Guru Mahima

Sab Dharti Kagaz Karu, Lekhan Ban Raye
Sath Samundra Ki Mas Karu Guru Gun Likha Na Jaye

~ Kabir

This beautiful doha (couplet) is by the great saint Kabir. The meaning of this doha is “Even if the whole earth is transformed into paper with all the big trees made into pens and if the entire water in the seven oceans are transformed into writing ink, even then the glories of the Guru cannot be written. So much is the greatness of the Guru.”

Guru means a teacher, master, mentor etc. “Gu” means the dark and “Ru” means preventing. Thus the literary meaning of “Guru” is preventing the dark. It means showing the path which leads to the light. Therefore, Kabir again, expresses his feelings for Guru as follows:

Guru Govind dhovu khade, kake lagav paay
Balihari guru apne, jin Govind diyo dikhay

And meaning of this doha is “Guru and Govind (God) stand together, to whose feet should I bow. I will bow to my Guru as he guided the way to reach the Govind (God)”.

Today is Guru Purnima. The full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashad (July-August) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima. This particular day has been chosen to give ritualistic expression to this feeling because it is the birth anniversary of Sage Veda Vyasa, who is regarded as the greatest Guru of all and edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Vyasa even taught Dattatreya, who is regarded as the Guru of Gurus.

Guru refers to spiritual preceptor. Most Hindus would have Gurus. On Guru Purnima the devotees pay obeisance to their Gurus as thanksgiving for guiding them through the travails of life and towards spiritual liberation. Therefore, we have a shloka in which it says that Guru’s place is higher than the Divine Trinity.

Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha

Guru is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I salute such a Guru.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Dattatreya enumerates a list of his twenty-four gurus- earth, air, sky or ether, water, fire, sun, moon, python, pigeons, sea, moth, bee, bull elephant, bear, deer, fish, osprey, a child, a maiden, a courtesan, a blacksmith, serpent, spider, and wasp. It proves that we can learn and get wisdom from anyone and everything. Everyone and everything can be our Guru from whom/which we can learn something and enrich our knowledge and wisdom. Therefore we must be thankful to our parents, gurus, teachers, our elders, youngers, siblings, friends, acquaintances etc. from whom we learnt something new in our life.

Happy Guru Purnima to all of you.