Significance of Guru Purnima
Guru Purnima is an Indian festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, to pay their respects to their teachers and express their gratitude. The festival is celebrated on the full moon day Purnima in the month of Ashadh (July) of the Shaka Samvat, which is the Indian national calendar and the Hindu calendar.The word guru is derived from two words, gu and ru. The Sanskrit root gu means darkness or ignorance, and ru denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore, a guru is one who removes the darkness of our ignorance.
Traditionally the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in honour of the lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. In the yogic tradition, the day is celebrated as the occasion when Shiva became the first guru, as he began the transmission of yoga to the Saptarishis. Many Hindus celebrate the day in honour of the great sage Vyasa, who is seen as one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions and a symbol of the Guru-shishya tradition. This day is also known as Vyasa Purnima.
In Nepal, Guru Purnima is a big day in schools. Students honor their teachers by offering delicacies, garlands, and special hats called topi made with indigenous fabric.
According to Jain traditions, it was on this day, falling at the beginning of CHAUMASAAS , the four month rainy season retreat, Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, after attaining Kaivalya, made Indrabhuti Gautam, later known as Gautam Swami, a Ganadhara, his first disciple, thus becoming a Guru himself, therefore it is observed in Jainism as Guru Purnima.
Irrespective of their religions, Indian academics celebrate this day by thanking their teachers. Many schools, colleges and universities have events in which students present gifts as a gesture of gratitude.