S. Srikanta Sastri

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S. Srikanta Sastri

Sondekoppa Srikanta Sastri (5 November 1904 – 10 May 1974) was an Indian historian, Indologist, and polyglot.


  • The culture of India, like the country itself, is indivisible and timeless. Just like its indivisible geography that stretches from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Vishweshwara to Rameshwara, from Bindu Madhava to Sethu Madhava, Indian culture too represents this indivisible continuum from the Rishis of the Vedas all the way up to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa... Indian culture gives immenseimportance to individual freedom. Differences of opinion exist among various schools of Indian philosophy on the subject of the nature of the relationship that exists between an individual, the Supreme Being and the material world. However, all these schools also universally recognize the fact that the individual, based on his/her nature and temperament, is free to lead a life of his/her choosing. It is because of this that there is no scope for totalitarianism in Indian culture... In other ancient cultures, only specific facets of their respective cultures flourished excessively and because it wasn’t balanced by a corresponding development in other facets, they died out in the course of time; or they reached a pinnacle and then perished due to a lack of further development. The spiritual outlook that lies at the heart of Indian culture is the reason it’s still alive and flourishing in the world. It is also the reason every single facet of Indian culture—food, social mores, business ethics, philosophy, aesthetics, investigations into the nature of truth and beauty—holds a special distinction. Not only does Indian culture embody universal values, it has also infused its unique value system both at the level of the individual and the society. Indian culture is thus like Atman, the Self: timeless and imperishable.
    • Samskruti Mattu Nagarikate: Bharateeya Samskruti: Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri, Kamadhenu Pustaka Bhavana, 2015. The quoted portion is translated from the original Kannada by Sandeep Balakrishna. Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism.
  • ...temples occupied a prominent place from the perspective of education, fine arts, [reflected the] economic condition [of the kingdom] and social service. Thus, people had a firm belief and faith in the pious act of donating to temples. [Donors included] everybody from the monarch to the most ordinary citizen...temples were governed and maintained by a duly elected board. They distributed money, food grain, and seeds to farmers from the Deity’s Treasury...[temples] were also engaged in moneylending...temples conducted various celebrations like Pakshotsava [fortnightly utsavas], Maasotsava [monthly utsavas], Brahmotsava, and oversaw the distribution of the harvest derived fromtemple lands. Theatre and dance halls organized dramas during Utsava days in both Sanskrit and Desha Bhashas. Music and dance recitals offered as Seva for the Deity immensely enriched art forms like classical music, Bharatanatyam, and Vastushilpa [sculpture art]. Moral and spiritual discourses by learned scholars, Yatis, and such other eminences were drawn from the Vedic and Puranic lore thereby instilling and reinforcing Dharma among the pilgrims and others who visited the temple. There were also lecture halls for imparting higher education in Veda, Vedanga, Medicine and other subjects by teachers and scholars employed by the temple. Students were given free scholarship and boarding and lodging... Massive temples were secure like fortresses and contained an abundance of food grain, water and other supplies and provided shelter to refugees during wartime...Because Hindu kings regarded temples as sacred spaces, they deferred harming or despoiling them even slightly even if this caution meant certain defeat in war.... Temples in island nations like Java, Bali, Sumatra, Burma and Cambodia were built following the ideals, ideals and physical plan of various Indian temples.
    • Bharateeya Samskruti: Dr. S Srikanta Sastri, Kamadhenu Publishers (Reprint) 2015, Bangalore, Pg 171.Quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism.

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