-- By Sohan Singh
Guru Purnima is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the Shakha Samavat in the Hindu calendar. It is a grand festival for Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. On this day, thousands of devotees worship and thank their gurus for enlightenment. This day is also very beneficial to carry out yogic sadhana and meditation.
Guru Purnima is a paradoxical term with “Gu” meaning darkness and “ru” standing for the removal of darkness. Thus, the guru is believed to be someone who removes darkness from your life or path. From spiritual gurus to secular ones, people pay respect to teachers all over the country. A guru helps you to connect to the guru within. He resides in your “Vishudha Chakra” on the throat and awakens when a person surrenders himself/herself to the higher self.
There is a strong belief that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon on this day. By achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree for five weeks, Lord Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath, where he gave the sermon on the full moon day. The followers of Lord Buddha thus celebrate this day to worship him.
In the yogic tradition, however, Lord Shiva is seen as the first-ever guru. On this day, Lord Shiva is known to have transmitted the learning of Yoga to his disciples the “Saptarishis” or seven sages on this day. Guru Purnima is also known by the name “Vyasa Purnima” as on this day, it is believed that Ved Vyasa – the author of Mahabharta was born, who is known to be a pioneer of the guru-shishya tradition.
On the occasion of Guru Purnima, the Sikhs also honour their ten spiritual gurus. But irrespective of how you see it, or which guru you bow to, the purpose is to commemorate them for their teachings.