Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guru Purnima

Sunday, July 25th was Guru Purnima. We hope you had a chance to enjoy the splendor of the full moon on this special summer night. If you missed it and have some curiosity about the origin of this celebration here is a brief history.

It is said that thousands of years ago the tradition of Guru Purnima began. A Guru is the one who dispels the darkness, or the one who brings to light that which is hidden from awareness. In Tantra the root words that are in Guru are GU= remover and RU= darkness. In simple language Guru is frequently translated as teacher. Purnima means full and it refers in this case to the Full Moon of the Guru. In yogic symbolism the moon represents the mind and the sun represents the light of God or the Self. The Guru is the one whose mind is full with the light of God.

A great and most revered sage named Vyasa is said to have been responsible for editing the four Vedas, writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. In honor of this tremendous gift to humanity a tradition began of honoring Vyasa on the full moon that falls in the mid summer months. This time was the beginning of the rainy season in India and spiritual aspirants would all gather together to spend the next four months in one location where they would intensively practice their discipline. To sanctify their pursuit they would first pay respectful oblations to Vyasa and their own spiritual preceptor, or Guru. [1]

This day is also of deep significance to the farmers, for it heralds the setting in of the much-needed rains, as the advent of cool showers usher in fresh life in the fields. It is a good time to begin your spiritual lessons. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify their spiritual 'sadhana' (practice) from this day forward.

Guru Purnima is a wonderful time for all of us to bask in the warmth of the moonlight and give thanks to all of our teachers past, present and future.

[1] Hindu Fasts & Festivals, Swami Sivananda, p. 28-36

1 comment:

  1. Guru Purnima sweeps the mystery of our inner driven Guru principle into the forefront to be celebrated, revered and appreciated for all the inspiration that it offers us.

    I had the great pleasure of a most auspicious Guru Purnima experience this year. I was in Colorado at Ananda Tandava, Jamie and Justin Allison's retreat center for Rajanaka West with our esteemed teacher, Douglas Brooks.

    Justin lead us in soulful kirtan and then Douglas did an Arati puja with light and sound and chanting and mudra. My head is tingling as I remember it. Afterward, we gathered for food and toward the end of the evening I happened to go down to the studio just as Jamie and Justin were preparing to bathe Shiva Nataraja in the moonlight.

    It was pure bliss and celebration and like all of the beautiful posts on this website it rekindled the essential within. In a word, it was Yoga!