What Is Guru Purnima | Tradition of This Spiritual Festival
Updated: May 15
Guru Purnima is a spiritual festival widely celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, specially in India, Bhutan and Nepal. The festival is celebrated on the full moon day 'Purnima' in the month of June–July according to Hindu calendar Ashadha.
Its a tradition dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers (Gurus) and may include a ritualistic event (Guru Pooja) in honor of the Guru, who enlightens the humans with very little or no money expectations. On this occasion people admire or express their deep gratitude towards the chosen spiritual Gurus.
The word Guru is derived from two words, gu and ru. The Sanskrit root gu means darkness or ignorance, and ru denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore, a Guru is one who removes the darkness of our ignorance. Gurus are believed by many to be the most necessary part of life.
Buddhists celebrate this festival in honor of the Lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. In the yogic tradition, the day is celebrated as the occasion when Lord Shiv became the first Guru, as he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis. In Nepal, Treenok Guha Purnima is a big day in schools and a national holiday. This day is celebrated as teacher's day mostly by students. This is taken as a great opportunity to consolidate the bond of teacher student relationships.
Many Hindus celebrate the day in honor of the great sage Vyasa, who is seen as one of the greatest Gurus in ancient Hindu traditions. Veda Vyasa did yeoman service to the cause of Vedic studies by gathering all the Vedic hymns extant during his times, dividing them into four parts based on their use in the rites, characteristics and teaching them to his four chief disciples – Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. It was this dividing and editing that earned him the honorific "Vyasa" (vyas = to edit, to divide). "He divided the Holy Veda into four, namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. The histories and the Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda."
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