Vyasa (व्यास, vyāsa) literally means “the Compiler”. This word is a title and not a name as is often misunderstood by many. This title Vyāsa means ‘Guru for all creatures’ as is described in the Śiva Purāṇa. There have been many great rishi (vedic seers) who have occupied this position of the ‘Guru for all’ in previous periods. A Veda Vyasa (वेद व्यास, veda vyāsa) is installed at the junction between the yugas to review the Veda and divide it or merge it as would be necessary to suit the energy of the period. With the advent of Kali Yuga in 18 Feb, 3102 BC, the energy of darkness was to envelope bhū-loka (earth plane) and it became imperative to recompile the Veda as well as provide supporting literature for the benefit of the lessor intelligent human beings who were to come during this era. Such a huge task could only be brought about if the kṣatra tejas of Devavrata Bhīśma and the brahma tejas of Kṛṣṇa-Dvaipāyana came together for a single purpose. This happened in the kingdom of Kurukṣetra (modern Punjab-Haryana). Delhi was not in this region as the land belonged to Takṣaka Nāga. It was later recovered by Śrī Kṛṣṇa and became Indraprastha, the capital of the pāṇḍava ruled by its first king Yudhiṣṭhira.
Vaiṣṇava traditions regard him as a Viṣṇu avatāra while Śaiva traditions regard him as an incarnation of Śiva and Guru Nanak has explicitly stated that he is an incarnation of Brahma. In reality all of them are right as he is the ‘Guru of all’ and is a joint incarnation of the trimūrti – Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva and symbolized as ‘AUM’. He is also Badarāyana, the author of the Vedanta Sutras while historians do not agree with this. The problem with modern history is that the recorder of a work is also considered the author of the work. It is evident that the darkness and ignorance of Kali Yuga has already affected mankind considerably where truth is based on only hard evidence of the recorded word and even the word of the recorder that this is the teaching of the Veda Vyāsa is not accepted. At one time, it was considered a terrible sin to arrogate to oneself the teachings of one’s guru, but today this seems to have become commonplace.
Kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana is one of the seven Chiranjivin (long lived, or immortals) who continues to exist as the Veda Vyāsa for this Kali Yuga along with Hanuman and others. The festival of Guru Purnima, is dedicated to him, as he is the Guru for all and received enlightenment on this date. It is also known as Vyasa Purnima as it is the day, he started the task of the Veda Vyāsa of ‘recompiling and recording the Vedas’ for Kali Yuga. A very peculiar tradition of India is the worship of Guru’s on the full moon days. Some of them are also born on full moon, but that is not important for a guru. The day of enlightenment is when they become a complete guru and this is the day worth celebrating, not their birthdays. The word ‘jayanti’ is used both for birthday called ‘janma tithi’ as well as enlightenment date as it is ‘punar-janma tithi’. Jayanti is the birthday for the devas whereas it is the day of enlightenment for the gurus. For example, the birthday of Guru Nanak is 15 April, 1469 whereas Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated on Kartika Purnima which is the date of his enlightenment.
Veda Vyāsa is worshipped with the mantra
व्यां वेदव्यासाय नमः
vyāṁ vedavyāsāya namaḥ