Guru Purnima is the occasion that is dedicated for revering the Gurus, the teachers. This is a full Moon day falling in the month of Ashada that corresponds to the period mid-June to mid-July. Aani is the equivalent Tamil month.
Guru Purnima is the occasion celebrated in memory of Maharishi Vyasa, the great sage. It was he who performed the stupendous task of compiling the ancient Vedas, and hence, he is hailed as Veda Vyasa. His remarkable contributions are much more, for it was once again he who gave to humanity the colossal epic Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam, and 18 Puranas. Guru Purnima is regarded as his day of advent on earth and hence is also called as Vyasa Purnima.
Greatness of Guru
Indian tradition has always held a Guru in very high esteem. ‘Acharya Devo Bhava’ is a well-known saying, which brings out the fact that Acharya, the teacher, is to be treated as equivalent to God himself. The word Guru itself is made of two terms and carries a profound meaning in it. ‘Gu’ stands for darkness and ‘Ru’ points to the remover of it. Guru is thus the remover of darkness, which can envelop a person as ignorance, vices like greed, pride, anger and lust, and sorrow. By holding the light of knowledge, the Guru can relieve his disciple of these and take him safely through the Samsara, the insurmountable cycle of birth and death. It can also be said that it is in grateful recognition of such a vital role that a Guru plays in the life of an individual that the occasion Guru Purnima is observed.
Other Significance of Guru Purnima
Guru Purnima also signals the beginning of good times for spiritual pursuits. It has been a tradition followed for long by many earnest learners to start their lessons in scriptures, sacred literature and religious studies on this day, while seekers earmark the day for beginning intense practices aimed at spiritual advancement.
‘Chaturmas’ denotes the period of four months, which usually corresponds to the rainy season. This is the duration of time that the saints, monks and the wandering ascetics settle down at a place and devote entirely to religious activities, Vedantic discussions, and spiritual pursuits. This period dedicated to austerities and religious observances also begins on the sacred day of Guru Purnima.
This day holds its place in domains other than spiritual too. Guru Purnima signals the beginning of the monsoon time when the lands that remain parched by the intense summer heat get drenched with cold showers and come back to life and energy. The rivers too start flowing with full vigor, carrying right quantum of rainwater, thus improving the irrigational prospects. With the fields thus enlivened, this occasion is looked forward to as much by the farmers for beginning their agricultural activities, as the religious minded.
Guru Purnima CelebrationsGuru Purnima should be observed with devotion and faith. Devotees can get up early in the morning, purify themselves, and offer worship to the Gods and Gurus. They can recite hymns in praise of Lord Dakshinamurthy, regarded as the Adi Guru and also chant mantras and slokas composed by great Gurus like Adi Shankara. People can also read and hear sacred stories about great masters, while they can also do meditation and observe silence. They can do service to teachers and elders and take their blessings.
Students should make it a point to show their respects and gratitude to their Gurus and teachers, honor them on this day and take a vow to follow their teaching and guidance.