The Hindu scriptures are invariably cryptic. One has to know the proper way of analysing the scriptures by the following means: 

  • Vyakarana (Grammer)- which gives the meaning of word viz. Pada artha
  • Mimamsa- which gives the meaning of sentence viz. Vakya artha
  • Tarka- Logic

Even after following the above means, if the primary meaning (vaachyartha) does not give proper meaning, then secondary meaning (lakshyaartha) or implied meaning is considered. Even for implied meaning, three special methods are prescribed:

Jahal lakshana- literal meaning is rejected and some other meaning is adopted. Ex: Hamlet on Ganga means Hamlet on the banks of river Ganga.

Ajahal lakshana- without giving up literal meaning, what is implied is adopted. Ex: Red is running means Red horse is running.

Jahadajahal lakshana- Bhaagatyaaga lakshana, Part is rejected and part is retained. 
Ex: This is that Devadatta- this Devadatta is the same person whom we had seen in last village. With the help of all the above methods, a Guru extracts the essence of scriptures supported by his wisdom. That is the reason why one should learn our scriptures from a qualified guru, who would have used all the above methods and his wisdom to analyze the shastra. So it is believed that Guru enlivens in shastra.

The present Guru would have learnt from his guru and that guru from his guru, finally to Shankaracharya, Guru Govinda pada, Gaudapada Acharya, Shuka, Shaunaka, Sanatkumara to finally Sadashiva or Dakshina Murthy for Shaivites and Hayagriva for Vaishnavites.

The meaning of Dakshina murthy can be derived in two ways: 

  • Murthy (deity) facing the southern direction. Usually no deity faces south as Yama the God of mrityu (death) is found in southern direction. Since Dakshina murthy faces south and is unafraid of Yama, he is also called Mrithyunj
  • The Word Dakshina murthy is divided as Dakshin and Amurthy. In sanskrit dakshin means expert and amurthy is formless. So he is a formless expert.

On the day of Guru poornima, Sanyasis perform special poojas to entire guru parampara beginning with the lord to one’s own guru, and commence their Chaturmasa vratam. During this period, a Sanyasi resides in one place for four months as it coincides with rainy season. Now with some the period is reduced to two months viz. Chatushpaksha (four fortnights).

In a Guru parampara, Vyasacharya is looked upon as the most revered Guru. He is considered to be an avatara of lord Vishnu. The word Vyasa means compiler of Vedas. He has compiled, classified and elaborated vedas. So even though entire Guru parampara is worshipped on Guru poornima, it is also known as Vyasa puja day. Guru poornima is important not only for Sanyasis but also for spiritual seekers who seriously study vedanta. The importance of paying salutations to Guru on this day is to invoke grace:

  • To consistently practise Sravanam, Mananam and Nidhidhyasanam viz. scriptural study under a guru, doubt removal and assimilation of knowledge.
  • To acquire qualifications mentioned in the Vedas needed for Sravanam, Mananam and Nidhidhyasanam. The qualifications are four fold known as Sadhana chatushtaya sampatti, denoted by 4D’s. They are Viveka (Discrimination), Vairagya (Dispassion), Samadhi Shatsampatti (six fold Disciplines) and Mumukshutvam (Desire for liberation).

However much one reads by himself, will not be able to know the subject correctly. Hence one has to learn from Guru alone to understand the subject properly. Self reading is like reading a map and while guru is like a compass. So similar to compass, Guru shows the direction. It is the responsibility of the student to grasp the knowledge if not it would be like blaming the map and compass for not reaching a destination.

A Guru is like a farmer who sows the seeds, applies manure and waters the field uniformly, but only few seeds germinate. Here the problem is in seed and not the farmer for not germinating. Similarly only few students flourish and rest may not, for which a Guru cannot be blamed. 
Hence the Vedic phrase Tamasomaa Jyothirgamaya (darkness to light) is attributed to the wisdom of Guru.