During the nine-day long festival of Navratri (literally nine nights), we worship nine different incarnations of Goddess Durga. After Maa Shailaputri, Maa Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navratri and is the unmarried form of Maa Parvati, born to Daksha Prajapati. “Brahma” means reality, knowledge and “charini” means someone (female) who is on the pursuit of it. Hence, Brahmacharini is the one who is pursuing the sacred religious knowledge.
She is depicted in white clothes, which symbolises that when we are on the journey of gaining knowledge or are going into tapasya, or hard penance, we must go with a clean mind and self. If there is any malice in our minds, we will not succeed. She appears to be walking barefoot holding the kamandal (water pot) in one hand and a japa maala in other. She signifies love, loyalty, knowledge and wisdom. During her tapasya, she survives on fruits and roots and bilva leaves, which are offered to Lord Shiva.
As per the legend, as the daughter of the mountains, She soon realises her divine love towards Lord Shiva. Narad Rishi advises her to follow the path of tapasya, which she does for 5,000 years. Lord Brahma, on seeing her devotion, blesses her that she will be Lord Shiva’s consort. She is worshipped on the 2nd day of Navratri.
Each day of the Navratri is devoted to one of the nine avatars of Maa Durga. The nine different forms are: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri.