Celebrated as a festival by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists in India, Nepal and Bhutan, Guru Purnima is dedicated to all academic and spiritual gurus or teachers. Traditionally, Guru Purnima has been celebrated by Buddhists to commemorate Gautam Buddha’s first sermon to his first five disciples in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarnath however, Hindus and Jains also celebrate this festival to revere their teachers.
The term ‘Gu’ in Guru stands for darkness, and ‘Ru’ means removal of darkness thus, a guru is someone who removes all darkness from our lives. People in India celebrate this festival by paying their respect to their spiritual leaders whereas in Nepal, the festival is observed as Teacher’s Day.
Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashadha, which is from June to July. The festival is marked by Buddhists, Hindus and Jains every year on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashadha of the Hindu calendar or the Ashadha Purnima Tithi. This year, Guru Purnima will be celebrated on July 13.
History and significance:
The festival holds a deeper meaning and fascinating history. Gautam Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith, is believed to have given his first sermon on this day. After five weeks of achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. There he gave a sermon on the full moon day.
This is why Gautam Buddha’s followers celebrate this day as Guru Purnima to worship him and the Ashadha Purnima Tithi is significant for Buddhists. Guru Purnima is also the day that marks the birth anniversary of Maharishi Ved Vyasa, the author of the great Indian epic, Mahabharata. This day is also known as Vyasa Purnima.
Guru Purnima marks the relationship between students and teachers. In today’s time, it has been said that teachers play the most important role in the lives of students. Apart from imparting education and teaching other co-curricular and non-curricular skills, teachers also familiarise students with values and life skills that help them deal with the outside world once they become adults.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions across India celebrate Guru Purnima by organising various events to thank the teachers in bringing out the best in students. On this day, students or the disciples worship and pay respect to their Gurus or spiritual guide and thank them for sharing their knowledge and enlightening them with it.