Vedic astrology or Jyotish is a lunar based system. The full Moon is considered to be much more favorable than the new Moon. Certain full Moons are highlighted in the Indian calendar as they are linked to special holidays or festivals. The very auspicious full Moon of Guru Purnima 2013 falls on July 22.
Many of the Vedic months are named according to the nakshatra (or lunar constellation) in which the full Moon falls that month. This is the month of Ashadha. The full Moon falls in the nakshatra of Uttara Ashadha in the sign of Capricorn in Vedic astrology this month.
Guru Purnima marks the day devoted to honoring the Gurus, or sacred teachers, in our lives. The prefix Gu- means darkness , and the suffix –ru means light. Thus, a Guru is one who leads us from the darkness of ignorance of our inner self to the light of self-awareness. It is widely thought that the Gods incarnate in human form as Gurus to instruct humans and to lead them to the path of knowledge.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyas Purmina. Veda Vyasa was the great Indian rishi or sage who is said to have compiled the four Vedas, the ancient books of Vedic knowledge. Vyasa also wrote the 18 volumes of the revered spiritual texts the Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita. Additionally, Veda Vyasa instructed Dattatreya, who is thought to be the Guru of Gurus.
As the story goes, Veda Vyasa’s disciples were so full of gratitude for all that they had received from him that they asked him how they could repay him for all the profound knowledge that he had imparted.
Vyasa told his disciples to choose one day of the year in which to pay homage to him. This way, their prayers and offerings could reach their Guru. The disciples chose the full Moon of the month of Ashadha to honor their Guru, as it was the fullest and most luminous Moon of the year. They named this day Guru Purnima.
On Guru Purnima, students honor their teachers by spending time with their living teachers. Disciples also remember their teachers (both past and present), chant their name, and offer gifts (known as dakshina) to thank their teachers for the grace that has been bestowed in their lives.
This Guru Purnima 2013, the Moon is at its peak at 11:15 AM PST on July 22. The Moon will be full in the sign of Capricorn, with the Sun opposite it in Cancer.
Om Gum Gurave Namah: