A Vedic Perspective on Jupiter and Guru Poornima



The Vedic Perspective

The vedic perspective offers a wider view of life; one in which our earthly life is intimately connected with divine life. Life evolves to be seen more and more as a progression from our present state towards one which is more exalted, more powerful, and more materially and spiritually satisfying . The material is gradually balanced by the spiritual both of which ultimately co-exist in harmony. This acceptance and balance between the two extremes of life is the hallmark of Guru (Jupiter).

The vedic goal is a complete life in which we exist in a state of divine fulfillment, experiencing everything the world has to offer, while at the same time remaining unbound by it; spiritually free.

Some indication of our progress on this journey is seen though an examination of our jyotish birth chart. In the chart we find revealed our various strengths, tendencies, and weaknesses. From one perspective you might say it is a cosmic progress report. Of course, as life is complex, so is jyotish and a skillful jyotishi is essential for a comprehensive and meaningful understanding of what the chart contains. Jyotish is not meant to make our lives seem fated. Just the opposite. Armed with this knowledge we can take control of our lives and maximize the good times, and minimize the bad. Certainly from a spiritual perspective, moksha or enlightenment, is always available to us regardless of what our "chart" contains .

Yagyas as Remedial Measures

Jyotish is a guide enabling us to link the personal and the universal both conceptually and experientially. After learning a little about jyotish, one might call a jyotishi and say "It has really been hitting the fan lately; nothing but delays and obstacles. What's up with Saturn?"

Without an understanding of jyotish it might be expressed as "Everyone is against me! My life sucks. Why does this always happen to me?"

The power of jyotish is that with this expanded perspective, our experience of life changes; events seem less random and we feel more centered, knowing that we are experiencing our karmas without having our sense of self threatened. Add in knowledge (and access to) yagyas and a solution emerges. If obstacles increase, the influence of Saturn can be softened through yagyas for Saturn, Ganesha or Hanuman. If we desire greater spiritual depth and the experience of divinity we perform yagyas for Guru in teh form of Jupiter, Dakshinamurti (Shiva), or Ganesha.

Using yagyas to provide relief from problems is a traditional aspect of Vedic life. The diagnosis and perscrpition of yagyas as a remedial measure are a major feature of jyotish. Over the ten year history of puja.net they have proven to be very effective, particularly when repeated over time.

Proactive Yagyas

A yagya event like Guru Poornima is different in that it takes place every year and is intended to strengthen the influence of Jupiter (Guru) in an individual's chart as well as honor all of the teachers in one's life. This yagya is less of a corrective measure to fix some weakness, rather it is to strengthen and attract the qualities associated with Guru into one's life at a time when this is particularly successful.

The Moon who shines from the reflected light of the Sun, is an apt symbol for the individual consciousness which is a reflection of the divine consciousness. So the full moon is an appropriate time to seek the blessings of the Guru to bring our limited individuality into harmony with the divine.

From the vedic perspective Guru, whether in the form of the planet or teacher, is a central force of life and one of the most valued. One of the slokas that every Brahmin child learns is:

Guru Brahma
Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwara
I honor Guru as Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the protector, and Shiva the Destroyer of ignorance.
Guru Sakshat Para Brahma Guru is the manifestation of the transcendent brahman.
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha I honor Guru in all these forms

It is the teacher (guru) who enlightens life and is the source of knowledge leading to inner and outer success. In the vedic perspective, Guru is regarded as a life force which can take many different forms. Our parents are gurus, our school teachers are gurus, perhaps our friends teach us things and so they are gurus. Anyone, any thing, and any circumstance that we learn from is a manifestation of this life force that can be called "guru".

On Guru Poornima we perform a special yagya to enhance and strengthen that force of life so that it will manifest in our lives more and more completely with each passing day.

Guru in the Vedas

The planet Guru (Jupiter) in jyotish is the best benefic; the giver of everything of value both spiritual and material. Also known as Brihaspati, Guru is the teacher of the gods who acts as an intermediary working to materialize divine grace through worship, rituals and ceremonies.

Guru is charitable and giving, completely involved in the world. This stands in contrast to Saturn who is ascetic and rejects the world and its pleasures. Jupiter accepts everything and finds God everywhere and at all times. We perform the Guru Poornima yagya to increase this reality in our individual awareness.

Brihaspati is mentioned all through the Rig Veda in hymns which describe his power and invincibility. One hymn says that Guru, "Lighting up the Flame, he shall conquer his enemies: strong shall he be who offers prayers and brings gifts to him."

Certainly, we can understand that by prayer as mentioned in the hymn we can offer our prayers, mantra meditation or mantra japa. How can we bring him gifts? This is accomplished through yagyas. It is Agni, the sacred fire of the homam, who conveys our gifts of ghee, fruits, nuts, flowers, etc. to Brihaspati. Indeed, Agni is the focus of much of the Vedas because of his central role in linking humanity to divinity.

Guru in Jyotish

The Vedic descriptions of the planets are concise in their description of a planet's appearance. These descriptions give clues to the nature of the planet and how they are experienced by the individual.

Jupiter is described as having four arms; one arm holds a strand of rudraksha beads which is symbolic of his ability to convey the protection of Shiva. Another arm holds a begging bowl suggesting purity of intent; Jupiter does not accumulate possessions for himself. He is supportive of the welfare of all. Another hand holds a mace indicative of his power and the destruction of those who oppose one whom Jupiter protects. The fourth bestows the blessings of wisdom, stability, and balance upon those who ask.

Guru is patient, shown here resting comfortably. He is a gentle planet who guides his devotees steadily on their path to divine grace. He eases the troubles of the journey as he works from within to transform our material attachments to spiritual freedom.

Guru Poornima Yagya

The yagya scheduled for Guru Poornima is intended to strengthen and enhace all the manifestations of Guru for the coming year. This is particularly important because Jupiter changes signs every year and the yagya is traditionally performed a few months prior to that change.

The yagya starts in the morning with special guru pujas for Vyasa, Shankara, and the personal gurus of our participants. Then the pujas continue with Rudra Abishekam for Shiva. Finally, the yagya fire is lit and yagyas are performed for all the various forms of guru ending with a long Mrytunjaya yagya for strong health and quick enlightenment, the ultimate gifts of Guru.

At the conclusion of the morning yagya our priests will go to one of the largest patasalas (schools for young Brahmins training to become Vedic pundits) and serve a special meal. Feeding Brahmins is a traditional method of honoring Guru and strengthening Jupiter.

In the evening our priests will go to an ancient Dakshinamurti temple in Kanchipuram to perform a large scale evening yagya. (This yagya will be video taped for all participants to enjoy afterwards). So in this long day of yagyas we are honoring all the various forms of "guru"; personal, planetary, and divine. The results of which will be a smoother and more enjoyable time in the year ahead.



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