The Purnima (Full Moon) day in the month of Ashadha (July-August) is known as Guru Purnima (July 19th 2016). This is a very sacred day on which special worship is performed to the acharyas (Gurus), who have removed the veil of (spiritual) darkness from the eyes of their disciples. The ideal Guru is a facilitator and encourages the disciple to go and seek beyond that which is taught by the Guru. How does one find a Guru? Why celebrate Guru Purnima?

What is the significance of Guru Purnima?

Guru Purnima is the ideal occasion to seek out a Guru, and ask for their acceptance to be a pupil or student. The acceptance by the Guru is in the form of deeksha or some time of initiation (sometimes done by a specific mantra given to the disciple by the Guru). At the time of deeksha (initiation), the Guru absorbs the past sins and karmas of his disciple and reveals true spiritual knowledge. Bhagavad Gita shows that when Arjuna was confused about his duties, he put his faith in Lord Krishna, and accepted him as his Guru – then Krishna showed him the right path.

The festival or occasion of Guru Purnima celebrates the unique relationship between the shishya (disciple) and the Guru.
Guru is one who illumines the path to divinity. Purnima stands for the cool full moon light. Full moon stands for a mind with total illumination. It is spotless and blemishes. Even if there is a trace of blemish in the mind, it will lead to darkness. It cannot give you total bliss. – Sathya Sai Baba

The day is also observed as Veda Vyasa Purnima because Veda Vyasa is considered to be the Adi (first) Guru who composed most of the significant texts which form the foundation of Hinduism.
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How does find an ideal Guru?

Some definitions of a Guru are –

any venerable or respectable person (father , mother , or any relative older than one’s self)

a spiritual parent or preceptor, from whom a youth receives the initiatory mantra or prayer , who instructs him in the shastras and conducts the necessary ceremonies up to that of investiture which is performed by the acharya

In a previous article, we had discussed the suggestions of the Bhagavad Gita regarding the role of a Guru and the qualities of an ideal Guru. The Gita alerts us…

We should not accept or take on face value what is said in the sastras or taught by the Guru. Religion must stand the test of reason. We must combine devotion to the teacher with the spirit of free examination and inquiry. Blind faith and adherence to authority is not the path to self-realization.

The Guru Mantras

On Guru Purnima day, we pray –

Guru Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devoh Maheswaraha
Guru Saakshaat Para Brahma, Tasmai Shree Guruve Namaha

गुरूर ब्रह्मा गुरूर विष्णु, गुरूर देवो महेश्र्वरा ।
गुरूर साक्शात परब्रह्मा, तस्मयी श्री गुरूवे नम: ।।

Let us approach Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara as the guru. These three symbolize the three qualities (gunas) – Brahma is activity (rajas), Vishnu is serenity (sattva) and Siva is inertia (tamas). The whole cosmos is constituted by these three qualities. The trinity are present in the form of the three qualities in every human heart.

A related mantra, known as the beej (seed) mantra in honor of the Guru is the simple –

AUM gum guru bhyo namah

ॐ गुम गुरू भ्यो नम: ।

Oh Guru, please remove all the obstacles in our spiritual path with your grace.

The Guru Mantras – Audio Extracts (mp3 version)

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Do you have a Guru yet? Or are you following your spiritual path by tapping into your inner Guru? Please share with us in the comments below.

Originally published July 4th 2009. Revised with additions July 16th 2016.
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11 Responses to Guru Poornima – Celebrating the Guru

  1. Anamika says:

    It’s very important to find a True Guru in this kalyug.One should thoroughly check Him in all respects before following. Some qualities of a True Guru
    1. He will never as for any donation for himself
    2. He will guide u in right direction and doesn’t lead you to path of superstition.
    3. Works hard himself for his own living and teaches us the same.

    St. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Ji is the True Spiritual Master of the times, whose every act is for the welfare of all. I bow to Him for His benevolences on mankind !

  2. satya pal says:

    Can Guru be a principle or a sermons from a sacred book?

    • Anamika says:

      A Guru can’t be a holy sermon from book.. Bcoz a Guru is someone who has mastered the previous words of God and recited it thoroughly to be one with the Divine and only a Guru can bless a seeker with True Method of Meditation which leads us to Divine and eternal bliss.!!

      Happy Meditating 🙂

  3. Andrey says:

    Why guru must be a man?

  4. rahul kaul says:

    It is incredible and most valueable information one can add it to their respective Knowledge and should be
    inculcated to the childrens of today to carry forward for the beenfit of Human kind , Such Guru Mantra
    is the guiding force to go ahead
    Namaste.
    rahulkaul.

    • kajmani says:

      Yes. It is important to carry on the Guru-Shishya tradition, which is one of the backbones of the Hindu culture. Thank you for pointing out this important point. Namaste!

  5. K S balasubramanyam says:

    Many thanks for the invaluable wealth of information this site provides. Can we use it for publication in our local material for the benefit of common man & children in our community?

    With best Regards / Bala K S

    • kajmani says:

      Dear Bala K S,
      Please let me know which article or articles you would like to publish. I would be happy to send you a print-version in pdf format.
      Namaste!

  6. kajmani says:

    @Anand – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Guru Poornima. The role of the Guru in maarga-darshan is indeed very important. You have neatly summarized the responsibilities of the disciple through the concepts of ‘pipasa’ and ‘sampoorna viswaasa’. Maybe I will talk about these in a future article – Namaste!

  7. GPM ANAND says:

    mahadbhyonamaha,
    It is an auspicious day for every being on earth irrespective of his beliefs. The guru who is always ready to ‘margadarshan’ for those who bow his head with reverence and inclination(pipasa/jigjnasa). As far me the guru is the only one who hold our hand’s little finger making me to walk towards ‘satyapadha’ which means to the presence of God. I mean it and it is my ‘sampoorna viswasa’ about guru.
    Anand

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