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Why is Shastra Puja performed on Vijayadashmi, and the significance it holds for PM Modi

The ritual of Shastra Puja forms an inevitable part of Dussehra celebrations for seeking the blessings of Goddess Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati for strength and power. As per Hindu scriptures, Bhagwan Ram performed Shastra Puja before heading to the battleground against the evil king of Lanka, Ravana, who was killed on this day.

The Hindus worldwide are celebrating Vijayadashmi, the day of victory of Good over Evil. It is also a day to perform Shastra Puja—the rituals that entail worshipping Shastras or weapons. According to Hindu holy books, on this day, Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura after a fierce battle that lasted for nine days. Following the death of Mahishasura, the weapons of Goddess Durga that she used in the battle were worshipped by the Gods.

During Shastra Puja, Goddess Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped to receive their blessings for strength and power. As per Hindu scriptures, Bhagwan Ram performed Shastra Puja before heading to the battleground against the evil king of Lanka, Ravana, who was killed on this day.

Shastra Puja has also been referred to in Mahabharata. Legends say that weapons were worshipped before the begging of the Kurukshetra war, and they helped the Pandavas to stand victorious against the Kauravas.

The tradition of worshipping weapons was kept alive by the Kings and Queens of the Hindu religion, and the tradition has been continued in modern times as well. The armed forces and leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh and many others, have participated in Shastra Puja from time to time.

How Shastra Puja is done?

During the Shastra Puja, the weapons are kept on a high pedestal. The priests and warriors who are performing the puja take the water of the holy Ganga River and sprinkle it on the weapons. After that, the weapons are adorned with fresh flowers. During the whole time, mantras are chanted to invoke the Gods and Goddesses to receive blessings.

Then, turmeric and vermillion are applied to the weapons. It is considered a sign of respect. The leaves of the ‘Shami’ tree are also kept on the weapons. The Shami tree has been mentioned in many Hindu holy books, including Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. It is believed that the Shami tree has the power to reduce the effect of Bhagwan Shani or Planet Shani. As per astrology, any person who is under the influence of Planet Shani should plant a Shami tree at his or her house.

It is also believed that the Shami tree can reduce the effect of negative energy in the house. The leaves of the Shami tree are also used to worship Bhagwan Ganesha and Maa Durga. Legends said when Arjuna disguised himself as Brihannala, he hid his bow (Gandiva) on a Shami tree.

It is notable that only weapons are not worshipped on this day. Those who are not warriors but are in different fields like IT, engineering, etc. worship their tools. In some Hindu families, students worship books on this day as well.

Raksha Manti Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja

On October 5, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh celebrated Vijayadashmi with soldiers and performed Shastra Puja in Auli. In a tweet, he wrote, “On the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami, ‘Shastra Puja’ was performed in Auli today. There is a very ancient tradition of weapon worship in India. The soldiers of our country have always protected the nation through their valour and weapons.”

Shastra Puja by PM Modi

It is noteworthy to mention that PM Modi does Shastra Puja every year, and photographs and videos of him performing the puja often surface on the internet. On October 5, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and spokesperson Sambit Patra shared a video of PM Modi performing Shastra Puja from 2009 when he was chief minister of Gujarat. In the video, PM Modi could be heard describing the importance of Shastra Puja.

He said, “We worship treatise and weapons in this country. Is there any place in the world where a treatise was materialised while standing at a battleground? India is the only country where in Mahabharata, during the war of Kurukshetra Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, was born. You see, they had weapons in their hands. Everyone was all set to kill each other. Their eyes were glowing with rage. The divine powers were waiting to finish the evil powers. Still, at that time, Bhagwan Shri Krishna used the path of treatise to tell why evil powers needed to be defeated. He described the need for divine powers to win over the evil powers by materialising Gita.”

He added, “Is it possible to materialise treatise while standing in the middle of a battleground? It is only possible in this country. The place that was filled with weapons became the ground of the birth of the treatise. This is why the weapons in our country are bound to the treatise. The people who hold the weapons are not allowed to misuse the weapons in this country. They cannot misuse them even against animals. The weapons must be used properly. The weapons must be used against the evil powers to save the common people. This is why we invoke the divine powers in this country.”

PM Modi performed Shatra Puja in 2013, like every year, at his residence with the security personnel. He worshipped the weapons such as swords, bows and arrows etc., which he received as a gift during public programmes. Photographs from this event are often shared on social media platforms.

Shastra Puja by armed forces holds a lot of significance in India as it has been a tradition for thousands of years. It invokes the divine power inside them to be strong while fighting for the country. Leaders performing rituals invoke a feeling of security among the general public as it helps in fading the barriers between the public and the leaders. The sense of oneness and belongingness makes it easier for the public to express their views, happiness and sorrow in front of their leaders.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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