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."
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.
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.
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.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
Children’s Books (51)
Brahma Sutras (85)
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