Guru Purnima is celebrated by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains every year on the full moon day of the Shakha Samavat in the Hindu calendar. This festival commemorates the goodness of spiritual gurus and teachers as thousands of devotees worship and thank their gurus for enlightenment.
This festival has a deep and interesting history and this year it falls on July 27, Friday. Guru Purnima in itself is a paradoxical term, with ‘Gu’ meaning darkness and ‘ru’ standing for the removal of darkness. Thus, a guru is believed to be someone who removes all darkness from our lives. From spiritual gurus to secular ones, people pay respect to teachers all over the country. In Nepal, it is celebrated as Teacher’s Day.
It is believed that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon on this day. After five weeks of achieving enlightenment 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 Shiva is known to have transmitted the learning of yoga to his disciples the ‘Saptarishis’ or seven sages on this day.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyasa Purnima, as it is believed that on this day Ved Vyasa — the author of Mahabharata was born, who is a pioneer of the guru-shishya tradition.