Why is Guru Purnima celebrated?
The festival celebrates the pious relationship between students and teachers. The Sanskrit word guru — which also became a part of the English dictionary — is made from ‘gu’ (darkness) and ‘ru’ (removal of darkness). Thus, guru means someone who removes the darkness of illiteracy and ignorance from our lives.
Guru Purnima holds a deeper meaning. It teaches us about the important role that teachers play in our lives. Besides academics, teachers also impart non-curricular skills. They help students imbibe the right values and life skills to become good citizens and navigate their lives in the best way possible.
Guru Purnima History
In the 11th Century, Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon in the village of Sarnath, situated near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, on a full moon day. He had come to Varanasi from Bodh Gaya after achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. According to historians, the Sarnath sermon came five weeks after Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith, achieved enlightenment. This is why Guru Purnima is an important festival for Buddhists.
Meanwhile, Hindus observe Guru Purnima as the birth anniversary of Maharishi Ved Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata. Therefore, the day is also marked as Vyasa Purnima.
Guru Purnima Celebration
In Nepal, the festival of Guru Purnima is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in all schools and colleges. And while India has a separate Teacher’s Day (September 5), students wish their teachers on Guru Purnima as well. People of all ages pay their respects to teachers and spiritual guides for sharing their knowledge with them.