The Art of Living Guru Purnima celebrations took place in Hartford, CT this year. Thousands of people gathered for a wonderful week of music and meditation, silence and celebration, fun and food and dancing and so much more. July 25 was Guru Purnima, a day that holds special significance for the spiritual seeker.
In Sri Sri's words,
"Among the 12-13 full moons in a year the Vaishakha full moon is dedicated to his (Buddha's) birth and enlightenment, Jyeshtha full moon to mother earth and the Aashadha full moon is dedicated to the memory of masters. This is Guru-Purnima. It is the day when the disciple wakes up in his fullness and in the wakefulness he can’t be but grateful. This gratitude is not of Dwaita (you and me), but of Advaita. It is not a river moving from somewhere to somewhere, but is the ocean moving within itself. So, gratefulness on Guru-Purnima symbolizes that fullness.
The purpose of the Guru Purnima celebration is to turn back and review and see in this last one year how much one has progressed in life. For a seeker, Guru Purnima is a day of significance, is a day of New Year. It is the day to review one’s progress on the spiritual path and renew one’s determination and focus on the goal, and to resolve what one wants to do in the coming year. As the full moon rises and sets, tears of gratitude arise and repose into the vastness of one’s own self.”
For me, Guru Purnima is an occasion to meet the global Art of Living Family. This year, people came from Argentina, Brazil, Suriname and Japan, among other places! It is like a family gathering where you meet distant cousins after months (maybe even years!) and after a moment of laughter and hugs, they don't seem like distant cousins any more - just close friends! It is such a festive atmosphere that one naturally feels so uplifted and celebratory. The Satsangs are magnificent with great music, spirited dancing, wonderful Q & A sessions with Sri Sri and general merriment.
To me, it always seems that the spirit of Guru Purnima can hardly be contained by the hotel/convention center any more, and the entire city comes to be imbued with this wonderful energy. Festivities go on late into the night, and it is not uncommon to hear the sounds of soulful bhajans coming from the hotel rooms long after the evening Satsang has ended.
Guru Purnima 2011 will be bigger, for sure. It will be hosted by another city, in another hotel or convention center. There may be more programs, more locations. But what will remain at the core of every Guru Purnima celebration, as it always has been, is Guruji. As he moves through crowds of thousands, blessing and comforting every person in the audience, bestowing his knowledge and wisdom on one and all, he teaches us in his own way how beautiful it is to walk the spiritual path and live the knowledge, every breath and every moment.