Guru Purnima: History, myth or fiction?
– Guruji Sri Nandkishore Tiwari, Darpan Foundation
Guru Purnima is celebrated among Hindus, Buddhists and Jains same day. Sharing same festival across religions is evidence of our timeless fundamental spiritual unity and also living evidence of strength of Indian spiritual traditions.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyas Purnima because Bhagwan Veda Vyas was born on this day. Tirthankara Vardhamana Mahavira made his first disciple this day. Tathagata Buddha gave his first sermon on this day so it is celebrated as Buddha Purnima. Inclusivity defines our very temperament while, cleverness ( Vichakshata) and gratefulness stirred by inspiration is seen as virtuousness of character which in turn leads to gratitude and wisdom journeying through knowledge, devotion and liberation. While, Cunningness ( prapanch) stirred by instinct of usurping and claiming lands us in slippery slope of ingratitude and egoism. Unlike LAC, Line differentiating cunningness from cleverness is very thin and invisible. Keeping our sanity intact is responsibility that guru accepts. And, responsibility fructifies in love. That is why love is seen as synonymous with wisdom and, guru as an embodiment of love. If we consider ourselves medium of wisdom then Knowledge and devotion would be termed as means to attract divine grace, compassion and liberation. Guru Purnima is remembrance and celebration of this crystallised opportunity which is bestowed on us for evolving and transforming into becoming gratefulness.
Guru Purnima is woven around life of great seer Veda Vyasa because not only his birth but few other auspicious happenings like his beginning of writing or dictating Mahabharata also happen to fall on this this day. His life is full with super natural happenings beginning right from his birth. His father sage Parashar was astrologer and astronomer and knew auspicious time for everything, so while going in a boat rowed by sailor Dasraj”s daughter Matasyagandha (Satyavati), Parashara saw that if a child is conceived within these 48 minutes (known as muhurta) that child will be genius par excellence. So he proposed to Matsyagandha for intercourse and matsya gandha agreed to his proposal on certain conditions, which Parashara fulfilled and Veda Vyas was born. Since, he was born as a dark skinned and on island hence the name Krishna Dwaipayana. When he expressed his wish to go for penance, his mother pleaded against it and remonstrated. Endowed with his supernatural powers he gave her word that whenever she needed him, then just by thinking of him he will immediately arrive and do her bidding. And, he kept his word till his mother lived. Considering guru higher than god and, accord higher place to woman as compared to man are two basic values that Indian spiritual traditions uphold. Veda Vyas lived those values all through his life and became synonymous with word guru. On this Guru Purnima let us contemplate over our spiritual traditions whether these are very breath of our eternal life or mere ornamental embellishments to boast of glorious past? As, it’s always better to question and accept everything on value, be it in the field of science or that of religion. Spirituality (wisdom) is mother of all branches of knowledge (sciences) looking for truth. And, Satyam Param Dheemahi (Truth is ultimate wisdom and vice versa) is the assertion of spirituality.
It is important to remember all stories related to all our festivals as, this exercise keeps us rooted in cultural values. If, we don’t then, our glorious history, traditions and collective memories are reduced to rituals and, finally get dumped into genre of myth. We uphold values only, when we know those values to be real. If we reduce our history to mere story or myth then neither celebrating nor donning those values by the characters in those stories would inspire awe and wonder in our attitude towards our glorious history and we will not feel meaning in upholding them as eternal spiritual values. And, it is loss of spiritual values in society that breeds all kinds of individual inferiorities and social evils like drug addiction, physical violence, and mental cruelty to name a few. And, all this leads to poverty which is termed as ultimate misery.
The society which doesn’t preserve spiritual prosperity can’t sustain its material prosperity for long. Therefore, character building is key component in overall well-being of human race and, festivals prove helpful in character building of our children. Veda Vyas and Guru Purnima itself is one such example. Vyasa’s spiritual eloquence is eternal. Fruits of his timeless Purusarth in the form of Vedas, Mahabharata, Puranas etc is before us enriching our lives. Despite such glowing evidences before our eyes should we consider him a fictional figure? We have numerous festivals and a galaxy of great beings related to those festivals they are our ancestors. Their attainments and achievements are so grand that all earthlings across nations may feel affinity towards them and perceive them as their own ancestors. And, rightly so because the vision of seers has unexceptionally been that of universal welfare.
Sarve Bhavantu sukhinah and Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam are not political slogans but our spiritual yardsticks from the very beginning of time. Ironically, we prefer to send our children to attend motivation classes for inspiration and leadership, where motivational speakers ferret out exotic sounding names other than that of our own great seers and saints. Don’t as parents we know that by doing this we are putting the seed of inferiority and lie in innocent minds and hearts. It is no body’s case here that we should become confined to past or victims of past and exclude teaching our kids (and more so to adults) the achievements of all those who are not born in India. Quite the contrary, point being made here is that we should put the things in right order.
When will we see our own treasure and value it? The treasure which is lying buried within all of us in one sense or the other. If we ourselves are not valuing our truth who else will value and trust us? If we ourselves begins to see our history as mythology and fiction, then who should we blame for our down fall from place of being world leader in matters of directing destiny of humanity and planet earth (Bhu-Devi)! Is it our incapacity or that of our ancestors that we are incapable of transcending our mind and experience the supernatural as they did? There is very thin line between pursuing supernatural and becoming superstitious. One leads to waking us up to our potential and seeing wonder that as consciousness we ourselves are and, another misleads to miracle mania and brain washing. On this Guru Purnima let us meditate and choose (satya sankalp) to enlighten our daily behaviour with light of clarity, correctness and purity leaving behind doubt, fear and corruption.
Writer is propounder of Sahaj Smriti Yog system of self-realisation and founder of Darpan Ashram, located at the foothills of Noorundumalai, Krishnagiri Dist, Tamilnadu. www.darpanfoundation.com