Guru Purnima is the day meant for the Gurus. This day is in fact considered as the day of the advent of the great sage Vyasa or Veda Vyasa on earth. As he was regarded as a great Guru, the day has come to be observed as an occasion for honoring all the Gurus, the teachers, and preceptors. A full Moon day is called as Purnima, and it is believed that all such Purnimas are meant for Guru reverence. Of these, the one that falls on the Hindu month of Ashada holds special importance and is celebrated as Guru Purnima, the day meant exclusively for the Gurus. The month corresponds to the Tamil month of Aani and in the English calendar, to the period June–July.
Greatness of Vyasa
Vyasa was not only a pre-eminent Guru but also a saint-poet of extraordinary caliber. He was a teacher par excellence and is regarded even as a Guru of Dattatreya, who is considered as the Guru of Gurus and also as the incarnation of the supreme trinity of Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It is not for nothing that the word Veda remains as a prefix to Vyasa’s name, for it was he who compiled the ancient Vedas and classified them into four parts. He also composed Mahabharata, the monumental epic, while also authoring 18 Puranas, including the highly sacred Bhagavata Purana.
Importance of Gurus
‘Acharya Devo Bhava’ – this one saying is enough to show the exalted position that a Guru holds in the ancient Indian civilization and culture. This adage equates the Guru to Deva, the God and that is how they were treated as, in our tradition. There is another hymn that reinforces this aspect, terming the supreme Gods themselves as great Gurus and hailing the teachers as their combined representatives. Gurus are considered as apostles of knowledge and wisdom, who can guide people on the path of virtue, peace and spiritual advancement, and lead them ultimately to liberation. These can amply demonstrate the importance of the occasion of Guru Purnima.
Guru Purnima – What the day means?
It is not only for the religious people, and this day means a lot to the farmers too. After the scorching summer which leaves the land dry and parched, it is natural for the farmers to await the rains eagerly so that their fields can become fertile and they can get sufficient water for starting their agricultural activities. It is on the Guru Purnima that the much-awaited monsoon season begins and hence the farming community celebrates this day with hope and enthusiasm.
Guru Purnima is closely associated with spirituality and is considered a very auspicious time to start endeavors towards spiritual progress. Religious studies are begun on this day, while the devout start observing many important practices too.
This also marks the beginning of Chaturmas, the holy period of four months, when monks, ascetics, and saints devote their time almost entirely for religious activities when they undertake special studies and observe various austerities.
Guru Purnima is a day of illumination, as the Guru illuminates a mind with his imparting of knowledge. To highlight this aspect, people decorate their houses by lighting traditional lamps.
Lord Dakshinamurthy, the aspect of Shiva is known as the divine teacher and Adi Guru. Also planet Jupiter is called as Guru and is considered as Deva Guru, the preceptor of the celestial beings. People worship Dakshinamurthy and planetary Lord Guru on Guru Purnima day and seek their blessings for better knowledge and wisdom.