Ayudha pooja is the thanks giving to the tools we use for our daily earning. Ayudham in tamil means the tools we use for work. So its thanks giving to that tool we use.
Every man who earns a livelihood depends on one tool or the other. It may be a pen or knife, a sickle or hammer or whatever it may be this festival is to mark the gratitude of man towards his tools. The festivities connected with this pervades every home, shop, factory, workshop and what you have. Everything undergoes thorough cleaning and poojas are performed and ‘prasadams’ distributed. Time of this unique festival is during the Tamil month of Avani i.e sometime in August/September.
Ayudha pooja is also called as Saraswathy pooja. Saraswathi is the Goddess who signifies knowledge, learning, arts and culture.She is the symbol of peace and purity.So she is always adorned in white clothes. Saraswati Puja is a popular Hindu festival dedicated to the Goddess of learning Saraswati. This festival is marked as the birth of Goddess. In 2016, Saraswati puja is celebrated on October 12.
When they celebrate Ayudha pooja
Ayudha Pooja is a part of Navarathri festival in India. The festival is celebrated by different names in different states of South India. In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated with the same enthusiasm in any other part of the country, with the rituals varying a little in tradition. Ayudha Pooja is celebrated on the Navami (ninth day) of the ‘Valar pirai’ (Moon’s brightening 15 days of the cycle) which usually falls in the month of September or October.
Ayudha Pooja is a day of ‘Worship of tools’. Right from the weapons used by soldiers to tools used by artists, mechanics, plumbers, welders, children’s implements like pen and pencil, tool worship is performed on this day. It is a gesture symbolizing work as worship. It can also be seen as invoking God to be a part of their implements and guide them throughout their profession. The celebration is also a form of thanksgiving to god for the wellness being bestowed upon their business.The celebration honors all three supreme goddesses of Hindu mythology- Goddess Saraswati (goddess of wisdom), goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) and goddess Parvathi (goddess of power).
Legends about Ayudha pooja
It is said that on Vijayadashami day Arjuna, the 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 the forced exile. After completing his vanvas (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. Pandavas returned on Vijayadashami day and since then it is believed that this day is auspicious to begin any new venture.But in Karnataka Ayudh Puja is celebrated by the general public one day before of original festival day Vijayadashami(the Ayudh Puja Day).
Another legend is of a pre-battle ritual involving human sacrifice as part of the Ayudh Puja (considered a sub-rite of Dussehra festival that starts after the rainy season and is propitiated before launching military campaigns). This practice is no more prevalent. Now, instead of a human sacrifice, buffalo or sheep sacrifice is in vogue, in some Hindu communities. The past practice is narrated in the Tamil version of Mahabharata epic. In this ritual, prevalent than in Tamil Nadu, ‘Kalapalli’ was a “sacrifice to the battlefield”, which involved human sacrifice before and after battles. Duryodhana, the Kaurava chief was advised by an astrologer (Sahadeva) that the propitious time for performing Kalapalli was on Amavasya day (New Moon day), one day before the start of Kurukshetra war and Iravan (son of Arjuna), also spelt Aravan, had 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 and also of the Kauravas. Krishna had suggested to Yudhishthira-the eldest of the Pandavas, to sacrifice Aravan to goddess Kali as a part of Ayudh Puja. After this sacrifice, Kali had blessed Pandavas for victory in the Kurukshetra war.
The actual celebrations
Goddess Saraswati is adorned in yellow or white clothes (at home or at the mandir) as yellow is considered to represent the sattva guna – characteristic of purity, prosperity, and love.In our house,we celebrate it by keeping the Saraswathi Idol in a decorated plank.Garland with flowers and lotus.We arrange the books and other tools by cleaning them.We keep turmeric & KumKum dots on all the books,tools,laptop and other accessories.The previous day, we sweep the entire house including doors, windows,all electronic & electric items and keep the turmeric, kumkum dots.So if you celebrate Saraswathi pooja at home,u must keep your house clean.
A big banana leaf is placed in front of the goddess. On that puffed rice mixed with jaggery and dhal is put on that leaf. Fruits usually apple orange banana and guava are also kept. Don’t forget to keep betel nut, betel leaf, and coconut. In most houses, they usually buy a new saree usually a white background saree for the god than to be worn by the elder most married lady of the family. The pooja starts with the breaking of the coconut and then lighting the lamp which is also cleaned and decorated with flowers. kumkum and turmeric. Then prayers are offered to the goddess. After that kumkum and turmeric are placed over all the things in the house like TV fridge washing machine and so on.
Cars in the houses also are fully cleaned and decorated with garlands. Once prayer has been completed to goddess Saraswati pooja is performed to the car. Lime is kept under the car’s wheels and the car is started and taken for a ride that day. The prayer ends with the breaking of the pumpkin. coconut and lime. This they believe removes any evil force present in the house
The beej or seed mantra for invocation of Saraswati Devi is
AUM shreem bhreem saraswataye namah
ॐ श्रीम भ्रीम सरस्वतये नमः
Celebrations in business organisations
In business organisations, celebration is done unitedly by the owners and the workers of the organisation. All the tools and machines are cleaned one day prior to the festival. On that day the place is decorated with flower and paper decorations. Kumkum and turmeric are placed on all the tools and machines. In Tamilnadu even devotional and film songs are played on loudspeakers and games and events are conducted on this day. Even the best employee prize and other prizes are distributed on this day. It’s a day when the owner and the workers come close and enjoy as friends. Then the important tools of their organisation are placed in front of goddess Saraswathi. the first prayer is always done to god Ganesh then prayers are offered to goddess Saraswati. Even the family members of the owners and the workers take part in this function. So it’s also a family get together. After the prayers, pooja prasadam is given to all who are present for the festival. It’s usually a government holiday on this day so after the prayers and celebrations usually they leave for their homes to celebrate with their families. The festival is usually finished with the breaking of the pumpkin, coconut, and lime.
The day of the pooja people usually enjoy and don’t do any work as they believe that goddess Saraswati is also in pooja and that she should not be disturbed. The next day is the day of the Vijayadasami and on this day the things placed in pooja in front of the goddess has to be removed and used
In a nutshell
- Draw the rangoli in front of the pooja room.
- Keep the Goddess over a wooden plank or peeta.
- Decorate the image or idol of Goddess Saraswati using flowers, garlands etc.
- A white cloth is used to cover the idol of the Goddess. If you are using an image you can skip the white cloth or place it on a tray near the image. Usually, my mom arranges the books & keep the Saraswati idol over it by covering the books with a dhoti.My MIL Keeps the idol on a wooden plank and arranges the books & tools in front of the GOD.So keep it as us wish.Sprinkle some flowers on the books and objects.
- Pray to Lord Ganesha first by chanting a simple prayer “ Suklam Baratharam”.
- You can light the lamp. Next, do the archanai for Goddess Saraswati with flowers and show the agarbhati/ incense by chanting any shloka dedicated to Goddess like Sakalakala Valli Malai in Tamil or any Saraswathi sthothram from a book.
- After doing the archanai,You can offer the prasadam or neivedyam that you have made.
- Lastly show the Aarti and finish the pooja.
- On Saraswathi puja evening,we offer sweet appam, Nei appam OR u can offer idli/dosa if u have freshly ground batter in hand.
Some people do Saraswati Dhanam to a young girl on the day which includes dress material, betel leaves, betel nuts, bananas, bangles, and cosmetics.