Guru Purnima 2015

flickr photo by Rachel Kramer
flickr photo by Rachel Kramer

Vedic astrology or Jyotish is a lunar based system. The full Moon (purnima) is considered to be quite auspicious.  Certain full Moons are highlighted in the Indian calendar as they are linked to special holidays or festivals. The very propitious full Moon of Guru Purnima 2015 falls on July 30 for those in North America and the West Indies.  For those residing in Europe, India, and Australia, Guru Purnima 2015 is on July 31. These dates are based on the information on

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. In India, 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.

flickr photo by Moyan Brenn
flickr photo by Moyan Brenn

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 lunar month of Ashadha to honor their Guru, as it was the fullest and most luminous Moon of the year.  They named this special day Guru Purnima.

On Guru Purnima, students honor the occasion by having the darshan of 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.

In Vedic astrology, the planet Jupiter translates as Guru in Sanskrit. Jupiter is the planet associated with spirituality, religion, teachers, and wisdom.  On Guru Purnima 2015, Jupiter will be in Leo in the nakshatra or constellation of Magha.  The deity of Magha is the Pitris, or the ancestors.  The symbol of Magha is the royal throne, so there is an association with lineages and traditions.  It’s a time to embrace being with your spiritual community.

This will be the second full Moon in July, 2015.  In India, the Moon is at its peak at 4:15  PM locally on July 31 and then turns to a waning Moon.  The Moon will be full in the sign of Capricorn, with the Sun opposite it in Cancer in Vedic Astrology.  The full Moon is in the nakshatra of Shravana.  Shravana is symbolized by an ear, so there is an association with ancient, sacred traditions.  It encompasses traditional Guru-disciple systems of learning.  Happy Guru Purnima 2015!

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