Significance of Guru Purnima

via V.N. Gopalakrishnan published on July 16, 2010

Guru Purnima is the annual occasion for expressing gratitude towards the Guru or the Divine Teacher. Guru Purnima is observed in memory of the great sage Veda Vyasa who is considered as the supreme preceptor of mankind. The word Guru means remover of darkness. Hence Guru Purnima is the day of eradicating ignorance and illuminating our lives with knowledge. There are 12-13 full moons in a year. While Vaishakha  full moon is dedicated to Lord Buddha, Jyeshtha full moon is dedicated to Mother Earth and Ashada full moon is dedicated to the memory of masters. Guru Purnima is observed as an auspicious day to review how much one has progressed in life and to turn back on the spiritual path.  The day is significant for students who desire to get the blessings of their teachers.

Ashada Purnima heralds the Chaturmasa, or the setting in of the eagerly awaited rains. It is significant to the farmers as it ushers in fresh life in the fields. The rain water in plentiful showers accompanies the advent of fresh life. People live on milk and fruits on this day and practise rigorous japa and dhyana. It is a good time to commence the spiritual lessons. Traditionally, spiritual seekers start to intensify their spiritual Sadhana from this day. The Chaturmasa also begins from this day. In the past, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples used to settle down at a place to study and discourse on the Brahma Sutras and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions. Seekers do Satseva of the Guru during this period for their spiritual progress. Guru is considered as an embodiment of the archetypes of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. “Guru’s form is the basis of meditation, Guru’s feet are the basis of worship, and Guru’s words are the basis of mantra”.

Spiritual gurus in India are often equated with God and regarded as a link between the individual and the Immortal. Just as the Moon shines by reflecting the light of the Sun, disciples gain from their Gurus. Guru is the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and, experience the consciousness of the Reality. Guru is an embodiment of the Almighty and through His grace one reaches the highest state of wisdom and bliss. Hence Guru’s guidance can help in handling worldly matters with ease.

According to the Rishis of yore, cosmic energy flows through the human body, entering through the crown chakra and leaving through the feet. It is believed that the cosmic energy flows from the Guru’s feet in abundance. The Saptarishis are Atri, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Vasishtha, Gautama, Angirasa and Marichi. They are the venerated masters who completely dedicated themselves to the pursuit of divine light. They are ‘seers’ who possess knowledge about the past, present and future of humanity. Guru is represented by Jupiter, which is the only planet that has the potency to nullify any affliction caused by the other planets. Hence Jupiter represents the higher mind and goes quiet for transmitting knowledge.

Sage Veda Vyasa was born to Satyavati and Sage Parashara. He was also called Krishna Dwaipayana who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Veda Vyasa even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus. All spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Veda Vyasa on this day and the disciples perform pujas. On this day, all spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Veda Vyasa in honour of his divine personage. To him goes the credit of composing the authentic treatise of Brahma-Sutras to explain the background of the Vedas.

The relationship between the Guru and the Disciple is considered very sacred and this relationship is purely spiritual in nature. It is based on the maturity of Gyan (spiritual knowledge) and Sadhana (spiritual practice). Guru is one who dispels the darkness of ignorance, arising out of body attachment.

(The author is a freelance Journalist and Social activist. He is the Director of Indo-Gulf Consulting and can be contacted on [email protected]).

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