There are specific days dedicated to honouring our mothers, fathers, family, etc., for their unwavering support and contribution to our lives. However, are you aware that Guru Purnima is a day that is exceptionally dedicated to our teachers or gurus? Gurus, whether spiritual or academic, are the divine leaders who have enlightened and evolved their disciples with wisdom and knowledge. Guru Purnima 2022 date is on the 13 of July 2022. Keep reading to know more about Guru Purnima, the story behind it, and how you can celebrate the day?
The word ‘Guru’ stands for teacher or master and ‘Purnima’ implies full moon. Guru Purnima is observed in the month of Ashadha (July-August) on the first full moon after the summer solstice. Gurus are considered teachers who dispel the darkness of ignorance and illiteracy from their students or disciples, thereby ushering the light of knowledge and wisdom. This day, therefore, is dedicated to honouring the pious relationship between the guru and his students or disciples.
The festival of Guru Purnima is observed by several communities in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. In the Buddhist tradition, the day marks the occasion when Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon to his first five disciples in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. The Buddhists, therefore, celebrate this day to commemorate this event. However, eventually, other communities also began observing the festival of Guru Purnima to pay their respects to their teachers or gurus.
As mentioned earlier, Guru Purnima holds a significant place, especially among Buddhists. It is believed that on this day, in the 11th century, Gautam Buddha, who founded the faith of Buddhism, delivered his first sermon to his five ardent followers or disciples. The event took place in the village of Sarnath, located near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, where Buddha travelled after five weeks of achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. There he delivered a sermon on a full moon day that has now come to be commemorated as Guru Purnima.
This day is also known as Vyasa Purnima dedicated to Ved Vyas. Guru Purnima marks the birth anniversary of Maharishi Ved Vyasa, who authored the great Indian epic, Mahabharata. People revere him on the occasion of Guru Purnima. It was Ved Vyasa who is considered to have gathered all Vedic literature and divided them into four parts. He also taught these four parts to his four disciples, named Paila, Jaimini, Vaisampayana, and Sumantu. His name, Vyasa, is derived from Sanskrit, which means ‘dividing/editing’ or ‘VYAS’.
In the yogic tradition, the day of Guru Purnima is observed as the occasion when Lord Shiva became the first Guru or Adi Guru. On this day, He is believed to have begun the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis (seven sags) about 1500 years back, according to yogic mythology.
In Jainism, Guru Purnima is observed as Treenok Guha Purnima. On this day, people of this community revere their Guru Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara. Followers of the Jainism faith believe that on this day, Mahavira discovered his first follower, Gautam Swami, after which he became a Treenok Guha. People pay special respects to their Treenok Guhas and teachers on the occasion of Guru Purnima.
On the other hand, the festival was revived by Mahatma Gandhi in the memory of his spiritual guru, Shrimad Rajchandra, in order to pay tribute to him. In Nepal, it is celebrated as Teacher’s Day.
The occasion of Guru Purnima holds immense significance as it teaches us the value of our teachers or gurus and the important role they play in our lives. Not just in academics, but also through other extra-curricular skills, they train their pupils to be virtuous and responsible human beings and try to lead a pious life.
On the occasion of Guru Purnima, people who celebrate the festival usually perform special pujas or worship their gods at temples and homes. They conduct prayers and offer flowers and sweets to their revered Gurus to receive blessings. People also pay their gratitude and respect for having been guided by them. Special rituals are observed on this occasion by people celebrating this day. Some people observe fasts and abstain from indulging in unholy activities.
Several schools, colleges, and other institutions dedicated to art and culture hold programs and musical performances to pay homage to their gurus or teachers. In Indian classical music and dance, Guru Purnima holds special significance based on the tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara. This is based on the unique relationship between the guru and the shishya or the student, founded on mutual respect and trust in each other. Thus, to honour their gurus, students of Indian classical music and dance pay special tribute to their teachers through their art forms.
If you are someone who already practises the traditions and rituals associated with Guru Purnima then you must be knowing its importance and gravity. However, if you are not, and if the above content interests you, let us inform you that you too can celebrate this wonderful occasion in your own little ways.
If you are someone who takes dancing, singing, art, or similar lessons, remember to wish your teacher “Happy Guru Purnima”. Even if you are not engaged in any such activities, you can still observe this. How? Remember that your mother and in fact your father, are your first teachers. They are the ones who have taught you about the world and will always be your guide. You can honour them and thank them on Guru Purnima, which will surely bring a smile to their faces.
We hope you learned something new and interesting here. If you know people who celebrate Guru Purnima, ask them about the significance of the occasion and how they celebrate the day. Do not forget to wish your gurus and thank them for the unceasing love and efforts they have showered upon you.