Guru Purnima: Everything To Know About The Festival of Teachers

Guru Purnima
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Guru or instructor has always been equated with God in Hindu tradition. Guru Purnima or Vyasa Purnima is a day to honour and thank our Gurus. This Sanskrit term translates precisely as ‘the one who liberates us from ignorance.’

Hindus consider this full moon day in the month of Ashada to be one of the most fortunate days of the year. On July 13, 2022, India will commemorate Guru Purnima. It also honours Ved Vyasa’s birthday, who is credited with authoring some of the most influential Hindu writings of all time, including the Puranas, Mahabharata, and Vedas.

Guru Purnima’s History

Guru Purnima commemorates Ved Vyasa, one of ancient India’s most revered Gurus. Dr Vishakha Mahindroo, a senior Ayurvedic consultant, explains, “Veda Vyasa constructed the four Vedas, penned the epic Mahabharata, and laid the groundwork for the many Puranas and enormous encyclopaedias of Hindu holy wisdom.” Teacher Purnima commemorates Lord Shiva’s day and instructs the seven rishis of Vedic seers as the Adi Guru or first guru. Ishvara as Pranava or Om is described in the Yoga Sutras as the Adi Guru of Yoga. On this day, Lord Buddha is claimed to have given his first speech at Sarnath, demonstrating the sacredness of this period.”

Guru Purnima’s Significance

Guru Purnima
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Guru Purnima is observed to honour our teachers, who illuminate our thoughts. Since ancient times, they have had a particular place in the lives of their adherents. All of Hinduism’s sacred writings emphasise the significance of Gurus and the remarkable link that exists between a Guru and his Shishya (disciple). According to an ancient Sanskrit proverb, ‘Mata Pitah Guru Daivam,’ the mother is; first, the father is second, the Guru is third, and God is fourth. Thus, teachers have been elevated to a greater status in Hindu tradition than Gods.

How Should Guru Purnima Be Celebrated?

Guru Purnima
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

It is associated with Vishnu worship. Traditionally, it is observed by worshipping and expressing appreciation to the Gods who resemble our Gurus. Disciples offer prayers in honour of their instructors at monasteries and ashrams. Dr Vishakha proposes what to do on Guru Purnima: “On this day, one should commit to practising the guru’s principles and teachings.” On this day, recite ‘Vishnu Sahatranam,’ commonly known as the thousand names of Lord Vishnu. On this blessed day, be in tune with yourself and harness your energy.”

Feasts And Fasts During Guru Purnima

Many individuals observe a day-long fast, abstaining from salt, rice, and heavies foods, including non-vegetarian meals and other cereal-based meals. They end their fast after evening puja. Consumption of yoghurt or fruits is prohibited. The temples provide Prasada and Charnamrita, which are sweetened curds and fresh fruits. On Guru Purnima, the majority of homes also observe a strict vegetarian diet, eating delicacies such as Khichdi, Poori, Choley, Halwa, and sweets such as Soan Papdi, Barfi, Laddoo, and Gulab Jamun.

FAQs About Guru Purnima

Which God is worshipped on Guru Purnima?

Historically, Buddhists have observed the festival in honour of the Buddha, who delivered his first speech on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. The day is commemorated in the yogic tradition as the day Shiva becomes the first Guru, initiating the teaching of Yoga to the Saptarishis.

What is special about Guru Purnima?

It (Poornima) is a Karma Yoga-based custom devoted to all spiritual and academic Gurus who are developed or enlightened beings willing to impart their learning. Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists commemorate it as a holiday in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Who started Guru Purnima?

Lord Shiva is said to be the first guru in Yogic tradition. It is said to be the day on which he emerged as a Yogi to the sapta-rishis, or seven sages, in the Himalayas.

How do we celebrate Guru Purnima?

Traditionally, it is observed by adoring and expressing appreciation to the Gods who resemble our Gurus. Followers offer prayers in honour of their instructors at monasteries and ashrams.

Conclusion

Now that you know everything about the Guru Purnima, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!