Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Significance of Guru Purnima, by V.N. Gopalakrishnan

Guru Purnima is the annual occasion for expressing gratitude towards the Guru or the Divine Teacher. It is observed in memory of the great Sage Veda Vyasa who is considered to be the supreme preceptor of mankind. The word Guru means “the remover of darkness.” Hence, Guru Purnima, celebrated on a full-moon day, is the day for eradicating ignorance and illuminating our lives with knowledge. There are 12-13 full moons in a year. While the Vaishakha full moon is dedicated to Lord Buddha and the Jyeshtha full moon is dedicated to Mother Earth, the Ashada full moon is dedicated to the memory of masters. This is an auspicious day to review how far one has progressed in life and to turn back to the spiritual path. And it is especially significant for students who desire to get their teachers’ blessings.

All those who aspire to spiritual enlightenment worship Sage Veda Vyasa on this day in honor of his divine personage and the disciples perform puja. He, born to Satyavati and Sage Parashara and also called Krishna Dwaipayana, edited the four Vedas, wrote the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. To him goes the credit of composing the authentic treatise of Brahma-Sutras to explain the background of the Vedas. He even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.

Guru Purnima also heralds the Chaturmasa or the setting in of the eagerly awaited rains and is important to the farmers as it ushers in new life in the fields. The rainwater in plentiful showers accompanies the advent of fresh life. People consume milk and fruits on this day and practice rigorous Japa and Dhyana. It is also a good time to commence spiritual lessons. Traditionally, seekers of spirituality start to intensify their spiritual Sadhana from this day. In the past, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples used to settle down at a place to study and discourse on the Brahma Sutras and engage in Vedantic discussions. Seekers do Satseva of the Guru during this period for their spiritual progress.
“Guru’s form is the basis of meditation, Guru’s feet are the basis of worship, and Guru’s words are the basis of mantra.”
In India, spiritual gurus are often equated with God and regarded as a link between the individual and the Immortal. Just as the Moon shines by reflecting the light of the Sun, the disciples gain from their Gurus. Guru is the only assurance for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and experience the consciousness of the Reality. The Guru is considered as an embodiment of the archetypes of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, and through His grace one reaches the highest state of wisdom and bliss. Hence, the Guru’s guidance helps in managing worldly affairs with ease.

Further, according to the Rishis of yore, cosmic energy flows through the human body: it enters through the crown chakra and leaves through the feet. It is believed that the cosmic energy flows from the Guru’s feet in abundance.

"Sage Bhrigu approached to select a Lord as the receipient of Yagna offerings." (taken from Wikipedia)
The Saptarishis, who are the venerated masters who completely dedicated themselves to the pursuit of divine light, are Atri, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Vasishtha, Gautama, Angirasa and Marichi. They are ’seers’ who possess knowledge about the past, present and future of humanity.

Jupiter represents Guru, that is the only planet that has the potency to nullify any affliction caused by the other planets. Hence, Jupiter represents the higher mind and goes quiet for transmitting knowledge.

The relationship between the Guru and the Disciple is a sacred one. It is purely spiritual in nature and based on the maturity of Gyan (spiritual knowledge) and Sadhana (spiritual practice). It is the Guru who dispels the darkness of ignorance, arising out of bodily attachment.

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