In Indian culture, the Guru or the teacher is considered to be an important part of a person’s life. It is said that when it comes to worshiping the Guru, he is just next to the parents but still holds a place above God. No wonder, Indians place their teachers on a pedestal and love and respect them all their lives.
This is how the concept of Guru Purnima came into being. This is an occasion which gives you a chance to make your teachers feel special and show your gratitude for the world of knowledge that they have opened up for you.
Here are 5 important and amazing things that you should know about Guru Purnima.
1. The Mythological Significance
According to Hindu mythology, Guru Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maharishi Ved Vyas who is known as the Guru of all Gurus. He was known for having developed the study of Vedas by dividing them into four important segments namely the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. He taught these Vedas to his four disciples who later spread the knowledge.
It is also believed that this was the day when Lord Shiva took the form of the Adi Guru, a yogi who went on to spread knowledge via his seven disciples who are known as the Saptarishis.
According to Buddhists, it was on this day that Lord Buddha gave his first ever sermon to the five monks of his Sangha.
If Jain mythology is to be believed this was the day when the 24th Tirthankara, Mahavir took on his first ever disciple and became a Guru. The name of the disciple was Indrabhuti Gautam who later went on to become Gautam Swami.
2. The Astrological Significance
Guru Purnima is celebrated by the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. It is celebrated in the month of Ashadha on the full moon day known as Purnima in Sanskrit.
Other than being a day to show gratitude to the teachers, this is the day when the lunar cycle peaks for the first time after the continual peaks of the solar cycles.
3. Celebrating Guru Purnima – The Religious Way
Guru Purnima is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in Sarnath which is the place where Gautam Buddha delivered his first ever sermon. On this day the Buddhist followers practice Uposatha, which is considered to be a way to cleanse your soul. This is done by meditation with teachers as the guides.
The Hindus celebrate this day by conducting Vyasa Puja in temples. This is usually followed by a feast for all the disciples, which includes Charanamrita which is symbolic of the nectar formed after washing the Guru’s feet. Also, many people conduct recitations of Guru Gita which is a special ode to the Guru and was written by Maharishi Veda Vyasa.
4. Guru Purnima in Schools and Colleges
Other than the religious places, Guru Purnima is also celebrated in various educational institutions. The students honor their teachers by garlanding them, conducting Padapuja which means washing the teachers’ footwear and offering them delicacies, thus showing them their gratitude. A lot of people visit their old schools to meet their teachers and thank them on this auspicious day.
5. The Beginning of Monsoon
Guru Purnima also marks the beginning of monsoon. Thus, this is an important day for the farmers who conduct special pujas to thank the Rain God for the harvest of the previous year and to welcome him with more showers in the coming year.
Guru Purnima is not only celebrated in India but in Nepal as well with much fervor and excitement.