Ayudha Pooja, or Astra Pooja, is an integral part of Navratri, Durga Puja and Dasara festivals. Ayudha pooja is being celebrated since ancient times.
According to Hindu Mythology, after the killing of Mahishasura and other Rakshasas (demons), Mahishasura Mardini – Chamundeswari found that there was no more use for the weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshiped. Another legend states that before the final battle against Mahisha all the weapons of Durga were kept for puja and she took them on the next day to annihilate Mahisha and restore Dharma.
The importance of Ayudha Puja is also due to the fact that on the Vijayadasami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Shami Vriksha during the one-year disguise period of their 14-year exile in the Mahabharata. Arujna is believed to have taken back the weapons after performing the Ayudha Puja on the previous day of Vijayadasami
It is believed that one who begins work or learning on the Vijayadasami day will secure a grand success as Arjuna did in Kurukshetra war.
Another legend says that in ancient times, Kings and soldiers used to perform Ayudha Puja for their weapons. They considered their weapons as their protectors and boon from the Gods.
Nowadays, people who do mechanical and electrical works keep their operators and instruments in their puja room and worship them with utmost devotion. Students keep their pen and books for puja. Each person keeps the tool that helps him earn his daily bread for puja.
This article was contributed by Narahari Sumadhwa