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Ayudh Pooja is another important Pooja which is done on the Navami day, which is the 9th day of Navratri. It is largely celebrated in South Indian states, most significantly in Karnataka.
Ayudh Pooja is basically the day of 'Worship of tools'. It is the day in which all the tools regarding one's profession are worshipped.
Artisans, mechanics, plumbers, soldiers as well as tools used by children like pen and pencil are worshipped. It is a symbolic representation of 'Work is Worship'. It is done to thank god for their knowledge of work and also to get divine blessings for receiving abundance of work throughout the year.
In today's world, where the tools of the artisans are important and worshipped, people also find relevance in worshipping computers, vehicles and other items related to their profession, as these are the ways of them earning their daily bread.
The royal family of Mysore performs the Ayudh pooja inside the palace grounds, where all the Weapons of Warfare are worshipped.
There is a popular legend behind this custom. It is said that, Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, was forced to go to exile. Before, leaving, he hid his weapon of war in the hole of a 'Shami' tree.
After the exile, he retrieved his weapon and was victorious in the Kurukshetra war. This is where the original tradition of worshipping weapons started.
The Shami tree is said to contain divine powers, as it was the tree that Lord Rama had worshipped for success. That is why all the Maharajas have been worshipping this tree, to ensure success in all of their endeavours.
In northern Karnataka, the Pooja is done to signify the killing of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. The Weapon which was used for killing the demon was later kept for worship.
On the day of Vijaya Dashmi, which is the next day, it is auspicious to start new ventures, as it was the day when the Pandavas returned home victorious.
Rituals Of The Ayudh Pooja-
On the day of the Ayudh Pooja, all the tools, machines and vehicles are to be washed. After that, they are adorned with garland and smeared with turmeric, kumkum and sandalwood paste.
The weapons of war are also cleaned, adorned with flowers and applied a tilak. All of the things are worshipped along with the images of Goddess Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati.
The Saraswati pooja ensures that all the implements, which are kept in the pooja room, receive divine blessings from the goddesses and whatever work done with these implements leads to success.
It also instils in us the motto 'Work is Worship'. It lets us take our work more seriously and make good use of those resources to lead a meaningful and content life in all matters.