My Reflections: On Guru Poornima

Guru Poornima is a Hindu festival dedicated to all the spiritual and academic Gurus, who are considered as evolved or enlightened humans, who have been sharing their wisdom with their disciples under guru-shishya parampara (teacher-disciple tradition). Students at their ashrams would perform guru seva (service) and undertake all the ashram chores for the learning they obtained there. No monetary exchange was involved. Later on, with schools and colleges coming up, this day became an annual ritual and has been celebrated by students to pay respects to their gurus/teachers.It is an important occasion, especially for Hindus.   


The Guru Poornima is observed every year on the Poornima (full moon) day in the month of Ashadh (as per Hindu calender; in the Gregarion, that falls in June–July). It is also known as Vyasa Purnima for it marks the birthday of Maharshi Veda Vyasa, the sage who authored the Mahabharata and compiled the four Vedas. He is aptly known as the first Guru.

Talking of the first Guru, Maharshi Ved Vyas, my mind goes back to the Mahabharata era when Lord Krishna played the divine Guru to an anxiety, dilemma ridden Arjuna.The Pandava warrior went into a shock on having a glance at the important Kaurava commanders like Bhishm and Guru Dronacharya, whom he had always immensely venerated. He was on the verge of quitting the battlefield even before the first arrow was shot.

But Arjuna had Lord Krishna as his charioteer who gave him the classic sermon on life and death; dharma and karma, right in the middle of the battlefield. He initiated  Arjuna in Karma yoga and ultimately he got the dejected, and self-defeated one sufficiently motivated and fully charged to take on the enemy and vanquish him in just eighteen days.The divine gyan Lord Krishna delivered to Arjuna on the battlefield was later on handed down to posterity as the Holy Bhagvadgita Gita. It was transformed into the holy scripture by none other than Maharshi Ved Vyas and penned by Lord Ganesha.

Thus, India has always maintained a long traditon of highest respect for Gurus through whom our precious learning and wisdom have percolated down under the guru-shishya tradition. Among some more important Gurus, names like Adi Shankaracharya, Patanjali, Swami Ramkrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Paramhans Yogananda, Shri Aurobindo, Raman Maharshi, etc. have always been on the top. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Osho, Swami Chinmayananda, Sadhguru, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdeo etc. have been the more recent/contemporary ones. They have all been highly evolved sages/gurus whose hard-earned wisdom has been circulating far and wide enlightening the world.

Being a teacher myself, for forty one years, I too received quite a lot of warm compliments from many of my ex-students on my Facebook/Whatsapp accounts. The bond goes on and on, year after year. God bless them all.

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  # Ashok Misra

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