Ayudha Pooja is worship of whatever Implements, Equipment, Machines or Vehicles one may be using in one’s daily life. Ayudha Pooja is performed on Mahanavami day or on Vijaya Dashami/Dasara day. Most Industries and Offices observe Ayudha Pooja and Durga Pooja on Mahanavami day and declare the next day as a holiday for Dasara festival. The equipment is worshipped with great respect so that they may continue to support them efficiently, successfully and protect and help them in every aspect. The respect one shows for these objects automatically makes one handle them with due care and attention which contributes to safety and prosperity. On this day, Durga Pooja is also performed at the work place to thank the Goddess of Shakthi for everything in their lives and for a better and safe future.
Mahanavami is on Sunday, 27th September and Dasara is on Monday, 28th September 2009. As Sunday is a holiday, at most workplaces Ayudha Pooja will be carried out tomorrow, 26th September. And all those Offices and Factories who work for 5 days a week, have performed Ayudha Pooja today itself and will be enjoying a long holiday of three days.
I have worked for two Indian Government Companies for a period of over 25 years. In the first company, I was there for four years and in the second one for little over 21 years. In both the Companies preparations for Ayudha Pooja used to start almost a week before. Workmen clean their cupboards; work benches, machines etc., and paint them if required and the company supports them in this respect. Well decorated Durga Devi-Pooja pandals are erected in each and every department and section of the Company. The Offices and Workshops are well decorated and loud music and songs played on the Pooja day. In the first Public Sector Company that I have worked, there was a workforce of little over one Lakh employees spread over various Workshops and Coalmines. At all these places celebrations used to start on the night of Mahanavami day. In each and every section of a Workshop or Coalmine; Goats used to be sacrificed at the workplace and coconuts and prayers offered to the machines. Then there would be a grand party with a variety of food and alcohol, lasting until early hours of Vijaya Dashami/Dasara, a national holiday. Snacks and dinner made with some of the sacrificed goat meat is served at this late night celebration. Then in the early hours everyone collects sweet packets and his share of raw meat and goes home to celebrate Dasara festival with their families. In the second Company that I worked; Ayudha Pooja and Durga Pooja used to be performed in the morning of Mahanavami day. Sweet packets used to be distributed and everyone left by afternoon. The expenses for these celebrations are mostly by contributions from all employees and some support from the Companies.
The above photographs are of Vahana/Ayudha Pooja at our home; over the years, in which you will see children belonging to two generations learning these traditions from us.