Maa Brahmacharini is referred to a female, who resides in an Ashrama with other students along with a Guru. She is also the forename of the second facet of Goddess navdurga. The deity is venerated on the 2nd day of Navratri. The Goddess Brahmacharini dressed in white attire carries a Rudraksha mala (rosary) in her one hand and a water utensil in the other.
Brahmacharini originates from two Sanskrit roots:
- Brahma(ब्रह्म,) in Brahmacharini, originated from Brahman meaning the one who exists all alone, he is the ultimate, not dependent on anything to exist, something like the universe.
- chariniis the female version of one who is charya (चर्य), which means a female practicing sacred religious knowledge.
Maa Brahmacharini, according to ancient Hindu texts is used for females, who follow holy religious knowledge.
She is often mistaken with a sannyasi due to the presence of Brahmachari in her life. Brahma in Brahmachari is referred to meditation or penance. Tattva, Veda, and Tapa are other names or synonyms for Brahma. The word tapasya, tapa and Brahma are seen substituted for each other in the scriptures. Therefore, Mother is called Tapacharini. This means that the deity is the practitioner or meditator of penance. Goddess Durga is competent enough to provide endless benefits. She blesses her devotees with eternal success.
Depiction of Maa Brahmacharini
Goddess Brahmacharini is extremely radiant. She possesses a rudraksha rosary in her right hand. Rudraksha is her most bejeweled adornment. The rudraksha mala is her most significant asset in her forest life where she pays sacraments for Lord Shiva. She also carries the Kamandalu, the water utensil in her left hand. This also signifies that, in her final years of Tapasya, she narrowed her diet to just water and nothing else.
Maa Brahmacharini is also depicted with lotus affixed to different parts of her body. There are two lotus flowers used as her ear kundalas facing towards the ground. Lotus resembles knowledge. The lotus plant emerges from the mud of lack of knowledge to hunt for the radiance of knowledge. The Goddess is generally seen clothed in white saree to symbolize purity. She embellishes a famous crown just like Goddess Durga. This demonstrates her splendid view in spite of her simplicity. Brahmacharini is always portrayed with a smile and a very calm face.
The Legend about Brahmacharini mata
Goddess was born as the daughter of King Himavanth. Her only aim since the beginning of her life was to win the heart of Lord Siva. The sage Narada counsels her to undergo atonement, and she does just that. Her passionate tapas for a thousand years get her the name Tapasyacharini. Her behavior changes as she is focused on tapas. She endures the perturbing weather. Heavy rains and harsh cold do not hold back her tapas. She is merely sky-clad not paying attention to the boiling sun. All she could think and dream about was Shiva.
She is not bothered about her food. Her meals only included leafy vegetables. For three hundred years, she survived on bilva leaves. Even after this, when Shiva does not descend to grace her; she is described to give up fresh bilva leaves. She started surviving on dry bilva leaves that the winds carry below the bilva tree. Even after this when Shiva does not come, she reduces the entire meal and only sustains on water. She is also known as Aparna for this act. She just lived with her kamandala and pushed her asceticism to limits.
Lord Siva was still not moved. Brahmacharini sustained her meticulous meditation until she had grown weak. She was too weak, and her bones were visible. Mother Meneka observed this one day. She exclaimed “U” “maa” meaning “O, no no” looking at her condition. So Goddess Brahmacharini, the second facet of Durga, gets a new name as Uma. As Uma, she develops closeness with Lord Shiva.
Brahmacharini’s penance couldn’t have gone unnoticed. Her meditation and constant “tapa” created a stir in all the three lokas. There was a sort of disturbance created in the world, and the universe was shaken. Lord Brahma was to act looking at her extreme commitment; he blesses her after getting captivated by her meditation and tapas. As a result, she lands in the arms of Lord Shiva.
She there has a borderline of being a kannya or a “virgin”. It would be wrong to view her as a consort of Shiva. If they were represented together, then Shiva was the ultimate reward she earned through her tapas. So, Brahmacharini is the beginning phase of Mata Parvati, who later on marries Shiva and is known as his consort. This stage of Brahmacharini is called Devi Tapsvini or Devi Yogini.
