On the second day of Navratri, the second form of Durga, Maa Brahmacharini, is worshipped. Also known as Tapascharini, Uma and Aparna, Maa Brahmacharini signifies knowledge, wisdom, austerity and loyalty. According to legends, Goddess Parvati/ Durga, who was born to Daksha Prajapati as Devi Seti, her unmarried form is worshipped as Maa Brahmacharini. As per the Vedas, the word ‘Brahmacharini’ means a devoted female who pursues religious knowledge. The Goddess is referred to as Brahmacharini because she had practised the toughest penance and austerity for over 5,000 years.
It is believed that Parvati was adamant that she wants to marry Lord Shiva, but he being a Vairagi, had no plans or interest in marriage. Hence, in a bid to please Lord Shiva, the determined Parvati did tapasya for 5,000 years. Her patience, perseverance and austerity paid off when Lord Shiva agreed to tie the knot with her after thousands of years.
Maa Brahmacharini, who signifies pure simplicity, holds a kamandal in her left hand a mala in her right. Unlike other goddesses who are can be seen adorning ornaments, draped in a white saree, Maa Brahmacharini on the other hand, can be seen wearing a garland made of lotus or hibiscus around her neck. While worshipping Maa Brahmacharini on the second day of Navratri, devotees should bathe her with milk, curd, butter, honey and sugar. Later, one can offer her roli, sandalwood, rice (Akshat) and flowers (lotus or hibiscus). Desserts made of pistachios, along with paan, betel and cloves should be offered to Maa Brahmacharini as a bhog.
It is believed, that by worshipping Maa Brahmacharini one can obtain wisdom and knowledge. One can also get rid of the obstacles that are hampering one's progress. She is the harbinger of peace and happiness, and with her divine grace, an individual's fears vanish. Maa Brahmacharini is also believed to bless those with good fortune who worship her wholeheartedly, specifically on the second day of Navratri.
One should chant this mantra of Maa Brahmacharini 108 times:
‘Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah’
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