Guru Purnima is one of the prominent celebrations in Indian culture. Though the festival is not deserving its needed attention, the Guru Purnima or Vyasa Purnima holds immense cultural and spiritual significance behind it. Facts about Guru Purnima tell us that this day is not linked religiously. Rather, it is a remarkable day that showed a path to humanity in many ways.
In this post, we will decode why we celebrate Guru Purnima, the story behind it, and how to celebrate Guru Purnima.
What is Guru Purnima?
Guru Purnima is a spiritual celebration of respecting teachers, gurus, and mentors who show a direction for our lives. It is an Indian festival where people pay respects to their gurus and teachers. The Guru Purnima celebration has been in practice since the early ages of mankind in India. This celebration is also called Vyasa Purnima.
When is Guru Purnima date?
Guru Purnima is celebrated on the Full Moon day in Aashada Month of the Indian Lunar calendar. It falls in either June or July as per the English calendar.
History of Guru Purnima
Vyasa Purnima is not a modern-day celebration. It dates back to around 15,000 years. The legends behind the Guru Purnima celebration are many. They are intertwined with Hindusim, Buddhism, and Jainism, and hold their significance for humanity.
Relation with Lord Shiva as Adi Yogi
According to Yogic Philosophy, Lord Shiva is considered as Guru – a teacher who reminded us that human life is not fixed. He showed the way through simple practices how humans can elevate their body’s mechanisms.
It was on this day, the day of Guru Purnima, that Lord Shiva appeared on the Himalayas to common people, 15000 years ago!
To the onlookers, he appeared mystic, filled with a captivating power. Only seven disciples were lucky to get his blessings. To them, he taught a simple preparation. And then he went silent for 84 years!
That was the time when Dakshinayana started, and the seven disciples shone with the knowledge that Adi Yogi imparted. These seven disciples were the Saptarshis – the seven sages who are the ancestors of Brahmin Gotras.
Relation with Veda Vyasa Maharshi
There is an interesting legend why Guru Purnima is also called Vyasa Purnima. Accordingly, it was on this day the Great Sage Veda Vyasa was born to Parashara Maharshi and Satyavati, a fisherwoman.
The birth name of Sage Veda Vyasa was Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, which comes from the fact that his skin color was dark and he was born in the place with the name Dvipa.He was the author of the Great epic Mahabharata, the Brahma Sutras, and the proponent of the Advaita philosophy.
The name Veda Vyasa comes from the Sanskrit root Vyasa which means dividing or differentiating. Veda Vyasa is the one who differentiated The Holy Veda into four. And hence his name.
Thus, Guru Purnima is the birthday of Maharshi Veda Vyasa, who is considered one of the greatest Gurus in India.
According to Vishnu Sahasranama, Veda Vyasa is none other than Lord Vishnu himself.
व्यासाय विष्णु रूपाय व्यास रूपाय विष्णवे
వ్యాసాయ విష్ణురూపాయ వ్యాస రూపాయ విష్ణవే
Meaning: Vyasa is a form of Lord Vishnu himself.
Relation with Lord Buddha
Vyasa Purnima is an auspicious day for Buddhists too. It was on this day, the Aashadha Purnima, that Lord Buddha delivered the Dharmacakrapravartana Sūtra to his five disciples at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.
Vyasa Purnima happens in the month of June- July which marks the start of the rainy season. Starting this day, Buddhist monks do not travel anywhere and reside in their place, often in Buddhist temples and practice meditation.
Significance in Jainism
According to Jainism, it was on this day that Lord Mahavira made Indrabhuti Gautham his first disciple. Thus, Vyasa Purnima holds the significance of the start of Guru-disciple relation in Jainism too.
Guru Purnima Facts
- Vyasa Purnima is a celebration of the spiritual bond that exists between a disciple and Guru. It has more spiritual significance than a religious one. People of all caste and creed celebrate this observation thanking their mentors and teachers.
- Vyasa Purnima is celebrated in Nepal and Bhutan, owing to the significant number of Buddhism followers in these nations.
- Vyasa Purnima is an ancient Indian celebration. However, it lost its significance because of the modernity and impact of British rule. The occasion was revived by Mahatma Gandhi to pay tribute to his spiritual guru Shrimad Rajchandra.
- Guru Purnima holds immense significance as per astrology. On this day, the moon resides in Jupiter ruled Sagittarius, and Venus-ruled Purvashadha Nakshatra. Moon is the reason why we focus or not focus on anything. Due to the strong positioning of the moon on this day, it makes the best muhurat to seek the blessings of Gurus and develop moral character under their guidance.
Importance of Guru in life
Guru plays a vital role in everyone’s life. The word “Guru” originates from Sanskrit root where “Gu” means ignorance or darkness and “Ru” means that person who drives ignorance away.
Thus, a guru is the one who shows us the path of light and guidance in our lives. Gurus hold immense significance in Indian culture.
गुरु ब्रह्मा गुरु विष्णु
गुरु देवो परमेश्वर
गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्म
तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः
గురు బ్రహ్మ గురు విష్ణు
గురు దేవో పరమేశ్వర
గురు గురు సాక్షత్ పరాబ్రహ్మ
తస్మై శ్రీ గురవే నమహా
Meaning: Guru is equal to Lord Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara. Guru is none other than the Parabramha himself. Oh Guru, please accept my salutations and bless me.
Thus, for anyone to go on the right path, a Guru is essential. The Guru we choose should be having all the virtuous qualities and should be able to guide us in a moral, spiritual and powerful way towards enlightenment.
According to astrology, the blessing of Guru brings in power, wealth, good health, personality, position, luxury, spiritual enlightenment, and authority. The blessings of Guru make their way for success in marital life, profession, public appearance, and business.
How to celebrate Guru Purnima?
India is a home of many eminent Gurus who laid the foundation for spirituality in this incredible land. Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, Sri Dattatreya, Baba Guru Nanak, Guru Raghavendra Swamy, Acharya Srila Prabhupada, Sri Adi Sankaracharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramana Maharshi, and many more are prominent Gurus that people revere and seek blessings on this day.
People fast for the blessings of the Guru and end the fast after taking their blessings. Vyasa pujas, Guru worships, pujas, bhajans, and visits to temples and religious places are attractions on this day.
Those who intend to gain enlightenment spend the day listening to the preaching of the Guru and seek their blessings by touching their feet.
Monasteries and Mathas perform pada puja of respective Gurus, followed by bhajans, satsangs, and kirtans with much fanfare.
On this day, disciples of spiritual gurus commit themselves to the adherence of Guru’s principles and serving him, and leading a virtuous path.
To celebrate this auspicious day to its fullest, here are some Guru Purnima celebration ideas:
- Schools should celebrate Vyasa Purnima and make sure that children understand the significance of this auspicious day.
- Organize meetings in schools and colleges to thank your teachers for shaping your life.
- Seek their blessings by touching their feet and listen to their advice. Gift them fruits and flowers as a token of gratitude for their services.
- Cultural dance centers, sports academies, and those places that teach any skill should also beautifully celebrate this occasion.
Related: Teacher’s Day Celebration Ideas
Visit religious places that are near to you that perform Guru worship and take part in the Guru Purnima celebrations. Kanchi Kamakoti Matha, Raghavendra Swamy Matha, Gurudwaras, Buddhist monasteries, Jain temples, Shirdi Sai Baba Mandirs, Isha Yoga Centers, ISCKON temples, etc. are good places to participate in Guru Purnima celebrations and seek blessings of Guru.
May the blessings of Guru be on us forever!