gukārastvandhakāro vai rukārastannivarttakaḥ|
The syllable “gu” means darkness and the syllable “ru” means its elimination. The Guru is so called, for he is the one who removes the darkness of ignorance.
Guru Pūrṇimā is the full moon of the Guru, on this date the importance of the Guru in our lives is celebrated. It takes place in the month āṣāḍha of the Hindu calendar. It is also called Vyāsa-Pūrṇimā, as it is the birthday of Veda Vyāsa, the sage who compiled the Vedas, narrated the epic Mahābhārata, and wrote the Brahmasūtras.
This full moon marks the beginning of the four months of rain in India. At this time of year, sannyāsins (renouncers) take a vow to stay in one place, usually between rivers, and teach the scriptures.
It is said that three things must be respected and worshiped for a lifetime: Īśvara, the scriptures and the Guru. The word Guru has several meanings, the most popular being “one who removes the darkness of ignorance”. The Guru is the vehicle by which knowledge of the revealed scriptures is received. They are said to be revealed because they were received by the sages of yore directly from Īśvara.
The Guru is the one who makes knowledge possible in the minds of his disciples, since he holds the key to the interpretation of the words of the Vedas. And how did the Guru obtain it? Receiving this knowledge from their respective Guru and so on and so forth, culminating in the Lord, the first Guru, Śrī Dakṣiṇāmūrti. This is why the lineage of Guru to disciple is so important in the Vedic tradition.
So, Guru is the one who is able to impart knowledge so that his disciples come to have his same vision, which is the vision of the Vedic texts, the vision of Īśvara. Through his words, drawn from scripture and interpreted in the light of tradition, we understand our true nature. We understand that we are acceptable, we are in order and we are the Whole. The Guru reveals to us the spiritual knowledge that frees us from the ignorance responsible for saṁsāra, for the incessant search to become different from what we already are. That liberation is Mokṣa, it’s like feeling homeless, realizing that we never even leave it.
The relationship between a Guru and his disciple is such that, on the part of the disciple, surrender and trust are essential. Although it seems distant for the current mentality, this can happen objectively when we understand that the teaching that emanates from the Lord comes from the human being in front of us. In this way the Guru before us becomes an altar of worship by which we receive the greatest blessing of all: the knowledge of the limitless being that we already are.
In the scriptures it is said that words exist in space and our vocal apparatus is the channel through which they manifest. In this way, the Guru expresses the right words that make the teaching happen in the disciple’s mind. These words are right because the Guru is guided by tradition and scriptures.
May we offer greetings to our Gurus today, asking for their blessings for the journey towards increasing clarity about our true identity.
Om sad gurave namaḥ _/\_
Written by Maline Ribeiro