"After leaving the body the guru remains aware of his disciples and their inspirations. For their welfare and evolution he remains in an interim space rather than choosing to become completely emancipated. Once a year, on Guru Poornima, he comes down with his spiritual vibrations to care for his disciples and energise them." (Swami Satyananda Saraswati)

Our body, mind, heart and soul are not given to us for the pursuit of pleasure. The human incarnation has been ordained for us to fulfil the purpose of existence, which is spiritual experience. But we squander it, and the result is dissatisfaction and frustration. All the problems that we are facing today are caused by the misuse of our God-gifted incarnation. We have thrown away the glorious truth of our true nature and destiny, and are seeking for pleasure in its shadow—the material world.

We acquire, and think we require, many relationships in life through which to express the various dimensions of our personality—mother and father, husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend, friends and enemies. We go on expressing and projecting our consciousness in different ways but still we find all these relationships are not enough. There remains an unfulfilled emptiness within us, the missing link. This missing link is a true spiritual relationship. This spiritual relationship, if we are lucky enough to find it, is like no other we have known. It comprises and transcends all worldly relationships and the beauty and completeness of it cannot be described. It can only be experienced. It is a uniting of two souls on a higher dimension, a love that transcends all our concepts of earthly ‘love’.

"There is a part of the guru which is in you and a part of you which is in the guru. In truth, every being is omnipresent, but unless we transcend our material nature we can never experience it. We will remain limited, arrested, caught and obstructed by the material world." (Paramahamsa Satyananda)

In order to walk the spiritual path, which is unknown to us and uncharted, we need the help of one who has successfully walked it before us to its final conclusion and discovered the reason for human existence, the truth of why we are here on this earth. Such a one, in all traditions is known as the master or guide. He or she is also known as the guru. No two people walk the same path and a guide is absolutely necessary. Spiritual life begins with devotion to the guru and strengthening the bond of trust and love. Guru Poornima is the most powerful time for accelerating this process and receiving a spiritual energy charge.
The word ‘guru’ is comprised of two syllables—‘gu’ and ‘ru’, gu meaning light and ru meaning darkness. The guru or master therefore is “the one who has the power to lead us from the darkness of ignorance into the light of truth”. This light, which illumines the consciousness and shows us the actual reality of our existence is symbolised by the full moon or Poornima. As the light of the full moon floods the sky, so the light of truth floods our consciousness, driving away all ignorance and revealing the mystery of life.
Christ was a great guru, as were Buddha, Mohammed, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and many other luminaries who have graced this planet from time to time. We should have total respect and reverence for all of them because they represent divinity in human form. Such great men have passed through the experience of divinity and there is no conflict between their teachings. They still act as guides to us, but everyone has a personal living guru in human form whether they know it or not. It is only a matter of wanting to find our guru. If we seek sincerely and open our hearts and minds through yoga we shall surely find the one destined for us. Although it is essential for every seeker to have a living guru, it is said that on the auspicious day of Guru Poornima, the divine energy of all the great spiritual leaders descends to the earthly plane in order to inspire and uplift the spiritual aspirant.
At a lower level of evolution the guru appears to be different from us, and his consciousness to be different, but on a higher level of evolution the guru’s consciousness and ours are not two but one. The real guru or sadguru lies within us but we need the external guru to lead us to it, just as we need a detonator to explode a bomb!
Consciously or unconsciously, from the moment we are born into this world, we are in search of a guru who will lead us back to the source from whence we came. Until we find our guide, we are destined to remain in ignorance, caught in the sufferings and confusions of the material world, and our real potential will be wasted in worldly pursuits. It is our destiny to free our spirit from the bondage of matter and this is possible through yoga and the power of the guru.

