Gururbrahmaa Gururvishnuh Gururdevo Maheswarah |
Guruh-Saakshaat Parabrahma Tasmai Shrigurave Namah ||
Ishaa Vaasyamidam sarvam, yatkincha jagatyaam jagat |
Tena tyaktena bhunjeethaah maa gridhah kasyaswiddhanam ||
In Hinduism Gurus are often equated with God and always regarded as a link between the individual and the Immortal. Just as the moon shines in Sun light so can disciples dazzle in the reflected glory of their Gurus.
The full moon day in the month of Ashad (July-August) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, a day sacred to the memory of the great sage Vyasa. It is believed that on this day Krishna-dwaipayana Vyasa – author of the Mahabharata – was born to sage Parashara and fisher woman Satyavati. Veda Vyasa, did yeoman service to the cause of Vedic studies by gathering all the Vedic hymns extant during his times, dividing them into four parts based on their use in the sacrificial rites, and teaching them to his four chief disciples – Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. It was this dividing and editing that earned him the honorific “Vyasa” (vyas = to edit, to divide).
He divided the Veda into four, namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva and wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Vyasa even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.
On this day, all spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Vyasa in honor of his divine personage and all disciples perform a ‘puja’ of their respective spiritual preceptor or ‘Gurudevs’. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify their spiritual ‘sadhana’ from this day.
The period ‘Chaturmas’ (“four months”) begins 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 composed by Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions.
Swami Sivananda asks: “Do you realize now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the Guru’s role in the evolution of man? It was not without reason that the India of the past carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of Guru-Tattva. The Guru is seen as the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, and experience the Consciousness of the Reality.”
The Buddhist celebrate it in the honor the lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. The sermon Buddha gave to the five monks was his first sermon, called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. Buddhists observe on this day uposatha i.e. to observe eight precepts. Vipassana meditators practice meditation on this day under the guidance of their teachers.
According to Jain traditions, it was on this day, Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, after attaining Kaivalya, made Indrabhuti Gautam, later known as Gautam Swami his first disciple, thus becoming a Guru himself.
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