In India, this moon marks the holiday of Guru Purnima, a special time to celebrate and honor our teachers and guides. The relationship that one may have with a mentor is highly revered as one of the most significant relationships that one may have in life. The guiding light of this full moon gives a tremendous illumination of our life’s direction. On this bright mid-summer moon, our powers of self-observation can expand beyond their usual capacity. As such, it is a powerful time to listen to our own inner guru, and to open our ears to hear the wisdom and knowledge that lies deep within us, if we only pay attention.
Interestingly enough, the word guru means ‘teacher,’ but literally translates as “dispeller of darkness.” This moon will shine so bright, that any blind spots we may have will be illuminated, and details we’ve previously overlooked can come into sharp focus.
When the moon finally reaches fullness, on July 31st at 3:43 am PDT, it will transit the area of the sky known as Shravana Nakshatra. This is the “star of learning”, and is made up of three stars in the head of the Eagle constellation, Aguila. These three stars are said to represent the three footsteps of Lord Vishnu as he crossed earth, sky and heaven and laid claim over the universe. The Eagle is also Lord Vishnu's vehicle, Garuda the Eagle-bird, who he rides for transportation.
In the trinity of Hindu deities, Brahma is the creator, Shiva is the destroyer, and Vishnu is the great preserver. Not only does Vishnu sustain the order and peace that supports the steady platform necessary for our lives to evolve and grow, he also provides the focus and clarity we need to absorb the knowledge that will deepen our self-understanding.
In one of Vishnu’s many earthly incarnations, he was born on the full moon of Guru Purnima as the great sage Vyasa, who is said to be the “Guru of Gurus.” Vyasa is credited with organizing and editing the ancient Vedic tree of knowledge, so that it could be read and understood by all.
On this full moon, listen closely, and you may be surprised what you hear. Go to a music concert, read a new book, write in your journal, and ask plenty of questions of others. This is an ideal time to gain clarity around career and personal relationships. It’s also a good time to buckle down and increase your knowledge around subjects that may be of particular interest. Buy that new book on organic gardening, study a new language, or sign up for a creative writing class.
Take heed, however, as this full moon may also bring up some anxiety around personal and financial matters. Saturn’s one-sided gaze on the moon can increase insecurity and self-criticism, so be conscious not to over-emphasize material loss or gain, and remember to be extra compassionate towards yourself and others. Saturn’s gaze onto the lunar house of Shravana can cause people to be more apt to gossip and judge others, so be mindful of what you say and how you communicate.
Since on this full moon our powers of self-observation can expand, we can bring into clear focus details that previously may have escaped us. Honest self-inquiry and thoughtful communication can open new levels of clarity. The best teachers are those that inspire the unique potential of each of their students, allowing them to shine in their own way. Listen closely to the voice within and honor your own inner light, the one that shines from within and reveals the path of your life.
Give thanks to all your teachers, be they coaches, yoga instructors, advisors, counselors, friends, or family members. Take the time to remember and appreciate good advice and supportive words that have been spoken in your life.
Guru devo Maheshwara,
Guru sakshat, param Brahma,
tasmai shri guravay namah.
Guru is the creator, sustainer and the destroyer.
It is the transcendental divinity,
the timeless life-principle, the very essence of the creator.
I make my offering to the Guru, the auspicious remover of my darkness and my ignorance;
My salutations of gratitude for that glorious teacher.
-- A prayer from the Guru Gita
in the Skanda Purana (6th-15th century AD)