A tribute to all the gurus for their knowledge and guidance on the occasion of Dhamma day and Guru Purnima.
Gurus have always selflessly guided and supported their students since time immemorial. A guru is anyone who imparts knowledge to a learner who wishes to learn. Throughout our history, many gurus such as Rishi Ved Vyas and Gautama Buddha have preached knowledge and written books about the society for the benefit of mankind. The word ‘Guru’ is derived from sanskrit where ‘Gu’ means darkness or ignorance and ‘Ru’ denotes remover of that darkness. 5th July marks the auspicious occasion of both Guru Purnima which marks the birthday of Rishi Ved Vyas and Dhamma day or Asalha Puja to commemorate the day on which Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. The festival was revived by Mahatma Gandhi to pay tribute to his spiritual guru Shrimad Rajchandra.
It also marks the occasion of Mahavira after attaining Kaivalya made Indrabhuti Gautam, a Gandhara, his first disciple thus becoming a Treenok Guha himself. Therefore this day is also important for Jains as Treenok Guha Purnima. Guru Purnima is celebrated in India to honour our teachers who have guided us throughout our lives, it is celebrated with much fanfare in schools and colleges.
Buddhists celebrate this festival to honour Lord Buddha for his first sermon at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. It is celebrated as Asalha Puja in Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Laos and Myanmar especially among the Theravada Buddhists. The first sermon of Buddha referred to setting the motion of Dharma for the 4 noble truths : Dukkha, Tanha, Nibbana and Nirvana. The 5 disciples who attended the first sermon were later recognised as the first order monks who played a pivotal role in spreading Buddha’s teachings around the country.
In yogic culture, this day marks the occasion when Lord Shiva became the first guru when he began the transmission of yogic knowledge to the Saptarishis. 15,000 years ago, A yogi appeared in the Himalayas who did not have any sign of life and no one knew where he came from. He radiated energy and knowledge and 7 men stayed and pleaded with him to impart the same to them but he refused. They served him and waited for 84 years when he finally blessed them with knowledge, that is when Shiva became Adi Yogi : The first guru.
In Hinduism, the guru-shishya parampara is honoured and celebrated on this day on the occasion of Guru Ved Vyas’s birthday and it is believed that he started writing the Brahma sutras on Ashada suddha padyami, which ends on this day. The festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashada month of the Hindu Calender. The Hindu monks and sanyasis stay at one place and give sermons on this day to their followers. Let us express our gratitude towards all our gurus who have selflessly sought our well being and moulded us into who we are today.
– Sharanya Sreepad