Celebrating Guru Purnima
Tomorrow is Guru Purnima! This is a growing holiday in the West but it’s a tradition in India that is recognized by yogis, Buddhists, and Hindus as a time of reverence for your Guru.
“Guru” doesn’t have to stand for a mighty deity. As some jokingly note, it’s the person who helps to “clean up the goo in you;” the doubts, fears, and limited beliefs we unconsciously have. Whether that is a grandparent, yoga teacher, or a writer it’s someone who gives you the spark of spiritual insight that brings you closer to reclaiming your divine nature.
This is an occasion to reflect on the synchronicity, the orchestration, of how we have come together. Our teachers had teachers, who had teachers, etc. But at one point, everyone started as a student. From their own circumstances that pupil had a calling to be open to absorbing knowledge and guidance that appeared to them. They were seeded with their own discoveries and bits of wisdom and from a culmination of that experience, they carried within them those insightful lessons. And that intelligence was delivered to us at exactly the time we were open to receiving it.
In this way we’re connected to this interminable lineage that is far greater than us.
Swami Sivananda asks, “Do you realize now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the Guru’s role in the evolution of man?” Without our Guru’s unique perspective, the way our consciousness evolved would never have been the same.
I think sometimes we can take for granted that our teachers seem to magically appear as if they were always enlightened. But they weren’t. These messengers went through some measure of suffering that they had to examine. It’s these untraceable moments of awakening that have formed this beautiful, magical bond between us.
Yet just as change is inevitable, our teachers may not always be around or we may outgrow them. And it’s in these transitory times of struggle that we can feel utterly alone.
In this article from Yoga International, Swami Rama writes, “You are never lonely on the path of spirituality. That which makes you lonely is the world and its external relationships.” Just because they are not physically or audibly present does not mean that their guidance has left us.
Perhaps on a day such as this, through your own ceremony, you can once again summon the company of those who have helped shape your path on the journey to discovering who you really are.