The story of Brahmacharini - Navaratri special

Brahmacharini is the second manifestation of Goddess Durga, who is revered on the second day of Navaratri, the nine-day Hindu festival that celebrates the power and grace of the divine feminine. The word Brahmacharini means “one who practices brahmacharya”, which is a state of celibacy, austerity, and devotion to the Supreme Being. Brahmacharini represents the pure and pious aspect of Durga, who performed severe penance to attain Lord Shiva as her husband.

Brahmacharini is depicted as a young and beautiful woman, dressed in white, holding a rosary in her right hand and a water pot in her left. She has a calm and serene expression on her face, reflecting her inner peace and wisdom. She is also adorned with rudraksha beads, which are sacred to Shiva. She walks barefoot on the Himalayan mountains, where she performed her tapas (spiritual discipline).

The legend of Brahmacharini begins with her previous birth as Sati, the daughter of King Daksha and Queen Prasuti. Sati was deeply in love with Shiva, the supreme ascetic, who lived in isolation and meditation. Despite her father’s opposition, Sati married Shiva and lived happily with him. However, Daksha despised Shiva for his unconventional lifestyle and insulted him at a grand sacrifice that he organized. Sati could not bear the humiliation of her husband and immolated herself in the sacrificial fire.

Shiva was enraged by Sati’s death and carried her corpse across the universe, destroying everything in his path. To calm him down, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s body into 51 pieces, which fell on different places on earth. These places are known as Shakti Peethas, where the goddess is worshipped in various forms.

Sati was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himavan, the king of mountains, and his wife Menavati. Parvati grew up hearing stories of Shiva from Sage Narada and developed a strong attraction towards him. She decided to marry him at any cost and sought his attention by serving him and meditating on him. However, Shiva was indifferent to her and remained absorbed in his own trance.

Parvati then resolved to perform a rigorous penance to win Shiva’s heart. She renounced all worldly comforts and pleasures and lived like an ascetic in the forest. She ate only fruits and leaves for a thousand years, then gave up food altogether and survived on air for another three thousand years. She endured the harsh weather conditions and the attacks of wild animals and demons with unwavering faith and determination.

The story of Brahmacharini - Navaratri special


Her tapas was so intense that it shook the heavens and the earth. The gods were impressed by her devotion and praised her as Brahmacharini, the supreme brahmachari. They also feared that her penance might disturb the cosmic balance and requested Kamadeva, the god of love, to awaken Shiva from his meditation and make him fall in love with Parvati.

Kamadeva agreed to help them and shot his arrow of desire at Shiva’s heart. Shiva was disturbed by the sudden surge of emotion and opened his third eye, which emitted a fiery beam that reduced Kamadeva to ashes. Parvati was shocked by this incident but did not lose hope. She continued her penance with more fervor and intensity.

Shiva was finally moved by Parvati’s dedication and appeared before her in disguise as a brahmin (priest). He tested her by criticizing Shiva’s qualities and advising her to choose another husband. Parvati defended Shiva with loyalty and logic and declared that he was the only one for her. Shiva was pleased by her intelligence and devotion and revealed his true identity. He accepted her as his consort and blessed her with eternal love.

Parvati’s penance also earned her many boons from other gods and goddesses. She acquired half of Shiva’s body and became Ardhanarishvara, the embodiment of both male and female energies. She also became the mother of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Ashokasundari, Jyoti, Manasa, Ayyappa, Andhaka, Bhauma, Jalandhara, Nandi, Virabhadra, Bhairava, Hanuman, Skanda Mata, Katyayani Mata, Mahagauri Mata, Siddhidatri Mata, Kalaratri Mata etc.

Brahmacharini is worshipped by devotees who seek spiritual enlightenment, self-discipline, perseverance, purity, detachment, devotion, knowledge, wisdom etc. She grants them happiness, peace, prosperity, and success in their endeavors. She also removes their sufferings and obstacles and protects them from evil forces. She is the source of infinite power and compassion.

Brahmacharini is the epitome of devotion and penance. She inspires us to follow our dreams with dedication and determination. She teaches us to overcome our weaknesses and temptations and to focus on our higher goals. She shows us the way to attain the supreme bliss of union with the divine.