Today is the full moon day of Ashadha month of Indian calendar and it is observed by Hindus and Buddhists as Guru Purnima in India and several other Asian countries. There are various stories behind the celebration of this day. The great saint Ved Vyas is remembered on this day as was the first one to scrutinize the ancient Veda into a group of four Vedas of the Hindu religion.

The word guru itself means the remover of darkness. There’s a comparison that the Guru is like the moon and his disciples are like clouds of the Ashadha month, and as the moon is always surrounded by the clouds in Ashadha, the same way the Guru is always surrounded by his disciples. He enlightens his students with his light and knowledge. Sanskrit shloka, “Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwarah, Guru Sakshat ParBrahm, Tasmai Shri, Guruve Namah” is solely dedicated to the Gurus where the Guru is compared to The Ultimate trinity of Gods.

Apart from Hindus and the Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs also observe Guru Purnima. Sikhs call guru Purnima as guru purab. According to Buddhists, Buddha addressed his first sermon to five monks known as ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta’ on this day and hence they celebrate this day. Jains celebrate this day in the honor of their lord Mahavir and the Sikhs for their ten Gurus. Hinduism also relates this day to lord Shiva by various stories. Many Hindu kings like Chhatrapati Shivaji are archetypes of how dedicated a disciple can be towards their Guru.

Different people celebrate this festival with various rituals like praying, fasting, offering guru dakshina, donating etc to celebrate their bond with their guru and convey their gratefulness for their presence in life. On this auspicious day, let’s wish all our mentors and gurus, who have held our hand in darkness and brought us to light.