Guru Purnima; The name itself depicts the specific meaning of the tradition; Guru Purnima is a day to celebrate the Guru (person from whom we learn) of our life. It is a day dedicated to all the spiritual and academic Gurus who enlighten us with their wisdom and blessings.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyasa Purnima.
The word ‘Guru’ is derived from ‘Gu’ & ‘Ru’, which in Sanskrit means Darkness or Ignorance and Remover of that darkness, respectively. By which, Guru means someone who Removes the Darkness of our Ignorance.
Why is Guru Purnima Celebrated?
In Hindu culture, Guru is considered akin to God. And therefore, it is celebrated as a festival, an occasion in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, by Hindus, Buddhists, And Jains.
For Hindus, Guru Purnima honours Ved Vyasa, one of the most honoured Gurus of ancient India. Buddhists celebrate it in honour of Buddha, who gave his first sermon on this day.
In Hindu tradition, Guru is given a place higher than God because it is the Guru who leads you to God. In a famed Doha, Kabir says, “गुरु गोविंद दोउ खड़े, काके लागूं पाँय बलिहारी गुरु आपने, गोविंद दियो मिलाय” which means, If God and Teacher are standing together whom feet you will touch? The Guru showed us a way to meet God; it hadn’t been the teacher; I’d never be able to see God, so touch his feet first.
Importance of Guru Purnima
There exist numerous stories to celebrate Guru Purnima. According to Hindu Mythology, Guru Purnima is a full moon day when the first Yogi (Shiva) transformed himself into the Adi Guru, the first guru, as he began the transmission of knowledge to the Saptrishis who did Sadhna for 84 years to learn from Shiva.
Shiva appeared in the Himalayas, and nobody knew anything about him; many people went there to see his unique appearance but left; only seven people stayed. They requested Shiva to teach them, to make them feel and experience everything Shiva feels; Shiv Ji eventually resisted but agreed later on and asked them to perform a sadhana; he closed this eye then. After 84 years of sadhana, it was the full moon day (Purnima), and Shiva became their Guru and taught them about the truth of life and the students were called Saptrishis. The Saptrishis then became spectacular and gained knowledge that they later spread to the world.
And about Gautam Buddha, this day, the full moon day (Purnima), is celebrated as the day when Gautam Buddha enlightened and served his first sermon at Sarnath. The day is also known as Buddha Purnima.
As Per Jains, on this day of Asadha month, Mahavir Swami, the 24th Tirthankar of Jain, took Indrabhuti Gautam as his first Disciple and became his Guru. And from then, this day has been celebrated as Treenok Guha Purnima.
Celebration of Guru Purnima
Earlier, Guru Purnima was one of the most important festivals of the Nation, which was celebrated irrespective of caste or creed, but this celebration slowly lost its charm in India when Britishers introduced Sundays because earlier, there used to be holidays around Amavasya (new moon day) & Purnima (full moon day).
Though it is still celebrated in a few ashrams and other places, many people are unaware of it.
How is Guru Purnima celebrated, and what are its rituals?
There exists no specific ritual to celebrate this day; this day is celebrated to provide gratitude to our Gurus, who have a special place in our lives.
In ashrams and many places, it is celebrated by worshipping gods like Guru, and the disciples offer prayers in honor to express their gratitude to their Guru.
Some people fast on this day for the whole day and break their fast only after Puja. They can have a meal one time a day (it varies according to People’s beliefs).
In Nepal, Treenok Guha Purnima is a big day at school. Students offer Delicacies, Flowers, Garlands, and Special Hat to their teachers on this day.
Guru Purnima 2022
Guru Purnima typically comes in June and July months, but the date varies every year; the 13th Day of July 2022, that Wednesday, is the date of Guru Purnima for this year.
The muhurta for this, Purnima tithi, begins on 13th July 2022 at 04:01:55 and ends on 14th July 2022 at 00:08:29.
This day has its unique importance and thus must be celebrated with pure heart and faith. It is a day to provide gratitude to our teachers, elders equivalent to teachers, and our elders. Guru Mantra should be chanted on this day.
One must take the blessings of their Gurus on Guru Purnima because their blessings can help get rid of mental blockages and the welfare of the person, show us the path, and remove darkness from our life.