What is Guru Purnima?
A beautiful tradition on any path where there is the guru/disciple relationship is that on Guru Purnima, the full moon in this current month of Ashadh, we try to be in the presence of the Guru. Every day the Guru is pouring grace over us, but of all days, Guru Purnima is the day when we receive the most intense blessings from this grace as it flows to us like the bright light from a full moon. The energy of all gurus, through the Guru Tattwa, is pouring over us most intensely on the night of Guru Purnima.
Guru Purnima is a day to receive and also a day to offer our gratitude to our gurus, usually by participating in puja. In doing puja to the Guru on this special day, we derive great benefit to our own spiritual evolution. When we show our gratitude for the Guru, we are respecting God through our guru, all the way to Shiva who is the ultimate Guru. In that sense, our devotion goes beyond the physical presence of our gurus Anandi Ma and Dhyanyogi. It is not personal in that way. Our love and gratitude is offered to the Divine principle of Guru—the Guru Tattwa—which is all gurus, the lineage, and the Guru within.
The history of Guru Purnima
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyas Puja because it is Vyas’s birthday. The rishi (enlightened person) Vyas was an incarnation of Vishnu. He is believed to have structured a large body of eternal, primordial Vedic knowledge into four sacred books known as the Vedas. Vyas is also credited with other writings including the Eighteen Puranas and the famed epic Mahābhārata. The tradition of Guru Purnima, maintained to this day, was originally established as a mark of respect for Vyas and to honor all gurus.
When Dhyanyogi was active in India, he would travel on Guru Purnima so that as many people as possible could receive his darshan. Anandi Ma did likewise. Sometimes she would fly from coast to coast in the US, taking care to stop all along the way so that the greatest number of devotees could see her in person to receive her blessings as their guru.
How to celebrate Guru Purnima
Guruji said that when any guru gives initiation, their heart is like a cow giving birth to a new calf, creating a lifelong bond. On Guru Purnima day, the guru’s heart is filled to the brim and that feeling pours out from them. As disciples, we are like that calf eager to receive the Guru’s love, protection and grace.
Clearly, Guru Purnima is a most important day to be in the physical presence of one’s guru. Anandi Ma hosts a Guru Purnima multi-day retreat each year, and a special one-day event to celebrate Guru Purnima Day, so that as many as possible can come be with her. If you are at home for Guru Purnima, you can join in the Guru puja with Ma live online, whether actively at your altar or quietly in your heart.