on the second day of Navratri in order to obtain the power to abstain from food and water and to develop mastery over the mind, body, and senses. The Nava Durga Kavach lyrics say- Pratham Shailputri Dwitiya Brahmacharini, meaning that the first Devi form is Shailputri and second Navratri day is of Devi Brahmacharini.
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