Long time ago, there were four elderly men who were seeking answers. The first one was miserable and he wanted to know how to get out of his misery. The second one wanted more progress and success, and wanted to know how to get that. The third one wanted to know the meaning of life. And the fourth one had all the knowledge but still he lacked something, and he did not know what that was.
So these four people were wandering for answers and they all landed up in one place where there was a Banyan tree. Under the Banyan tree, a young man was seated with a big smile on his face, and suddenly all of them thought that this person could give us the answer. The same thought came to all of them from within that this person is going to solve my problems, and so all four of them sat there and they got their answers. The young man who was sitting under the Banyan tree with a smile did not say a word, yet all of them got what they wanted.
This is the first story of Guru Purnima. That was a full moon day, and that is how the Guru Parampara (lineage of the Guru order) started. All these four elderly people became Gurus.
They all got what they wanted:
- Misery was gone
- Abundance and happiness arrived
- The seeking stopped
- The knowledgeable one got a Guru to express himself
That fourth man had everything, he had all the knowledge but he did not have a Guru to connect to. So the inner connection to the Guru happened. That’s why Adi Shankaracharya said, “Mouna Vyakhya prakatitha, para, Brahma thathwam yuvanam”. (Meaning: I praise and salute Dakshinamurthy (The first Guru), who explains the true nature of the supreme Brahman through his state of silence).
Symbolism of the story
In the story, the teacher is young because the spirit is always young, whereas the students are old. There are so many similes associated with this. Seeking makes you old. Seeking for the world, or for liberation, or for anything, makes you old. So the disciples were old, and the Master was young.
What is the symbolism of the Banyan tree? A Banyan tree grows on its own. It does not need anybody’s care or protection. If the seed of a Banyan tree gets inside the crack of a stone, where there is not much water, it will grow there also. All it needs is a little mud and very little water. Sometimes it does not need even that. And a Banyan tree gives oxygen all the time. This is one tree that gives oxygen 24 hours. So the Banyan tree which only gives, symbolizes the Guru Principle.
Guru means the one who removes darkness, misery, loneliness, lack, and brings abundance, because lack is only in the mind. So the Guru removes the lack and brings freedom.
Guru Purnima is a day to be thankful to your mentors and teachers. Click below to know more about this wonderful tradition.
Explore Guru Purnima
The day of full moon (known as Purnima), in the month of Ashadh (June-July) is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by Hindus. Also known as Vyas Purnima, the day is celebrated in remembrance and veneration to sage Ved Vyas who is revered as the Adi (original) Guru of the Hindu Dharma; it is believed that Ved Vyas classified the Vedas, wrote the eighteen Puranas and the Mahabharata. Guru Purnima is one of the major fairs and festivals in Gujarat.
The Sanskrit root "Gu" means darkness or ignorance and "Ru" denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore, one who removes ignorance which is a type of mental darkness is a Guru. Only he who removes our ultimate darkness, known as Maya, and who inspires and guides us on to the path of God-realization is the true Guru. The term Guru is nowadays also used to denote a teacher of any field.
The Guru played a very vital role in ancient India, when education system was characterized among the elite mostly by Guru Kulas or residence schools. Students who sought a particular Guru’s guidance and blessings had to go and stay with the Guru, sharing the same food as him and the roof. It is believed that when the student loses track, becomes despondent or simply runs out of steam, it is the Guru who is responsible for bringing him back on track. The aspirant is thus better able to obey the Guru if he understands the Guru's glory.
Therefore on the day of Guru Purnima in Gujarat India, disciples introspect, and present the guru with offerings and practice meditation, in reverence to the Guru in mind, remembering his action and speech; implicitly resolving to obey his unvoiced wishes, commands, serving him as one would God and lauding his glory and redemptive attributes. Guru Purnima Celebrations in Gujarat are carried out in ashrams as well as private households. Domestic celebrations are characterized by special offerings to the Guru, fasting, charity and so on.
The celebrations that go on at temples or ashrams are however more elaborate and grand in character. The Guru Purnima Gujarat Festival at Bochasan Mandir, is celebrated in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj with much devotion and enthusiasm. The day begins with an assembly that goes on from 11:16 pm 26th July 2018 to 01:50 am 28th July 2018. This assembly is marked by performances of bhajans and discourses by senior sadhus who emphasize and sing the glory of the Guru. The festival is finally crowned with Swamishri's blessings and darshan - where thousands offer their reverence by filing past Swamishri.