Guru Purnima which falls on Tuesday 19th July, is observed on the full moon day during Ashadha month of the Hindu calendar. This is a day when we pay obeisance and homage to both spiritual Gurus and academic teachers. We feel proud that this civilization of India, the guru-shisya-parampara or mentor-protégé-tradition or teacher-student everlasting relationship is still active and unbroken in this modern day.
The guru removes the sicknessof ignorance that is prevalent in us and gives us the light of knowledge of knowing who we are, what qualities we have,how to nurture and use them for the benefit of all living creatures,how to relate to the world and people around us, how to become a real human being and achieve true success in life. Most importantly, the spiritual Guru will teach us how to transcend in life and reach the abode of infinite bliss which is the hallmark of excellence.
On this day we re-dedicate and re-connect ourselves with our present and past Gurus and academic teachers. The combination of a teacher’s wisdom and the energy of a student go towards making a vibrant, progress in a society. Today, due to the influence of Western culture and modernity, students tend to undervalue their teachers’ role in their own lives but celebration of this festival helps them to restore their derailed values and maintain balance between our traditions and modernity and illogical western influences.
Everyone needs to understand the importance of a Guru in every walks of our lives. A Guru molds our energies into positive and useful talents through his rigorous training and enlightens us and makes us good human beings by means of his knowledge and teachings, as a coach makes his sport students’ to acquire perfections in their natural gifts and skills under his expertise and strict trainings and helps them to excel in their sport competitions. A prominent musician’s talent is recognized and honored by the training and dedication he/she received from an able mentor as in the spiritual or educational fields a good student is spotted or identified by the training, guidance and the enlightenment he/she obtained from the capable Guru who really removes the ignorance in the seeker’s mind.
The teacher-student relationship is conferred paramount importance in Indian philosophy. A Guru in our culture occupies the same pedestal given to God. Academic or spiritual growth is impossible without the help of a Guru who is established in the state of Godly Realization and has the teaching skills to impart the subtle spiritual or abstract concepts or creating artificial intelligence or robots for remote control systems and produces a rare generation of people who acquire these stringent qualifications.
India has been blessed with extraordinary and outstanding sages who have appeared in every generation and made Indians to keep this unique tradition of offering gratitude to Gurus forever.
In the Guru-Shishya-Parampara there is a Pranipata or total surrender to the guru as one of the foremost qualifications of a student but this does not imply blind following of a Guru or school of thought/s.
The seekersor students must question, probe and analyze the truths taught to them so as to understand, absorb and transform his personality or knowledge to the higher realms. And finally acquire a sense of service or seva bhava to the whole humanity and nature, which will become a trademark of an outstanding student.
Guru Purnima is also referred to as Vyasa Purnima in recognition of the vital role played by Vyasa in the preservation of our Vedanta. Vyasa was the one who organized the Vedas. The seat from which any spiritual or Vedic teaching is imparted is referred to as Vyasapeetha in recognition of Vyasa’s immense contribution to Vedanta. All teachers bow to Vyasa before taking the seat. He is revered as the first guru although the guru-sisya parampara started long before his time. He represents the combination of sagely wisdom and the practical approach of a fisherwoman.
It is essential to cultivate both to excel in life. The’Purnima’ denotes illumination and Vyasa Purnima points to spiritual enlightenment.Vyasa is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Visnu because apart from codifying the Vedas, Vyasa wrote the great epic Mahabharata consisting of almost one lakh verses. It is referred to as the fifth Veda. He also composed the Puranas and Brahma sutras. He was the last Veda Vyasasof 28 such Veda Vyasas.
All the scholars in the world wonder till today, how this great sage Vyasa carried all this knowledge in his small head – to whom we offer our respects and SashtangaNamanason the day of Guru Purnima.
This tradition instills in all of us a spirit to carry forward the Guru-Shishya-Parampara and to remember and pay homage with full reverence to our spiritual Gurus and academic teachers and our first Guru – Janani (birth mother) as they are working hard to channelize our energies into positive practices and help to shape our personal, social, familial, and spiritual lives. Seek knowledge, advice, and training from them and not anyone else.