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Moral Values: Indian Perspective (Set of Two Volumes)

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Item Code: NBZ743
Author: Satya Vrat Shastri
Publisher: Shivalik Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9789391214012
Pages: 409
weight of the book: 0.82 kg.
Weight 820 gm
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Book Description

About the Book
The Author born on 29' September 1930, Prof. Satya Vrat Shastri had his early education under his father. Prof Chant Deva Shastri. He was consistently top rank holder up to Post-Graduation and won University Medals. After doing his Ph.D. at the Banaras Hindu University he joined the University of Delhi where during the forty years of his teaching career he held important positions of the Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He was also the Vice-Chancellor of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri, Orissa. He is the first recipient of the Jnanpith Award in Sanskrit, 2009. He got the Padma Shushan Award in 2010.

He has the distinction of having been Visiting Professor in five Universities on three Continents. Among his many foreign students the most prominent is Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Princess of Thailand. He has attended and chaired a number of national and international conferences and seminars and delivered more than a hundred lectures in Universities and institutions of higher learning in Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and the Far East.

Both a creative writer and a literary critic, Prof. Satya Vrat Shastri has to his credit three Sanskrit Mahakavyas of about a thousand stanzas each, one of which (Srirama-kirtimahakavyam) has been translated in ten languages, seven Indian and three foreign. Prabandhakavya, a Patrakavya (in two volumes), three khandakavyas, the first ever diary in Sanskrit Dine Dine yati Madiyajivitam and the first ever autobiography in Sanskrit (in three volumes) Bhavitavyanam, Dvarani Bhavanti Sarvatra. The well-acclaimed critical work The Ramayana-A Linguistic Study which is the first ever linguistic appraisal of not only the Valmiki Ramayana but of any extant Sanskrit work. Kalidasa Studies in three volumes: Kalidasa in Modem Sanskrit Literature (Poems), New Experiments in Kalidasa (Plays), Kalidasa-Inspired Sanskrit

Poetry, five studies on Thailand: Sanskrit and Indian. Culture in Thailand, Brahmanas of Thailand, Sanskrit Inscriptions of Thailand, Old Brahmanical Shrines of Thailand, Ramayana in Southeast Asia-Ramayana (Thai Ramayana), Discovery of Sanskrit Treasures (in seven volumes), Sanskrit Studies-New Perspectives, Sanskrit Writings of European Scholars, Introducing New Works on Sanskrit, The Yogavasistha-A Linguistic Appraisal, a century and a half of research articles and Forewords to 140 books are his contribution as critic. Travelogue is another area of his interest two of the more noteworthy works of his in this are Caran Var Madhu Vindati (A Saga of Cultural Explorations in Foreign Lands) and Hungary-Kitani Dur Kitani Pas (Hungary : How Far and How Near). He has enormous experience as translator. He has translated A.A. Macdonell's A Vedic Grammar for Students in Hindi, Srirama caritabdhiratnam of Nityananda Shastri in English, the thousand Subhasitas, wise sayings, the Subhasitasahasri in Hindi and English, the Canakyaniti in Hindi and English and the select poems in different languages of poet laureates of Europe in Sanskrit. He is the subject matter of twenty theses for the degrees of M. Phil. Ph.D. and D.Litt. in Indian Universities.

He is the recipient of one hundred and ten Honours and Awards, national and international, including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, President of India Certificate of Honour, Thai Royal Decoration. "The Most Admirable Order of Direk Gunabhorn", the Honour "Autorita Academische Italiano Straniere", the Civil and Academic Authority for Foreigners from the Govt. of Italy, the Medallion of Honour from the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, the Golden Prize from GESMEO, the International Institute of Advanced Asian Studies, Torino, Italy and five Honorary Doctorates from Indian and foreign Universities. In the Citation for the Honorary Doctorate at the Silpakorn University, Bangkok, he was described as "a living legend in the field of Sanskrit."

Back of the Book
Moral values are of interest to every intelligent person because they deal with not as human life is led but as to how it should be led. The better alternative for the word value is virtue; in Sanskrit it is guna. Since the word value has gained wide currency, it was adopted in the present volume.

