Saraswathi pooja is celebrated on the 9th day of the Navrathri, followed by Vijayadashami on the 10th day. Saraswathi, the goddess of Education, learning and Fine Arts is worshipped on this day. Books, which indirectly represent the Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped. Books are kept on a stand and Vasthram( a cloth) is used to decorate the books and Swarna(Gold) is used to adorn the setup. Musical instruments like Veena, Mridangam and other instruments can be kept in the poojai. Then the saraswathi poojai is performed after the Vigneshwara pooja. The same day Ayudha poojai is celebrated. Along with books, Ayudham(Tools) can also be placed for ayudha poojai. Ayudha pooja is basically worshipping tools. Ayudha poojai is also applicable to Vahana(Vehicle). Vehicles like Cars, Scooters and even bicycles are included in the poojai, as they play an important role in our day-to-day lives to transport us from place to place and to keep us safe while travelling. Vehicles are washed, dried and chandan and kumkum are applied and decorated with flower garlands and we can also do deeparathana for the vehicles and a coconut is broken to ward off evil.
I remember, when I was in school, I used to keep at least one book from all the subjects and I would keep Math books on top, For Goddess Saraswathi to give more of her blessings to Math. I used to keep my sruthi box, my bharatnatyam salangai, pen, progress report and anything you could think of that is related to studies. The hilarious part of this whole thing is my dad would say, the next day Vijayadashami, after the punarpooja for books, we should read few chapters from all the books kept in the poojai to reap the benefits. I would get away by reading just one line( he he) from each book and still have a satisfaction that Goddess Saraswathi would give me good knowledge. Funny days! Well, now in the US, I keep all my daughter’s story books, color pencils and cook books ofcourse! Vijayadashami day is very auspicious to start anything new. Little kid’s Aksharabyasam( learning to write) and starting Music, Dance or any other learning venture can be done that day. The students who have already begun their learning can take blessing from their respective Guru’s on Vijayadashami day.
Coming to the best part of any poojai-the food. Parupu vadai, Black channa sundal, jaggery-milk payasm, rice and cooked thoor dhal are offered. If the pooja falls on a weekday(we dont have holiday for the pooja in the US), I would do just a little bit of everything for neivedhyam and focus on the pooja part.
Black Chana Sundal:
- Black chana- 1cup.
- Salt-to taste.
- Turmeric powder- a pinch.
- Lemon juice- few drops.
- oil- 1tsp.
- Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
- Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
- curry leaves- 1 arc.
- Green chilly-1(optional)
- Asafoetida- a pinch.
For Masala powder: Dry roast the below and powder them.
- Dhania or coriander seeds- 1tsp.
- Dry Red chillies- 2.
- Channa Dhal-1tsp.
- Urad dhal-1tsp.
- Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.
- Soak the black chana in water for 10-12 hours.
- Add salt and pressure cook till 1 whistle, so that it doesn’t over cook.
- Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
- Add the cooked chana to the pan, after draining excess water.
- Add the masala powder and give it a toss.
- Squeeze lemon juice.
Sending this to Shanti’s thaligai- Dussehra, dhanteras, deepavali event.