Learning to See: A Lesson from the Full Moon Guru


THIS MONTH WE CELEBRATE GURU PURNIMA. A FULL MOON DAY, ONCE A YEAR TRADITIONAL TO RECOGNIZE THE LIGHT OUR GURU OFFERS US. I love this tradition and enjoy the many symbolism the full moon offers us on this special day. Enjoy this short story and the commentary. It reminds us all to see the greater picture and not be so fast to be dismissive.

A Story in 3 Short Chapters:

Chapter 1: THE GURU

Once upon a time there was a Guru with astonishing clarity. He was loved by the village people around him and affectionately called the Full Moon Guru. Every full moon he sat all night in the fields to meditate, and the entire village would join him. The people felt a special clarity on these nights and cherished them with celebrations and festivities.

Commentary on Chapter 1: The sanctity of life is the greatest teacher/Guru of all. Its presence is strong and steady, and passively offers us the opportunity to learn and evolve into the greater good. I say passively because the lessons are here for us, but we don’t always recognize the lesson.
We are all perfectly human. “Our humanity is not an obstacle to divinity but rather the very vehicle of our existence-a vehicle that enables learning.”

All of us are Divine within Human.

Gurus help us awaken to our greater knowing because they can offer a pure reflection-a clear perspective. Gurus and our great teachers have evolved into skills of living within the sanctity of life that are worthy of hearing. Life offers us an opportunity to evolve-providing experiences that are tailor made to help us learn what we need to learn. Gurus know how to reflect these lessons back at us. Free of selfish interests, they practice reflecting the purity of light so that it shines on us and we are able to see the full picture.

Chapter 2: THE FULL MOON

One night a village man went for a walk and saw the Guru sitting in the field meditating. The man looked at the night sky and saw only a sliver of a moon. He wondered why the Guru was sitting on this night. The next day the man went to the field again and this time too he saw the Guru sitting in meditation. Now the man was curious. He checked one more night and sure enough there sat the Guru in meditation.

When the sun rose, so did the Guru and the man approach him to ask: “Dearest Guru, why are you sitting in full moon meditation when the moon is only a sliver in the sky?” The Guru replied “it is a full moon”.

The next night the man asked: “Guru, when is the full moon?” The Guru replied “tonight”. The man looked at the night sky and saw almost no moon at all. Again he asked and again the Guru replied “the moon is full”. The man did not want to be disrespectful but was beginning to doubt if this Guru was worthy. One last time the man asked and again the reply was the same. The man starred at the dark sky and only saw a tiny bit of light shining. The Guru gently smiled at the man and said “the moon is always full”.

Commentary of Chapter 2: We all know that the moon does not create its own light. It is a reflector at a precise angle to show us a specific view. When we stand between the sun and the moon, we cast a shadow and can see only a portion of the moon shining. But we usually don’t think like that. Instead we tend to think that the moon changes shape from day to day-as though the moon is truly a crescent shape. When we lay down facing the night sky and gaze at the ‘crescent shaped moon’, clearly it’s only appearing in that shape because we are in the path of light and casting a shadow and can’t see the full moon, but…

The Moon is always full!

When the moon is fully seen, it is because we cast no shadow from earth. It is in this specific relationship we can appreciate the brilliance of the sun directly reflected down onto us through the moon. Just like in life, we tend to look at life and see only a sliver of the truth. But a Guru can help us see the greater picture and therefore inspires us to see beyond the obvious.

Chapter 3: The Receiver

The village man went home and told his family about the odd encounter with the Guru. The man was worried that the Guru was confused and not thinking clearly. They sat and thought. The youngest daughter walked outside to see the moon, turned to her father and said “Papa, if you look carefully you can see the full moon.”

Commentary on Chapter 3: Just as the moon is only seen fully when we take time to see the full picture and our shadow isn’t cast upon it, so the same is true for the process of learning from life and a Guru. A Guru reflects wisdom that shines to all who hear and remind us of the larger perspectives and rhythms of life.

Lila is the divine play of cosmic energy (prana). It is the larger current/rhythm of life. Yoga means unity. Lila Yoga means unity in life.
Love Blessings,

(I’d like to thank my family and especially my mother, who introduced me to yoga at age nine, and continues to be a source of great wisdom and clarity in my life. She will always be my main teacher. I’d also like to thank my Beloved Guru Pujya Swamiji Chidanand Saraswati for his grace, leadership and reminders to make this and everyday a green day.)


One Comment

  1. Avatar
    9 hours ago

    Joy – I’m late to the party here, but wow. What a terrific, welliorgan-zed site! Makes reading your rich writings even easier. Thanks for taking the time and energy to share your thoughts. They’re golden.


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