What a wonderful opportunity to get together with like minded people to celebrate last week’s full moon, the first stirrings of spring ( I know it still seems a bit away but the daffodils and wattle tell a different story!!) and the auspicious occasion of Guru Poornima.
Guru Poornima is a Sanskrit term which when translated means a celebration of the teacher or guru on the brightest full moon of the year. Of course all the negative publicity recently of fallen gurus makes one naturally suspicious of such a celebration. Even for myself, with scandal coming from the Royal Commission last year about Satyananda yoga. I was deeply distressed to discover the pain and suffering of so many people and needed to reflect on my own relationship with Guru or teacher.
There is no doubt that the yoga I was taught through this tradition has been a wonderful transformative tool. It has allowed me the opportunity to recover both physically, emotionally and mentally from serious illness. In my darkest times the simplest act of focusing on my breath bought me comfort when nothing else would suffice.
These were the things I had learnt from my first teacher (or guru) although she did not claim to be a guru and I am forever grateful to her quiet insistence that I come to a yoga class. It was one of the best decisions of my life!
Having discovered the benefits of yoga personally I sought to learn more and came into contact with many more wonderful teachers during my own teacher training and yes I even came into contact with those more often referred to as Guru’s. But as we have so painfully learned even gurus are subject to ego and can lose their way.
So what then have I learnt about guru and why celebrate Guru Poornima? Who is the true guru? If we look to yoga itself for the answer, you discover that the true guru lies within…It is your own inner knowing of what is right for you. If you practice mindfulness and live your life consciously you will hear the inner voice of the guru. It is the voice that tells you what is the best type of work for you, how you should spend your time, who are the right people to be around etc…
Of course there is always opportunity for ego to take over…for us to think we have found the one or know what is the best course of action but in reality guru is about feeling …connecting to the inner feelings of what brings us peace and contentment. Unfortunately in modern life we have become suspicious of our feelings; often dismissing them in favour of what we think will be best for us. (who would leave their job? partner? based on a gut feeling?????) These are huge changes in one’s life and we always want that certainty of knowing we are doing the right thing. The reality is we can never really know if something is right for us. If someone had of asked me 15 years ago was it the right choice to go that first yoga class I would not have really known. I could only tell them how it felt.
So when we celebrate Guru Poornima what we are really celebrating and invoking is that inner guru or teacher. We are consciously connecting to our own intuitive knowing which unlike putting our faith in some external guru to show us the way, will never let us down.