Guru Purnima (Poornima) is a religious tradition devoted to spiritual and academic educators who are developed or enlightened beings, willing to share their wisdom with very little or no financial expectation depending on Karma Yoga. It is celebrated as a festival in Nepal, India, and Bhutan by the Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains traditionally observe this festival to reverence and express their gratitude to their selected religious teachers/leaders.
The festival is marked in the Hindu month of Ashadha (June – July) on the day of the complete moon (Purnima), as it is known in India and Nepal’s Hindu calendar. The festival was revived by Mahatma Gandhi to tribute to his spiritual guru Shrimad Rajchandra. In yogic lore, Guru Purnima is said to have been the day when Shiva became 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. He did not show any signs of life, however, but for the occasional ecstasy tears that rolled his face down People started drifting away, but there remained seven males.
When he opened his eyes, they pleaded with him, wanting to experience whatever was happening to him. He dismissed them, but they persevered. He finally gave them an easy preliminary step and again ‘ shut ‘ his eyes. The seven men began to prepare. Days rolled in weeks, weeks in months, months in years, but the attention of the yogi did not come back to them.
After 84 years of sadhana, the yogi looked at them again in the summer solstice marking the advent of Dakshinayana, the southern run of the earth. 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. Shiva, the Adiyogi (the first yogi) thus became the Adi Guru. Adiyogi spent many years expounding these mechanics of life. The seven disciples became celebrated as the Saptarishis and took this knowledge across the world.
In the yogic tradition, Guru Purnima is kept sacred because the Adiyogi opened up the option of conscious evolution for a human being The seven distinct elements of yoga that were put into these seven people became the basis for the seven fundamental types of yoga, something that has still survived.
The full moon day of Ashad (A month according to Hindu calendar) is traditionally known as Guru Purnima which is a festival of Hinduism specially dedicated to spiritual master, guru and teachers celebrated on 12th July 20141) Guru Purnima is celebrated because it is considered that Gurus are the connective link between disciple and the immortality. The day is one of the most auspicious ones to commemorate the Sikh Gurus and Vyasa. This festival occurs annually in the months of July / August. The day marks the advent of the period named Chaturmas.
It is a gratitude day in which the followers appreciate and praise the existence of Gurus in their life for their amazing knowledge and spirit. Hindus thank their gurus for providing them with immense knowledgeable historical books like Vedas, Puranas, Srimadbhagavata, Mahabharata, etc. Dattatreya was actually taught by none other than the great saint, Vyasa who is considered as Gurus of gurus.
This day is greatly devoted to farmers in the desire to herald a heavy shower to yield true and fresh crops. On this particular day, the morning begins with the washing of the footwear mark of their own guru in order to show respect.
Writer: Ritika Rana