Dear Brothers & Sisters :Saprem Namskar !
Utsavas – festivals are for cultural continuation, for expressing the joy of life, strengthening the collectives like family, community, society, and nation and for expressing the gratitude towards the creation. Utsaratiitiutsava – Festival is that which elevates. India is full of various festivals. The characteristic of our festivals is that no festival is without pooja. No festival is just for merry-making though in every festival we do enjoy. The festivals are to make us relevant in time as well as to continue our tradition. That is what made Hindu dharma and our nation as NityaNootanChiraPooratan – that is ‘ever new and most ancient’. Some festivals are celebrated ceremoniously with all splendour on large scale and some are celebrated quietly but very meaningfully. The festival of Gurupurnima comes in the second category. This year the Gurupurnima festival is coming on 31 July.This festival is celebrated on AshadhiPurnima which is Jayanti – the birth anniversary of Maharishi Veda Vyasa a son of a Rishi Parashar and a fisherwoman Satyawati. What was his work that made him so exalted a being that on his birthday Gurupurnima is celebrated? He did a fourfold work.
Firstly, when he saw that the Vedas – AnantaVaiVedah – a voluminous store of knowledge discovered by seers over the ages was in the fear of getting extinct, he collected and compiled it.
Secondly, to protect Vedas, he allotted its Shakhas-branches to various families to be preserved by Guru-Shishya tradition. That is in a family, father would teach to his son and along with that to some other willing and deserving children. It would also happen that the children would come from far off places and stay with the reputed Guru who would treat them as part of his own family. Gradually, the famous Gurukula system of India developed. In today’s language it was the most extensive and privatized system of education in the world. Thus a very natural way of protection of knowledge as it was family based was devised by him.
Thirdly, it was not just the Vedas but all the other branches of knowledge called as Upavedas like Ayurveda including Surgery (which was generally with barber community); Sthapatya Veda which means sculpture including everything related to construction with metals, stones, mortars and wood; Gandharva Veda covering music, vocal and instrumental, dance, dramaetc; Dhanurveda all skills and knowledge related to military warfare were also systematized by Veda Vyasa allotting its branches to various families and communities. Thus each family of every community became a repository of a branch of knowledge and so continuing the family tradition got equated with continuance of knowledge.Fourthly, for the common man to understand the Vedic truth he also composed Puranas, Mahabharat so that the application of Vedic truth in life is clear to all. Religion is not just in believing but in being and becoming. Not just the information about one’s religion but realizing the truths and then expressing it in our lives was the aim of Sanatana Dharma. In this Guru- shishya tradition, the knowledge is learnt by observing the life of the Guru who may be one’s own parents or a realized soul. Veda Vyasa succeeded in preserving and inculcating the respect for tradition.
Therefore, traditionally this is the day to remember our whole tradition of Guru starting with Bhagwan Siva and to offer our respects to the Guru who guides us in life, who has handed over the tradition of knowledge and wisdom to us. This is also a day to express our gratitude and commitment to the Guru for carrying forward our culture vibrantly, with the vision of ‘KrinvantoVishwamaryam – let us make the whole world noble.’In Vivekananda Kendra we are doing the IshwariKarya of ‘Man-making and Nation-building’. For this Ishwarikarya we have Ishwara as our Guru. Thus Omkaris our Guru. It is because of Vyasa that our Vedic knowledge survived and also the importance of Guru-tradition got established. Thus this is a day to remember all the Gurus who have contributed in continuation and propagation of the Vedic tradition. Actually when we bow down to Omkara as Guru we are paying our obeisance to all the Gurus in our culture. Paying our obeisance to Guru on the day of Gurupurnima also means that like Veda Vyasa we shall work to protect our culture in changed times and also by our work shall devise a system which is self-propelled – a system that can sustain and drive itself toward the goal. In short we shall have team-based functioning.
Om represents that from which come creation, sustenance and destruction – all phases of the cosmos. It is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. It represents all the gods and goddesses of all the people. It is all-inclusive and encompassing all castes and creeds. Yogashastra says “TasyaVachakahPranavah” Omkara is expression of Ishwara. Om is Ishwara, the perennial source of inspiration for all of us, Om is our Atmaswaroopa. Praying to Omkara as Guru meansit is awakening the Atmaguru, as Dattatreya had done. We have to train our mind that we learn from everything and everyone around us about how to move toward our goal.
For us this is special year. We are celebrating Mananeeya Eknathji JanmaShatiParva with the central theme ‘One life one mission.’ The celebration of Gurupurnima should be more to focus on this theme, that whether in our life our time and energy are focused on performing our Dayitva to the best of ability? Eknathji used to say,‘One life one mission’ means when you choose one path, you reject of millions of other paths. Are we focused on our dayitva, how best we can carry our dayitva that can be the thought for contemplation on this Gurupurnimaday.
On this sacred occasion of Gurupoonima we should see that all the youth that had come for YuvaPrashikshan, all the dayitvavankaryakartas with their family members and also all those who were associated with us during the Swami Vivekananda SardhaShatiSamaroh are invited. We can have prayer, speech on this theme and then some introspective discussion.If we have not yet started Kendra Varga this could be the best occasion for starting it. The involvement of the youth in YuvaSeva also can be revitalized on this occasion.
Gurupurnima should strengthen our resolve and also can be used as an occasion to make new acquaintances become active workers for the nationalist cause. Thus the occasion should reflect the solemnity, clarity and also divine touch to make deep impressions on the mind – to awaken the need of furthering our tradition and energize them to work for it.
Message of Mananiy Nivedita Didi , ,Vice Pesident of Vivekanand Kendra ,Kanyakumari on the occasion of Gurupurnima .


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