India got the formal delivery of the first of the 36 Rafale fighter jets bought from the Dassault Aviation in France on Tuesday. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accepted the handover at a facility of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Bordeaux.
India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. While the formal induction will happen on October 8, the first batch of four Rafale jets will fly to their home base in India only next April-May. All 36 fighter planes will arrive by September 2022, a small step on the long road towards building a stronger air force.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony Rajnath Singh performed Shastra Puja or Ayudha Puja, which is a traditional ritual of worshipping weapons or tools during Navaratri.
The minister cracked a coconut and marked the aircraft with the Sanskrit mantra “Om”.
But a few netizens have slammed Rajnath Singh for performing the Shastra Puja. One of the users wrote, Hamara Bajaj moment on French soil. Taking delivery of French-made fighter jets equipped with cutting edge technology and still using nimboos to ward off evil spirits and coconuts to make it holy. Thank god we are alive to see such interesting things,”
While another user wrote, “Coconut and flowers on the Rafale’s Safran Front Sector Optronics (FSO), an infrared search & track system.”
Well, It is a sad reality of our country that just to condemn the opposition’s move, people go to the extent of insulting our age old traditions.
They conveniently forget the fact that each and every tradition in Hinduism has a logical reason which is mentioned in the puranas.
Now let’s discuss the significance of Shastra Puja or Ayudha Puja.
To begin with, it is said that the remarkable aspect of life is that both small and big things add meaning to our lives. A small needle has as much utility as an aircraft. Hence the use of those things decide the value and meaning of things in life.
Shastra Puja recognizes this functionality and efficacy of tools, objects, and devices we use in our day-to-day life. It is the day we honor and express gratitude for all the instruments that add meaning to our life.
In olden times, weapons used in war were worshipped as they were the means of defeating enemies. For instance, in Karnataka, celebrations on Ayudha Puja commemorate the slaying of the demon king Mahishasura by Goddess Chamundeshwari, an incarnation of Parvati Devi.
It is said that when we respect things we indirectly worship the mind that conceived it. For example, a small thought of creating a needle or even an airplane comes from the mind and that is Devi.
When we perform Chandika homa on the eighth day of Navratri, we chant“ Ya Devi Sarva Bhutheshu Buddhi roopena samsthitha”
The Divine Goddess who resides in all beings in the form of intelligence, I bow down to you.
It describes that it is one divinity which manifests itself as the intellect in all beings. When we honor that intellect, we honor the Devi.
As Sadhguru rightly says, “Ayudha Pooja means every implement that you use, whether it is in industry, agriculture or anything else, you approach it respectfully.”
He also says that “If you do not look up to it(tools), if you think it is less than you, you will not be involved in it. Where you are not involved, you will not benefit from it. So, anything that you use, you see it as something above yourself and bow down to it so that it brings a deep sense of involvement. Once that involvement is there, you will handle it well and will get the best out of it. You will know the joy of doing things, not just of achieving things. The quality of life is not just in how much you harvested. The quality life is in how joyfully you did what you did. If you treat your implement with reverence, it will bring joy into you because everytime you hold it, it is like touching God – you are constantly in touch with what you consider divine.”
Well, we often tend to lose reverence for what we own, although not intentionally and Shastra Puja is an occasion to recognize and honour those things in life.