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What is the significance of Guru Purnima? A powerful lesson from Mahabharata

Wondering what is the significance of Guru Purnima? To offer gratitude to one's Guru is the highest form of worship. World over, Guru Purnima is observed as a most sacred day that marks one's devotion and gratitude to the Guru, the spiritual Master, Guide and God. Hinduism places utmost reverence to the 'Guru-Shishya' relationship. [READ: Gayatri Mantra - Why Chant it] 

                                              [Image: Pexels ]

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, whose 'Autobiography of a Yogi' inspired millions of seekers worldwide to embrace the spiritual path with sincerity, reminds every seeker on the path: "Humility comes from seeing GOD as the Doer, not yourself. Humility lies in the heart. Whatever you may be doing, tell yourself constantly - 'God is doing all this through me.' "

A most powerful lesson from the Mahabharata serves as a gentle reminder of the importance of a Guru in a student's life. Drawn from the following Vedic mantra, there is a beautiful story that Swami has shared with Bal Vikas teachers.

'Sahana Vavatu, Sahano Bhunaktu
Saha viryamkarvavahai
Tejasvi navdheetamastu
Ma Vidvishavahai'

READ: Guru Purnima and Guru Shishya Relationship 

According to Swami, Guru Dronacharya, the Guru of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, used to chant the above mentioned mantra 'Sahana Vavatu'.  

The literal meaning is that we should live together, not be jealous of each other and most of all, we should not lose temper with each other. 

Sounds quite easy, right? Hard to put into practice, you already know!

When Guru Dronacharya taught this, all students said that they understood the meaning except Yudhishthira. He said that he could not understand it. Despite Guru Dronacharya repeatedly explaining the meaning, Yudhishthira persisted by saying that he could not understand it. 

After a point, Dronacharya lost his temper. 

At that point, Yudhishthira calmly said, "Now I understand."

What a powerful reminder from the Mahabharata! 

A student cannot progress without the teacher grasping and practicing the lesson first.

The story Swami shared also reminds us that children will be children, it is the teacher who has to practice what is taught repeatedly until a child grasps the meaning.

To put it simply, absolute love is the basis of the Guru-Shishya relationship. But it requires tremendous faith, sincerity and hard work to progress on the path.

In 'Forty Rules of Love', a beautiful quote sums up the significance: The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new Self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can be perfected only in pain."

READ: Four Paths to Divinity in Hinduism and Why Om is Powerful? 

Sri Gyana Mata, the most devoted disciple of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda wrote in her book 'God Alone' and I have personally etched this in my heart for inspiration: "This one ideal stands out - I call it the one perfect thing of my life: If I ever felt a little human wishes for something I could not have, this question was immediately presented to my soul - 'What did you come here for?' The answer was always 'For God ALONE'. In an instant, my vision was clear and unobstructed again."

Such profound words can come only from a true Shishya, some one who follows the Guru with absolute faith and love.

Remember, the Guru does not find a short cut to reduce your pain. 

Instead, He gives you the wisdom, the peace and the strength to walk through the trials with a smile on your face and a prayer in your heart.


Vishnu said…
Learned a lot in this post. Thanks for sharing! Enjoying the spiritual content and explanations you have been writing of late, Swapna.