Thanksgiving to the
Spiritual Teacher and
dispeller of darkness.
In yogic traditions Guru Purnima is celebrated every year on the full moon in either late June or early July. This occasion gives us the opportunity to pay our respects to our Guru and to all spiritual masters, past and present. The Guru may be embodied in a living person or may be the principle which is characteristic within each of us- the inner intuitive voice of wisdom. The full moon represents the Guru whose light shines & illuminates our darkness; our veils of ignorance which blight our lives.
Traditionally a Guru is an enlightened person; one who can “shake you out of your own intellect and conditioning”, however, as Swami Nishchalananda (one of my highly respected teachers) says “We don’t need a Guru. They really don’t teach you anything, but they can be useful as they show you where you are stuck”. At this current time, there are very few authentic embodied Gurus. And we should remember that spiritual teachings can come in many forms, from the written word to chance encounters and random experiences.
For many, Guru Purnima is as importantly about the Guru Principle - the inner intuitive voice of wisdom, a guiding light prompting an individual towards finding their own truth, understanding and insight, and ultimately - enlightenment. By tuning into the Guru Principle, and turning our attention within, - despite our human conditioning, we have the potential to realise what is underlying our own embodiment.
Connected through yoga, this celebratory day is an opportunity to share and offer our gratitude for the wisdom, knowledge and teachings that have been passed down through the generations as well as the acknowledgement and celebration of our Guru within.
Traditionally, there is a fire ceremony and often a kirtan. Kirtan is a yoga practice where you sing along to mantras/chants. It creates a deep permeating vibration said to be the beating of the heart and soul. This heart felt and joyous expression can connect us to our true nature, our inner light, our inner Guru. This practice is totally non-religious and inclusive of all people. Even though kirtan is singing, it isn’t about how you sound, and you don’t even need to sing if you don’t want to. It is about engaging in a practice designed to bring you more fully into yourself, awakening the heart. Kirtan has been described as the best spiritual practice for this age by many yogic spiritual teachers.
Traditionally one brings some kind of offering such as fruit or flowers. This symbolises our willingness to give of ourselves in the quest for spiritual awakening and greater understanding. Socialising after the event brings connection and community.