These values or virtues are not necessarily ingrained in every human being. They are not only to be cultivated; but cultivated assiduously.

Since ages, the ancient thinkers, sages and seers, have been applying their mind to identify the values to provide stability to society. Through the mental churning of the successive generations, were identified the values. It is these that prevent society from degenation and eventual disintegration.

The ancients have given a name to each value appropriate to it which they have themselves explained, elucidated and elaborated. This elaboration; call it definition; the present work attempts with the penetrating study of hundreds of ancient texts. It does not stop at that. It goes on to illustrate them, the values, with scores of examples not only from the ancient texts but also from the lies of great men worldwide.

Vol- I
Moral values are of interest to every intelligent person because they deal with not as human life is led but as to how it should be led. The better alternative for the word value is virtue; in Sanskrit it is guna. Since the word value has gained wide currency, I also opted for it. The Hindi word mulya which is a literal translation of it has crept into Sanskrit as well. This is the common parlance there as well and may be in other vernaculars. These values or virtues are not necessarily ingrained in every human being. They are to be cultivated, not only cultivated but cultivated assiduously.

There are two types of human beings, one, who are born with qualities. They are by birth soft, suave, soft-spoken, truthful, honest and helpful and the two, who are harsh, evil-tongued, crooked, unhelpful, cruel, obstructionist, sadistic. Those of the first type have in them divine qualities, the daivi sampad, as the Gita terms them and those of the second type have in them demoniac tendencies, asuri sampad, as the same text terms them. There is a third type as well that prevaricates between the two. And they form the largest majority. They know what they are doing is not right; it is unrighteous; still they cannot pull themselves back from committing it, they let themselves go with what their mind dictates to them not exercising their discretion with which Mother Nature has endowed them. The following verse captures the whole idea very beautifully:

Janami dharmami na ca me pravrttir janamy adharmam na ca me nivrttih//

Kenapi devena hrdi sthitena yatha niyukto'smi tatha karomi //

"I know what dharma is but I do not act according to it. I know what adharma is but I do not keep myself away from it. There is some divinity in my heart. I proceed as per its dictates".

It is these people who need instruction to keep to values and not let their instinct overpower them. The benefits accruing from keeping to right path have to be firmly rooted in their mind not to allow them to deviate from it, not for the good of others but for their own selves as well, as the old adage graphically puts it : parahitam svasreyase, "to do good to others is to do good to oneself". For the people of the second type the effort may have to be more sustained, painstaking and hard. To bring the deviants to the right path is littered with difficulties and obstacles. Any kind of instruction, upsdesa is more likely to infuriate them rather than pacify them, upadeso hi murkhanam prakopaya na Santaye. But, since they are a part of society, the effort is necessary, however beset with difficulties it may be. Human society is not a monolith. It is made up of all kinds of elements, some following straight path, some the crooked path, rjukutilananapathajusam. Even the ones following the straight path have to be told in firm tone to keep on to it and not give way to enticements and inducements of which there could be opportunities galore, life being what it is.

The ancients have been only far too conscious of the need to instruct society to grasp the value of the values. This they have done through the large number of Niti texts and hundreds and thousands of Subhasitas, the wise sayings that dot the ancient literature in all languages, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Apabhramsa and the vernaculars as also the sayings, the vans, of the saints and seers preserved in huge collections. The ancients have given names to values, defined them, explained them and elucidated them, motivated as they were for the good of society, to keep it together, to make it stand on sound footing, to keep its fabric strong, to prevent it from degeneration and eventual disintegration.

