NHSF (UK) Schools Team
Shyam Lakhani & Rajiv Kotecha
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥१॥
‘Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheswara. Guru shakshat, param Brahma, tasmai Shri Guruvay namah’
The Day :
On a day when the Hindu Community celebrates its revered spiritual, educational and inspirational leaders we pay homage to the importance of the day. We aim to learn, understand and appreciate the value the day of Guru Purnima brings.
The Ethos :
The day traditionally falls within the month of Ashadh (July-August). Hindus refer to this day as Guru Purnima, (Sometimes also called Vyasa Purnima). On this day, devotees offer puja (worship) to their Guru. Guru Purnima acknowledges the might of ones teacher or Guru through respect and reverence. The occasion is celebrated in memory of the great sage Vyasa whom it is believed was born on this day.
Hindus are revere the great sage who; edited the four Vedas (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda, Atharvaveda), wrote the Brahma Sutras and the 18 Puranas. Vyasa also witnessed and narrated various scenes of the Mahabharata. Every year on the day of Ashadh Purnima it is said that he was greatly worshipped and disciples sought his blessings. This belief and practice of seeking the blessings of ones teacher, to bring wisdom is one that has resided, and evolved into the tradition known as Guru Purnima.
It is a day with spiritual significance as it is believed that God is the ultimate Guru, typical practice is to worship, make offerings and seek blessings from ones spiritual teachers, as a manifestation of God. The period ‘Chaturmas’ (four months) begins from this day, historically, wandering spiritual leaders used to take homage at a place to study the scriptures and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions.
The Meaning and Importance
The word ‘Guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness’, the concept being that the Guru removes ignorance and gives one the light of knowledge.
A dialogue from the Shrimad Bhagwatam highlights the importance of the Guru in ones aspirations of gaining spirituality:
“O Rahugan! One cannot attain knowledge of Atma and Paramatma by performing penance, sacrifices, renunciation, Vedic study or worshipping deities of water, fire or the sun. But when the dust from the feet of a satpurush (God-realized Guru) sprinkles on our heads, then we can surely attain this knowledge.”
Students may also refer to School teachers or Lecturers as Guru, in this case the Guru imparts temporal knowledge and thus is accordingly offered respect. Today, the tremendous work that teachers endeavour themselves in is often undervalued. But the tradition of Guru Purnima engages a different mindset altogether. Students today can give thanks, honour and reflect on the positive impact teachers have on their lives.
National Hindu Students Forum (UK)
On this day the National Hindu Students Forum (UK) we revere and honour the role of a Guru in ones life. As students we take this opportunity to thank those teachers across the length and breadth of the country.
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