How to worship maa Brahmacharini / Puja vidhi
In the Hindu myths, every God and Goddess has certain rituals attached to them with precise rules and regulations. This is also known as pooja vidhi. Brahmacharini is at times venerated along with other gods and goddesses. She is presented rice, flowers and sandalwood. These are positioned in the Kalash that was set up on the first day of the Navratri puja. Mother is offered her abhishekam with curd, milk and honey. If a deity, then she is clothed flawlessly. If an image, she is festooned majestically. Aarti is executed. Prasada is offered as it is in the case of Mother Durga. Chanting of mantras is done.
Goddess is worshiped on the second day of Navratri. The mantra to chant in order to please her is:
ॐ देवी ब्रह्मचारिण्यै नमः॥
Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah॥
दधाना कर पद्माभ्यामक्षमाला कमण्डलू।
देवी प्रसीदतु मयि ब्रह्मचारिण्यनुत्तमा॥
Dadhana Kara Padmabhyamakshamala Kamandalu।
Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmacharinyanuttama॥
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ ब्रह्मचारिणी रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Brahmacharini Rupena Samsthita।
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥
वन्दे वाञ्छितलाभाय चन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।
जपमाला कमण्डलु धरा ब्रह्मचारिणी शुभाम्॥
गौरवर्णा स्वाधिष्ठानस्थिता द्वितीय दुर्गा त्रिनेत्राम्।
धवल परिधाना ब्रह्मरूपा पुष्पालङ्कार भूषिताम्॥
परम वन्दना पल्लवाधरां कान्त कपोला पीन।
पयोधराम् कमनीया लावणयं स्मेरमुखी निम्ननाभि नितम्बनीम्॥
Vande Vanchhitalabhaya Chandrardhakritashekharam।
Japamala Kamandalu Dhara Brahmacharini Shubham॥
Gauravarna Swadhishthanasthita Dwitiya Durga Trinetram।
Dhawala Paridhana Brahmarupa Pushpalankara Bhushitam॥
Parama Vandana Pallavaradharam Kanta Kapola Pina।
Payodharam Kamaniya Lavanayam Smeramukhi Nimnanabhi Nitambanim॥
तपश्चारिणी त्वंहि तापत्रय निवारणीम्।
ब्रह्मरूपधरा ब्रह्मचारिणी प्रणमाम्यहम्॥
शङ्करप्रिया त्वंहि भुक्ति-मुक्ति दायिनी।
शान्तिदा ज्ञानदा ब्रह्मचारिणी प्रणमाम्यहम्॥
Tapashcharini Tvamhi Tapatraya Nivaranim।
Brahmarupadhara Brahmacharini Pranamamyaham॥
Shankarapriya Tvamhi Bhukti-Mukti Dayini।
Shantida Jnanada Brahmacharini Pranamamyaham॥
त्रिपुरा में हृदयम् पातु ललाटे पातु शङ्करभामिनी।
अर्पण सदापातु नेत्रो, अर्धरी च कपोलो॥
पञ्चदशी कण्ठे पातु मध्यदेशे पातु महेश्वरी॥
षोडशी सदापातु नाभो गृहो च पादयो।
अङ्ग प्रत्यङ्ग सतत पातु ब्रह्मचारिणी।
Tripura Mein Hridayam Patu Lalate Patu Shankarabhamini।
Arpana Sadapatu Netro, Ardhari Cha Kapolo॥
Panchadashi Kanthe Patu Madhyadeshe Patu Maheshwari॥
Shodashi Sadapatu Nabho Griho Cha Padayo।
Anga Pratyanga Satata Patu Brahmacharini।
Goddess is heavenly and endows peace, prosperity, happiness and blesses her devotees with all of these to all her followers and devotees, who worship her. Full of bliss and contentment, she is the gateway to Moksha or liberation.
Goddess Durga is entreated in another one of her kinds and lovable manifestations through Brahmacharini. In combination, they exalt us with huge strength, courage, devotion and attentiveness to face all challenges with bravery and self-assurance. Goddess Brahmacharini is also not to be endorsed just as another goddess striking the same plot and sanction. Those having her close to their heart as Ishta Devata would know this reality.
Other Forms of Navdurga: