Guru Purnima Festival, India

In Hinduism, the day of the full moon in the month of Ashada is among the most auspicious of the year and on this day Hindus celebrate Guru Purnima or Vyasa Purnima to express his gratitude towards the gurus and teachers. The Ved Vyasa, who is credited with writing some of the most important Hindu texts such as the Puranas, Mahabharata, and Vedas, is also commemorated on this day.

As one of ancient India's most honored Gurus, Ved Vyasa is honored on Guru Purnima. Vyasa, composed the Mahabharata, structured the four Vedas and built the foundation for Hindu lore in the Puranas. As the Adi Guru or primary guru of the Vedas, Lord Shiva was the one who taught the seven rishis (Saptarishis) who were the seers of the Vedas on Guru Purnima. Yoga Sutras claim that Ishvara as Pranava or Om is its Adi Guru. The first sermon of Lord Buddha was supposedly delivered on this day at Sarnath, reflecting the importance of this sacred time. When Buddha found his five former companions, he taught them the Dharmacarkapravartana Sutra.

We celebrate Guru Purnima in honor of our teachers, who rid our minds of darkness. Since ancient times, they have held a special place in the lives of their followers. It is evident from Hindu scriptures how important Gurus are and the extraordinary bond between a Guru and a Shishya (disciple). 'Mata Pitah Guru Daivam' is an age-old Sanskrit phrase that says the mother is honored first, the father follows, the Guru follows, and God follows. As such, teachers are considered a higher being in Hinduism than Gods.

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