Two days ago, I suddenly rushed to make an important phone call in the morning.
“Who are you calling?” my husband was wondering why I am so much in rush and asked me curiously.
“I am calling my best friend,” I replied.
So, who did I call? I called my elementary school teacher, who is 92 years old, but ever-young in spirit. I was so happy to hear her voice still crisp and clear, her memory so sharp and most important, her unconditional love for me, strong, even after so many years! I could not control my tears of joy.
So why did I call my teacher urgently? It was the day of Guru-Purnima. What is so special about this day? Being a Science teacher, I believe there is some Science behind celebrating this occasion. And sometimes you need to take time to understand this Science, so the key to unlimited happiness in life will be yours.
Wondering how this Science works?
Gurupurnima is considered a very important day in the Lunar calendar, which is followed in many Asian countries. It is the full moon night in the month of Ashadh, which typically falls around June-July.
One may think — “What’s the big deal? It is just another full moon occurrence.”
But there is much more significance attributed to this day. The word “Guru” means a teacher and “Purnima” stands for the Full moon night spreading light through darkness. But that’s not all.
The dictionary definition of the word teacher is — a person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession. We all know that great teachers don’t simply teach, they go beyond simple instruction. However, the Sanskrit word “Guru”, now also adopted in English, has a much deeper meaning. Anyone could be considered your “Guru”, if that person has helped you some way in your life in learning, inspiring and shaping you.
That begins with your mother as your first Guru, who nurtures you before and after your birth. Next is your father who guides and may discipline you at times. These are your closest Gurus in your childhood. When you go to school, your teachers are your Gurus too. If you participate in any extracurricular activities, they will be your Gurus. All of them help you learning “Vidya” (knowledge/curriculum), develop skills and achieve mastery. Some people have spiritual Gurus who lead them into devotion. Some get inspiration to conduct humanitarian activities from their Gurus. Apart from that, there is no limit of race, religion or age and technically you can find a Guru anytime in your life. The list could go on and on.
It is described beautifully in this Sanskrit verse:
Twa-eva Mata Cha, Pita Twam-eva
Twam-eva Bandhush cha Sakha Twam-eva
Twam-eva Vidhya, Dravinam Twam-eva
Twam-eva sarvam Mama Deva Deva
(Oh my dear Guru), you are my Mother and you are truly my Father. You are my Brother (Relative) and you are also my (close) Friend
You are my Knowledge and you are all my Wealth. You are my everything, my dear Guru!
Respect and gratitude go hand in hand. As such it is a custom in most of Asian countries to pay respect to elderly people and Gurus in any form. But this is the day, when everyone takes time to express their gratitude towards their Gurus that have helped them throughour their life.
Another Verse in Sanskrit expresses how one could tackle some difficult tasks just because guru was there to guide you –
“Mukam Karoti Vachalam, Pangum Langha-yate girim.”
It means — only a Guru can make it possible to have a dumb (mute) person start speaking fluently and a lame person to climb the heights of the mountain.
In other words — a guru can turn impossible into possible. Guru will never give up until you master the skills. It is the inspiration from them that makes such miracles in life possible.
Our life is full of ups and downs. But it is critical to take a brief pause sometimes and look back. Your journey was not all alone. You must have met some gurus along the path who guided you.
This is pure Science! If you want to be happy, one of the things you must practice is being humble and thankful. It does not cost you anything, but in turn gives precious rewards. It can work miracles and can bring pure joy. And Guru-purnima is the perfect day to practice that. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you could be or how famous you are in any field — just a few words of thanks could go a long way.
When I called my childhood teacher, Mrs. Shrotri and said “hello,” she knew it was me. She was full of energy and told me about her reunion with friends after more than 70 years. We also had some laughs with precious old memories. She told me the wonderful news that she is writing a memoir with some highlights.
“You are in it,” she said, “stories about you.” She was referring to one of my published articles in the Dallas Morning News — “Why do I teach?”
I was astonished to see how my childhood teacher still remembers my strengths and admires me with love. Last time I met her, I told her that she is my star!
I was speechless, tears rolling down my cheeks! Those were tears of pure joy.
Oh my! I just discovered the key to endless happiness.