After discussing the first form of goddess Durga which is Shailaputri, we move on to understanding in detail the second manifestation. The second form of goddess Durga from the Navadurga is Brahmacharini. In the modern world, a Brahmachari and a Brahmacharini are unmarried males and females who have devoted their life to serving gods. Taking from this definition, Brahmacharini is the unmarried form of goddess Parvati. The decoding of her name is rather interesting. Brahma means total or supreme consciousness and/or reality and charini means the one who conducts or behaves in a certain way.
Legends tell her story in the following way: Goddess Parvati in the form of Brahmacharini held a desire to marry Shiva. Her parents did not agree to this and kept discouraging her. She then went to Kamadeva (god of human love and desire). Kamadeva did his job of pulling the love arrow and aimed it towards Shiva. Lord Shiva was in a deep meditation state when the arrow hit him and he became extremely furious. His meditation was disturbed and he was filled with anger. He turned Kamadeva to ashes.
Witnessing this nightmare, Brahmacharini started living the way lord shiva lived. She went into the mountains and lived a life of penance. This gave her the name of Brahmacharini. Her altered way of life brought Lord Shiva’s attention to her. He disguised himself and went to meet her. He spoke evil and brought to light all the negative aspects of lord shiva.
Brahmacharini however paid no heed to any of his sayings and stayed very put on her love and devotion towards the Neel Kanth god. This impressed Shiva thoroughly and they got married. Hence, it can be successfully said that the form of Parvati which was deeply engrossed in meditation to impress lord shiva is Brahmacharini. Amongst the other names like Parvati, she is also known as Uma, Patlabati and Uma.
The goddess is dressed in white and looks very similar to a sanyasi (present-day). She is known to walk bare feet with rudraksha mala in her right hand and a vessel to carry water in her other hand. She governs the planet of Mars as said in astrology. Astrologers feel that praying to Brahmacharini can eliminate the negatives and bad effects of Mars on one’s life.
Talking in the senses of the customs in the Navaratri festival, Devi Brahmacharini is offered sugar on the second day of the festival. The reason for that is to pray for the longevity of the family members. As per 2021’s calendar, the second day would consist of devotees dressing up in green. Green would promote fertility, tranquillity, peace, serenity and immense growth. Green also represents a new beginning of life much like the life of Brahmacharini.
There is a very important lesson to learn from this goddess. She was very fixated on what she wanted and she did not step back or shy away from doing what is required to get it. The kind of dedication and commitment that this goddess has shown opens our eyes to think and act in the same way as well. In this contemporary world, we can always look at classic stories of gods and goddesses and take inspiration from them on basic life lessons.
The mantra of this goddess is “Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah”.