Guru Purnima is the day, when the world over, devotees and disciples celebrate the presence of their gurus in their lives. This year, Guru Purnima was celebrated on the 5th of July as a virtual event. Since the lockdown had made it impossible for devotees to make their way to the Ashram, the excitement around the first online streaming of Guru Puja was palpable. It was an intimate and beautiful celebration with only the residents and staff present. The compassion and grace of the Guru led to everyone performing the Guru Puja – an overwhelming and emotional moment for all.

“Guru Purnima celebrated on the day of the full moon,
perhaps is a reminder that even with a complete Guru,
like phases of the moon, our life, continues to wax and wane, ebb, and flow.”

Preparations for the celebrations were looked after by the Ashram residents, who took pride in overseeing every detail over a short time. An initiative was undertaken to teach the Guru Paduka Strotram by Sadhvi Shraddha Om to those present at the Ashram and chant as they offered their obeisances to Swamiji. Those who watched the live telecast were overcome with devotion, making it a beautiful and deep experience for every viewer.

अनंत संसार समुद्र तार नौकायिताभ्यां गुरुभक्तिदाभ्यां।
वैराग्य साम्राज्यद पूजनाभ्यां नमो नमः श्री गुरु पादुकाभ्यां॥१॥

A True Guru’s Padukas are the boat that enables crossing over the tumultuous ocean of Life.

In the discourse that followed, Swamiji encouraged everyone to reflect on why people take a Guru. Emphasizing the unique bond that exists between a Guru and his disciple, he gently nudged everyone to stay true to their responsibility in this relationship. Recounting the story of Parasurama, and how he overcame his anger only when he surrendered to his Guru, Lord Dattatreya, Swamiji reiterated that what the disciple takes from his Guru is dependent on his hard work. He clarified that while we can all make the Guru our destination, the right and everlasting relationship is really with the Divine. Dwelling on the guru alone, would therefore not help us reach this actual goal. Swamiji reassured us that Sri Hari would always be there for all, irrespective of the course we follow.

On the topic of appropriate devotion and reverence, he reminded initiates of their duties. He encouraged them to walk his path, in a manner that their exemplariness would be a source of motivation even to him. He attributed these sincere efforts to be the best offering to him. This mindfulness, awareness, and remembrance form the basis of true worship and the reasoning behind the coining of the term Guru – the one who takes us from darkness to light.

The evening Sri Hari Aarti was led by Swamiji, and throughout the aarti, he donned the stunning floral garland that Raghu Swami had offered. Many devotees also felt like they were physically present at the Ashram. The evening concluded with the distribution of Prasadam.

This year the inability of devotees to be physically present in the Ashram ‘reminds us that we can’t have the moon, and that, instead, we are to use its light and beauty to enrich our lives. Eventually, a true disciple transitions from the Guru outside to the one inside.’

“As long as you are growing emotionally and spiritually in your life,
you are celebrating Guru Purnima.
If you are grateful, compassionate, sincere, and truthful,
you have already offered me everything.”

~ Om Swami