Guru Poornima is also known as Vyasa Poornima. Vyasa means ‘compiler’. It is a title given to Sage Krishna Dvaipayana because he is the one who collected all the knowledge that was available at that time and classified it into four texts called the VEDAS. Bhagavan Vyasa is also recognised as an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Vyasa’s father was Sage Parashara who represents Spiritual Knowledge (Jnana). His mother was a fisher-woman and hence she represents Activity (Karma). Her name was Matsyagandhi (fish-smelling) representing ego and ego-centric activities. By the grace of Sage Parashara, she became Sugandhi (beautiful fragrance) which stands for selfless activities. Hence Veda Vyasa is a unique combination of Adhyatma Jnana and Niskama Karma. Veda Vyasa is both, a visionary and missionary. Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s contribution is unparalleled. He gave to us the Brahma-sutras, Vedas (Sruti – Upanishads), Bhagavad Geeta (Smriti – Mahabharata), Puranas (Srimad Bhagavatham etc.). The various Geetas, Sahasranamas and many of the Stotras which we are familiar with, are all a part of the Puranas. Bhagawan Veda Vyasa is associated with almost every branch of knowledge known to us, and therefore it is a tradition to invoke his grace and blessings before the study of any scriptural text. Hence Guru Poornima is recognised as Vyasa Poornima.
Guru Poornima is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Ashada. Shad means ‘to sit’. Ashada means the opposite of it – it denotes restlessness. Ashada also indicates the windy month. Even when everything is fine in our lives, there comes a stage in our life, when the mind starts to feel a sense of incompleteness, an unknown restlessness which is inexplicable. There is an inner yearning for something higher. This is the auspicious time when the Guru enters our life. There is one more interpretation. Aashada with elongated ‘Aa’. This means ‘to sit along with’. When the Guru enters one’s life, the seeker should constantly remain in tune with the Guru and his teachings. And it is in the month of Ashada that all the masters undertake the Chaturmasya Vrata wherein the Acharyas who are on the move stay in one place for the benefit of the people and initiate them into the spiritual knowledge. Hence the importance of the month of Aashada.
The word GURU is made up of GU and RU . GU means ‘ignorance’ and RU means ‘to remove’. Therefore, GURU means ‘one who removes our ignorance’. GU means ‘Gunatita’ and RU means ‘Rupatita’. Therefore GURU also means ‘one who transcended the world of forms (and names) and attributes. The two-lettered word GURU is the king among the mantras (Mantra Raja). GURU symbolises the essence of the Srutis, Smritis and Puranas. GURU is the Lord Himself who comes down to help us and guide us on the spiritual path.
On the full moon (Poornima) day, the sun and the moon are directly facing each other without the earth intervening inbetween. The light of the sun which represents Spiritual Knowledge is completely available for the moon which symbolises our mind. This sunlight (knowledge) is completely converted into moonlight (divine inner experience). Therefore, the full moon endowed with all its sixteen parts or kalas represents the All-full (Poorna) State of the Guru. The earth which is not intervening between the sun and the moon represents the transcendence of the ego. Hence the Poornima day is celebrated as Guru Poornima. On this auspicious day, we invoke the grace and blessings of the entire Guru-Sishya Parampara starting from Sri Dakshinamurthy, the Guru of all Gurus, Bhagavan Veda Vyasa, Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada, and upto our own immediate Spiritual Guru.
“The Guru’s divine form is the support in our meditation. The lotus feet of the Guru represents the altar for our upasana and worship. The Guru’s words are verily the sacred mantra. It is the Guru’s grace which bestows liberation or mukti to the seeker” ~ Guru Gita.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]
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