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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2677

Guru Purnima down the ages

By Rattan Saldi in Syndicate Features
New Delhi, 20 August (Asian

Guru Purnima was celebrated on 27th July 2018 throughout India and in countries like Nepal with predominantly Hindu population.

Buddhists and the followers of Jain tradition also celebrate Guru Purnima extending the religious and spiritual fervour of the festival in their own way to the South Asian and Far Eastern countries. The festival express one’s gratitude to the gurus. It falls on the full moon day, Purnima of Asadha, the fourth month of Hindu calendar, coinciding with June/July months of the Gregorian calendar.

Devotees throng temples, ashrams, monasteries and other places of worship to offer prayers and touch the feet of their gurus in reverence. They make offerings to their spiritual preceptors, according to their means to express their gratitude. Flowers, garlands, fruits, sweets, cloths or things dear to the guru are offered which, in turn, are generally distributed among the devotees as parsad or consecrated food.

Guru Purnima celebrations are generally spread over two - three days but this year the festival was “curtailed” because of the lunar eclipse on the night of 27th July. Any religious activity, during and a few hours before the eclipse, except worship and prayers after a bath, is considered inauspicious. The celebrations were therefore shortened at the world famous Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi (in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra) as also at various centres of Ramashram Satsang Mathura, the mythological city connected with the Hindu God Lord Krishna. The situation was no different at other places of worship and ashrams of the gurus countrywide.

In Hindu mythology, guru enjoys a high spiritual status. He/she is considered an incarnation of the mythological three lords of the cosmos Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. “Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwarah, Guru Sakshat Par Brahm, Tasmai Shri, Guruve Namah”. The chanting of this Guru Mantra reveals the importance of Guru in one’s life.

Lord Shiva with his abode in the Himalayas is revered as the ‘adi guru’.

The word guru finds its roots in Sanskrit language as the synthesis of gu and ru where gu means darkness and ru stands for dispeller. So guru is defined as dispeller of darkness, where darkness symbolises lack of knowledge both intellectual and spiritual and gurus remove this darkness for the seeker.

Guru Purnima is celebrated to pay obeisance to Maharishi Guru Veda Vy?sa, the author of epic Mahabharata, Hindus, the world over consider Vyasa as their guru.

Special functions are organised on this day in schools and colleges in India, Nepal and many countries to remember past and present gurus. Students present gifts to their teachers as a mark of their gratitude. Students of Indian classical music and traditional forms of dance organise special recitals and dance performances in the true form of guru shishya prampra, teacher student tradition dedicated to their gurus.

For Buddhists too Guru Purnima is a day of great significance. It was on Guru Purnima day that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath five weeks after his enlightenment. Monks and followers of Buddhist faith visit monasteries to offer special prayers. For them it is a day of cleansing the soul to gain inner strength and peace.

In Jainism, Guru Purnima is celebrated as Treenok Guha Purnima. It is believed that Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara after attaining enlightenment, made Gautam Swami as his first disciple on the full moon day in the month of Asadha. So, the day symbolises gratitude to the teacher for accepting the disciple.

In Jaipur, the capital of the northern state of Rajasthan, religious fervour and gaiety marked the day as thousands of devotees thronged the Jaipur Centre of the Ramashram Satsang Mathura to have a glimpse of their gurus and pay their reverence to them.

Ramakrishna Satsang is a spiritual and religious mission. It is devoid of any affiliations. Dr. Chaturbhuj Sahay established the mission in 1930 in the name of his guru Paramsant Sri Ram Chandraji; for devotees Dr Sahay became Guru Maharaj. The tradition of calling the heads of centres at Mathura and Tundla (both in Uttar Pradesh) and in Jaipur as Guru Maharaj continues till today.

The main function in Jaipur was held at the gurunivas, Guru Maharaj’s abode early in the morning where devotees gathered in large numbers. On the previous evening, a meditation session was held at Sri Krishna Temple in the city as there was not enough space in the gurunivas to accommodate thousands of devotees who had reached Jaipur from Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jullundur, and Chandigarh besides far off places in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

After the early morning rituals and spiritual discourses, a big congregation was held in the main hall of Sri Krishna temple which spilled over to the make shift shamianas and the sprawling lush green compound under a heavily overcast humid sky.

As the celebrations were curtailed due to lunar eclipse, devotees departed in the afternoon of 27th July, after receivingprasad and blessings from their two gurus Mohit Bhaiya and Amit Bhaiya.

The UK branch of Ramashram Satsang held its Guru Purnima function this year at West Harrow in North West London. A number of devotees settled in England assembled there for prayers and meditation. They also gather at different places in the multi-racial metropolis every fortnight for Satsang, the meditation programme.

In the United States, the monthly Satsang is held in New Jersey and other cities. Meditation programme and recitation of devotional songs are webcast at htpps:// It is available on U-tube and Ramashram Satsang website htpp://

- Asian Tribune -

Guru Purnima down the ages
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