Guru Purnima – A perfect time to thank your Guru
Ajnaanang Timiraaandhasya Jnaanaanjana Salaakayaa;
Chakshurunmilitang Yena Tasmai Sree Gurave Namah!
‘Guru’ in India, holds a supreme significance. Guru is a person with revered personality, who by his teachings enlightens us. He introduces us to the vast world of knowledge and shuns our ignorance. He teaches us, he guides us, he protects us from all sorts of dangers and sins. Perhaps, that’s the reason why Kabir in one of his songs says, that if God and Guru stand side by side, the first adoration and worship should be offered to Guru and then to God. This is because through Guru we can recognise and realize the significance of God.
The full-moon day of the month of Aashaadh is observed as Guru Purnima or Vyas Purnima because on this lunar day (Tithi), Maharshi Veda Vyas, one of the seven immortals, descended to this mortal world. He is called the guru of all gurus, for he not only compiled all the Vedas together and systematically divided it into four parts, viz. – Rig, Sam, Yajur and Atharva, but also created an epic like the Mahabharata. Apart from that he composed 18 Puranas, Upapuranas, Vyas Samhita etc. to teach mankind as to how to lead our lives.
Such a genius and gifted personality is not to be found in the annals of literary history of mankind. We all adore and worship him on this day through our own preceptor, who is regarded to be Maharshi Vyas incarnate. So every devout Hindu worships his/her own guru regarding him as Vyas Dev, our Adiguru. This worship of the preceptor or guru has been running from time immemorial when during the ancient Vanaasram period the disciples residing in their Guru?s house used to learn various Shastras. On this auspicious day the disciples used to worship their guru and offer him honorarium in order to propitiate him and obtain his blessings.
Early in the morning, the devotees or disciples take a bath, wear new clothes and worship the feet of their revered guru and offer him food, money, clothes, ornaments etc. as per the their capacity. Disciples of all Hindu religious orders – Vaishnav, Shaiva or Shakta observe this day because in their guru the disciple finds Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswar and the Parabrahma, i.e. Supreme Soul. This is what is mentioned in the following sloka from Guruvandana:
Tasmai Sreegurave Namah
If the Guru Dev is not alive, his portrait or picture should be worshipped with all other rites and rituals. It is pertinent to mention here that our shastras have taught us that our prime preceptors are our parents. And so father, mother and elders too should be worshipped along with the guru and their blessings obtained on this auspicious day. The composition of Maharshi Veda Vyas should be read collectively on this great day.
This year Guru Purnima falls on Sunday, the 25th of July.
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With Ganesha’s Grace,