Guru Purnima, also known as Vyasa Purnima, is a sacred Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Ashadha (June-July) as per the Hindu calendar. This day is dedicated to expressing gratitude and paying homage to the guru, or the spiritual teacher.
The word “guru” is derived from “gu,” which means darkness, and “ru,” which represents light. Thus, a guru is someone who dispels the darkness of ignorance and brings the light of knowledge. Guru Purnima is a day to honor and show gratitude to the gurus who have guided us on the path of knowledge and enlightenment.
The festival holds great significance in Hindu culture as it marks the birth anniversary of Ved Vyasa, the sage who is revered as the original guru. Vyasa is credited with editing the four Vedas and composing the Mahabharata, one of the greatest Indian epics. He is considered one of the greatest gurus in Hindu mythology.
On Guru Purnima, devotees gather at various ashrams, temples, and spiritual centers to offer their respects to their gurus. They perform puja (rituals) and offer flowers, fruits, and other offerings to their gurus’ idols or portraits. Devotees also seek the blessings of their gurus and express gratitude for their guidance and teachings.
Many people also observe fasts on this day as a mark of respect and austerity. They engage in meditation, chanting of sacred mantras, and listening to discourses and teachings of gurus. Satsangs (spiritual gatherings) are organized where devotees come together and participate in devotional singing and discussions on spiritual topics.
Apart from honoring their personal gurus, people also pay homage to other great spiritual leaders and saints who have significantly contributed to the spiritual and philosophical heritage of the country. It is a time to acknowledge the importance of education, wisdom, and the role of teachers in shaping one’s life.
Guru Purnima is not only celebrated in India but also by various Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh communities who hold reverence for their gurus. The day also coincides with other important festivals like Dhammachakra Pravartan Divas for Buddhists and the birthday of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji for Sikhs.
Overall, Guru Purnima is a day of expressing gratitude, seeking blessings, and reflecting on the teachings and inspiration received from spiritual teachers. It is a reminder of the importance of cultivating knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual growth in one’s life.