Hindu religious teachers are called gurus, and their role is to act as the mediator between the soul and the Supreme, while also acting as an interpreter and teacher of the shastra, and as a voice of the divine. Gurus often take on disciples, known as diksha.
Hindu scripture is said to have originally been passed down through oral tradition. The original oral transmission of the scripture is called shabdabrahman. The teachings of the Hindu scriptures are also referred to as Vedic knowledge.
A guru's role and status often depends on the school of Hinduism. Advaita, for example, places the guru at the same level as God, whereas other schools, such as bhakti, state that a guru is a teacher and medium for God, never able to become God themselves.
Self discipline is central to Hinduism, which is why it is important to have a spiritual teacher and guide. A guru not only helps a disciple to understand the words and meaning of the scripture, they also help to cultivate and encourage the self discipline and spiritual growth that a disciple needs in order to be able to fully understand the scripture.
There are a number of analogies in Hinduism that emphasize the importance of the teacher, such as the fact that young children must depend on their mother, and that books alone are not enough to impart real knowledge.