When is Guru Purnima in 2020, and what is it auspicious for?

Every year, Guru Purnima, the full moon day of July (the Hindi month of Ashadh), is celebrated to honor the Guru. This year, Guru Purnima falls on Sunday, July 5, 2020.

The word, “Guru” has no exact translation in English. The literal meaning of the word “Guru” is the remover of psychic darkness. Just as the darkness is dispelled when you bring light into a dark room, so also the Guru dispels the darkness that has been obstructing the passage to the highest consciousness within a human being.

Although many people think of a Guru as an individual, in reality Guru is a power or an element (tattwa), not an individual. Electrical power flows in wires and illuminates the bulb.

Guru is nothing but I-Awareness, which exists in everybody. Indeed, Guru lives in your sahasrara (top of the head) at all times. There are two aspects of the Guru: The inner Guru with a capital ‘G’ refers to the cosmic energy present within all beings. The outer guru with a lowercase ‘g’ refers to an individual, a medium through whom the cosmic energy flows. The outer guru is also referred to as a spiritual master. When one receives the grace of the outer guru, one is really receiving the grace of the inner Guru. Remember, Guru is the cosmic energy, not the physical body of an individual.

An individual may be a true guru, but he or she is not your guru until you have received his or her energy (shakti) through initiation. If you become a worthy seeker, an outer guru is bound to appear one day in your life time.

The moon reflects the full light of the sun. Light only comes from the sun. The moon only reflects. Moon represents the mind. When the mind would become free of all defects – greed, lust, anger, jealousy, hatred, and egoistic pride –then it will be able to reflect the light of the spirit.

Why do we observe Guru Purnima each year? To connect with the Guru, to express gratitude to the Guru, and to remind ourselves of our Guru-parampara (Guru-disciple lineage). Without a Self-realized being belonging to an authentic Guru-disciple lineage, one cannot become Self-realized. Only a lighted candle can light another candle. Your true nature is that of infinite spirit. Realization of the Self as the spirit is the ultimate goal of all human beings. If you realize yourself as the spirit you will see that this world is only spiritual and not physical. The spirit ‘I’ is never new. It is eternally the same. The physical body is not ‘I’. The Self is not born nor does it die.

Wrong identity with the non-self makes you ask, “Who am I?” The identification of the Self with the body-mind is illusion. This must go. On its removal, the Self alone is. “Knowing the Self” means “Being the Self”. To know what you are, you must first know what you are not. Discover all that you are not — body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing that you perceive can be you. You are not what you perceive. For example, if you’re watching a rose, you are not the rose. If you’re watching your hand, you are not your hand. If you’re watching your mind’s activities, you are not the mind.

That the knowledge that mangoes are sweet can be known from books. The taste of the mango’s sweetness cannot be known through any book, no matter how holy the book is. Its taste can only be realized by direct experience. Atma (Spirit/Self) is everywhere but atma-gyan (Self-realization) is lacking everywhere. Now the quest is to discover who I am. And meditation is a technique to discover who I am. The closer you come to yourself, the closer you come to the guru.

How do I get the realization of Spirit/Self (atma) as Spirit?

Lord Krishna reveals:

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया।

उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः।। गीता, ४/३४

Tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa|

Upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattwa-darshinah || Bhagavad Gita 4-34 ||

Meaning: Get realization of the eternal essence from an enlightened sage through your reverence, surrender, and selfless service. The enlightened sage who is established in reality will initiate you into it.

The guru tradition is universal. Now people are ready for yoga, a spiritual practice, which originated in ancient India. We are preparing for a great leap forward in the evolution of humanity. Guru Purnima has become an international festival as more and more people are dedicating themselves to yoga.

What is Guru Purnima auspicious for?

Guru Purnima is one of four most auspicious nights in the year — Maha Shivaratri, Guru Purnima, Janmashtami, and Diwali – to repeat a conscious mantra. The Guru Gita is an important scripture for understanding the relationship between the Guru and the disciple. On Guru Purnima day, we honor the Guru by reciting Guru Paduka Stotram by Adi Shankaracharya and chanting the Guru Gita (Song of the Guru). The Guru Gita is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the mystical nature of Guru. Devote yourself completely to repeating this conscious mantra during the Guru Purnima night. Yes, Guru Purnima is the most auspicious time to connect with the innermost Guru element.

Unless you have a guru, you cannot become a disciple. I am a disciple. What am I doing? I am working as a medium or as an instrument for my guru. I am always a disciple to my guru and I cannot and will not become a guru. The ego is the greatest enemy of a spiritual seeker. “I am a guru” is ego; whereas “I am a disciple” is humility. To allow your guru to work through you, you will have to empty yourself of ego. And this process of emptying yourself of your ego is the only real spiritual practice that you must do.

Have a happy, happier, happiest Guru Purnima 2020!

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