Guru Purnima 2022
Guru Purnima, coming up on 13th July, is a New Year for the spiritual seeker – a beautiful moment to reflect on our growth over the past year, and to feel grateful for all the knowledge we have received from the Masters and teachers before us.
The planet Jupiter is named Guru in Sanskrit. It is the celestial teacher that allows us to move forward in life and gives a sense of purpose. This Guru Purnima, Jupiter is in Pisces – the sign that it rules. This makes this period very auspicious for learning and evolution – a great time to dive into the source of true wisdom.
Learning from Life’s Lessons
In life, there is learning at every step. And for each thing we have learnt so far, we have had a teacher, or Guru. Some teachers such as parents, school tutors and music and sports coaches have taught us intentionally by giving us direct lessons or guidance. Others have taught us unintentionally by making mistakes that we have learned from. They have shown us what not to do through their own errors.
Whether intentional or not, if it wasn’t for what we learnt from these people, we wouldn’t have the knowledge and understanding that we have today. When we realize this, gratitude dawns.
Why a Spiritual Master is Needed
For those who strive to evolve as human beings and follow the spiritual path, guidance is needed from someone who has reached the goal. A spiritual Master is needed to help navigate the subtle and intangible realms of the mind.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that “self-effort is only in the conscious mind. For the subconscious mind you cannot put an effort. You need someone else or some other higher power to influence that. In fact, to turn the unconscious mind into the superconscious mind one definitely needs help and therefore nature has provided the tradition of Masters.”
The Meaning of Guru Purnima
‘Guru’ means one who dispels darkness, ‘Purnima’ means Full Moon. The Moon is associated with the mind and emotions, and the Guru represents rational thinking, wisdom and knowledge. Guru Purnima is a combination of the rational and the emotional. With spiritual wisdom, the two are united.
The purpose of the Guru Purnima celebration is to turn back and reflect on our ‘credits’ and ‘debits’ in this last one year, and how much we have progressed on the spiritual path. It is the day to renew our determination and focus on the goal and to resolve what we want to do in the coming year.
It is a day of gratitude and prayer for our Gurus and teachers – the time to celebrate the presence of wisdom in our lives and to honor the teachers and mentors who impart this wisdom. It is also a day of self-gratitude, self-prayer and self-love, because the most beloved Guru is the one that lives within you.
Honoring Sage Veda Vyasa
Guru Purnima is also called “Vyasa Purnima,” as it is the birth anniversary of Sage Veda Vyasa. Vyasa had given knowledge on a wide variety of subjects and was the scribe of several fundamental Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata. Many spiritual Masters have shared their wisdom selflessly with the world. On Guru Purnima you can connect with the spirit of these enlightened Masters.
Guru Purnima Rituals
- Honor your Guru and offer your gratitude to him/her in a way that is meaningful to you.
- Listen to Guru Paduka Stotram, a powerful mantra that calls on the grace of the Guru. Paduka refers to the type of Sandals worn throughout Asia which are honored as a representation of the spiritual Masters who have passed down ancient wisdom throughout history.
- Chant the Brihaspati Gayatri Mantra from Rig Veda. Brihaspati is another name for Jupiter/Guru, used in this mantra – om vṛṣabhaṁ carṣaṇīnāṁ viśvarūpamadābhyam | bṛhaspatiṁ vareṇyam || वृषभं चर्षणीनां विश्वरूपमदाभ्यम् ।बृहस्पतिं वरेण्यम् ॥
- Reflect on how you’ve grown spiritually during the past year and set intentions for the year to come.
- Honor Sage Veda Vyasa by chanting the mantra ‘Om Jum Sah Vyam Vyasadevaya Namah Sah Jum Om,’ 108 times during Jupiter hora.
- If you have learned the Guru Puja this is one of the best days to perform it. If you are not familiar with it, you can offer prayers to your Ishta devata (your preferred deity) by chanting the Brihaspati Gayatri Mantra mentioned above.