Guru Purnima 2021: A teacher, or guru, plays an important role in shaping our lives and, therefore, are considered akin to a God. They do not just impart knowledge to their students, but also guide and steer them towards the right direction in life. The Sanskrit word ‘guru’ translates to ‘dispeller of darkness’. To express reverence and pay gratitude to our teachers, Guru Purnima is celebrated every year by the Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist communities around the world.
This year, Guru Purnima falls on July 24. Traditionally celebrated by the Buddhists, it is believed that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. The festival is observed on a full moon day (Purnima) in the Hindu month of Ashada.
The day is also celebrated as Vyasa Purnima, commemorating the birthday of sage Ved Vyasa who wrote Hindu epics Mahabharata and Puranas. He also structured the Vedas and classified them into Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Born to Satyavati and Brahmin sage Parashar on this day, he is considered one of the seven immortals who are still alive according to Hindu mythology.
According to the Yogic tradition, Lord Shiva is believed to be the first-ever guru. It is said that Guru Purnima was the day when he appeared as a Yogi to the sapta-rishis, or the seven sages, in the Himalayas. Hailed as Adiyogi, Lord Shiva gave them an understanding of yogic learnings, and they further disseminated this knowledge to the world.
The day is marked by worshipping and expressing gratitude to the teachers or gurus. Many people fast on this day and visit temples to offer their respect and seek blessings.