Guru Purnima, also known as Vyasa Purnima, commemorates the birth anniversary of Ved Vyasa, the author and a character in the epic Mahabharata. The day is also believed to be the day when Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Ashadha, which coincides with June or July according to the Gregorian calendar. In 2018, Guru Purnima falls on July 27. The word ‘Guru’ is derived from two Sanskrit words ‘Gu’ meaning ‘darkness or ignorance’ and ‘Ru’ meaning ‘removal’. Hence, Guru is believed to be the removal of darkness from our lives.

On this day, disciples offer puja to their gurus and seek their blessings. In India, the day is celebrated by thanking teachers and seeking blessings from them and also by remembering teachers and scholars from the history.

Why is Guru Purnima celebrated?

Traditionally the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in honor of the lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. However the followers of Hindu religion celebrate Guru Purnima as the birth anniversary of Veda Vyasa. Veda Vyasa, also known as Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, is the author of Mahabharata, Vedas and Puranas. Since he wrote several religious books and authored spiritual teachings, Veda Vyasa is considered as the original Guru.

Guru Purnima is a  symbol of the Guru-shishya tradition. Hindu ascetics and wandering monks (sanyasis), observe this day by offering puja to their guru. Students of Indian classical music and Indian classical dance, which also follow the Guru shishya parampara, celebrate this holy festival around the world.

Significance
Guru Purnima is believed to be the day when Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa – author of Mahabharata was born to sage Parashara and Satyavati. Hence the day is also called as Vyasa Purnima. Sage Vyasa worked for the cause of Vedic studies by gathering all the Vedic hymns and further dividing into four parts based on rites and characteristics. The four parts are namely Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva.

Tithi
Purnima tithi begins: July 26, 2018 at 11:16 pm

Purnima tithi ends: July 28, 2018 at 1:50 am