Gurupurnima (Vyas Puja)

1. Tithi

Ashadh Purnima (Full moon day in the month of Ashadh)

 

2. Objective of Gurupurnima

To express gratitude unto the Guru.

 

3. Importance of Gurupurnima

A. On the day of Gurupurnima, the Guru Principle (Principle of God) is thousand times more active than on other days. Therefore, the benefit of performing seva (service unto the God-Principle) and tyag (sacrifice of wealth, body, mind, intellect and ego), that is, offering unto the Absolute Truth on the occasion of Gurupurnima, is a thousand times more beneficial than on other days. Gurupurnima is a unique opportunity for acquiring God’s grace.

B. The ‘Guru-disciple tradition’ is an age old Hindu tradition full of chaitanya. However, with the passage of time, under the influence of raja-tama predominant culture, this great tradition has been neglected. On Gurupurnima, the Guru is worshipped and the society can be taught about the greatness of this Guru-disciple tradition. In other words, this is a golden opportunity to preserve the Guru-disciple tradition.

4. Method of celebrating Gurupurnima

‘On this day, disciples of every Guru perform their padya-puja (ritualistic worship of Sri Guru’s Holy feet) and give them Gurudakshina (an offering made to the Guru to express gratitude). It is customary to perform Vyas-puja (ritualistic worship of Sage Vyas) on this day. In the Guru lineage, Sage Vyas is considered to be the greatest of all Gurus. Bharatiyas believe that all knowledge has originated from Sage Vyas. Kumbhakonam and Shrungeri (Sringeri) are famous seats of Shankaracharya’s lineage in South Bharat where Vyas-puja is celebrated with great splendour. Devotees believe that the great Sage Vyas reincarnated as Shankaracharya. Hence, ascetics worship Shankaracharya instead of worshipping Sage Vyas.

Guru-puja
Guru-puja

 

A. Rituals of Guru-puja during Gurupurnima

After completion of daily ablutions such as bathing, one makes a resolve – ‘गुरुपरम्परासिद्ध्यर्थं व्यासपूजां करिष्ये ।’, meaning, ‘I worship Sage Vyas in order to establish the Guru lineage.’ A washed cloth is spread on the floor and twelve lines are drawn (from east to west and north to south) on it, using gandh. That itself is the Vyaspeeth (seat of Vyas). Then Brahma, Paratparshakti (Supreme Energy), Vyas, Shukdev, Goudpad, Govindswami and Shankaracharya are invoked onto this seat and their shodashopchar-puja (worship with sixteen substances) is performed. It is also customary to worship Dikshaguru (one who has imparted initiation) and one’s parents on this day.

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Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’