Vol- II
When the first volume of the work was under way, I had some matter with me which could be included therein but it would have increased its bulk. It was thought desirable, therefore, to put it in a separate volume. That is the genesis of the present volume. I still have some matter in the form of short notes that could be expanded, corroborated and elucidated with appropriate definitions and illustrations. But I did not want to delay the publication of the present volume just for that. Moral values cover a wide field, every department of human activity coming under it, they need a probing search, since they must be put in typical Indian perspective of many scriptures and ancient texts in the study or which I have engaged myself the past several years. They have made me wiser first before prodding me to serve the rich fare of wisdom to fellow beings. A long chain of seers and sages, thinkers and philosophers has tried is note for centuries past the qualities that could add value to life. It requires concentrated efforts to divine the mind of those sages and seen and taste the elixir of knowledge that has flowed forth from it. The elixir not only needs to be just tasted but made a part of one's being- saturating every cell of it. That will bring the heaven on the earth leading to the realization of its presence in the inner self of the beings.

A couple of years back Her Royal Highness the Princess of Thailand asked the writer of these lines during an audience as to in what kind of work he was engaged at that time. His answer was: moral values: their interpretation and elucidation. She said "it is very important. There is erosion of moral values now". It is to arrest this erosion that the present effort is directed. If it succeeds in this-even though partially-the writer of these lines would consider his labours amply repaid.

Moral values are far too numerous to need only two volumes. They may need many more. If God Almighty infinitely gracious that He is, bestows on the writer of these lines a few more years there is no reason why another volume should not make its appearance. For the present it is the second volume that is being placed in your hands my very dear readers.

The resolutions, concepts, ideals, and higher expectations give birth to values in society. An overwhelmingly large number of these values like paropakara, doing good to others, ahimsa, not causing violence or harm to others, asteya, non stealing, drdhasankalpa, resoluteness, ekagrata, single-minded pursuit of an objective, akrodha, not giving way to anger, viveka, discrimination, santulana, maintaining balance in activities, desabhakti, patriotism are universal. There are some which are limited to a particular region or a country being part of its culture. They would have owed their origin to a particular circumstance or a set of circumstances or a particular environment. They may have something to do with a particular religion that would have laid these down to be strictly followed by its adherents. In Indian ethos the chastity of women is prized the most. Though it may look harsh and incongruous in the modern-day context when there is so much of talk of gender parity, the family integrity rests more on the purity of women, they carrying the greater burden in keeping it united and not falling apart unlike its counterpart in the West. In regard and respect, they got more than their due share; they were objects of worship; gods rejoice where they are honoured, yatra naryas to pujyante ramante tatra devatah, it was said of them; they were and are given the exalted status of devis, goddesses, the word (devi) forming part of the names of a number of them. Even while in childhood they were and still are treated as incarnations of Goddess Durga during the Navaratra days; they are the most sought after during that period, their feet are washed, they are given new clothes, they are offered some cash and good food. Promiscuity in women the Indian society has frowned upon since time immemorial. To keep up chastity, to be devoted to their husbands has so deeply entered in their psyche that in spite of the avalanche of ultra-modernity invading the Indian society they are not able to come out of it. Or, otherwise how could one explain the sight of hordes of highly educated well-dressed career women, the professionals, observing daylong fast, till the sight of the moon, on the Karvachauth day for the welfare and wellbeing of their husbands. In middle ages when our weak rulers were unable to protect them, Indian women preferred death to surrendering their honour. The practice was called Sati deriving its name from the consort of Siva in an earlier incarnation who could not stand the insult shown to her husband to which her father had subjected him. In those circumstances this was the life value. But in the changing circumstances, it made no sense to continue with the custom. It owed itself to a particular circumstance and was limited to a particular period only. A few cases of this unseemly practice do come to notice even now but it has nothing to do with saving one's honour as was the case in the past. It has more to do with the show of total identification with the deceased husband without whom life has no meaning. There may also be the ulterior motives of the kin in encouraging the doting women to follow this ghastly practice. Anyway, it is legally banned now. There is no point in talking about it anymore. The fundamental point is the protection of women's honour and that has not changed. No society comprises ideal men and women only. It has its share of deviants. Indian society is no exception to it. Violation of a woman's person the Indian society frowns upon. It reserves the harshest condemnation for it. The public outcry against the recent incidents of rape wherein men jostled with women in protest is a case in point.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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