Guru Purnima is celebrated as a festival not only in India but also in Bhutan and Nepal. The tradition is observed by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains to mark respect for their guru or teacher. Guru Purnima is celebrated as an occasion to worship one’s teachers who play a very important role in one’s life.
The tradition is observed on the first full moon day that occurs typically in July after the summer solstice.
According to Hindu mythology, Guru Purnima is celebrated on the day Adiyogi or Lord Shiva agreed to become a guru to the Saptarishis, who later transferred the Vedic knowledge to the world.
Buddhists believe that Gautama Buddha rendered his first discourse on this day after receiving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Gaya.
On the other hand, Jains claim that their spiritual leader Mahavira, had got his first follower on Guru Purnima day.
The term guru is derived from two terms ‘gu; and ‘ru’. ‘Gu’ denotes darkness while ‘ru’ represents removal. Thus, the term guru is used to indicate removal of darkness. The guru is considered to have an exemplary role in a shishya’s (student) life. He/she is supposed to be the next in importance after one’s parents. In fact, a guru is believed to have a higher place than the Almighty. Read on to know the significance of a guru in a person’s life and why he/she is so important.
A guru is believed to edify his/her shishyas or students in various fields including spirituality and rid them of ignorance. He/she thus helps them in transforming themselves into intelligent, thinking beings. In other words, a guru identifies the potential and talent of his/her student and moulds or grooms them to turning into well-respected human beings.
A dedicated guru guides his/her followers to the path of progress and on how to be successful in life. He/she gives them the powers to differentiate between good and evil. The guru also guides his/her students on choosing the right path that benefits them. In other words, a guru helps a student or follower to become what is traditionally known as a buddhi jeevi or a being who uses the power of discretion/ has the ability to discriminate right from wrong.
Inculcates Self-discipline and Self-control
A guru also plays a key role in inculcating self-discipline in his/her students. This trait goes a long way in making a person well-respected in the society. He/she also helps students/followers to build a sense of self-control. This guides people to have control over their minds and they are successful in going through life with minimum trouble and unpleasantness.
The right guru can imbibe a sense of spirituality in his/her followers. He/she gives them religious discourses and directs followers on the course of action to realise God and become closer to the Omnipresent. A guru can bestow you with skilful knowledge based on his/her own experience; knowledge that is not merely bookish.
The importance of a guru in a person’s life cannot be undermined. A guru helps to narrow the gap between a person and the Supreme Power. Guru Purnima is regarded as a day to pay a tribute to our teachers by expressing our gratitude to them for teaching us to be virtuous.