Guru Purnima, also known as Vyasa Purnima, is celebrated every year on the full month day of Ashadha of the Shakha Samavat in the Hindu calendar by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. The festival commemorates the goodness of spiritual gurus and teachers as thousands of devotees, on this day, worship and thank their gurus for enlightenment.
The festival has a long history and this year the it falls on July 9, Sunday.
When is Guru Purnima in 2017?
Guru Purnima in 2017 will be celebrated on July 9. Though the tithi starts the day before on July 8, it’s being observed on Sunday because of the sunrise.
History and significance of Guru Purnima
Rooted in Sanskrit, the word Guru is derived from ‘gu’ which means darkness and ‘ru’ which denotes the removal of darkness. Hence, a guru or a teacher is believed to be the one who removes all darkness from our lives. On this day, people take special care to pay respect to their gurus. In fact, in Nepal, Guru Purnima is celebrated as Teachers Day.
It is believed that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon on this day. After five weeks of achieving enlightment under the Bodhi tree, Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh where he gave the sermon on the full moon day. The followers of Buddha thus celebrate this day to worship him.
Even Lord Shiva is known to have transmitted the learning of yoga to his disciples the ‘Saptarishis’ or seven sages on this day.
According to another legend, this day is commemorated as the day when Ved Vyasa — the author of Mahabharata was born. Guru Purnima is therefore also known as Vyasa Purnima. He is known to be the creator of the whole guru-shishya tradition.
How is Guru Purnima celebrated?
People celebrate Guru Purnima in different ways. Some worshippers begin their day by offering specific prayers to their spiritual gurus and teachers and conclude by offering Mangal Aarti. On this day, it is considered auspicious to fast and not consume rice, cereal-based dishes and salt.
People also observe the Satya Narayan Vrat on the full moon day and worship Lord Vishnu. They decorate the entrances to their houses with mango leaves, tulsi hangings, and garlands. Dry fruits, fruits, rice dishes, betel leaves and milk porridge are the main dishes offered to the gods on this day.
Many others emphasise on beginning their day with meditation and self-introspection. Since it’s a full moon day, people meditate under the full moon and soak the positive energy in. In Nepal, students celebrate by gifting their teachers garlands, sweets and delicacies and other gifts.
Here are the puja timings (mahurat) for Guru Purnima, according to drikpanchang.com
Purnima Tithi begins — 07:31 on July 8
Purnima Tithi ends — 09:36 on July 9