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Legend Swamiji's Discourse

Date: July

Legend: A festival with a truly spiritual meaning and relevance, Guru Purnima celebrates the might of one’s teacher or guru through respect and reverence. Also known as Vyasa Purnima, the festival is celebrated in July - August on the full moon of the fourth month (Ashada) of the Indian calendar. It is believed that the great scholar Vyasa, who lived in the Dwapara Yuga, was born on this day. Legend has it that this is when he completed the codification of the four Vedas or the Hindu religious texts.

"Today is described as Guru Purnima Day. This is not quite correct. The day got its name because of some gurus who wanted to have an occasion for receiving offerings from their disciples. The right name for this day is Vyasa Purnima.

Vyaasa was born on this full-moon day. He completed the codification of the four Vedas on this day. He completed the writing of the eighteen Puranas on this day. Owing to the passage of time Vyasa Purnima came to be called Guru Purnima.

The true meaning of Guru is "one who dispels the darkness of ignorance". Another meaning of the word is ‘one who is beyond attributes and forms, namely, the Supreme Self (the Brahmam)’. When this Self is within you where is the need to search for someone to teach you? A teacher who teaches others has had a teacher himself. The one who has no Guru above him is the true Guru. The Sanskrit stanza which hails the Guru as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara and as Parabrahman is misinterpreted. The right approach is to consider Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara as the Guru. These three are symbolized by the three gunas: Brahma is Rajas, Vishnu is Sathva and Siva is Thamas. The whole cosmos is constituted by the three gunas. The three gunas are present in man. The trinity is present in the form of the three gunas in every human heart.

Hence, you are your own Guru. You need not seek him elsewhere. The so-called Gurus of today seek to impart some mantras and receive offerings as Guru Dakshina on Guru Purnima day. The mantra is whispered in the ear and the palm is stretched for an offering. This is what happens today. It is not the proper sign of a Guru. You are a Guru unto yourself. All potencies are within you. This is indicated by the Gayatri Mantra.

You have to feel at all times your inherent divinity, which is also present in everyone. When you help or feed someone you must feel that the Divine in you is feeding the Divine in others."

Discourse: Guru Purnima, Jul 30, 1996

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