21st OCTOBER 2015 8th DAY SARASWATI BALIDAN_VISARJAN - AYUDHA VAHANA PUJA
OCTOBER 13, 2013 2 COMMENTS
Ayudha Puja also called Astra Puja is the “Worship of Implements”.It is part of the Navratri celebrations.
All the implements that are part of one’s occupation, such as machines, vehicles, tools,computers etc. are cleaned properly, polished and decorated. Then they are smeared with sandalwood and turmeric paste. Flowers are offered. The implements are then worshiped along with the image of Saraswati ,for wisdom.
This worship is an expression of gratitude to the divine forces for helping us earn our livelihoods and also prayers or the successful execution of duties in the coming year.
So you can see all types of vehicles including bicycles out on the streets after a wash , decorated with flowers and frills.
Business establishments,offices and factories are spruced up and bedecked with fresh flowers, banana leaves, plantain saplings and other festival related festoons.
In royal families,traditionally weapons are worshiped on this occasion for it is said that on Vijayadashami day Arjuna, third of the five Pandava brothers, retrieved his weapons of war from the hole in the Shami tree where he had hidden it before proceeding on forced exile. After completing his exile period of 13 years including one year of Agyatavas (living incognito) before embarking on the war path against the Kauravas he retrieved his weapons. In the Kurukshetra war that ensued, Arjuna was victorious.
In times past,a pre-battle ritual involving human sacrifice was part of Ayudh Puja . Dussehara festival starts after the rainy season,when raids and campaigns were traditionally started and the Devi was propitiated with such a sacrifice before launching military campaigns. In Tamil Nadu, there is the tradition of ‘Kalapalli’ a “sacrifice to the battlefield”, which involved human sacrifice before and after battles.In the Mahabharata, Duryodhana, the Kaurava chief was advised by the astrologer Sahadeva that the propitious time for performing Kalapalli was on amavasya day (New Moon day), one day before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Iravan agreed to be the victim for the sacrifice. But Krishna, the benefactor of Pandavas, smelt trouble and he devised a plan to persuade Iravan to be the representative of the Pandavas first and then of the Kauravas. Krishna suggested to Yudhishtira-the eldest of the Pandavas, to sacrifice Iravan to goddess Kali as a part of Ayudh Puja. After this sacrifice, Kali according to legend blessed the Pandavas for victory in the Kurukshetra war. The practice of human sacrifice is no longer prevalent in India. Now, instead of a human sacrifice, buffalo or black goat sacrifice is in vogue, in some Hindu communities.Others have substituted with coconuts and ash gourds.
Even today the armed forces and the police observe Ayudha Pooja. Below is a picture of Narendra Modi at an Ayudha Puja with weapons,