“My Guru showed me how to use the chisel of wisdom to make myself into a fitting temple to receive God's presence. Each man can do the same, if he follows the precepts of divinely illumined teachers,” said Gurudeva, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.
Guru Purnima is a day to celebrate the Guru-disciple relationship – an ancient Indian tradition – that also finds a special place on the calendar of YSS devotees who mark it with day-long celebrations.
Meditation being key to the spiritual path of YSS devotees, Guru Purnima celebrations began a week ahead of the main day, with long meditations of six hours each at Delhi Kendra and Gurgaon Kendra, while the same was conducted at Noida Ashram later on July 16.
Falling on a Sunday (July 9) this year, this much-awaited annual programme began early in the morning across the three NCR centres.
Gurudeva’s flower-adorned palanquin with his soul-stirring portrait (from the cover of the Autobiography of a Yogi) was carried by devotees during the morning Prabhat Pheri along the periphery of YSS Noida Ashram. Accompanied by the euphonious singing of bhajans by devotees, YSS monastics led the procession. Nearly 250 people took turns at carrying Gurudeva’s palki brimming over with devotional fervour. The morning group meditation that followed saw a large attendance of nearly as many devotees.
Narayan Sewa was organized in the afternoon outside the main gate of the Ashram. Brahmachari Vinayanandaji inaugurated the service where volunteers served Guru Prasad to nearly 1200 people. Announcements made earlier in the day by YSS devotees in the neighbouring Khora Colony resulted in enhanced participation by many people from the economically backward section in this special charitable event which is a highlight of the annual Guru Purnima programme.
The main Guru Purnima programme for NCR was conducted at YSS Noida Ashram in the evening. Chanting, group meditation, satsanga, arati, bhajans and pushpanjali, this programme drew nearly a thousand people including devotees, their families and friends.
Artistic floral decoration adorning the altar of YSS line of Gurus offered a pleasant welcome to the attending devotees and guests, who were further uplifted by the soulful bhajans rendered by Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji in the pandal.
Swami Lalitanandaji led the meditation session followed by a discourse on the special occasion. He explained the beautiful concept of Guru Purnima, a day dedicated to the Guru: “On this auspicious day, all disciples offer their love, devotion and gratitude to their gurus, all over India.” Referring to the letter of our Sanghamataji and President, Sri Sri Mrinalini Mataji, Swamiji pointed out how this sacred tradition has spread to all parts of the world. He drew the attention of the devotees to the great blessing of having been drawn to the feet of a Satguru. He made clear the difference between a self-realized master and a Satguru, and how a Self-realized master becomes a Satguru only after empowerment from God himself. The talk was interspersed with appropriate passages from the Autobiography of a Yogi – which illustrated the various points which our Sanghamataji had mentioned in her Guru Purnima Letter.
The talk was followed by arati and pushpanjali. Attendees were served Guru Langar afterwards. A video show was also arranged for children accompanying devotees in the basement Dhyana Mandir.
Almost two hundred devotees had requested accommodation at the ashram ahead of the programme and many of them participated in the Guru Purnima day-long celebrations – right from Prabhat Pheri, morning group meditation, Narayan Sewa, to the evening programme – concluding with the Guru Langar.
Guru Purnima programmes were conducted at YSS Delhi Kendra and Gurgaon Kendra as well.
At the crack of dawn on July 9, ardent devotees began the Prbahat Pheri with a decorated palki carrying Guruji’s picture. The ecstatic devotees sang singing cosmic chants accompanied with tambourine and other musical instruments with great devotion. Enveloped in an aura of divinity, almost 90 devotees proceeded with the palanquin to Delhi’s famous Birla mandir, and back to the Kendra. The heavenly fragrance of roses and jasmine filled the air as the procession entered the Kendra for Energization Exercises, meditation and breakfast. The morning Satsang drew 325 devotees while many children attended the Children Satsang in the basement. The programme on July 9 concluded with the pushpanjali and prasad distribution.
In Gurgaon Kendra, too, devotees arrived early in the morning to join in the Guru Purnima celebrations. Nearly 50 devotees joined the Prabhat Pheri procession on July 9, while the Satsanga on the same day was attended by almost 150 people.
On the following Sunday, July 16, 2017, elaborate Guru Purnima celebrations were conducted at both Delhi and Gurgaon Kendra.
A day before that, on July 15, Swami Lalitanandaji accompanied by volunteer devotees had conducted the traditional Narayan Sewa where over 1300 persons staying in the vicinity of the Kendra had been served Guru Prasad. Similarly, Narayan Sewa was conducted on the afternoon of July 16 at Gurgaon Kendra, where nearly 150 food packets were distributed to the underprivileged.
The morning of July 16 saw divine flower-decked façade of Delhi Kendra and Gurgaon Kendra welcome devotees for the special Guru Purnima Satsanga by Swami Lalitanandaji and Brahmachari Dhairyanandaji respectively.
On the occasion, Swami Lalitanandaji elucidated various points from Sanghamata and President, Sri Sri Mrinalini Mataji’s Guru Purnima Letter to devotees. He spoke about the Guru-disciple relationship and extolled the good fortune of devotees who were blessed by a satguru – our beloved Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. Emphasizing that “the Guru is one whose very remembrance is enough to start a spiritual transformation in the disciple,” Swamiji concluded the talk with the words of Gurudeva in which he assures his disciples of his ongoing protection and guidance even after he has left his body.
After the satsanga, arati and pushpanjali and bhajans by devotees, nearly 650 people partook of the Guru Langar served in a huge tent outside the premises.
Guru Purnima satsanga at YSS Gurgaon Kendra was conducted by Brahmachari Dhairyananadaji. The programme included chanting, meditation, aarti, pushpanjali and discourse on the importance of a Guru. Brahmachariji emphasized in his talk that the Guru is the road to liberation. He emphasized that the Guru can convert a disciple to his own stature. “No matter how many imperfections a disciple has, the Guru does not leave the disciple,” he reminded the congregation of 180 devotees, adding that “God can be realized by the Guru's grace.”
Devotees were served Guru Langar by volunteers in the basement of the Dhyana Kendra as the day-long celebrations came to a close.