In the spiritual tradition of India and Nepal, the occasion of Guru Purnima is celebrated as a mark of dedication towards academic and spiritual teachers. This occasion is observed on Bright lunar full moon fortnight known as Ashadha Purnima. In 2018, Guru Purnima will be observed on Friday, 27th July. This day is celebrated to honor the enlightened and evolved humans i.e. the teachers who are there to share their knowledge and wisdom without having any expectations in return. In Nepal, the Hindus, Nepalese and Buddhists use to celebrate this festival for expressing gratitude towards special spiritual leaders/ teachers. The lunar cycle’s first peak is marked by this day after the solar cycle peak.
In the celebration, ritualistic events and spiritual activities are observed such as Guru Pooja in the regard of Guru. It is believed that on Guru Purnima, the activeness of principle of Guru is thousands times higher compared to the other days. The combination of word Gu and Ru together makes Guru. The meaning of gu in Sanskrit is ignorance while ru means the one by whom darkness is removed. This makes the word Guru to be dedicated to the person by whom our ignorance’s darkness is removed.
This day is also important for Indian scholars and academics in addition to its religious importance. The past scholars and teachers are remembered and offered with gratitude this day in the Indian academics. Buddhists celebrate this festival in Lord Buddha’s honor. On this day, the first sermon has been given at Sarnath, India by Lord Buddha. When it comes to the tradition of Guru-Shishya, sage Vyasa is honored as one amongst Hindu tradition’s greatest Gurus and this day is observed by several Hindus in his honor.
This holy festival is also celebrated round the world by Indian classical dance and Indian classical music’s students by whom the parampara of Guru Shishya is followed.
As per the beliefs of yogic tradition, Guru Purnima is known as the day on which Lord Shiva has become the first Guru or Adi Guru. As per the folklore, the Himalaya’s upper region appeared a yogi about 15,000 years ago. His origins were not known to anyone but people gathered on account of his extraordinary presence. Although, no life signs were exhibited by him apart from the ecstasy’s tears that sometimes roll down from his face.
Just 7 seven men continued staying there while all others drifted away. When his eyes were opened, he was pleaded by these people so as to know as what has been going on with him. These people were dismissed by him but they persisted. Lastly, just an introductory step has been given by him before he again closed his eyes and preparations were started by the 7 men. The attention of yogi did not come again on them even after weeks, months and years. They were looked again by the yogi after his sadhana of 84 years on the Dakshinayana i.e. summer solstice. The yogi could no more ignore them as they had turned to exceptional receptacles, remarkably receptive.
Next day was full moon day on which yogi sat as these seven men’s Guru after turning to south direction and this is how the first yogi (Adiyogi), Shiva come to be Adi Guru. The life mechanics were expounded by Adiyogi for several years. His knowledge was spread round the world by the 7 disciples who were observed as Saptarishis.
This day is celebrated by the Indian academics regardless of the religion for thanking the teachers. Events are held in number of colleges, schools and universities in which teachers are thanked by the students while the past scholars are remembered. As gratitude’s gesture, teachers are presented with gifts by the alumni.