When is Guru Purnima Celebrated?
Guru Purnima Date 2022
Wednesday, 13th July, 2022
Guru Purnima is celebrated on a full moon day, also known as ‘Purnima’ of the Hindu Calendar month of Ashada.
What is Guru Purnima?
“A good teacher is like a candle they consume itself to light the way for others.”
Guru Purnima, also called Vyasa Purnima popularly, is the day meant for celebrating our Gurus and paying our gratitude to them for their continuous guidance. It can be a school teacher, someone who teaches you art, or simply your parents (regarded as first Gurus to a child).
A Guru or teacher has always been placed on a pedestal equal to that of God. Especially in Hindu culture, it is believed that true knowledge cannot be attained without a Guru. Guru Purnima is a cultural festival where we thank all our teachers or Gurus who taught us in our past or still teach us academics or spirituality.
‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘the one who leads from ignorance to knowledge.’ The Guru word is made up of two words, gu and ru. The gu means ignorance, and ru denotes the remover of that ignorance.
All the Hindu scriptures emphasize the importance of Gurus in our lives. The relation of Guru-Shishya (teacher and disciple) is considered to be one of the pure relations. In Sanskrit, there is a phrase that goes ‘Mata Pitah Guru Daivam’, which means that mother, father, Guru and God are placed in this particular order.
Why is Guru Purnima Celebrated?
In addition to celebrating our teachers, Guru Purnima is celebrated to commemorate Ved Vyasa’s birthday. Ved Vyasa is a renowned Guru relevant to Hinduism and is the author of the most pivotal Hindu texts – Puranas, Mahabharata and Vedas.
The wisdom and knowledge of ancient India would not have been preserved without the contribution of Rishi Ved Vyasa. He gave the structure to the four Vedas that we have today and laid down the foundation for numerous Puranas. Not to forget, Mahabharata was beautifully articulated by Ved Vyasa for generations to be cherished.
Moreover, the auspicious day of Guru Purnima marks the date when Lord Shiva, in the form of ‘Adi Guru’ (meaning First Guru), taught lessons to the seven rishis (Saptarishis). The Saptarishi were the messengers of the Vedas. The Yog Sutras say that Om was the Adi Guru of Yoga, also known as ‘AdiYogi’ (the First Yogi). So, this is another reason to celebrate ‘Guru Purnima’.
Buddhists also consider Guru Purnima a notable day because Lord Buddha is believed to have delivered his first Sermon (Upadesh) at Sarnath on this day. The sermon was about the reflection of the power of sacred time.
How is Guru Purnima Celebrated?
For some Hindus, Guru Purnima is equivalent to Vishnu Puja. As a ritual, they chant Lord Vishu’s thousand names on this auspicious day. It is believed that it is a form of meditation and helps one be in complete sync with one’s body and mind, generating positive energies.
Most of the people to whom Guru Purnima is relevant, celebrate it by worshipping Gods and Goddesses representing knowledge (like Goddess Saraswati) and expressing gratitude to the Gurus in the form of divine Gods.
Disciples living in ashrams or monasteries are seen offering prayers to their Guru’s and performing ceremonies in their honour. Spiritual experts suggest that the best way to celebrate Guru Purnima is to throw oneself into practising the principles and teachings of their respective Gurus. There is no better way to honour your Guru than this.
Fasting is also a common way to celebrate Guru Purnima, wherein the people do not eat rice, cereals, salt, non-vegetarian food, and other oily foods. The aim is to refrain from eating your favourites in honour of your Guru. Only fruits and curd are allowed. The fasting goes on for the whole day and is finally opened after performing a puja. Sweets and Charnamrit are distributed as Prasada.
So, the Guru Purnima is celebrated in many ways in India. We celebrate Guru Purnima to take blessings from our teachers. We usually go to the house of our teachers and take blessings from them. Many schools and colleges also celebrate Guru Purnima in various ways, like by conducting dance programs, plays, and music programs, to give tribute to our teachers.