Guru Purnima, also referred as Sage Veda Vyasa Poornima, is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashada (July). The day is dedicated to Guru and he/she is honored and given due respect. Sage Vyasa is considered the Adi Guru or the first Guru in Hinduism and therefore the day is also known as Vyas Poornima. In 2009, the date of Guru Purnima is July 7.
The Guru Gita in the Skanda Purana hails guru in this famous verse:
Guru brahma Guru vishnu Gururdevo Maheshwaraha
Guruhu sakshaat Parambrahman tasmai Shrigurave namaha
Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,
Veneration to the Guru who has manifested as Parabrahman.’
While venerating the Guru we must also be cautious as the world today is filled with fake gurus and swamis – who make a living out of spirituality.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says about true guru like this
He alone is the true teacher who is illumined by the light of true knowledge.
Bees come of themselves to the full-blown flower when the breeze wafts its fragrance all around. Ants come of themselves to the spot where sweets are placed. No one needs to invite the bee or the ant. So when a man becomes pure and perfect, the sweet influence of his character spreads everywhere, and all who seek the Truth are naturally drawn towards him. He need not go in search of an audience to listen to him.
The true Guru is a transmitting medium, a transporting agent and transparent embodiment of the divine grace and compassion, the focal point of the timeless eternity and finite time*.
A real Guru not only points the direction to the goal but takes the consciousness of the surrendered disciple into his consciousness and makes the inflow of the Higher into the lower continuously, till the three consciousness of the Isvara, the Guru and the Atman of the disciple become one undifferentiated whole*.
It is very hard to find a true Guru but luckily the great Gurus of ancient world have stored their wisdom in the Upanishads, Yoga Vashista and Gita. Guru Purnima day is rightly termed as Veda Vyasa Poornima because Guru Vyasa is the greatest editor and compiler of holy texts in Hinduism. He has provided all the necessary elements needed to understand Brahman; only we need to find time and have patience to read and digest the unparalleled holy texts in Hinduism.
A Guru need not always be a person clad in saffron or white, it can be a book, an incident, a small child or any aspect in nature. Any person or incident that removes darkness and fills with light or Brahman realization is a Guru.