Ayudha Puja | Astra Puja
Ayudha Puja or Astra Puja is a Hindu festival celebrated in India, and it is observed on the tenth day of the bright half of the Moon’s cycle in the month of September or October. The last day of Navratri, also known as the Mahanavami day is celebrated as Ayudha Puja and Saraswati Puja. It is the festival when we worship instruments. It usually falls on the ninth day of Shradh Navratri when we worship all the tools and instruments used in daily life. In Karnataka, the celebration is for the killing of the demon king Mahishasura by the goddess Durga. After the slaying of the demon king, the weapons were kept out for worship.
The members of the Hindu community worship tools, electrical appliances, vehicles, and instruments they use to earn their livelihood. Plantain leaves, garlands, flowers, ash gourd, and other items are used to perform the pooja. It should not be touched on the Mahanavami day and they should be removed from the pooja only on the Vijayadashami day i.e the next day of Saraswathi pooja.
People worship Vishwakarma who was the architect of the world. It is believed that placing these tools in front of the god on the day will ritually purify the tools. All the tools, machines, weapons, vehicles, and other devices are cleaned, painted, and well-polished after which they are smeared with sandalwood paste and vermilion with great care. These are further decorated with garlands of flowers. In most companies, people use to do Saraswati Pooja one day earlier keeping their vault and other accessories which are important for their business.
In 2021, Ayudha puja / Saraswati puja will be celebrated on 14th October, Thursday.
Significance of Ayudha Puja
The puja is performed with a belief that where you do not keep concentration, you will not get an advantage from it so with complete reverence and involvement all the tools and pieces of machinery used in daily life are worshiped to get more yield and success. So anything which you use on daily basis sees them as something above you and bow down to them so that it bestows a deep sense of concentration. You will not only get joy and happiness by doing so but also get concentration and success with it.
Ayudha Pooja is performed to seek divine blessings to one’s profession and its related tools and connotes that a divine force is working behind them to perform well and attain success in their endeavors. It is performed in homes, shops, factories, and corporate offices.
Legend of Ayudha Pooja
There are two legends associated with the Ayudha Pooja. The first legend is that of Goddess Durga who fought with the demon Mahishasura and killed him with the help of her weapons. Later, the gods requested her to give them those weapons and began worshipping them with great reverence; and this is how the tradition of worshipping weapons began.
The second legend is that of the Pandava brothers who hid their weapons in a safe place and found them after a year in disguise. Happy to find that their weapons were safe and had not been stolen in their absence, they celebrated by worshipping those weapons.
Benefits of Ayudha Puja:
Ayudha Pooja is performed to seek blessings of the divine for the professional growth and wellbeing of all the people.
Ayudha Pooja is performed to succeed in their business/profession.
All students pay their token of gratitude to the ‘Goddess of education Saraswathi’ on this auspicious day receive stable development in acquiring knowledge.
Gains income involvement in anything one does and could make the best in that field.
Different names of the festival
The festival is also celebrated in different regions with different reasons and names:
Ayudha Pujai in Tamil Nadu;
Aayudha Pooja in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh;
Ayudha Puja in Kerala;
Astra Puja or Ayudha Puja in Odisha;
Shastra Puja or Ayudha Puja in Maharashtra;
Karnataka as Ayudha Puje.