Mangaluru: Today India celebrates the ninth day of Navaratri. Devotees mark this day on the calendar as the day of the Ayudha Puja or Astra Puja. This is an integral part of the Dasara Festival.
The police department performed Ayudha Puja to worship all the implements used by them for law enforcement from their armory to vehicles. Police commissioner S Murugan, Superintendent of Police Dr Sharanappa, DCP of Crime Dr Sanjeev M Patil, DCP law and order Santosh Babu and many other police personnel took part in the Puja.
The Ayudha Puja is a worship of whatever implements one may use in one’s livelihood. On the preceding evening, it is traditional to place these implements on a podium, offering them to the deities. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses each day, it will help one to see one’s work as an offering to God. 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 fulfill one’s duties.
The history behind Ayudha Puja also denotes that after the slaying of Mahishasura and other demons by Chamundeswari, there was no more use for her weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshipped. This Ayudha Puja is being celebrated since ancient times. The importance of Ayudha Puja on this occasion is also attributed to the fact that on the Vijayadashami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree 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 the Vijayadashami day will secure grand success as Arjuna did in the Kurukshetra war.
On this day, people from all over India clean and paint their vehicles, tools, and implements in a particular place and decorate them with flowers and pray for the safety of the humans using them. Most of the people call their religious priests and perform Puja, distribute sweets and burst fire-crackers.
Today, Hindus keep the tools and other equipment that are used for their livelihood for Puja. They will not touch the tools and implements on this day. It will be taken out only the next morning with renewed vigor after blessings from the Goddess. Some people do not use their vehicles on this day. People perform special Pujas at home by elderly people. Visiting temples dedicated to Hindu goddesses is an important part of Ayudha Puja.