What is the importance of Guru Purnima compared to the rest of the purnimas and other times of the year? Yoga Netri, Hatha Yoga studio in Austin, tx, outlines both the celestial alliances and the mystical significance of this time of receptivity and liberation, and looks at how to make use of this time by becoming available to Grace.
The Celestial Importance of Guru Purnima
Of all the purnimas, why is this particular one dedicated to the guru? Fundamentally, in terms of receptivity, different points in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun tend to have certain qualities. There are certain days in the year when many sages and saints have found their moment of enlightenment. They did not get enlightened because of those days – they were in the process, they were close – but it easily blossoms on certain days because of a little assistance from nature.
On Guru Purnima, there is a certain alliance between the Moon and the planets, which creates a receptivity in people to that dimension which we refer to as the guru. Usually in India, they would stay out in the moonlight, with the guru if it was possible. The whole night was spent either meditating or singing, dancing and going wild.
Guru Purnima: An Important Time for Grace
This is the time of the year when the Adiyogi’s attention fell upon his first seven disciples – the now celebrated Saptarishis. In the yogic tradition, Shiva is not worshipped as a God, but is considered the Adiyogi – the First Yogi, and as the Adi Guru, the First Guru from whom the yogic sciences originated.
The Saptarishis had done some simple preparatory steps for eighty-four long years, without even a moment of attention from him. Then, during the shift of the sun from the northern to the southern run. Adiyogi noticed that these seven people had become shining beings. After that, for twenty-eight days, he could not take his attention off them. His attention upon them was undivided.
Then, on the first full moon after the summer solstice, he decided to teach. He decided to become a Guru. This full moon is referred to as Guru Purnima. So this month is seen as a month where even a completely heartless ascetic could not ignore, and he became compassionate. Somebody who had hardened himself in such a way that the world could never touch him, he loosened up, became compassionate and was compelled to become a teacher or a Guru, for which he had no intention at all.
So, this month is seen as the best time to receive the Grace of the Guru and make yourself receptive to the process. This is a good time to earn that attention from the Grace.
The Importance of Guru Purnima for Your Growth
Today, it has become a fashion for people to say, “I want to be like a child.” When you were a child, you desperately wanted to grow up quick, because all the capabilities that the adults had, made you look so small and useless. After you grew up, because you do not know how to manage this growing up, you want to become a child.
Children are nice because things are going to change soon, so we value them the way they are now. But if you remain like that forever, that is not of any value.
Growing up is of value. To be capable of doing many things in your mind and your body is of value. Only if you do not know how to make use of your mind and body, and have made misery and entanglements out of them, then you will wish you had not grown up. Otherwise, to grow is something that everybody wants to do. Nobody wants to go backwards.
So, this month is the month of Grace. Grace is like manure for growth, that a human being can catapult himself to another dimension of existence, capability and possibility. So making use of Grace – what should we do? Nothing to do. The less you do within yourself and the more you do outside of yourself, the more available you become to Grace.
Guru Purnima: A Night of Liberation
For people who are on the spiritual path, Guru Purnima is the biggest day in the year because they want to receive the grace of the Adi Guru and every other guru on the way.
On that full moon night of Guru Purnima, 15000 years ago, as Adiyogi turned his attention to the seven sages, for the very first time in the history of humanity, human beings were reminded that they are not a fixed life. If they are willing to strive, every door in the existence is open. A human being need not be confined by the simple laws of nature.
Indian culture adopted liberation as the highest goal and the only goal. Everything that you do in your life is only towards your ultimate liberation because whatever the nature of confinement, whether the confinement is imposed by prison guards, marriage, school teachers or just the laws of nature -– anything for that matter – confinement is one thing that a human being cannot take because his innate longing is for liberation.