Devotional worship of the Guru - the preceptor - is one of the most touching and elevating features of the Hindu cultural tradition. The auspicious moment of Vyaasa Poornima, The full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashad (July-August) chosen for observing this annual festival, is no less significant. It was the great sage Vyasa, son of a fisherwoman, who classified the accumulated spiritual knowledge of the Vedas under four heads - Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva. To him goes the credit of composing the authentic treatise of Brahma-sutras to explain the background of Vedas. He also wrote the eighteen Puranas, the stories of our great heroes and saints, to carry the spiritual and moral precepts contained therein to the common masses.
The greatest of epics of all times and of all climes - Mahaabhaarata - embodying the immortal song of God, the Bhagavad Gita, also in it, is also the priceless gift of Vyasa. The Bhaagavata, the thrilling and devotional story of Sri Krishna, was also his contribution. It is in the fitness of things that Vyasa should be looked upon as the supreme preceptor of mankind. Offering of worship to him signifies the worship of all the preceptors of all times.
The Guru in the Hindu tradition is looked upon as an embodiment of God himself. For, it is through his grace and guidance that one reaches the highest state of wisdom and bliss. "My salutations to the Guru, who is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. The Guru is Parabrahma incarnate"
Gururbrahmaa gururvishnuh gururdevo Maheswarah |
Guruh-saakshaat parabrahma tasmai shrigurave namah ||
Various have been the great sages and saints who have been the spiritual and religious preceptors to countless individuals down the centuries. If you have your personal Guru, worship him.
But is there anyone who can be looked upon as the preceptor for the entire Hindu people - for all their past, present and future generations? Obviously, no individual can play that role. A human being is after all mortal and, however great, has his own limitations. He cannot be a permanent guide for the entire nation for all the time to come. The preceptor for a whole society should be able to act as a perennial source of inspiration to the people, embodying the highest and the noblest national values and ethos.
To the Hindu people, such a Guru can be OM. Which is universal, and represents all, without any barrier as declared by Swami Vivekananda. In Vivekananda Kendra we have adopted this as symbol of GURU.
The annual function of Sri Guru Pooja presents a moment of introspection for us to check up how far we have progressed in this path over the last one year, and take lessons from it and resolve to march faster in the current year.
How to use this day -
1. In the Morning Meditate on the Guru and chant his prayers.
2. Later in the day, the sacred worship of the Guru's Feet is performed. Of this worship it is said in the Guru Gita:
Dhyana moolam guror murtih; Pooja moolam guror padam;
Mantra moolam guror vakyam; Moksha moolam guror kripa
"The Guru's form should be meditated upon; the feet of the Guru should be worshipped; his words are to be treated as a sacred Mantra; his Grace ensures final liberation".
3. Satsang should be organized, during which discourses are held on the glory of devotion to the Guru in particular, and on spiritual topics in general.
4. Sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru. The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message."