"For spiritual life you have to transcend the ego because the ego is responsible for the conflict inside us and in our families also. When there is no ego the divine vision takes place, not before that”. (Paramahamsa Satyananda)
What separates us from the light of knowledge? What stands in the way of the state of liberation from worldly suffering? And even if we do not feel that we are suffering, what prevents us from experiencing peace and fulfilment and a higher quality of life? What stops us from realising our great potential? It is the incredibly hard and resilient ego, which is actually the remnant of our animal incarnation. The ego is the insulation that blocks the channels of communication with a higher source, and prevents the current of spiritual energy from flowing. As Paramahamsa Satyananda says, "Ego inflation is a much more serious affair than economic inflation.” This ego-insulation must be removed and the only one who can do that for us is a living guru. On Guru Poornima Day the seeker offers a coconut to the guru as a symbol of laying down the ego and allowing the guru to handle it.

“The mantra is the beeja or seed and the human heart is the soil. When we soften the heart and fill it with devotion it will be easier for the seed to grow.” (Paramahamsa Satyananda)
The Sanskrit word mantra is composed of two roots: man, which means ‘repetition’ and tra, which refers to the process of freeing or liberating. Mantra can therefore be described as “a sound, the repetition of which can free the mind from the bondage of matter and liberate the spirit.” There are three ways in which a mantra can be obtained. It can reveal itself to some psychic people. It can manifest in dream, or most commonly, be imparted by the guru. The vibration of this sound is so powerful that it can change your destiny.
Mantra is the foundation of spiritual life, being the replica of the guru’s existence within us, and is a vehicle for spiritual transcendence. It is a psychic word revealed to saints and yogis in the depths of meditation. When a mantra is repeated it influences the cosmic mind and the unconscious. We all have a mantra of our own depending on our particular the predominant element in us at birth but we do not know what it is. The guru can reveal it to us. When you receive a mantra from your guru you are actually receiving a portion of energy from him in the seed potential form. There are particular auspicious times for receiving a mantra depending on the planetary conjunctions, but the most powerful time for initiation into mantra is Guru Poornima.

“Real surrender takes place when you can withdraw your ego which is standing between you and your divinity, between you and your guru, or between yourself and yourself”. (Paramahamsa Satyananda)
In Sanskrit the word for surrender is samarpan, which means giving oneself as an offering. Surrender to the guru means complete unity and communion with him or her. It is the real meaning of ‘communion’. When you are aware of the guru and remember him from minute to minute you are surrendering. When you surrender to the guru you give your limited self away and receive it back again in fullness. Surrender is not giving up your freedom but receiving it. If you want to make quick spiritual progress surrender is a must.

Surrender is a natural urge in us. One who surrenders to the guru in perfect faith will become spiritually powerful. When surrender is complete your thoughts become one with the thoughts of the guru. Then every word that he speaks comes true in your life. This is the psychic law. The guru can work wonders through the disciple who has totally surrendered. So on Guru Poornima the sincere aspirant should think deeply about the meaning of surrender.

“Where has our devotion gone? To the pictures, to the television, from one man to another man, from one girl to another, from one type of dress to another type of dress.” (Paramahamsa Satyananda)
When one wants to evolve in spiritual life it is necessary to have spontaneous devotion or bhakti towards guru or God, for it is bhakti that completely releases the mind from material attachment and brings about unity with the divine. We have been squandering this great and priceless gem, this gift of eternal reality which every animal, every vegetable, every human being possesses. The one who ignites the dormant devotion within us is the guru. Two other things that awaken this Bhakti are kirtan and satsang. On Guru Poornima devotion is symbolised by the offering of flowers which are an expression of the tenderness of the heart.

“Faith is an inherent quality with which we are born. We do not have to cultivate it, just realise it. Belief can be indoctrinated, cultivated and destroyed, but not faith.”(Paramahamsa Satyananda)
In order to realise faith, again we need to develop our closeness to the guru. We are born with life, consciousness and faith. In the course of our evolution we have become aware of life, mind and consciousness. In the same way we have to discover faith. In Sanskrit faith is known as shraddha, which means ‘the basis of truth’. There is a basis of truth in everybody that is a part of our being. In order to realise this faith we have to cultivate a greater closeness to guru. The three things that can help us rediscover that faith are God, guru and our concept of a divine being.
So let us recite our mantras, put aside our egos and join together on this Guru Poornima day with a feeling of surrender and a heart filled with devotion and faith, and may the guru help us to keep the light of inspiration and the spiritual goal forever in our consciousness until we too reach the final destination.