Guru Purnima is the festival celebrated in India mostly by Hindus and Buddhists. Guru means the dispeller of the darkness. Gu stands for ignorance or darkness and Ru stands for the dispeller. Guru is someone who imparts wisdom. Who gives you light. It might be an ant, an insect, a bird, your mother, your father, your teacher, preceptor, a friend, or an enlightened master.
Life is learning. You keep learning all your life. Dattatreya had 24 gurus. His gurus varied from a bee to a prostitute. Because they all imparted him some wisdom or other and helped him learn something very important. Life lessons always present themselves before you if you’re ready and open to learn.
Guru is also the name of Jupiter in Vedic Astrology. Guru is the most benefic planet by nature. It doesn’t harm any native much because of its auspicious nature. Jupiter’s periods don’t do much damage to any native even when it’s not very favorably disposed in his birth chart. Astronomically Jupiter is very auspicious because its gravity attracts millions of comets and asteroids which might otherwise collide with earth–wreaking havoc which might be fatal for all life on earth. Thus Jupiter is literally Guru for Earth. It’s a saviour.
Guru has weight–gravity–which is the cause of attraction. Gravitas of charismatic guru aren’t just cause of magnetic attraction but also very auspicious in that they help you get rid of bondage and suffering. Guru helps you become liberated from the clutches of suffering and Maya.
Mystic poet Kabir says:
सब धरती कागज करूँ, लेखनी सब बनराय
सात समुंदर की मसि करूँ, गुरुगुण लिखा न जाय
Even if the whole earth is transformed into paper with all the big trees made into pens and if the entire water in the seven oceans are transformed into writing ink, even then the glories of the Guru cannot be written. So much is the greatness of the Guru ( source: Kabir)
He also says:
Which means: Both Guru and God are standing before me–to whom should I revere? I sacrifice myself unto thee oh beloved Guru for you’ve told me about the God. You’ve told me about the path which leads to God. Oh my beloved master had it not been for you I would still have been in my slumber and darkness! Therefore I bow down to thee–I worship thee, I sacrifice myself to thy service, you’re indeed the God manifested in all auspiciousness!
Mother is the first Guru, father is the second, teachers in school are third Guru and those who help you advance on spiritual part are fourth. The Guru who initiates you and helps you break the tenth gate–which brings the light of Self shining forth is the fifth Guru. The life is always a Guru and the last Guru. Self is reflected in all forms of life whether auspicious or inauspicious but when it comes to liberating us from clasps of darkness and the slumber of ignorance–these Gurus have greatest light of Self in them. There’s nothing else but Self–this Self is constantly calling you to yourself but you don’t pay heed. Since you are suffering and this suffering is that of a dream from which you need to wake-up, the Self manifests in an external form which looks like us–whose language is easy to understand. The Guru is merely an alarm clock which was set by us to wake ourselves up at an appropriate time. Our slumber is often so deep that we don’t hear the sound of this alarm clock. Sometimes we hear it but interpret it in the dream language to be a sound inside the dream. We may enjoy its sound or abhor it–but we resist waking up. Only when it’s really time to wake-up do we realize that it’s actually a wake-up call and not something inside the dream!
Yogic tradition considers Shiva to be the first yogi in Himalayas who transmitted his divine knowledge to Saptarishis–the seven sages who were his first disciples. These sages disseminated this divine knowledge in the world. Buddhists have celebrated this day commemorating Buddha’s first sermon in Sarnath after his enlightenment.
Hindus celebrate this day mostly to honor the great sage and one of the greatest gurus Ved Vyasa. He was not only born on this day but also started writing his treatise Bramh Sutras today as per the Hindu lunar calendar. All theistic religions and schools in India are based on Bramh Sutras. They form the very core of religious and philosophical doctrine in India. Hindus recite Bramh Sutras and worship Ved Vyasa on this day. Many of them also worship their family gurus and initiation gurus. It’s also called Vyasa Purnima.
The fascinating yogic lore about Shiva and Saptarishis is being quoted verbatim from Wikipedia:
In yogic lore, it is said that Guru Purnima was the day that saw the birth of the Adi Guru, or the first Guru. The story goes that over 15,000 years ago, a yogi appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. Nobody knew what his origins were. But his presence was extraordinary, and people gathered. However, he exhibited no signs of life, but for the occasional tears of ecstasy that rolled down his face. People began to drift away, but seven men stayed on. When he opened his eyes, they pleaded with him, wanting to experience whatever was happening to him. He dismissed them, but they persevered. Finally, he gave them a simple preparatory step and closed his eyes again. The seven men began to prepare. Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, but the yogi’s attention did not fall upon them again.
After 84 years of sadhana, on the summer solstice that marks the advent of Dakshinayana, the earth’s southern run, the yogi looked at them again. They had become shining receptacles, wonderfully receptive. He could not ignore them anymore. On the very next full moon day, the yogi turned south and sat as a guru to these seven men. The Adiyogi (the first yogi) thus became the Adi Guru. Adiyogi expounded these mechanics of life for many years. The seven disciples became celebrated as the Saptarishis and took this knowledge across the world.
Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in these seven individuals became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga, something that has still endured.
It’s said that the Guru factor is 1000 times more active on this day. I don’t know the reasoning behind it but it’s true that the full moons offer an amazing boost to spiritual practices. They are also notorious for disturbing those who are already disturbed because Moon has a strong effect on bodily fluids too. Moon’s effect on tides has long been common knowledge. Therefore it’s a great advantage for your spiritual practices if you engage in listening to your master, contemplate spirituality, read and discuss it, practice meditation and observe silence.
On this occasion I express my gratitude which is infinitesimal compared to the blessings showered upon me by Life. I heartily thank life and all its teachings. I thank my mother, father, teachers in school and college, my siblings, friends, relatives, Pandit Shri Ram Sharma Acharya, Acharya Rajneesh Osho, Win Wenger, Swami Vivekananda, Jiddu Krishnamurti, UG Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Maharshi Ramana, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna, Swami Ramananda, Kabir, Saint Rajinder Singh, Sri Sri Ravishankar and all those who have taught me but whom I have forgotten and my dearest and nearest Self which is shining in form of all of them and the world.
featured image source: here