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Guru (Teacher) plays an important role in human life. Guru is one who shows the right direction to an individual. Today we celebrate Guru Pournima and here is some information about this auspicious day!
Guru Purnima (IAST: Guru P?r?im?, sanskrit: ???? ????????) is an Indian festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists, to thank their teachers. It is marked by ritualistic respect to the guru, Guru Puja. The Guru Principle is said to be a thousand times more active on the day of Gurupournima than on any other day. The word guru is derived from two words, gu and ru. The Sanskrit root gu means darkness or ignorance, and ru denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore a guru is one who removes the darkness of our ignorance. Gurus are believed by many to be the most necessary part of life. On this day, disciples offer puja (worship) or pay respect to their guru (spiritual guide). It falls on the day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh (June–July) of the Shaka Samvat, Indian national calendar and Hindu calendar.
In addition to having religious importance, this festival has great importance for Indian academics and scholars. Indian academics celebrate this day by thanking their teachers as well as remembering past teachers and scholars.
Traditionally the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in honor of the lord Buddha who gave His first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. In the yogic tradition, the day is celebrated as the occasion when Shiva became the first guru, as he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis. Many Hindus celebrate the day in honor of the great sage Vyasa, who is seen as one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions and a symbol of the Guru-shishya tradition. Vyasa was not only believed to have been born on this day, but also to have started writing the Brahma Sutras on ashadha sudha padyami, which ends on this day. Their recitations are a dedication to him, and are organised on this day, which is also known as Vyasa Purnima. The festival is common to all spiritual traditions in Hinduism, where it is an expression of gratitude toward the teacher by his/her disciple. Hindu ascetics and wandering monks (sanyasis), observe this day by offering puja to their guru, during the Chaturmas, a four-month period during the rainy season, when they choose seclusion and stay at one chosen place; some also give discourses to the local public. Students of Indian classical music, which also follows the Guru shishya parampara, celebrate this holy festival around the world.
Source: Wikipedia on Guru Purnima
There are several such spiritual and academic Gurus in India. Here is a brief information about a few of them:
His Holiness Shri. Shirdi Sai baba
Sai Baba of Shirdi (1838 – 15 October 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was a spiritual master who was and is regarded by his devotees as a saint, fakir, avatar (an incarnation of God), or sadguru, according to their individual proclivities and beliefs. He was started by his Muslim devotees, and during, as well as after, his life on earth it remained uncertain if he was a Muslim or Hindu himself. This however was of no consequence to Sai Baba himself. Sai Baba stressed the importance of surrender to the guidance of the true Sadguru or Murshad, who, having gone the path to divine consciousness himself, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.
Sai Baba remains a very popular saint, especially in India, and is worshiped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. He gave no distinction based on religion or caste, and his teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam.
Source: Wikipedia on Shri. Shirdi Sai Baba
Thanks to our Guruji Shri. M Rajasekhar, we were fortunate enough to participate in Shri. Rama Kalyanam at the holy place of Shirdi. Also, were fortunate to witness Shri. Baba during a Ramnavami. Our daughter Chi. Sow. Khushi Varishini is so blessed that she has visited the holy place of Shirdi at her age of 1.5 months.
His Holiness Shri. Sanakracharya
Adi Shankara (pronounced [a?d?i ???k???]; early 8th century CE[note 1]) – also known as (Adi) Shankaracharya and Shankara Bhagavatpada, spelled variously as Sankaracharya, (?di) ?a?kar?c?rya, ?a?kara Bhagavatp?da, ?a?kara Bhagavatp?d?c?rya – was one of the most revered Hindu philosophers and theologians from India who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.
His works in Sanskrit establish the doctrine of advaita, the unity of the ?tman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, principal upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.
The main opponent in his work is the M?m??s? school of thought, though he also offers arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism.
Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the M?m??s? school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. He is reputed to have founded four mathas (“monasteries”), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship.
More will be written in due course.