It was Guru Pournima on Tues day, the 3rd instant. Guru Pournima is a day on which one remembers and reveres his teachers. It falls on the full moon day in the Ashada, the fourth month of the Indian calendar.We are ordained by the Skaanda Purana, to revere our mentors as one would, the three supreme Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, or rather, as The All-pervasive, Para Brahmam, the Ultimate Spirit that pervades even the Trinity, in addition to the whole universe. The guru in turn is expected to view and treat his children as he would, his own children. Guru in this context means your spiritual master or mentor, but the term applies to any teacher conscientious of his role and duty as well. The penalty and ignominy for being a false guru, untrue to his salt, are severe, as several instances in the epics indicate.The syllable Gu in the word, connotes darkness and ignorance and the othe syllable, ru , means something that destroys it. So, Guru is one who dispels your darkness and ignorance. In a broader context anyone or anything which enlghtens you and sets you on the right path ought to be revered as a Guru.
I still remember the punishment we used to recieve as children, if we were callous with our books, pens, pencils or compass boxes or even the bags that enveloped them.They were incarnations of the Godess of Learning Saraswati, and hence our Gurus.
I quote below, a few words from His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of The Art of Living foundation, on the significance of Guru-Purnima
.“Among the 12-13 full moons in a year the Vaishakha full moon is dedicated to Buddha (his birth and enlightenment), Jyeshtha full moon to mother earth and the Aashadha full moon is dedicated to the memory of masters. This is Guru-Purnima.
It is the day when the disciple wakes up in his fullness and in the wakefulness he can’t be but grateful. This gratitude is not of dwaita (you and me), but of advaita. It is not a river moving from somewhere to somewhere, but is the ocean moving within itself. So, gratefulness on Guru-Purnima symbolizes that fullness.
The purpose of the Guru Purnima celebration is to turn back and review and see in this last one year how much one has progressed in life. For a seeker, Guru Purnima is a day of significance. It is the day to review one’s progress on the spiritual path and renew one’s determination and focus on the goal. As the full moon rises and sets, tears of gratitude arise and repose into the vastness of one’s own self.”
Here is my English translation of Tyagaraja’s lyric , “Guru leka, yetuwanti guniki.” The lyric is set in Gowri Manohari Ragam in Jhampe talam.
” Without a guru, even a virtuous one won’t be able to learn, to clear the impenetrable jungle, that is, the heart-ache.
(the ache you get from your body, your offspring, your money, your spouse, your relatives and friends), with benovelence and kindness, so that it does not touch your mind.
Such a Guru, dear to Tyagaraja, would, save you by prescribing his spiritual lessons as an apt medicine ,to relieve the ache.” .
Guru purnima is also known as Vyasa Pournima, in honour of the great sage Veda Vyasa, who compiled the Vedas and Upanishads, besides writing the colossal epic Maha Bharata, They say what is not there you can not hope to find anywhere else .Vyasa is considered to be the AdiGuru, the first guru, followed, over the eons, by innumerable great teachers.
Saint Sai Baba is one of the Great Gurus in this line and is revered as a newer addition to the Hindu pantheon and an avatar of Dattareya.