EYE ON VEDIC HOLIDAYS: GURU PURNIMA AND JULY 2-3 FULL MOON
The first full moon after the summer solstice in Sagittarius is very auspicious spiritually and it occurs during the 15th lunar day which runs July 2-3 from about 10 am on Sunday to 7 am on Monday in the Eastern US. It is a very auspicious time to receive grace from the Guru or the Big Mind. A wonderful time to read spiritual literature, and do puja for your Guru. Good time to donate to spiritual masters and their schools and support spiritual knowledge. Meditation and pujas done on Guru Purnima are particularly powerful.
If you do not have a Guru, it is a day to honor our teachers. Our first teacher was our mother and then our school teachers and maybe our local priest and then our college mentors. Take time to fondly all of those that brought you out of ignorance with deep love and gratitude.
Komilla Sutton discusses the importance of the Guru and this day says: Gu means darkness, Ru means Dispel, eliminate. Guru means the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. Guru is the spiritual teacher who shows the aspirant the path to higher knowledge. He brings light to his disciple by showing them the means to find the eternal light. Spiritual gurus are seen as a link between the individual and the divine and therefore given great importance in Vedic philosophy. Gurus open the eyes of the aspirant to their higher self and show them the divine light where they, the aspirants may have been struggling in darkness. Therefore honored and respected for centuries more than any other person as only the Guru can show the aspirant a path back to the divine and bring them from darkness to light.
Guru Purnima is the day on which one expresses one’s gratitude to one’s Guru. In India, for thousands of years, the Full moon in Sagittarius is celebrated in honor of the divine gurus. Ved Vyasa is regarded as the Guru of all Gurus and the Guru Purnima is dedicated to him. Vyasa edited the four Vedas and wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Srimad Bhagavata. He also taught Dattatreya, who spread Vyasa’s knowledge to the other gurus.”
The history of Guru Purnima is fascinating. Sarabini Rath discusses it says:
” In yogic lore, it is said that Guru Purnima was the day that saw Shiva become the Adi Guru or the first Guru. The story goes that over 15,000 years ago, a yogi appeared in the Himalayas. His presence was extraordinary, and people gathered. However, he exhibited no signs of life, but for the occasional tears of ecstasy that rolled down his face. People began to drift away, but seven men stayed on. When he opened his eyes, they pleaded with him, wanting to experience whatever was happening to him. He dismissed them, but they persevered. Finally, he gave them a simple preparatory step and closed his eyes again. The seven men began to prepare. Days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, but the yogi’s attention did not fall upon them again. After 84 years of sadhana, the yogi looked at them again. They had become shining receptacles, wonderfully receptive. He could not ignore them anymore. On the very next full moon day, the yogi turned south and sat as a guru to these seven men. Shiva, the Adiyogi (the first yogi) thus became the Adi Guru. Adiyogi expounded on these mechanics of life for many years. The seven disciples became celebrated as the Saptarishis and took this knowledge across the world. Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in these seven individuals became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga, something that has still endured.”(From Sarabini Rath).
So take a day off and enjoy deep meditation and celebration and spend time with your spiritual group.
I will leave you with a beautiful quote from one of the great spiritual teachers from my spiritual tradition, Swami Brahmanada Saraswati Jagaguru Bhavan Shankaracharya of Jyoti Math:
To get a human body is a rare thing. Make full use of it. There are four million kinds of lives that a soul can gather. After that, one gets a chance to be human. To get a human body, therefore, one should not waste the chance. If you don’t value this, then you will be left with nothing in hand and you will weep in the end.
Because you are human, God has given you the power to think and decide good and bad. Therefore you should never consider yourself a weak or fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn’t know, but now be careful…after getting human, if you don’t reach God, then you have sold a diamond for the price of spinach.
So special thanks to Komilla Sutton, Sarabini Rath, and all my spiritual Gurus!
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