Guru Purnima: Story of Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima: Date, Celebration Ideas, Importance & Story of Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is one of the prominent celebrations in Indian culture. Though the festival is not garnering its deserved attention, the Guru Purnima or Vyasa Purnima holds immense cultural and spiritual significance. 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 in school.

What is Guru Purnima?

Guru Purnima is a spiritual celebration of respecting teachers, gurus, and mentors who show a direction for our lives. Guru Purnima is an Indian festival where people pay respect 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 2024 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. Guru Purnima 2024 date is Monday, July 1st.

What is Guru Purnima?
Guru Purnima

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 Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and hold their significance for humanity.

Guru Purnima: Relation with Lord Shiva as Adi Yogi

According to Yogic Philosophy, Lord Shiva is considered a Guru – a teacher who reminds 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.

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Guru Purnima: Relation with Veda Vyasa Maharshi

There is an interesting legend about 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. His name 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.

Guru Purnima: Why is Guru Purnima Celebrated
Sage Veda Vyasa narrates Mahabharata to Lord Ganesh who is writing it

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.

Guru Purnima: 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 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. 

Guru Purnima: 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 initiating the Guru-shishya relation in Jainism too.

Guru Purnima Facts

  • Vyasa Purnima is a celebration of the spiritual bond that exists between a disciple and a Guru. It has more spiritual significance than a religious one. People of all castes and creeds 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. The 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.

Guru Purnima: Importance of Guru Purnima
Guru Purnima

Thus, for anyone to go on the right path, a Guru is essential. The Guru we choose should have 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 success, and business.

Gurus hold an insurmountable importance in Hinduism. The whole Gurukula system evolved centered around the significance of Gurus. Even the Kings used to leave their sons with the gurus for the whole of their Gurukula life and never interefered in Guru’s decision. The relation between Lord Rama and his Guru Vishwamitra is widely recognized. It was only due to Vishwamitra’s suggestion that Rama goes to the Sita Swayamvara and wins her as his wife.

How to celebrate Guru Purnima?

India is the 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.

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.

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.

Guru Purnima Celebration Ideas for Schools

  • Recite slokas and poems that showcase the greatness of teachers.
  • Organize lunch for staff and students.
  • Encourage children to participate in fancy dress competitions depicting ancient gurus and shishyas.
  • Play guru-shishya dramas on stage by taking the stories from ancient Indian texts.
  • Organize Sanskrit dialogue telling competitions for children.
  • Go on a camp to the nearest river or lake to spend the day full of Guru Purnima activities.
  • Give gifts to teachers thanking their role in creating your future.
  • Organize essay writing and elocution competitions about inspiring gurus of teachers and students.

May the blessings of Guru be on us forever!

Swetha Prasanna Gangavarapu

Swetha Prasanna Gangavarapu is a Content Specialist, LinkedIn Branding, and B2B Marketing Consultant. When she is not in the world of B2B, she researches the roots and beauty of Indian Culture and Traditions.

Swetha Prasanna is the author of the book: 365 Days 365 Posts – The Guide to LinkedIn Personal Branding. Connect with her on LinkedIn or her website
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is guru purnima celebrated?

Guru Purnima is celebrated to honour teachers and gurus who shape our lives

What is the story of guru purnima?

The story of Guru Purnima says it is the birthday of sage Veda Vyasa.

What is the Importance of guru purnima?

Guru purnima is important because it is an ancient celebration of India that venerates Gurus.