Guru Purnima (Poornima) is a popular Hindu festival on which disciples worship and pay respect to their Gurus (teachers). It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Ashadha month. This festival is observed by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains to honour their chosen spiritual teachers/ leaders and to express gratitude for them.
This guide explains the significance of Guru Purnima, dates for 2019, the legend behind guru purnima and poojas performed during this festival.
Guru Purnima 2019 Dates
As per Hindu Calendar, Guru Purnima will be observed all across India on Ashadha Purnima (Full Moon Day in Ashadha Month).
Guru Purnima 2019 – Tuesday, 16 July 2019 (India)
Guru Purnima Timings For New Delhi, India
Starting Time – 01:48 PM (July 16, 2019)
Ending Time – 03:07 PM (July 17, 2019)
|Guru Purnima – All You Need To Know|
|Dedicated to||Spiritual Teachers & Leaders (Guru)|
|Celebrated by||Hindus, Buddhists & Jains|
|Places celebrated||Nepal, India & Bhutan|
|Date||Tuesday, 16 July 2019|
|Hindu Lunar Calendar Day||Full Moon Day (Purnima), Ashadha Maas|
|Also Known As||Vyasa Purnima|
The legend behind Guru Purnima
In ancient times, disciples used to receive free education at the ashram of their Guru. They used to celebrate this day to worship their Guru with full reverence.
It is believed that the festival of Guru Purnima was first celebrated by the Buddhists to honour their Guru, Gautam Buddha. It is also believed that Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon on the day of Guru Purnima.
Hindus followed the festival by paying tribute to Vyasa Muni (sage) on the day of Guru Purnima. Veda Vyasa was one of the greatest Gurus in ancient Hindu traditions and the author of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Veda Vyasa. Therefore, Guru Purnima is also known as Vyas Purnima.
This festival is also celebrated as Gyaan Purnima because of its association with knowledge and wisdom.
Importance of Guru in our lives
In the Hindu religion, Guru is considered superior to God. It is said in the scriptures that if God curses you, then Guru can protect you, but God himself cannot save you from the curse of Guru.
- Guru is like a mentor who drives out fear and ignorance from a person.
- Students can get rid of all the mental blockages with the knowledge and the blessings of Guru.
- The person attains Moksha by following the preachings and the path shown by their Guru.
- The blessings of Guru are enough for the welfare of anyone.
- The person experiences the enhancement of knowledge and auspiciousness in life.
- All the Vidyas (powers & knowledge) of the world can be achieved by the grace of Guru.
Under Indian culture and Hindu religion, Sri Madhvacharya, Adi Shankara, and Sri Ramanuja Acharya are highly honoured as Gurus.
Significance of Guru Purnima Festival
The significance of Guru Purnima lies in the meaning of its words. The word Guru is made up of two words – ‘Gu’ meaning darkness and ‘Roo’ meaning dispel or eliminate. Together the word Guru means someone who eliminates the darkness of ignorance and enlightens us with knowledge.
The purpose of celebrating the festival of Guru Purnima is to follow the teachings of our Gurus and to pay tribute to them. In Indian culture, People choose to worship their teachers, gurus and mentors for guiding them since their childhood years and for leading them to the path of knowledge.
Poojas and Rituals performed on Guru Purnima
- One should wake up early on this day and wear good clothes after taking bath.
- People should first offer flowers and worship Vyasa Ji.
- After that, they should pay a visit to their own Guru/ Teacher.
- Make your Guru sit on a chair and offer them new clothes, fruits, flowers, and Dakshina as per your wish.
- Then, disciples should take blessings of their Guru and pledge to abide by their teachings.
- On this day, the elders of the family such as parents, brothers and sisters should also be considered equivalent to the Guru. Blessings can also be received from them on this day.
- If one’s Guru is not alive, his picture or portrait can also be worshipped as per the rituals.
- Recital of Mantras is also done for their Guru. People can recite the following Shloka while remembering their teachers:
- Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara
- Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma, Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
People should celebrate this festival with a pure heart and complete faith.
Lunar Eclipse on Guru Purnima 2019
The second lunar eclipse of this year will be on July 16 which is the day of Guru Purnima. This is the second consecutive year when the lunar eclipse is appearing on this day. Last year also, on July 27, lunar eclipse appeared on Guru Purnima.
Time of Lunar Eclipse
The lunar eclipse will have a duration of approx 3 hours. In India, it will start at 1:30 AM midnight to 4:30 AM in the morning. The defilement period (sutak period) will start 9 hours before the lunar eclipse i.e. from 4:30 PM in the evening.
It is believed that one should not do any auspicious work during this period. Hence, it would be auspicious to recite prayers related to Guru Purnima prior to the beginning of sutak period.
Places where it can be seen
The Lunar eclipse will be seen clearly in India. Apart from this, it will appear in most part of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.
In the yogic tradition, the day is celebrated as the occasion when Shiva became the first Guru, the Adi Guru, as he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis.
Guru Purnima is held sacred in the yogic tradition because the Adiyogi opened up the possibility for a human being to evolve consciously. The seven different aspects of yoga that were put in seven individuals called Saptarishis, became the foundation for the seven basic forms of yoga.
It is very popular to go for Yogic Sadhana and meditation on the day of Guru Purnima.
Guru Purnima and Indian Academics
In addition to having religious importance, this festival has great importance for Indian academics and scholars. Indian academics celebrate this day by thanking their teachers as well as remembering their past scholars. Many schools and colleges organise events and alumni visit their teachers.
Guru Purnima in Buddhism
Buddhists consider Guru Purnima as the beginning of the season of Varsha (or Vassa in Pali). After that Buddhist monks had to leave human habitations and seek refuge in distant caves and monasteries. During this time Buddhist monks remain in a single place. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the Vassa to intensive meditation.
It is believed that Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath on the day of Guru Purnima. Guru Purnima is also marked as the beginning of 36-week ‘trimester courses’ under the guidance of Buddhist experts.
Guru Purnima in Jainism
According to Jain traditions, Jains began their Chaturmaas or the four-month rainy season retreat, on the day of Guru Purnima.
Jains also believe that on the day of Guru Purnima, the 24th Tirthankara, Mahavira Swami made Gautama Swami of Gandhara as his first disciple. After this, he became Treenok Guha himself. Therefore, the day is observed as Treenok Guha Purnima in Jainism and is marked special reverence to one’s Treenok Guhas and teachers.
Guru Purnima in Nepal
Guru Purnima is a National Holiday in Nepal. Treenok Guha Purnima is a big day in schools of Nepal. This day is celebrated as Teachers Day by Nepalese. Students honour their teachers by offering sweets, garlands, and special hats made with indigenous fabric. Students also organize fanfares in schools to appreciate the hard work of teachers.