Today is Guru Purnima, a very important day in India. Everybody offers prayers to his (her) Guru (teacher) on this day. On this day we remember our teachers, parents and elders to express our respects and gratitude who had a hand in guiding us and in shaping our lives.
Guru Purnima, or Vyas Purnima, happens to be the birthday of Sage Vyas, son of Saint Parasar and Satyavati. He was the author of the Mahabharat and the Bhagavata. He had divided the Vedas into four. We in fact celebrate the birthday of Sage Vyas on this day.
On this day Lord Buddha after attaining enlightenment had given his first sermon at Sarnath, near Varanasi. Lord Mahavir after attaining Kaivalya had initiated Indrabhuti Gautam as his first disciple, known as Gautam Swami on Gurupurnima day. Therefore, this day is not only auspicious but significant to all faiths in India.
The literal meaning of Guru and its relevance can be gauzed from the discourse of satya Sai Baba, a philosopher-Guru, from His Divine Discourse, Guru Purnima July 13, 1984)
"Gu represents darkness and ru means to dispel. Therefore, Guru Purnima is the day when we decimate the darkness of our ignorance and fill it with joy and bliss. This is the true significance of Guru Purnima …”. This is verily the line from the Peace Mantra: Tamasoma jyothirgamay (Lead us from darkness to light).
Holy Gita extols Guru:
Dhyan mulam guru murti, puja mulam guru padam
Mantram mulam guru vakyam, moksha mulam guru kripa
The form of guru is the true object of meditation, true worship is that of his feet;
The words of guru constitute the essence of all mantras, and liberation is ensured by his grace
Santha Kabir ji has placed Guru above god and says in his famous Doha (couplet):
Guru Govind dono khade kake lag paay
Balihaari Guru apane Govind diyo bataay
Both Guru and god stand in front of me,
Whose feet shall I touch;
My Guru is greater, for he shows me the god
With the backdrop of our ancient traditions and customs Gurupurnima is a very auspicious and significant day. Let us pay our respects to our teachers and lead a happy and pious life for the benefit of mankind. Gurupurnima greetings to one and all.