गुरु ब्रह्मा गुरु विष्णु गुरु देवो महेश्वरा |
गुरु साक्षात पर ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरूवे नमह ||
There hardly is a child who does not know this mantra by heart. There hardly is a parent who hasn't taught this mantra. There hardly is a temple where this mantra is not recited. There hardly is a scripture where this mantra isn't scribed.
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh - trinity of Gods that is responsible for creation, sustenance and destruction - are the highest forms of worship in Hinduism. Guru is considered higher. Guru creates a path for us to achieve the ultimate truth - Brahma (ब्रह्म). That is why I bow down to the Guru. Gu means darkness. Ru means the remover. Guru = remover of darkness. That is why Guru is revered.
Vedas are eternal. They are revered as the top form of knowledge. They were taught and passed down by श्रुति (by voice). Before they were written, they were heard. And it was Guru that taught the Vedas to his/her disciples. Students seeked knowledge ... knowledge of self, knowledge of self-realization, knowledge of ultimate reality. Every knowledge begins with Guru. Every truth is explained by Guru. Every reality is demystified by Guru. Guru leads us to enlightenment. That is why Guru is respected.
Guru Purnima is celebrated on full moon day (पूर्णिमा) of the Ashadha month. It is birthday of Ved Vyasa. Ved Vyasa was the author of Mahabharata and Puranas. He is considered the best author of all times. His ability to convey powerful ideas, philosophies and profound meanings in poetic story-format was uncanny. These scriptures are unimaginable. They are source of all truths. There is nothing comparable.
Lord Dattatrey (in Sanatan Dharma) had not one, but 24 gurus. They are:
One must respect anything or anyone that teaches something and the lessons we learn from the aforementioned 24 Gurus are worth learning.
Mother is the first Guru for a child. She teaches us our first lessons. She continues to teach with compassion and utmost love. Father is our next Guru. He teaches us lessons of life. Teachers at school or acharyas at ashramas impart on us the knowledge - knowledge of different kalas, knowledge to earn, knowledge to learn, knowledge to know. The best teacher is the one that teaches us how to learn.
Let us take this moment to pay our utmost respect, admiration and gratitude to our teachers. Let us thank them for everything we're made of, for everything we know and everything we do. Let us thank all our Gurus.