What is Guru Poornima?
Let’s start with understanding what is Guru Poornima? This occasion is observed to pay respect to one’s mentor and teacher. Guru is a Sanskrit word that means “the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance from the seekers mind”. It is an auspicious day for all spiritual seekers. But does this day carry any relevance in modern times? Definitely yes. The learning methods and formats may have changed from that of ancient Guru-Shishya (student) traditions, but the need for a human mentor and guide has only increased in the modern chaotic world of confusion, stress and anxiety. Buddhists celebrate this day as Buddha Poornima, the day Buddha was enlightened.
What is done on Guru Poornima?
Guru Poornima is celebrated on the full moon day in the lunar month of Ashadha (July of the modern calendar). This day is also called Vyasa Poornima/ Vyasa Jayanti, the birth day of Veda Vyasa, the famous composer of the epic Mahabharata.
The Hindu traditional celebration of Guru Poornima is the worship of Dakshina-Murthy (Dakshina - South direction). Lord Shiva was worshiped as the master of Vedas, Yoga, and Dance. Facing towards the south is traditionally said to be inauspicious, but Lord Shiva sits facing South, debates and approves the addition of the fourth Veda, the Atharva Veda by Rishi Atharva. Hence Lord Shiva is worshiped as the primordial Guru, The Guru of Gurus.
Is Guru Poornima relevant in the present day?
Despite the technological advancements of recent times, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. For example, the purpose of humans on this earth, why is there pain and suffering etc. These aspects determine our actions and behavior throughout our life on this planet. The relevance of a true Guru to guide us on the right path, the spiritual path has only increased.
Our current internet age has given us access to loads of information at the tips of our fingers. Many times, there is so much information out there that we don’t know right vs. wrong. Even finding the solution to a simple question or problem poses a challenge for this reason. Information and knowledge still needs a discriminative and deductive mind to make sense and make the right choice of all this heaps of information.
The current age is also one of competition, confusion, and stress. The need for a mentor is even more important to make sense and to make the right choices in life. These aspects determine and have a huge impact on how we perform at work, our individual growth, our social behavior, and our physical and mental health.
The role of a Guru, a mentor, a teacher has never lost relevance and will continue to support us in navigating through this complex world for years to come. Guru Poornima is that auspicious day to recognise the role of such people in our lives and to be grateful and humble ourselves. It’s also the day we acknowledge and value the power of true knowledge and the means of that knowledge.
Shvasa is wishing you a meaningful Guru Poornima!