Understanding Yogic Culture & the First Gurus Arrival

Most of us from the millennial generation are aware of Teachers’ Day but not so much about Guru Purnima, a tradition dedicated to spiritual and academic Gurus who go on to share their wisdom with the modern world.

Guru Purnima was once among the most important festive occasions in the country as marks the day the first ‘Guru’ was born. In the yogic culture, Shiva is seen as the Adiyogi, or the first yogi. And Guru Purnima is that full moon day when the first yogi transformed himself into the Adi Guru – the first guru. 

The presence of a Guru has been a constant in everyone’s life. We have grown up knowing Guru as a reality for centuries but have we ever thought who the first Guru was?

How the first Guru was born

According to the yogic lore, over 15000 years ago, Shiva attained to his full enlightenment and set out on an intense ecstatic dance upon the Himalayas. When his ecstasy allowed him some movement, he danced wildly and when it became beyond movement, he translated into complete stillness.

The tale goes that people saw Shiva was experiencing something that nobody had known before. However, Shiva was oblivious to anyone’s presence. Many men came, waited, and left except for seven men. They pleaded with him but Shiva dismissed them saying, “There is a tremendous amount of preparation needed for this.”

So, they started preparing, and after 84 years of sadhana, on a full moon day, the Adiyogi looked at these seven people and saw that they had transformed. For the next few days, he watched them closely and when the next full moon rose, he decided to become a Guru and thus was born the first Guru. 

The yogic lore about reaching your potential

Transmission of the yogic science to these seven people began. The yogic science is believed to be the science of understanding the mechanics of the entire human system. After many years, when the transmission was complete, it produced the seven celebrated sages known as the Saptarishis in the Indian culture. 

It also believed that Shiva put different aspects of yoga into each of these seven people, and these aspects became the seven basic forms of yoga. The Saptarishis were sent in seven different directions to different parts of the world to carry this dimension to mentor a human being into evolving beyond his present limitations and compulsions. 

The Adiyogi thus introduced this possibility that a human being need not be contained in the defined limitations of our species. There is a way to be contained in physicality but not to belong to it. There is a way to use your mind in the highest possible way and go beyond the dimension of existence as a way to live. It is believed that he said, “You can evolve beyond your present limitations if you do the necessary work upon yourself.” And that is considered as the significance of the Adiyogi and the essence of what a Guru is, a mentor that shows you direction and helps you elevate from your current state of existence.

(Contributed by Ayushee Chaudhary. This article was originally published in the ‘Guru-Shishya’ issue of ‘The Plus’ magazine.)

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