The importance of Sri Saraswathi Puja and Ayudha Puja:

In our culture, from an early age, we are taught not to touch, books or any paper with our feet. It is considered a violation of doing things the right way. Any book is a symbol of knowledge and therefore sacred. We immediately touch the trampled book or any educational object with our hands and keep them in our eyes as a mark of our apology. Why do we do this ?

We consider knowledge, very sacred and divine. For Hindus, Goddess Saraswathi is the Goddess of learning and we pray to her for academic as well as spiritual knowledge. We also believe that she bestows on us clarity of thought and nobility of ideas. We pray to her to gain knowledge, dispassion, devotion and prosperity. When we keep knowledge on a pedestal, how can we trample on paper which stands for Saraswathi ?

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On Saraswathi puja day, we keep all books in the prayer room, evoke Knowledge in the form of Saraswathi and do puja.
The following prayer is chanted to her before starting our studies:

Saraswathi namasthubhyam varadae kaamaroopinee
Vidhyaarambham karishyaami siddhir bhavathumae sadaa

I prostrate to you, Goddess Saraswathi. You give boons and fulfill our wishes.
I pray to you to grant my wishes when I start my studies.

Goddess Saraswathi presides over and protects every form of art. So, on this day, consecrated to Saraswathi, the musical instruments in the house are cleansed, placed on an altar and devotedly worshipped, these being the abode of this Goddess.

Besides, on that day Ayudha Puja is also celebrated. This is, worshipping whatever implements, one uses in livelihood. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects, one uses each day, it will help one to see one's work as an offering to God. It will also help one to maintain constant remembrance of the divine. This is an expression of gratitude to God for helping one to fulfill one's duties.

Yet another prayer to Saraswathi, to be blessed with brilliance, knowledge and talent is:

Yaa daevee sthooyathae nithyam vibhudhair vaeda paaragaih
Saa mae vasathu jihvaagrae brahmaroopaa saraswathi

May Saraswathi, the Goddess of knowledge, who is ever praised by the wise, who have mastered the scriptures, who is the embodiment of the Vedas ( or the consort of Lord Brahma ), live on the tip of my tongue.

What better prayer can there be, to ask for, to the giver of all knowledge and wisdom?