The day, also known as Vyasa Purnima is observed by devotees who offer pujas (worship) to their beloved Gurus. . The festival is usually celebrated as an occasion for initiation of new disciples by their Gurus. On the purnima (day of full moon) in the month of Aashadh in the Hindu Calendar is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by many Hindus. On this day devotees offer worship (puja) to their guru. According to tradition this was the day when Vyasadeva, author of the Mahabharata and the Puranas was born. All religious teachers (gurus) are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings.
"Understand this (above all); By surrender (of self-will) to the Guru, by (sensitive inward and outward) questioning (of the Guru), and by service (to the Guru), those (sages and Gurus) who have realized the truth will (be able to) convey their wisdom to you"
Bhagavad Gita, 4:34
The Need for a Guru
A qualified spiritual master is essential to learn self-realization. Bhagavadgita (Ch.4.34) asks one to learn the truth through a Guru or spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul imparts knowledge as he has seen the truth. A real Guru imparts gynana (true knowledge) and teaches how to raise one's consciousness beyond material physical boundaries. He teaches meditation to attain real peace of mind, true self-knowledge, eternal happiness, liberation from karmas, develop true love for God.
Achieving spiritual perfection by oneself through yoga (meditation) is impractical. One must learn spiritual practices under the guidance of a genuine spiritual master. We repose our faith in a Guru whose feet are roots of worship and the root of liberation. He opens our eyes blinded by ignorance and darkness and guides us to our goals.
Qualities of a Guru
How is a guru identified from the array of Gurus and spiritual teachers? Bhagavadgita gives guidelines and qualities of a genuine Guru. A true Guru has credentials to impart true knowledge free from speculation and never claims he is god. He knows god is supreme and we are subordinate to him. He knows the truth and lives it, is free from lust, anger, and greed. He exemplifies wisdom, peacefulness, self-control, austerity, piety , tolerance and strong faith in God. He must be from a succession (eg.Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, Shankaracharya).
At the time of deeksha (initiation), the Guru absorbs the past sins and karmas of his disciples and reveals true spiritual knowledge. The disciple develops strong love for the Guru who delivers him from the bondage of birth and death. Bhagavadgita shows that when Arjuna was confused about his duties, put his faith in Krishna, regarded him as his Guru - then Krishna showed him the right path. The Guru is a man of profound intellectual and spiritual sensitivity and compassion. The scriptures state that initiation must be taken from a Guru. On Guru Poornima day, we pray "Oh Guru, you are father, mother, brother, friend, knowledge and wealth. You are to me everything and god of all gods.
The Guru Mantra
Guru Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devoh Maheswaraha
Guru Saakshaat Para Brahma, Tasmai Shree Guruve Namaha
Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Shiva
Guru is the Absolute Brahman incarnate, Obeisance to Guru
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