Guru Purnima is the full Moon day that is dedicated to the Guru, the preceptor. The word ‘Gu’ means darkness and ‘Ru’ denotes the one, who removes it. Guru is thus the remover of darkness, which can be in many forms like ignorance, misery, and want; and he performs the feat by giving one the light of knowledge and abundance, and providing with the freedom of spirit. Guru Purnima is observed in recognition of such a significant role that a Guru plays in shaping the life of an individual. Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full Moon day during the Lunar month of Ashada, which corresponds to the Tamil month Aani (June–July).
Story of Guru Purnima The story is remarkable for its both profundity and Philosophical Importance. Fifteen thousand years ago, a yogi suddenly appeared in the Himalayas. Nobody knew who he was and where he came from. They did not even know his name and hence he is called Adiyogi or the first yogi. Soon, a large crowd gathered around him. The man sat quietly with his eyes closed and did nothing. Occasionally, tears fell from his eyes. He did not even appear to be breathing. People saw that he was experiencing something that they could not understand. After many days, most of the people left as the man seemed to be oblivious to them.
Only seven people stayed back. These seven people wanted to know what he was experiencing. But Adiyogi paid no attention to them. They begged him to teach them what he knew. But he only said dismissively, “You are fools, you will not be able to know in a million years. You have to prepare. A great deal of preparation is required for this.” As they kept insisting, he showed them some preparatory steps. They began following his instructions and the preparations went on for many years. Still, the Adiyogi kept on ignoring them. After doing 84 years of sadhana, on one full moon day, when the sun was moving from the northern direction to the southern direction – which is called Dakshinayana – Adiyogi deigned to look at the seven men. By now, they had become like shining receptacles and were absolutely ready to receive his knowledge. He was not able to ignore them anymore.
After observing them closely, on the day of the next full moon, he decided to become a guru. That full moon day came to be known as Guru Purnima as it was on that day when the first yogi became the Adi Guru or the first guru. Because he turned to face south, he is called Dakshinamurthi. Then began the transmission of yogic sciences to the seven disciples. This is how the first full moon of Dakshinayana came to be regarded as Guru Purnima, the day the Adi Guru or first guru was born.