Guru Poornima is an Indian and Nepalese festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jain and Buddhists to pay their respects to their teachers and express their gratitude. Traditionally the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in honour of the lord Buddha who gave His first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh India. In the yogic tradition, the day is celebrated as the occasion when Shiva became the first guru, as he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptrishis.
Guru Poornima is an auspicious day in India that is especially dedicated to one’s Gurus. People pay respect and express their gratitude towards their Gurus.
When is it observed?
Guru Poornima is an auspicious day observed on full moon day in the month of Ashadh (July-August) according to Hindu lunar calendar. It is also known as Vyas Poornima. Traditionally this day is earmarked for Guru Pooja or Guru Worship. Guru Poornima will be celebrated on Sunday, 9th July 2017. The period ‘Chaturmas’ (“four months”) begins from this day.
The Guru Disciple relationship
Many Hindus celebrate the day in honor of the great sage Vyasa, who is seen as one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions and a symbol of the Guru-Shishya tradition-The Guru Disciple relationship. Sage
Vyasa was not only believed to have been born on this day, but also to have started writing the Brahma Sutras on ashadh sudha padyami which ends on this day, hence their recitations as a dedication to him, are organised on this day, which is also known as Vyasa Poornima .
Guru Poornima day is sacred to the memory of the great sage Maharshi Veda Vyasa. All Hindus are indebted to this ancient saint who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, Mahabharat and the Srimad Bhagavatam. Maharshi Vyasa even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.
The festival is common to all spiritual traditions in Hinduism, where it is an expression of gratitude toward the teacher by their disciple. Students of Indian classical music and Indian classical dance, which also follow the Guru shishya parampara, celebrate this holy festival around the world.
The word “Guru” in Sanskrit is translated as “dispeller of darkness.” ‘Guru’ refers to the person who removes darkness from one’s life. Devotees pay respect to their respective Gurus and thank them by remembering their deeds. In Hinduism, Gurus are equated with God because of his qualities and qualification. Guru gives a new birth to his students and forgives all flaws done by his disciple.
Guru is the one who mentors, nurtures, modifies and transcends the bond of sorrow and death and leads disciples to wisdom, knowledge and makes their life meaningful.
Adi Shankara, Sri Ramanuja Acharya and Sri Madhvacharya are some of the noteworthy Gurus in Hinduism. Indian people hold great respect for their Gurus. The significance of this day is that the Guru holds the most essential position in one’s life and to give him respect and honor people celebrate Guru Poornima. Guru Poornima is also considered an especially beneficial day to practice yogic sadhana and meditation.
As part of the celebration various programs are conducted by students across the country where devotees present gifts in form of sweets and flowers to their spiritual gurus. It’s an ideal time to commence spiritual lessons from a Guru.
Poornima is a very special day and the Moon of Poornima is considered to be calming, cooling and life-giving. According to beliefs, preparing Kheer (sweet rice porridge) on this day is very fruitful. After preparing it, it is kept under the Moon light. Before next morning’s sunrise, it is consumed as Prasad (sacred food). It is said that Moon rays or Moon light adds “Amrit” (immortal nectar) in it. Meditating on the Full Moon Day under the cool rays of moon is believed to be very fortunate.
Guru Poornima is one of the major celebrations in Shirdi by special worship Guru Pooja of Sai Baba. It is the sole festival Sri Sai Baba enjoined on his devotees. Lakhs of people throng in Shirdi on Guru Poornima day to get the blessings of Sai Baba.
A mantra that is particularly used on this day is:-
“Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara,
Guru Sakshat Parabrahmah Tasmai Shree Guru Veh Namah”