Definition - What does Guru Purnima mean?
Guru Purnima is a traditional Hindu celebration, dedicated to enlightened spiritual masters otherwise known as gurus. This auspicious day falls on the first full moon after the summer solstice, in the Hindu month of Ashad (July to August). It is celebrated in India, Nepal and Bhutan by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. On this day, seekers offer gratitude and devotion to their guru, and receive his or her blessings.
Yogapedia explains Guru Purnima
Since gurus are often regarded as a link between seekers and the divine, Guru Purnima is seen as a sacred day, in which gurus are revered like Gods. The tradition originated as a celebration of the great sage Maharshi Veda Vyasa, who is believed not only to have been born on this day, but also to have begun writing the Brahma Sutras on Guru Purnima. Vyasa also edited the four Vedas and wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Whilst Hindu's celebrate Vyasa on this day, Buddhists mark Guru Purnima as the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon. In the yogic tradition, Guru Purnima celebrates the day that Shiva became the first guru and began transmitting yoga to the Saptarishis.
The celebration is marked by spiritual activities and rituals such as puja or satsang, and it is thought to be a particularly special day for sadhana. Traditionally on this day, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples stop in one place to study the Brahma Sutras and conduct Vedantic discussions.