New Delhi: The widely celebrated Guru Purnima festival is marked this year on July 13. Also, known as Vyasa Purnima – this day is dedicated to paying tribute to your Guru or a revered spiritual entity. Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa or Ved Vyasa, who wrote the epic Mahabharata was born on Guru Purnima, therefore it is also his birth anniversary.
Guru Purnima is celebrated in the country in different ways. Marked on the full moon day, known as Purnima as per the Hindu calendar of Ashadha month, on Guru Purnima, devotees pay obeisance to the Guru or teacher on this day, thanking them for all the knowledge and life-lessons.
The day is celebrated with utmost fervour by Buddhists as it is believed that Gautam Buddha, after denouncing worldly attachments and being enlightened, served his first sermon at Sarnath on this day. Also, it is said that on this day, Lord Shiva became the Adi Guru – the first Guru and imparted knowledge to the Saptarishis.
Guru Purnima is of great significance for the Jains too. On this day, the 24th Tirthankara – Mahavira – made Gautam Swami (earlier known as Indrabhuti Gautam) his first disciple. He thus became a Guru and hence the day is observed as Guru Purnima.
Guru Purnima is a day to pay ode to the selfless contributions of a Guru. Interestingly, the Sanskrit word Guru itself means one who removes ignorance (Gu meaning ignorance and Ru means remover).
In India, the Guru-Shishya bond is seen as a pure connection that helps the student achieve greater heights. The Sanskrit verse – Mata Pitah Guru Daivam – clearly positions the role of a teacher before that of God. In India, the teacher is referred to as the Guru (the one who sows seeds of knowledge and eliminates darkness).
On this day, students thank their teachers for nurturing values, morals and instilling the sense of right and wrong besides imparting education.
In ancient India, parents entrusted the responsibility of their children to the Guru because they knew only a teacher could help a child evolve holistically. The Guru-Shishya Parampara which was wonderfully woven in the social fabric witnessed a beautiful bond between the teacher and a student.
Moreover, the importance of a Guru has also been clearly established in our great Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The bond shared by Sage Vishwamitra and Lord Rama or Arjuna and Dronacharya is classic specimens of the Guru Shishiya Parampara.
Happy Guru Purnima to all!