Purnima reflections


S. Ainavolu

11/22/2021 3 min read

Purnima - The completeness and wisdom reflection

We are just through the Purnima of Kartika month. For most Indians who follow the lunar cycle for traditional calendaring, their month begins with Prathama/Padyami after the new moon day and ends with the next new moon day (Amavasya) after thirty days. In the middle of this lunar month comes the full moon day and is called Purnima.

Purnima reflects the purnatva, the fullness or the completeness. In a traditional wisdom verse that begins with “om purnamada” conveying about the completeness, it is said that completeness can’t be compared with anything else as purna meaning complete added or subtracted from purna still leaves purna. A great and deep insight.

The lunar cycle has a significance in many religious and spiritual processes. Many of the Purnimas are associated with one or the other festival associated often with masters. For instance, the full moon day that comes around in the month of March is called Holika Purnima and celebrated with colours, symbolically to celebrate the end of the demon named so. This day is also associated with Manmatha who is said to be reduced to ashes by Lord Shiva, the Adinatha for the excessive interference. He is said to been resurrected without physical form subsequently, to help the creation intact and help the world be a “going concern”.

The Purnima that comes during the rainy season, around in July is called Guru Purnima and celebrated in the memory of Veda Vyasa, the one who categorized Veda into four and passed on in a structured manner. He is also said to be the organizer of Ashtadasha (18) puranas and also the creator of magnum opus of Jaya (the Mahabharata). This day is typically celebrated by being in touch with ones’ gurus (in modern days, the teachers) and one offers gratitude. In terms of scholarship Veda Vyasa whose original name was Krishnadvaipayana (born in dark island, literal meaning) is looked upto for the sheer quantum of works he completed. He is also glorified in terms of being equal to Vishnu through the verse “Vyasaya Vishnu roopaya”.

Additionally, Guru Dattatreya and Guru Hanuman original name being Sundar) are also associated with Purnimas as their birth or incarnation days. Dattatreya was very open in pursuit of truth and it is said that he had twenty-four gurus from the nature who taught him the process of pursuit. Sundar the Hanuman is one of the sapta chiranjeevis (eternal seven) and though seen as the great devotee is the Ramayan, often is taken in the Guru form by devotees. It is said that he helps the charter of the journey and makes it possible. Sidhharth Gautama, the Buddha is said to have been born and realized on a full moon day.

The recent one of a night ago, the Kartika Purnima is celebrated as the birth day of Guru Nanak, the master who graced during the 15th-16th centuries and founded Sikhism. More than five centuries ago he is said to have covered long distances ranging from China border to modern Sri Lanka in South and Eastern India to central Asia, all for the spread of the truth and right living. The inclusive nature of the method he left gets reflected in the verses of Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib that includes works of many of then contemporary realized souls and masters ranging from Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh in present times.

During the recent times of latter 20th century, a great teacher who influenced thousands by teaching to teach entered and exited this world on Purnima days. He taught thousands of students on “how to teach to children” and was the founder of land’s first tribals aimed teacher training institute. He was born on Holika Purnima and exited on Guru Purnima. So appropriate.

In all the above cases we see that the full moon days and great masters are associated in one or the other ways. It is also said that Chandrama Manasojata, Moon is the determiner of the Manas, the mystic combination of thought/ mood/ intellect/ heart. Emotional and ocean current highs happen during the full moon days is of easy observation. Moon is also the rashi determiner in the Astrological kundali, based on which the temperament of the native is estimated. It is done based on the moon’s location in the chart, its strength, and aspects of other planets on it.

From a researcher perspective, there apparently exists a correlation between the great masters and full moon days but how do we establish the causality is an open-ended question one may leave on canvas and learn to live with till realization.