Guru Purnima

Hindu culture is known for paying utmost respect to relationships. People practicing this religion have great regards for friendship, family connections and teachers. The guru shisya tradition followed since the creation of the universe is a good example of how teachers are given the position above God in one's life. The Hindu sacred book believes that teachers are more important than parents. For they show us the path to enlightenment and helps us in inculcating the principles of wisdom. The Indians still follow the custom of worshipping gurus. People respect and honour teachers for transforming their lives into something good on the day of Guru Purnima.

Guru Purnima Festival

This festival is celebrated to pay respect to spiritual gurus. For Hindus, gurus are equal to God who help them make a distinction between materialistic pleasures, and find the good within oneself. They help in learning the principles of life, and abstaining from things that can spoil one's heart, soul and mind. They are like the beacon that shines even in the darkest of the hour and dazzle the path with the intensity of knowledge and spiritual beliefs. This auspicious day falls in the month of Ashadh on a full moon day. It comes either in June or July. It is regarded sacred both by Hindus and the Buddhists.

The Hindus celebrate Guru Purnima to commemorate the exceptional work done by the great sage Vyasa who is revered for translating all the four Vedas in simple and understanding language. All the 18 Puranas that are so intrinsically based on the Hindu custom and tradition is written by him. He is the epitome of the Guru-Shishaya tradition. This day is also believed to be his birthday. Hence, it is called Vyasa Purnima.

This day is special for Buddhists because they got to listen to the sermon of Lord Buddha at Sarnath. It was the first time that Lord Buddha addressed to a crowd and taught them the importance of spiritualism. Receiving lessons on life that are source of getting closer to the almighty helped people in forgetting their misery and following the path of self-realization.

Legend of Guru Purnima

Guru Vyasa was born on this day to sage Parashara and Satyavati. He received all the spiritual education from his father. Being a prodigy, he began to read and understand the Vedic hymns. Soon, he started dividing them into four different parts. He took all the important aspects of the hymns and joined them with the sacrificial rites. He then transformed the edited version of the hymns to his four disciples through teaching. The four Vedas - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva are the finest example of his impeccable knowledge and foresight.

The importance of this auspicious day for farmers is also greatly admired. Since it is the beginning of the Chaturmas (four months) period, which is the commencement of the rainy season, hopes are floating high among the farming communities. Since travelling becomes difficult during this time, all spiritual gurus assemble in one place and discuss the Brahama Surtas with each other.

Celebration of Guru Purnima

This is the day to imbibe ethical principles in one's life. This is the chance to think about someone special in one's life. People who are responsible in shaping and making us what we are. And those special people in everyone's life are the teachers. They are our gurus who have lots of inspiration in our lives. Hence, the life and teachings of spiritual gurus are remembered on this day. Devotees conduct pooja to respect sage Vyasa in temples. A traditional havan and ritual is performed to honour the satguru. Devotees wash the feet of the idol of Guru Vyasa with holy water. The act of offering flowers, and prasad is conducted by reciting mantras. The prasad is then distributed among devotees.

Hymns from the holy Guru Gita authored by sage Vyasa are sung. Special kirtan or sermon is organized in temples where the holy book is read for devotees. Devotees touch their forehead to the place supposed to be the seat of the Guru. The sandal that represents Guru Vyasa's feet is given a holy bath. Disciples recite the mantra of "Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara, Guru Sakshat Parabrahmah Tasmai Shree Guru Veh Nemah." The disciples who are taking the spiritual education from the guru greet each other and commit to a relationship of brotherhood with each other.

The Guru Purnima festival is followed with same fervour and devotion in Hindu and Buddhist religion. The day is auspicious to express gratitude towards teachers. This day is specially meant to offer prayers to spiritual gurus. The Indian classical music and ashrams are the places where teachers are revered. Even the most modern schools in India are organizing this day where students are expressing their thanks to teachers for imparting academic, practical and knowledge of outside world and changing their lives.