Guru Poornima or Vyaasa poornima

S. V. Subrahmanian svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 11 14:58:52 CDT 2000

brahmAnandam param Sukhadam kevalam jnana mUrthim
dwandvAtheetam gagana sadrusham tatvamasyAdi lakshyam
ekam nityam vimalam achalam sarva dhi sakshibhootham
bhavatheetam trigunarahitam sadgurum tam namAmi.

>The Aashaada shukla poornima is considered as Vyaasa Jayanthi.

I have wondered as to why this Poornima (infact Purnima at all) was chosen
as opposed to others for felicitating the Guru.  I could only think of the
following.  If anybody knows better, please write.

1.  The moon attains purnima on one of the Nakshatras in each month.  The
names of the months are chosen according to the Nakshatra in which the moon
attains full moon status.  For eg., in the month of Aashaada, purnima is
when moon in on the Nakshatra Purvaashaada, Chitra maasa moon attains
purnima when it crosses Chitra Nakshatra.

The purnima under consideration ie., when moon crosses Purvaashaada is in
Dhanu which is ruled by Jupiter (Guru).  But the question comes as to why
only Dhanu and not Meena which is also ruled by Guru.  But when the moon
attains full moon in Meena (Bhadrapada maasa), Surya would have already
crossed Karka ie., Dakshinayana would have commenced.  Hence they might have
chosen to felicitate the Guru during Uttarayana (ie., last purnima of

2.  During the Gurukula days of the yore, the curriculum was split into two.
  During the 5 months beginning with Shraavana maasa Purnima, till
Dakshinayana ends, the students were taught the core Vedas ie., the Mantras
in Shruti, to develop intuitive self-perception.  The ritual that marked the
beginning is called UpAkarma, when the Guru brushes up the sections left off
in the previous year and commences a new course of mantra chanting for the
next 5-6months.

When Uttarayana starts, the chanting part of the Vedas is suspended and the
Vedangas ie., Shiksha, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Kalpa, Jyotish (I am forgetting
the other one here) was taken up for 5-6months.  The Guru purnima is thus
also a sort of completion of one complete year of adhyayana.  Guru purnima
served as a good annual ceremony for thanking one's Acharya.

May be, it was a fitting tribute to felcitate one's Guru for removing that
much of ignorance in that one year.

3.  Also the association of the moon with the mind is significant.
"Chandrama manaso jaatah" says Purushasooktham.  When the mind perceives the
higher Truth or deeper bliss in its source, ie.,  the Atman it gives up its
longing for sense objects and starts craving for the Supreme.  At this stage
the mind can want nothing but the Grace of God and it leads one, as it were,
towards God and hence acts as a Guru.  When the mind(Guru) is fully
blossomed with Love for God(Purnima), it attains a state of "Guru-purnima".
May be the celebration has this Adhyatmic interpretation too.

With love,

S. V. Subrahmanian
svs_shankara at
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