Understanding Guru Pournami

Swami Muktananda said: “When God was distributing the full moon, He gave the most perfect one to the Guru”.

Hindus attach paramount impor-tance to spiritual gurus. Gurus are often equated with God and always regarded as a link be-tween the individual and the Immortal. Just as the moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun, all disciples can dazzle like the moon by gaining from their Gurus.

The full-moon day in the month of Ashad (July-August) is the extremely auspicious and holy day of Guru Poornima. This day is dedicated to the memory of the great sage, Bhagavan Sri Vyasa who edited the four Vedas, wrote the eighteen Puranas, the Ma-habharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. In honour of Him, all spiritual aspirants and devotees perform Vyasa Puja on this day, and disciples worship their spiritual preceptor. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and enter-tained with sincere acts of charity by all the householders. The period Chatur-mas (the "four months") begins from this day, when Sannyasins stay at one place during the ensuing four rainy months, engaging in the study of the Brahma Sutras and the practice of meditation.On this day, generate fresh waves of spirituality. Allow all that you have read, heard, seen and learnt to transform you, through Sadhana, and express a continuous outpouring of universal love, ceaseless loving service, and continuous prayer and worship of the Lord seated in all beings. Devotees should take only milk and fruit on this day, study the Brahma Sutras, meditate and practise rigorous Japa of their Guru Mantra during the four months following the Guru Poornima.

The day of worship of one’s preceptor, should be a day of pure joy to the sincere spiritual aspirant. Thrilled by the expectation of offering his reverent homage to the beloved Guru, aspirants should await this occasion with eagerness and devotion as it is the Guru alone that breaks the binding cords of attachment and releases the aspirant from the trammels of earthly existence.The Srutis say: “To that high-souled aspirant, whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his Guru is as great as that to the Lord, the secrets explained herein become illuminated”. The Guru is Brahman, the Absolute, or God Himself who guides and inspires aspirants from the innermost core of being. He is every-where. They should transform their spiritual vision and behold the entire universe as the form of the Guru, and see the guiding hand, the awakening voice, the illuminating touch of the Guru in every object of creation.Sri Swami Sivananda says, “they who will look and listen, will learn. Become a personification of receptivity. Empty yourself of your petty ego and all the treasures locked up in the bosom of Nature will become yours. You will progress and attain perfection in an amazingly short time. Become pure and unattached as the mountain breeze. As the river flows continuously, steadily and constantly towards its goal, the ocean, so also let your life flow ceaselessly towards the supreme state of absolute Existence-Know-ledge-Bliss, by letting all your thoughts, all your words and all your actions be directed only towards the goal. The moon shines by reflecting the dazzling light of the sun. It is the full moon on the Poornima day that reflects in full splendour the glorious light of the sun. It glorifies the sun. Purify yourself through the fire of selfless service and Sadhana, and like the full moon, reflect the glorious light of the Self. The Supreme Self alone is real. He is the Soul of all. He is all-in-all. He is the essence of this universe. He is the unity that never admits of a duality under all the varieties and diversities of nature. Thou art this immortal, all-pervading, all-blissful Self. Thou art That! Realise this and be free.”

Remember these four important lines of the Brahma Sutras:

1. Athatho brahma jijnasaa - Now, therefore, the enquiry of Brahman.

2. Janmasya yathah - From which proceed the origin.

3. Sastra yonitwat - The scriptures are the means of right knowledge.

4. Tat tu samanvayat - For, That is the main support (of the universe).

Jaya Guru Shiva Guru Hari Guru Ram;
Jagad Guru Param Guru Sat Guru Shyam

It is through the medium of the preceptor that the individual can raise himself to Cosmic-Consciousness. It is also through that medium that the imperfect can become perfect, the finite can become infinite and the mortal can pass into the eternal life of blessed-ness. The Guru is a link between the individual and the Immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That and thus has a free and unhampered access to both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality, and, bending down, he raises the struggling individuals with his one hand, and with the other, lifts them up into the kingdom of everlasting joy and infinite Truth-Consciousness.Do you realise now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the Guru’s role in the evolution of man? It was not without reason that the India of the past carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of Guru-Tattva.

It is therefore not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates anew this ancient concept of the Guru, adores it and pays homage to it again and again, and thereby re-affirms its belief and allegiance to it. For the true Indian knows that the Guru is the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, and experience the Consciousness of the Reality.

The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, to shine as the very embodiment of his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message. Remember and adore Sri Vyasa and the Gurus who are fully established in knowledge of the Self. May their blessings be upon you! May you cut asunder the knot of ignorance and shine as blessed sages shedding peace, joy and light everywhere!