Ayudha Puja – Introduction
Ayudha Puja is a part of the Dussera, a famous Hindu festival. It is also known as “Astra Puja”. The meaning of the term Ayudha Puja is “Worship of Instruments.” It is widely celebrated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, and Maharashtra. Though Navaratri is celebrated across the country, few differences exist in the festival practices and ceremonies due to cultural and traditional differences of the regions.
Ayudha puja festival falls on the tenth day of the bright half of Moon’sMoon’s cycle of 15 days in September/October. On the tenth day of the Dasara festival, it is a long followed custom to worship the weapons and tools.
During Ayudha puja, the devotees worship the female Hindu trinity goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati, and puja is performed to weapons, instruments, and equipment. While soldiers perform puja to the weapons, the artisans and others perform puja to various tools and equipment they use in their daily life. Likewise, students do puja to their textbooks and their stationery items.
Ayudha Puja promotes the belief that work is worship. It has evolved as a thanksgiving day for the goddesses who aid the successful running of a business and profession.
Legends of Ayudha Puja
The legend of Ayudha Puja dates back to Mahabharata; it is believed that on Vijayadashami day, Arjuna, the third of the five Pandavas, retrieved his war weapons from the hole in the Shami tree. These were the weapons that he had hidden before proceeding one year of Agyatavasa (living incognito). In the Kurukshetra war that followed, Arjuna played a significant role in the victory of the Kurukshetra war.
2021 Ayudha Puja date
This year Ayudha Puja festival is on the 14th October (Thursday). Evening time is auspicious to perform the puja.
The following is a list of the main articles required for Ayudha puja.
•Portrait or idols of Goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvathi
•A Plank/Peeta for placing the idols or pictures.
•A white cloth (vastram) to cover the plank.
•Flowers to perform Archana (Pooja) to the tri-devis.
•Mango leaves, small plantains & other decorations
•Coconut, betel leaves & nuts.
•Fruits like banana, pomegranate, guava, grapes, etc.
•Banana leaf or a clean plate for keeping prasad.
•Other pooja items like sesame oil, ghee, camphor, incense sticks, and dhoop.
Procedure to celebrate Ayudha Puja
The following procedures are followed while celebrating the Ayudha puja.
•Ensure your home or the office and business premises where you would be performing the puja is clean.
•Dust the instruments and equipment used in your business or profession.
•Decorate your home and premises with flowers, paper banners, and mango leaves.
•Draw the rangoli in front of the pooja room and at the gate.
•Prepare a mix of sandal paste and fetch the sacred vibhuthi and vermillion powder to draw tilak marks on the tools and equipment you use at your home, office, or factory.
•If you are a student, you can place tilaks on your books too.
•You can also wash your vehicles too and keep tilak on them and perform Vahana puja.
•Prepare neivedhya for the goddesses. You can prepare sweets, kheers, and can offer fresh fruits too.
•Place the statues or portraits of Goddesses Saraswathi, Lakshmi, and Parvathi over a wooden plank or pita.
•Decorate the image or idol of Goddesses with flowers and garlands.
•Invoke Lord Ganesha first by chanting a simple sloka.
•Light the lamp and dhoop and perform pooja to the goddesses
•Chant Devi shloka and mantras and then offer the prasad prepared by you.
•Complete the puja by performing the Aarti to the Goddesses.
Significance of Ayudha Puja
•Ayudha Puja is an ideal day to seek blessings from the three goddesses to succeed in life.
•The festival is an excellent opportunity to thank God for all the positives that happened to you during the last year and pray for a better life in the upcoming year.
•The day signifies victory, and so anything commenced on this day is believed to turn fruitful.
•Ayudha puja signifies the victory of good over evil.
•This festival helps us realize the importance of respecting women.
•One who prays to the three goddesses Saraswathi, Lakshmi, and Parvathi will gain knowledge, wealth, and power.
Pillai Center is organising several events to celebrate Ayudha Puja. Check the below link to know more about the events and click on the sign up button to join us for the 2021 Ayudha Puja celebration.