Tag Archives: Guru Poornima

Guru Poornima ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from articles, letters and commentaries by Swami Chinmayananda]

GURU POORNIMA is the DAY of AWAKENING!

Guru Poornima — this full moon day is considered as the sacred day dedicated to Guru, and all seekers and disciples invoke their Masters and try to reach him. The Gurus are an institution and not an individual. On Guru Poornima Day, all the Gurus are on the Altar! Ordinary days they should be always your Guru and your Grand-Guru. 

Guru Poornima, though we celebrate on this specific day — and have glorified it as the day of Vyasa; as a sacred day to start studies of Brahma-sutra and our Upanishads; a day elected for the prayerful worship of the Teacher etc — it has a deeper significance. Guru Poornima is not a day, an occasion, a ritual, but a STATE of CONSCIOUSNESS, when the students try to tune in their minds to the Inner State of the Teacher. The darkness within gets​ lit up with the full understanding and Knowledge Supreme (Full Moon). Let us tune our mind to Sri Gurudev. Invoke Sri Swami Tapovana Grace and let us prostrate to Sri Vyasa Bhagavan.

Guru is not an individual. He is an institution. He is not a person. Guru is a personality. He lives the Essence, and we have to discover this in our direct insight. When in contemplation we merge our thoughts, there we dive into the depths of the Guru and meet there the Essence; to be one with It is the Goal. This “Awakening” is to be attained by the disciple through devotion, surrender and recognition of the Glory that is the “Guru in-depth”. That day is Guru Poornima.

The declarations​ of the scriptures, your own logical thinking, and Guru’s explanation are the main three sources of knowledge available for a spiritual seeker. All these but give an intellectual appreciation of what Truth is. It has to be confirmed in one’s own direct and personal experience that “I am this Self”. Then alone a healthy intelligent seeker’s scepticism will end. For this direct experience, the seeker will need repeated encouragement from his Guru. Hence the Guru’s impatience to spiritual seekers. The day dedicated to Guru-worship is the Guru Poornima day. Let us all prostrate to Sri Swami Tapovanam. His grace is sure and unfailing.

On this auspicious day of Guru Poornima, let us ask of the Rishis only one thing: “You have made for me a soft path and spread roses over it, solicitously removing all thorns. I walked on, in ease and comfort. Master Pioneer! Now, teach me how to pave the path and make it easy for others! You have given me a voice and lend melody to it. I sang of the Joys of the world to my heart’s content. Master Musician! Now teach me your divine music…..to pass on the harmony to all others!”

Guru Poornima offerings​ should not be ended with a mere physical expression of presenting a material thing. That which is offered​ would contribute as a symbol of the offering of the head and heart to the things expressed and sought after by your Teacher. Then alone the Guru Poornima offering has got a meaning and a message. Offer your spiritual devotion in humble surrender to Sri Gurudev and the Lord-of-the-Universe, Sri Jagadeeswara. May their blessings be upon all your spiritual efforts and reach you to the State of Pure Effortlessness. Let the words of the Guru, the ideas of the Teacher, the Truth of the scriptures, all remain with you for all times. Make the whole year an “Year of Tapas”. Every member must spend one hour each day reading scriptures, japa and attempts at meditation. Offer it all, at each day’s end as GURUDAKSHINA to Sree Gurudev.

The human GURU whispers the sacred formula into the ear! The DIVINE GURU breathes the Spirit into the soul!!

सदा शिव समारमभां शङ्कराचार्य मध्यमाम्॥
अस्मदाचार्य पर्यन्तां वन्दे गुरु परम्पराम्॥

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Significance of Guru Poornima

Guru Poornima is also known as Vyasa Poornima. Vyasa means ‘compiler’. It is a title given to Sage Krishna Dvaipayana because he is the one who collected all the knowledge that was available at that time and classified it into four texts called the VEDAS. Bhagavan Vyasa is also recognised as an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Vyasa’s father was Sage Parashara who represents Spiritual Knowledge (Jnana). His mother was a fisher-woman and hence she represents Activity (Karma). Her name was Matsyagandhi (fish-smelling) representing ego and ego-centric activities. By the grace of Sage Parashara, she became Sugandhi (divine fragrance) which stands for selfless activities. Hence Veda Vyasa is a unique combination of Adhyatma Jnana and Nishkama Karma. Veda Vyasa is both, a visionary and missionary. Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s contribution is unparalleled. He gave to us the Brahma-sutras, Vedas (Sruti – Upanishads), Bhagavad Geeta (Smriti – Mahabharata), Puranas (Srimad Bhagavatham etc.). The various Geetas, Sahasranamas and many of the Stotras which we are familiar with, are all a part of the Puranas. Bhagawan Veda Vyasa is associated with almost every branch of knowledge known to us, and therefore it is a tradition to invoke his grace and blessings before the study of any scriptural text. Hence Guru Poornima is recognised as Vyasa Poornima.

Guru Poornima is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Ashada. Shad means ‘to sit’. Ashada means the opposite of it – it denotes restlessness. Ashada also indicates the ‘windy’ month. Even when everything is fine in our lives, there comes a stage in our life, when the mind starts to feel a sense of incompleteness, an unknown restlessness which is inexplicable. There is an inner yearning for something higher. This is the auspicious time when the Guru enters our life. There is one more interpretation. Aashada with elongated ‘Aa’. This means ‘to sit along with’. When the Guru enters one’s life, the seeker should constantly remain in tune with the Guru and his teachings. And it is in the month of Ashada that all the masters undertake the Chaturmasya Vrata wherein the Acharyas who are on the move stay in one place for the benefit of the people and initiate them into the spiritual knowledge. Hence the importance of the month of Aashada.

The word GURU is made up of GU and RU . GU means ‘ignorance’ and RU means ‘to remove’. Therefore, GURU means ‘one who removes our ignorance’. GU means ‘Gunatita’ and RU means ‘Rupatita’. Therefore GURU also means ‘one who has transcended the world of forms (and names) and attributes. The two-lettered word GURU is the king among the mantras (Mantra Raja). GURU symbolises the essence of the Srutis, Smritis and Puranas. GURU is the Lord Himself who comes down to help us and guide us on the spiritual path.

On the full moon (Poornima) day, the sun and the moon are directly facing each other without the earth intervening inbetween. The light of the sun which represents Spiritual Knowledge is completely available for the moon which symbolises our mind. This sunlight (knowledge) is completely converted into moonlight (divine inner experience). Therefore, the full moon endowed with all its sixteen parts or kalas represents the All-full (Poorna) State of the Guru. The earth which is not intervening between the sun and the moon represents the transcendence of the ego. Hence the Poornima day is celebrated as Guru Poornima. On this auspicious day, we invoke the grace and blessings of the entire Guru-Sishya Parampara starting from Sri Dakshinamurthy, the Guru of all Gurus, Bhagavan Veda Vyasa, Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada, and upto our own immediate Spiritual Guru.

“The Guru’s divine form is the support in our meditation. The lotus feet of the Guru represents the altar for our upasana and worship. The Guru’s words are verily the sacred mantra. It is the Guru’s grace which bestows liberation or mukti to the seeker”  ~ Guru Gita.

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