|A Background to Guru Purnima|
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Throughout the year we spend our time praying to our guru asking for our wishes to be granted, be it to solve our problems or for materialistic happiness or for our own emancipation. Guru Purnima is that one time in the year when we formally honour our guru and show our appreciation. The word guru is composed of the syllables gu and ru, the former signifying 'darkness', and the latter signifying 'the destroyer of that darkness', hence a guru is one who removes spiritual ignorance (darkness) replacing it with spiritual illumination (light) or knowledge and realistion of God.
Guru Purnima falls on a full moon day. This is typical of the symbolism in Hinduism. Therefore the moon on Guru Purnima symbolises the guru (as the moon) that reflects the light of God. Guru Purnima is a day that is also sacred to the memory of the great sage Vyasaji.
All Hindus are indebted to this ancient saint who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Shrimad Bhagavata. Vyasaji is even attributed to have taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.
Therefore, Guru Purnima is also known as Vyasa Purnima.
Guru Purnima and the Swaminarayan Faith
The sishya-guru relationship in the Swaminarayan religion is particularly important. Bhagwan Swaminarayan (Shreeji Maharaj) promised that He would remain on the earth through His Gunatit saints (see the Guruparampara section).
Shreeji Maharaj has stated in the Vachanamrut that, “God can only be known through the great saint, and if any one were to suffer a bad fate then by surrendering to such a saint, his fate will be transformed.” Bhagwan Swaminarayan also stated in Vach. G III 2, “...that which we may wish to attain after death we have achieved in this very life through the great saint who is the manifest form of God.” Therefore Guru Purnima is very important to all Bhagwan Swaminarayan followers.
Supreme Submission to the Guru: The Story of Ekalavya
In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Ekalavya aspired to study archery from the revered of Dronacharya, however Drona declined to teach him. So Ekalavya embarked upon self-study in the presence of a clay image of Drona. He achieved a level of skill superior to any other.
Drona learns of Ekalavlya's amazing endeavour and achievement. Dronacharya is moved by Ekalavya's devotion, but he also concerned about his ego. As guru, Drona asks Ekalavya to give to him his right thumb. Without hesitation the loyal Ekalavya cripples himself thereby rendering himself incapable of being an archer. This is an example of supreme unreserved surrender to ones guru.
Author: S Gandhi
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