Festival paid homage to spiritual teachers.
By American Bazaar Staff
NEW YORK: New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula has paid tribute to the festival of Guru Purnima during the week that millions around the world paid homage to their teachers in gratitude for providing them with spiritual knowledge and guidance.
Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) issued the following statement:
“On Guru Purnima, millions around the world, including Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs pay homage to their spiritual teachers through whom they receive spiritual knowledge and direction on how to live a life inspired by the Divine Will and on the Path of Dharma (The Right Path);
“In Sanskrit, the syllable Gu means darkness or shadows, and Ru means the remover or the one who disperses them, so Guru means the remover of the darkness of ignorance and one who illuminates our path to enlightenment;
“For Hindus, the tradition of Guru Purnima dates back thousands of years to the time of sage Vyasa, who organized the Vedas, the original Indian scriptures, that are believed to be directly revealed, by splitting them into four parts: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. This earned him the title of Vyasa, which in Sanskrit, means splitter. Veda means knowledge;
“Sage Vyasa also wrote the 18 Puranas, the Srimad Bhagavata and the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata. The Brahma Sutras, also written by him, chronicle aspects of Vedanta, the philosophical part of the Vedas that focus on the ultimate identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Consciousness;
“Buddhists celebrate the festival of Guru Purnima in honor of Lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Buddha’s disciples were his five former companions, the Pancavaggiya monks, who he believed would quickly understand the concept of Dharma (The Right Path) and spread it throughout the world;
“In the Jain tradition, it was on this day that Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara (enlightened human being who serves as a spiritual role model) initiated his first disciple Indrabhuti Gautam, thus becoming a Guru or spiritual teacher himself;
“In Sikhism, the concept of Guru is fundamental to the faith. The very word Sikhism is derived from the Sanskrit word shishya, which means disciple or seeker, and revolves around the relationship between the teacher and a student. Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, the founder of the faith, was the first Sikh Guru. The holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, is the tenth and eternal Guru;
“Guru Purnima is marked as a day of remembrance towards all gurus, through whom disciples receive the grace of knowledge, by special recitations of the Hindu scriptures especially, the Guru Gita, a 216 verse ode to Guru, authored by sage Vyasa. The faithful gather at ashrams, a matha or a place where the Guru Gaddi, or the seat of Guru exists, to recite the mantra;
“On this day, disciples also recommit themselves towards following their teacher’s guidance and teachings, for the coming year;
“The following Sanskrit shloka or verse, which manifests reverence for one’s spiritual teacher, is particularly used on this day:
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwara
Tasmai shri Guruvey Namaha.
“Perhaps the importance of the Guru in Indian tradition can be best understood from the poetry of the fifteenth century (1440-1518 A.D.) Indian mystic and poet Saint Kabir, who was revered by both Hindus and Muslims and whose philosophy inspired the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Sahib;
Using the Indian language of Bhojpuri, Sant Kabir wrote:
Guru Govind Dou Khade Kake Lagu Pau…
Bali Hari Guru Aapne Jin Govind Diyo Batay…
If my Guru and God were both standing before me, who would I bow to first?
I would bow first to my Guru, because it is through Guru that I have been led to God
“So as millions of HIndus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs paid homage to their spiritual teachers on Guru Purnima, I also offer my gratitude to the men and women who provide us with spiritual knowledge and guidance to help us fulfill the highest purpose of our human destiny.”
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