Ayudha Puja During Navratri
Ayudha Puja during Navratri
Ayudha Puja, also known as ‘Astra Puja’, is one of the most important rituals performed during the festival of Navratri. This Puja is performed on the 9th day of Navratri. Ayudha Puja is performed to worship and express our gratitude and appreciation towards all the instruments that we use in our daily life. Because it is believed in Indian culture that, small things hold the same significance as much as the big things irrespective of their size, in our lives. And that, when every object is approached and utilized with respect, it will yield benefits in several ways. This puja is performed all over in homes, offices, factories, industries, etc., by chanting sacred mantras.
In Karnataka, Ayudha Puja commemorates the defeat of Mahishasura by Goddess Chamundeshwari, who is an incarnation of Parvati Devi. As per another mythological belief, Ayudha Puja is celebrated because once, Arjuna (one of the five Pandava brothers) took all his tools and kept them in a tree when he was in exile. Later, he took the tools from the tree and used them to fight war at Kurukshetra. When Arjuna won the war, people started following the ritual of keeping their tools and other items aside for a day and worship them. In ancient times, soldiers worshipped their weapons and tools which were used in battles as they believed that by doing so, these weapons will lead them to victory and defeat their enemies during battles.
What are the rituals performed during Ayudha Puja?
After the eighth day of Navratri, all the cleaned and polished tools are worshipped by placing them in front of the Goddess. They are then placed on a platform with puja samagri, fruits and other flower decorations. Children also place their books and study material during the Puja and Goddess like Saraswati (The Goddess of Wisdom), Parvati (The Divine Mother) and Lakshmi Devi (The Goddess of Wealth) are worshipped to seek blessings and pray for a prosperous life.
What are the items needed during Ayudha Puja?
- Idols or images of Goddess Saraswati, Parvati and Lakshmi
- Peeta for placing the idols of the Goddesses
- Banana and betel leaves
- Oil and Ghee
- Sugarcane pieces
Performing the Puja
The Puja is started by placing the idols of the Goddesses on a peeta. A rangoli is drawn in the Puja room, in front of the idols. The idols and images of the Goddesses are decorated with flower garlands and placing them in between Banana Leaves. A white cloth is used to cover the idols, and books are placed beside these idols, to seek the blessing of Goddess Saraswathi. The Puja is started by chanting the prayer ‘’Suklam Baratharam’’ to Lord Ganesha. A jot is lit with the help of oil or ghee and cotton battis, along with some incense sticks, which are then placed in front of the idols of the Goddesses. ‘Saraswathi Sthothram’ shlokas are chanted from books. After performing the archana, some ‘neivedyam’ (prasaad or prasadam), often made with rice, jaggery and milk, is offered to the deity.