Guru Purnima is a significant observance dedicated to honoring and paying tribute to one’s Guru or Teacher. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Ashadha, which typically falls in June or July according to the Gregorian calendar. This auspicious day holds great importance for millions of Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains across India.
Guru Purnima, also known as Vyasa Purnima, commemorates the birth anniversary of Ved Vyasa, the revered author of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Additionally, Lord Buddha is honored by his followers on this day, as it is believed to be the day he delivered his first sermon in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. The celebrations on Guru Purnima involve expressing deep gratitude, admiration, and respect towards the Gurus who have imparted knowledge and wisdom.
The date of Guru Purnima varies each year, as it is based on the lunar calendar. In 2023, according to the Hindu Panchang, Guru Purnima will occur on July 3rd. The Guru Purnima Tithi (auspicious time) begins at 8:21 PM on July 2nd and ends at 5:08 PM on July 3rd.
A widely recited mantra on this occasion is:
“Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara. Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.”
This mantra translates to:
“The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru is Maheshwara (Shiva). The Guru is the Supreme Brahman itself. Salutations to that Guru.”
While Buddhists primarily commemorate Guru Purnima to honor Lord Buddha, who delivered his first sermon on this day, Hindus celebrate it as the birth anniversary of Ved Vyasa. Vyasa, also known as Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, was born to sage Parashara and Satyavati. He played a vital role in Vedic studies by collecting and categorizing the Vedic hymns into four divisions: Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva.
On the day of Guru Purnima, devotees perform ceremonial baths and offer prayers to their Gurus as an expression of reverence and gratitude. The observance of Guru Purnima extends throughout the country, with people reciting the aforementioned mantra to pay homage to their Gurus and acknowledge their invaluable contributions.
In conclusion, Guru Purnima is a revered occasion celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Ashadha. It is a time for individuals to express deep respect and gratitude towards their Gurus, teachers, and spiritual guides. The day holds significance for both Hindus, who commemorate Ved Vyasa’s birth anniversary, and Buddhists, who honor Lord Buddha’s first sermon. The observance involves rituals, prayers, and the recitation of mantras as a mark of devotion to the Gurus who have played a pivotal role in shaping their lives.