On the second day of Chaitra Navratri, Sri Durga is worshipped in the form of Brahmacharini (Brahma=penance, charini=performer). She does not ride upon a mount but rather walks upon bare feet, carrying a Japa Mala (Hindu prayer beads) in one hand and a kamandal (an oblong pot used for storing drinking water that is carried by ascetics as a symbol of a simple life) in the other. She governs the planet Mars. Brahmacharini is a Goddess of simplicity and appreciates simple devotions. During her puja (ritual) on the second day of Chaitra Navratri, She is offered flowers, rice, and sandalwood.
Brahmacharini is the personification of love and loyalty, bestowing great emotional strength upon Her devotees. Her blessings help the devotee to rid herself of selfishness, ego, greed, and laziness, and promotes self-discipline and ethical conduct. She inspires us toward a spirit of perserverance and commitment to the spiritual life unswayed by external circumstances. Like Shailputri, She is also a form of Parvati. Her association with penance becomes apparent when Parvati’s many penances in order to acquire Shiva as Her husband are kept in mind. As narrated by Mr. Kumar:
She showed a keen interest in Shiva from the outset, repeating his name to herself and taking delight in hearing about his appearance and deeds. While she is a child a sage comes to her house and after examining the marks on her body predicts that she will marry a naked yogi. When it becomes clear that she is destined to marry Shiva, her parents are usually described as feeling honored. Parvati too is delighted…Steadfast in her devotion, Parvati persists in her quest to win Shiva as her husband by setting out to perform austerities. One of the most effective ways to achieve what a person wants in traditional Hinduism is to perform tapas, “ascetic austerities.” If one is persistent and heroic enough, one will generate so much heat that the gods will be forced to grant the ascetic his or her wish in order to save themselves and the world from being scorched. Parvati’s method of winning Shiva is thus a common approach to fulfilling one’s desires. It is also appropriate, however, in terms of demonstrating to Shiva that she can compete with him in his own realm, that she has the inner resources, control, and fortitude to cut herself off from the world and completely master her physical needs. By performing tapas, Parvati abandons the world of the householder and enters the realm of the world renouncer, namely Shiva’s world. Most versions of the myth describe her as outdoing all the great sages in her austerities. She performs all the traditional mortifications, such as sitting in the midst of four fires in the middle of summer, remaining exposed to the elements during the rainy season and during the winter, living on leaves or air only, standing on one leg for years, and so on. Eventually she accumulates so much heat that the gods are made uncomfortable and persuade Shiva to grant Parvati’s wish, so that she will cease her efforts. The marriage is duly arranged and elaborately undertaken.
Brahmachandri is also associated with the Swadhistana (Sva=Self, Adhisthana=seat, residence) chakra. This chakra is about three centimeters above the Muladhara chakra between the coccyx and sacrum. It is said that in previous eras the Kundalini Shakti resided in this chakra which is the sear of the subconscious, but during our Kali Yuga age of spiritual ignorance it moved further downward into the unconscious Muladhara chakra.
Her mantra is:
Dadhana Karpadma abhyamaksh Mala kamandalu
Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmacharinya Nuttama
Which means in English:
The one who carries the flower of Lotus, Rudraksha Mala and stoup in one hand. The sublime Goddess Brahmcharini, please bless me.
For purposes of pronunciation, I have included a link to the spoken mantra (The mantra itself lasts for the first 35 seconds of this video, after which a speaker gives a lecture in Hindi).