On the day of Guru Purnima, we honor our gurus and teachers. Anyone who gives us knowledge is a guru and this includes the mother for she is the first Guru who teaches us the words we first learn to utter. Then there are our teachers right from the elementary level. A Guru is essential for all those who seek learning. Often, the Guru’s presence continues all through our life because learning is a life-long process.

There are times when we feel stuck in life. At such times, a Guru can give us wise counsel so that we will be able to get out of the situation. Sometimes, we may not even be aware that we are stuck. The Guru helps us realize that we are stuck and shows us how to extricate ourselves from the situation. The guru guides us so that our life flows towards its ultimate goal.

Often, when we desire something, we don’t know how to go about getting it. For that, we need proper guidance. What we desire may not actually be what we need and sometimes we are not sure of what we want either. But the guru will know what is good for us and will guide us accordingly.

The Guru also helps us to achieve liberation or inner freedom. As human beings, we often live in a world of delusion. We believe that material comforts and wealth are what life is all about. We concentrate on making money and pursuing success at any cost. In the process, we neglect our inner world and spiritual life. But the Guru removes the veil of illusion from our eyes so that we can see the reality. This liberates us and sets us free.

The controls of our conscious mind are in our hands but our subconscious mind lies outside our influence. Only a higher power like that of a Guru can influence it. While the conscious mind represents intellect, the subconscious mind represents emotion. In astrology, the Moon is believed to rule the emotions and feelings of a person. But the Guru represents reason, knowledge and wisdom. Thus, Guru Purnima presents a strange paradox, where emotion and reason or intellect come together in the Full Moon of the Guru. But the truth is that life needs both. And the Guru is the one person who gives strength to our emotions and sharpness to our intellect.

Without a Guru, most human beings flounder about like a ship in a stormy ocean. The Guru is the lighthouse who steers the ship of our life safely towards the light of wisdom and the shore of salvation.

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