Guru Purnima - puja to the Guru

Sri Chinmoy on Guru Purnima, 2007

Sri Chinmoy on Guru Purnima, 2007

Guru Purnima (Guru Pūrṇimā, sanskrit: गुरु पूर्णिमा) is a special day in the year when every sincere devotee offers puja (worship) to his Gurudeva.


See a story about Vyasa for Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is on the day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh of the Hindu calendar.

When Vyasa was born

This was the day when Krishna-dwaipayana Vyasa – author of the Mahabharata – was born. 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.
The histories and the Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda.
 - Brahmanda Purana 1.4.21

The spiritual Gurus are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings.

Guru Purnima calendar [1]

year    Guru Purnima date

2007    30 July 2007
2008    18 July 2008
2009     7 July 2009
2010    25 July 2010
2011    15 July 2011

What is Guru Purnima?

The full moon day in the Hindu 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. Every Hindu, as every sincere seeker in the world, is indebted to this ancient seer who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Vyasa even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.

Significance of Guru Purnima

On this day, every spiritual aspirant and devotee worship Vyasa in honor of his divine personage and every disciple performs a Puja to his respective spiritual preceptor, or Gurudeva, with sacred songs, hymns, meditation and joyful events.

Every spiritual seeker and devotee worship his Gurudeva and, praying to him as God's direct representative on earth, soulfully offers him his devotion in the form of flowers, fruits, and other offerings.

Performing this puja in the evening is considered more appropriate. However one can do it in the morning as well. On the day of the puja, the devotee is supposed to fast. After bathing the person can begin the puja.

This day is also of deep significance to the farmers, for it heralds the setting in of the rains. Traditionally it is said to be a good time to begin your spiritual lessons, and 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.

How to Observe Guru Purnima

Let us see for example how Guru Purnima is celebrated every year at the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.

  1. All aspirants awake at Brahmamuhurta, at 4 o'clock. They meditate on the Guru and chant his prayers.
  2. Later in the day, the sacred worship of the Guru's Feet is performed. Of this worship it is said in the Guru Gita:

Dhyana mulam guror murti;

Puja mulam guroh padam;

Mantra mulam guror vakyam;

Moksha mulam guroh kripa.

Freely translated:

The Guru's form should be meditated upon;

The feet of the Guru should be worshipped;

His words are to be treated as a sacred Mantra;

His Grace ensures final liberation.

  1. Sadhus and Sannyasins are then worshipped and fed at noon.
  2. There is continuous Satsang during which discourses are held on the glory of devotion to the Guru in particular, and on spiritual topics in general.
  3. Deserving aspirants are initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyas, as this is a highly auspicious occasion.
  4. Devout disciples fast and spend the whole day in prayer. They also take fresh resolves for spiritual progress.

Advice from a Guru

Swami Sivananda recommends:

Wake up at Brahmamuhurta (at 4 a.m.) on this most holy day. Meditate on the lotus feet of your Guru. Mentally pray to him for his Grace, through which alone you can attain Self-realisation. Do vigorous Japa and meditate in the early morning hours.

After bath, worship the lotus feet of your Guru, or his image or picture with flowers, fruits, incense and camphor. Fast or take only milk and fruits the whole day. In the afternoon, sit with other devotees of your Guru and discuss with them the glories and teachings of your Guru.

Alternatively, you may observe the vow of silence and study the books or writings of your Guru, or mentally reflect upon his teachings. Take fresh resolves on this holy day, to tread the spiritual path in accordance with the precepts of your Guru.

At night, assemble again with other devotees, and sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru. The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, to shine as the very embodiment of his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message.

[1] Dates as listed on www.hinduism.co.za


The Vedas

Tejvan's picture

Very interesting, I never knew any of that. There is much to be learnt from the Vedas

Guru Purnima

Hi,

I have never celebrated this festival and i want to know what people do to celebrate, i.e, puja?

Anything we can't eat on this day?

Reply back please

Many thanks

Re: Guru Purnima

Tomorrow is Guru Purnima, a very sacred day. It is a full moon night and from tomorrow onwards the moon will start reducing in size, leading to Amawasya (the dark night). Every spiritual seeker and devotee worship his Guru and, praying to him as God's direct representative on earth, soulfully offers him his devotion in the form of flowers, fruits, and other offerings.

Regarding the diet, it depends on the person and his receptivity to this special day. As said above, according to Hindu elders, on this day it is good to fast, worship and perform Lord Satya Narayan Katha. After offering prayers to the Moon at night they break their fast.

hi

U have to fast the full day and consume only milk and fruits

At what time do you break the fast

Could some one please say at what time I can break the fast at night. Thank You!