02 July, 2012

Guru Purnima (Asadh Purnima)

Guru Purnima  is the occasion when students revisit their teachers to rejuvenate their  sadhana (spiritual practice) and to receive inspiration and further instruction on their spiritual journey. Guru is a universal force of light, always available to help correct our ignorance and cure our dis-ease.

Guru Purnima or Asadh Purnima is a special day celebrated on the full moon (purnima) day of the month of Ashadh, to pay homage to all teachers (Guru's). It dates back to the time of 'gurukuls' or 'ashrams' of ancient India where students or brahmacharis used to get their education. The students used to worship their Gurus, seek their blessings and give 'gurudakshina' i.e fees or presents according to their means and capacity.

It is also known as Vyas purnima in remembrance of the great sage Ved Vyasa, the guru who wrote the great epic, 'Mahabharatha', the 18 'Puranas' and classified the 'Vedas' of the Hindu Dharma. The great sage is worshipped and pujas performed on this day.

The Guru Gita in the Skanda Purana hails guru in this famous verse:

Guru brahma Guru vishnu Gururdevo Maheshwaraha
Guruhu sakshaat Parambrahman tasmai Shrigurave namaha

'Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,
Veneration to the Guru who has manifested as Parabrahman.'

While venerating the Guru we must also be cautious as the world today is filled with fake gurus and swamis – who make a living out of spirituality.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says about true guru like this:

He alone is the true teacher who is illumined by the light of true knowledge.

Bees come of themselves to the full-blown flower when the breeze wafts its fragrance all around. Ants come of themselves to the spot where sweets are placed. No one needs to invite the bee or the ant. So when a man becomes pure and perfect, the sweet influence of his character spreads everywhere, and all who seek the Truth are naturally drawn towards him. He need not go in search of an audience to listen to him.

It is very hard to find a true Guru but luckily the great Gurus of ancient world have stored their wisdom in the Upanishads, Yoga Vashista and Gita. Guru Purnima day is rightly termed as Veda Vyasa Poornima because Guru Vyasa is the greatest editor and compiler of holy texts in Hinduism. He has provided all the necessary elements needed to understand Brahman; only we need to find time and have patience to read and digest the unparalleled holy texts in Hinduism.

There are Seven Types of Gurus (see Image). Just as the ocean is the king of waters, the Param Guru is the King among Gurus...
What to do during Guru Purnima ?
After bath, worship the lotus feet of your Guru, or his image or picture with flowers, fruits, incense and camphor.

Fast or take only milk and fruits the whole day. In the afternoon, sit with other devotees of your Guru and discuss with them the glories and teachings of your Guru.

Alternatively, you may observe the vow of silence and study the books or writings of your Guru, or mentally reflect upon his teachings. Take fresh resolves on this holy day, to tread the spiritual path in accordance with the precepts of your Guru. At night, assemble again with other devotees, and sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru.

Blessing to you and your Family.

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