Introduction: ‘Guru Purnima’ is a festive occasion for Hindus and Buddhists, especially, since this day evokes the reminiscent of the learned man ‘Ved Vyas’- the man penned down Vedas. Thus, this day is dedicated to teachers and preachers. This day is specially celebrated to revere & honor the gurus since they tend to end the ignorance penetrated inside via their righteous way of guidance. Thus, the only key to open the gate of wisdom is reserved with the gurus.
Etymology: ‘Gu’ stands for the darkness (ignorance) whereas ‘Ru’ means remover. The literal meaning of the word ‘guru’ concludes the remover of darkness (ignorance).
Occurrence: This festive eve falls on full moon day (Purnima) in the Hindu month ‘Ashadh’ (June-July) of the Shaka Samvat as per Hindu calendar.
Testimonial scripture: Brahmanda Purana
Significance: The tradition of honouring the respecting Gurus or teachers is triggered for thanking them, as being obliged to their supreme service of honing intellectual skills that enables an ignorant one to emphasis on mind and look into the logic and honesty underlying the subject or matter.
As the religious belief of Buddhists conveys, Lord Buddha preached his first sermon (known as Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) subsequent to getting blessed with enlightenment on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. The group of monks extended to 60, which formed Sangha, who were sent on a mission to preach sermon (the lesson of spirituality) and teach the Dharma. Those monks were popularly known as ‘Arahants’.
Hindus celebrate this day as ‘Vyas Purnima’ while offering puja of Gurus with offerings blossoms and gift since this day represents the tradition of ‘Guru-and -Shishya’ (teacher and disciple). After worshipping Gurus, Charnamrita (the nectar of guru’s feet) is distributed among disciples as ‘Prasad’.
This day also marks the sacred and significant day on which Ved Vyas completed his composition called ‘Brahma Sutra’ on Ashadha Sudha Padyami. Some Hindu ascetics and sages offer their gratitude in the form of Puja dedicated to respected ‘Gurus’. They devote their four-months in seclusion during Chaturmas or visit few limited places for preaching to local people.
Legend: As per evident scriptures, the author of the epic ‘Mahabharata’ namely Krishna Dawipayana Vyasa took birth on this day and graced his parents sage ‘Paradhara’ and ‘Satyavati’. Hence, the day got its name as ‘Vyasa Purnima’. He contributed his major share of intellect while composing and compiling Vedic hymns in four parts describing their usage along with sacrificial rite and rituals. He imparted his intensive intellectual effort of crafted Vedas to his four apprentices (disciples) namely Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Samantu. His this remarkable achievement has established him as an ‘iconic’ figure of learned man since all credit to edit and categorize Vedic study into four goes to him who scripted them as Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda & Atharva Veda. The fifth Veda is supposed to be the Histories and the Puranas.
Customary tradition: The academics belonging to India celebrate this eve by thanking their respective teachers. Alumni are organized in schools and universities where teachers and students exchange their warm gestures of gratification.