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.
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.
Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’
5. Method of celebrating Gurupournima according
to the Scripture in case of adverse times (On the background of coronavirus) !
Every year many people come together and celebrate Gurupournima according to their sect; however, because of coronavirus this year, they cannot come together and celebrate Gurupournima. An important aspect that needs to be mentioned is that Hindu Dharma has mentioned some alternatives in abiding by Dharma in adverse times. This is called ‘Apaddharma’. Apaddharma means ‘Dharma to be adopted during calamities’. There is a nationwide lockdown in the wake of the current coronavirus outbreak. Due to the fact that Gurupournima is falling during this period, we will not be able to celebrate it as a festival in the manner described in favourable times. From this point of view, the present article also considers what can be done to abide by Dharma. The important aspect here is that one can learn the level to which Hindu Dharma has thought of everything about human beings. This underscores the uniqueness of Hindu Dharma.
5 a. Even if everyone performs Gurupoojan (Worship of Guru)
or Manaspuja (Mental worship) with devotion in their homes on the day
of Gurupournima, the benefit of Guru Principle will be obtained by a thousand times
On the day of Gurupournima, most people visit their Guru and express their gratitude unto him. According to everyone’s faith, some visit Shri Guru, parents, Vidyaguru (Teachers who gave us knowledge), Acharyaguru (the priests who visit us for performing traditional worship) and some are Moksha Guru (those who have shown us the path of Moksha by guiding us in our spiritual practice) and express their gratitude unto His feet. This year, on the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, if you stay at home and worship the image of Shri Guru with devotion or perform Manaspuja with devotion, you will be bestowed with Guru Principle thousand times over. Even if the Deity, Saint or Guru are different, according to one’s belief, the Guru Principle remains the same.
5 b. If all devotees perform worship at the same time, they will accrue the benefit of the power of unity
All devotees of a sect should perform worship in their respective homes at the same time as far as possible by finalising the time of worship in advance. ‘Performing worship at the same time gives more benefit of the power of unity’. Therefore, a time for performing worship should be fixed in advance unanimously.
A. The morning is considered as the auspicious time for worship. Those who are able to perform worship in the morning should do so in the morning by deciding the time, of the morning.
B. If for some unavoidable reasons, it is not possible to perform worship in the morning, worship should be performed before the sunset by fixing the time in advance but before 7 p.m.
C. Those who cannot perform worship at the appointed time, they should perform worship at a convenient time but before sunset.
D. Each one should worship the image, Idol or Paduka (Holy footwear) of Shri Guru or Deity of worship at home according to their respective sect.
E. Flowers should be offered after applying sandalwood paste to the pictures, Idols or Paduka. Panchopachar Pooja (Ritualistic worship involving five steps) should be performed by offering incense, lamps and Holy sacrament. Finally, Aarti of Shri Guru should be performed.
F. Those who are not able to perform actual worship due to lack of material should perform the mental worship of Shri Guru or Deity of worship.
G. Later, chant the mantra given by Shri Guru. Gratitude should be offered unto Shri Guru by remembering the Anubhuti (Spiritual experiences) that has had after He enriched our life by His blessings.
H. At that time, introspection should be carried out by thinking retrospectively ‘Where did we fall short in performing spiritual practice during the year?’, ‘To what extent did we follow the teachings of Shri Guru ? ‘.