“Man is lost and is wandering in a jungle where real values have no meaning. Real values can have meaning to a man only when he steps on to the spiritual path, a path where negative emotions have no use.” Sai Baba, a great Indian saint, once quoted these words that are bringing in meaning in existing times, when people are getting so busy in the hustle-bustle of their day-to-day routine lives and re-tracing their steps away from the spiritual journey. To a large extent, especially Hindus attach paramount importance to spiritual Gurus, as they are the ones who are often equated with God and always regarded as a link between the individual and the Immortal. Just as the moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun and glorifies it, so do the disciples dazzle like the moon by gaining inner wisdom from their Gurus.
The Indian culture is so strong with a close love bond with each other that it never forgets to express its gratitude towards the one sacrificing for the sake of humanity and mankind. Since spiritual Gurus spend their lives serving the mankind, in reverence and gratitude towards their kindness, Guru Purnima is celebrated, being observed on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Aashaadha (July-August) every year. This Purnima is said as the one which destroys one’s sins, unites one with God and gives perfection. This is the day sacred to the memory of Maharshi Veda Vyasa, the great Indian saint who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the great epic ‘Mahabharata’ and Srimad Bhagavata. Apart from being the first day of ‘Manwantara’, it is the day on which Maharshi Veda Vyasa completed ‘Mahabharata’ and started writing the first philosophical scripture of the world –the ‘Brahmasutra’.
The period ‘Chaturmas’ (four months) begins from this day, when Lord Vishnu is said to go in sleep and hence no auspicious events are undertaken in these four months and vows for observing vratas, yajnas and anushthanas are taken. Such is the glory of Guru Purnima. This day is also known as Vyas Purnima, a pious festival overflowing with the pristine fragrance of such sanskaras. One of the key objectives of Guru Purnima or Vyas Purnima is to make ones way of living well-organized. One should not become slave to pleasures and should not be overwhelmed by grief; nor should one be anxious about death, because one can never die. Guru Purnima carries the message that if one worships his Guru on this day, he not only gets the fruits of observing all Purnimas in a year but also that of worshipping all Gods and Goddesses. On this auspicious day, disciples, followers and devotees from all across the world try their best to reach the holy place of their Guru anyhow.
The word ‘Guru’ is extremely powerful while darshan (i.e. even a “sight”) of the Guru and His blessings are regarded as highly beneficial for the disciple. The Guru treads the way, walking on which one can resolve all sorrows, tensions and discomforts and head towards a better life. Without a Guru, one cannot get the right and fruitful knowledge. It’s rightly said that, “Eesh kripa bin guru nahi, guru bina nahi gyan, Gyan bina aatma nahi, gavahin ved-puraan”. That’s why even the lords who took birth in this auspicious planet also went on to Guru’s feet to attain the real knowledge of the self. It is said in the Hindu scriptures: All our religious practices like yajnas, vratas, japa, austerities etc. practiced in our previous lives become fruitful on the very day on which our Guru is satisfied with our behavior, sincerity and loyalty. When the Guru is assured of the worthiness of His disciple, He showers His grace instantly, which leads to self-realization. The disciple worships his Guru by doing Mansik Pooja (i.e. mental worship) of his Guru and reciting the following mantra:
Gururbrahma Gururvishnu Gururdevo Maheshwarah.
Gurursakshyaat Parambrahma Tasmai Shriguruve Namah.
i.e. “Guru is Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Guru is the Ultimate Absolute Substratum, the Supreme Brahman Himself. Salutations to that revered Guru.” ‘Sadguru’(a “True Guru”) transforms our base intellect that makes us go round through the cycle of birth & death into the Consciousness full of Truth and teaches the disciples the art of remaining unattached and selfless while performing ones duties in this material world. The grace of such Sadguru eradicates the root cause of our ignorance and cuts off the bondage of birth and death and gets us established in our own Self.
One of the greatest Sadgurus of the present time is: His Holiness Sant Shri Asharam Ji Bapu who has millions of followers and is called as “Bapu Ji” by his loved ones. This great saint has been travelling around the length and the breadth of the country to impart spiritual wisdom to the masses – preaching his followers to lead the life in a way that would ultimately take them to self-realization. He insists on taking a niyam (precept) in life that would help individuals slowly and gradually attain the goal of realizing the immortal soul. Bapu Ji says to his disciples, ‘Give me your beliefs and your ego; and I will fill your heart with the experience of True Self.’
The organization Shri Yoga Vedanta Sewa Samiti led by Bapu Ji, has been involved into numerous philanthropic activities round the year. Serving the poor and disadvantaged sections of the society, the samiti has always been working for the sake of humanity and mankind. Right from providing initial support during natural disasters to calamities, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or any other mishap, the organization has always been ahead to reach the affected areas and serve them with food, clothing, shelter, medical facilities and much more.
According to the Hindu scriptures, spiritual wisdom is acquired through the Guru-Shishya Parampara (the infinite succession of Gurus) alone. As one lamp is lit at the flame of another, the spiritual knowledge is transmitted from the Guru to the disciple. The living great saints alone can enlighten others. In the pious company of the Sadguru the intellect of a disciple becomes more receptive, his vices are eradicated and he gets relieved of years long exhaustion.
We thus need Sadgurus who can elevate the society with their precepts combined with their pious resolves, self-experience and compassion and thereby strengthen the faith of the people in God. Therefore, pious festivals like Guru-Purnima are very important. We wish all the readers a very happy Guru Purnima on this auspicious day and pray to the almighty that disciples develop a stronger bond with their Guru which would lead them to Self Realization.