SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHANAVAMI, VIJAYADASHAMI AND AYUDHA POOJA
When is Maha Navami or Ayudha Pooja celebrated?
Ayudha Pooja or “Astra Pooja” is a part of Dasara festival. This is celebrated on Ashwayuja Shudda Navami popularly known as Mahanavami. During Ashwayuja Masa Shukla paksha padya for nine days it is a festive period. During this period pooja done to any devathe will be fruitful. Daana-snaana-japa done during this period would give more punya.
Whom to Worship on this day?
We have to worship Durga devi whose name is “Subhadra”. Mahishasura mardini Durga with the name Chamundeshwari, also born on this day. As Durga Devi has 8 arms, we have to worship the weapons in her arms viz., arrow, shanka, chakra, gadha etc.
Why should we worship our weapons?
On this day, if we worship the weapons which we are using, our ishtaartha siddi [fulfilment of your desires] will bear positive results. There will be daaridrya parihaara. There will not be any fear from our enemies, fire, water, wind, thieves etc.
What is Aayudha Pooja?
It is a worship of whatever implements, one may use in our daily lives. (Tools, house hold articles, vehicles etc). It will also help one to maintain constant remembrance of the divine. In India it is customary for one to prostrate before the tools, one will use before starting one’s work each day; this is an expression of gratitude to god for helping one to fulfil one’s duties. Almost all the implements which we use in our day to day activities such as knife, scissors, stoves and in factories all machineries, computers, vehicles will be washed and pooja is performed, pleading safety and productivity from these machines.
Pooja procedure and worship of Implements and Tools
The tools and implements are washed and cleaned. Later they are well polished after which they are smeared with turmeric paste, sandalwood paste in the form of a tilak and kum kuma). Then, in the evening, previous to the puja day, they are placed on a cleaned platform and decorated with flowers. In the case of weapons of war, they are also cleaned, decorated with flowers. On the morning of the puja that is on the Mahanavami day, they are all worshipped along with the images of Godess Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Parvathi. We have to worship these deities with the anusandhana of Parvatyantargata Shivantargatha, Saraswathi Bharathi Devi antargatha Mukhyapranthaargatha, Sri Lakshmi Narayana devaru. We have to place Books and musical instruments on the pedestal for worship. On the day of puja, these are not to be disturbed. The day is spent in worship and contemplation.
This Ayudha pooja is being celebrated from ancient times. The importance of Ayudha Pooja on this occasion may also due to the fact that on the Vijayadashami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in SHAMMI VRUKSHA in order to lead a life in disguise for the promised period of exile. It is believed that one who begins or renovates his learning to work on Vijayadashami day will secure grand success as Arjuna did during the Kurukshetra war.