[Advaita-l] Guru purnima

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Jul 11 10:05:05 CDT 2006

Today, the purnima (full moon) of the month of Ashadha is called Guru 
purnima.  Sadhakas should consider this the holiest day of the year as 
without the guidance of our Guru parampara, we would remain mired in ignorance.

According to the Dharmasindhu, the days puja is actually to a total 
of 33 deities.

   Vayu                              Soma                             Nirrti

          Durga                                            Saraswati

                 Acharyadi Brahma Narayanadi Shiva Vyasadi
                  panchaka         panchaka        panchka

   Varuna                       Guru Parampara                        Indra

          Kshetrapala                                      Ganesha

   Ishana                           Yama                              Agni

First one worships Ganesha Bhagavan as the remover of obstacles just like 
in any puja.

Then Kshetrapala (Bhairava) to protect the place where learning takes 

Then Durga mata to give strength to continue learning to completion.

Next Saraswati mata who is the personification of learning and wisdom.

Then the 8 lokapalas Indra etc. who protect the world.

After these preliminaries, the founders of the sampradaya are worshipped.

In the middle is Narayanadi panchaka arranged like this:


Pradyumna  Narayana  Vasudeva


At first this seemed a little odd to me.  The four vyuhas or 
manifestations of Shri Narayana play a central part in Shrivaishnavism. 
In fact Shankaracharya criticizes the vyuhavada in Brahmasutrabhashya. 
However there is shastra pramana for this in e.g. Bhagavata Purana and 
even in the bhashya Shankaracharya emphasizes that it is the philosophical 
aspects of this theory that he is against not the devotional ones.

In any case it should be emphasized that it is not a sectarian vision of 
Vishnu but He who is "higher than the avyakta" -- Brahman who is being 
worshipped here as the source and the goal of our tradition.

On either side are Brahma and Shiva who together with Narayana/Vishnu 
make up the trimurti.

On the right is Vyasadi panchaka arranged like this:


   Jaimini  Vyasa  Sumantu


Shri Veda Vyasa arranged the 4 Vedas and taught them to his 4 pupils as 
mentioned in e.g. Vishnu Purana,

Sumantu       - Rgveda
Vaishampayana - Yajurveda
Jaimini       - Samaveda
Paila         - Atharvaveda

He also wrote (or compiled) the fundamental text of Vedanta, the 
brahmasutras and the 18 puranas and the Mahabharata which includes the 

On left is Acharyadi panchaka arranged like this:

Totaka   Shankara  Padmapada

Shankaracharya was not the first teacher of Advaita Vedanta but he is the 
most prominent.  He put his 4 chief disciples Padmapada etc. in charge of 
the 4 main mathas he started.  (Though there is some confusion about which 
shishya went to which matha.)

After paying respects to  the founders and ancient sages of our sampradaya, the
historical lineage is worshipped.

First our own Gurus.
Then our Gurus Guru (paramaguru)
Then his Guru (parameshtiguru)
Then all the enlightened ones who have ever lived.

[1] Notes to my copy suggest that Shuklayajurvedis should replace 
Vaishampayana with Yajnavalkya as he was the original teacher of that shakha.

[2] Another name for Sureshwara.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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