October 18th is the second night of Navratri 2020 in India and Europe. Navratri is nine nights celebrating the many forms of the goddess which Durga has taken. That is why the goddesses are known as NavaDurga (Nine Durgas). Each goddess has particular aspects or qualities which we can embrace.
On the second night of Navratri, the phase of the Moon (tithi) is known as Dwitya. The second night of Navratari honors the goddess Brahmacharini. The governing planet is Mars (known as Mangal in Vedic astrology). Tonight, the auspicious sari color for the day is orange, according to Drik Panchang.
The Navratra (or 9 nights) are calculated based on the tithis or phase of the Moon. In North America, both the first and second phases of the Moon fell on October 17th. So while October 17th is the second day/ night on which we celebrate Navratri, we should worship the goddess Chandraghanta.
Brahmacharini is also known as Tapaswini, Tapasyacharini (a female who practices penance) or Parvati (the daughter of the mountain).
People worship Brahmacharini to attain emotional strength, restore their mental balance and build the confidence to deal with challenging time. If you desire to get rid of your ego, cure laziness, eliminate greed, or develop the ability to live while eating minimally, then you should worship Brahmacharini.
One way to worship her is to offer sugar and fruits to her and then give that to a Brahmin (holy Indian priest). Garlands of hibiscus and lotus flowers may be offered to her as well. She also favors jasmine flowers. You can also offer cardamom, as well as rock candy and nuts to her as prasad (blessed food).
BRAHMACHARINI AND SHIVA
Drik Panchang states: Goddess Brahmacharini did severe penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband. She performed hard austerities (tapas) and due to which she was called Brahmacharini.
During her penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband, she spent 1,000 years on a diet of flowers and fruits and another 100 years on a diet on leafy vegetables while sleeping on the ground. She followed a strict fasting regimen while inhabiting open places in the scorching summers, harsh winters, and stormy rains. According to Hindu mythology, she maintained a diet of bilva leaves for 3,000 years while she prayed to Lord Shankar. Afterwards, she even stopped eating bilva leaves and continued her penance without any food or water. Brahmacharini was known as Aparna when she stopped eating bilva leaves.
As a result of her penance, she became quite emaciated. Her penance had a great impact on the universe and the sages granted her the boon of attaining Lord Shiva.
Vedamurti Shri Vivek Godbole says of Brahmacharini:
We usually think this is a woman who never married or didn’t desire to be with a male partner. But that is not correct thinking. Brahma means knowledge. Everything is Brahma; everything is knowledge. Brahmacharini is always studying. She never rests. She wants to attain more knowledge. This form of the Nav Durga is very helpful to all students who are studying various subjects.
MANTRA FOR BRAHMACHARINI
As we honor goddess Brahmacharini on this second night of Navratri , we can repeat her mantra:
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शैलपुत्री रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।
Dadhana karpadmabhayaamaqshmala kamadalu !
Devi prasidatu mayi brahmchaarinyanutama !!
May Brahmacharini bless you on this second night of Navratri 2020.
Also published on Medium.