This post contains select excerpts from Divine Discourses delivered by my Beloved Master Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. These discourses were originally given in the Indian language – Telugu. They have been translated into English and published as books and also available on the internet. I have also provided source link to the entire discourse. For some of these discourses, the original audio recording of the talk is also available.
All the scriptures of Bharat (India) such as the Vedas, Sastras, and Puranas are written in Sanskrit. Therefore, if one wants to learn the culture of Bharat, one should develop understanding of Sanskrit. In ancient times, even in villages, people used to converse with each other in Sanskrit. Sanskrit was the language of even street plays in those days. Sanskrit is so sweet that one can enjoy listening to it even without knowing its meaning. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
(Divine Discourse delivered on 28th August 1996 in Prashanti Nilayam – https://links.sairhythms.org/zvcm Audio recording available.)
Dharma (righteousness) (धर्मः) is the way of life that confers lasting joy; the Shasthras (शास्त्राणि) are the source of dharma; they lay down the rules of dharma. The Shruthis (श्रुतिः) and Puranas (पुराणानि), the Shruthis and Ithihasas (इतिहासाः) are all included in the term Shasthra. Of these, the Shruthis are the most authoritative. The others all follow the Shruthis and keep in step with them. Bharatheeya culture is the expression of such sacred ideals. Throughout the ages, this culture has been providing spiritual teaching and training in a friendly fruitful manner. The Puranas are but simple and sweet expositions of the Shruthi ideals of life; that is why they are called, the comrades of man. Those who study the Vedas and understand the principles direct from them are called Shrothriyas (श्रोत्रियाः) and Nais-thikas (नैष्ठिकाः). They are the highest grade of seekers. Those who understand them from the popular texts like the Puranas and base their conduct on that knowledge are of the middle grade. They get inspired from some excellent poems and dramas also and they follow the dharma that is sought to be explained through those media. Thus, Hindus have tried to spread the principles of their culture through various means among the masses. Bharatheeya culture teaches not merely the truth about the visible objective world; it lays bare the truth of the subjective invisible world of the spirit also. This is the task of SanathanaDharma or Veda Dharma. This religion has in it the principles of all contemporary religions. Those who doubt this should examine the scriptural sources in an impartial spirit. Due to the wide influence of Western civilisation, absence of exposition and explanation by persons who have accumulated experience, inability to clearly grasp the meaning of the texts, and neglect of the Sanskrit language which is the precious treasure of India, truth about the greatness of Bharatheeya culture is largely unknown today. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
(Divine Discourse delivered in April 1966 – https://links.sairhythms.org/CsXd)
Many European languages have a large number of words which are derived from Sanskrit roots. Words like mother, father, brother, etc., in English are derived from Latin words which are themselves derived from Sanskrit words like, Pitru (पितृ), Mathru (मातृ) and Brathru (भ्रातृ). Thus English is like a grand-daughter, while Latin is a daughter and Sanskrit is the mother of languages. Sanskrit enjoys this privilege of being the ancient mother of many languages. A great French scholar, Louis Renou, spent many years in India studying the Sanskrit language. On the eve of returning to his native country, he was given a big farewell party by many teachers and students. At that gathering Louis Renou was full of tears, feeling sad at having to leave India. Controlling himself, he said he was feeling extremely sad to leave India. “Indians are treating the immortal Sanskrit language as a ‘dead’ language. Educational institutions and students are not making adequate efforts to study Sanskrit. Having this immortal language with them, they are not making any effort to enjoy its glories. There can be no greater misfortune than this,” he lamented.
Max Mueller was another savant who explored the greatness of Sanskrit. He traced the Sanskrit origin of many English words. After completing a study of the Rig Veda, he inscribed an introduction to his work in Sanskrit in which he described himself as a native of Germany who had received his education at Oxford University. He coined Sanskrit equivalents for Germany and Oxford (“Sarmany” and “Gothirthapura“) and Sanskritised his own name as Mokshamula Bhat. When great foreign scholars and savants show so much regard and esteem for Sanskrit, it is regrettable that Indians do not have the same regard for this great language.
Bharat’s entire culture is based on Sanskrit. Culture means that which sanctifies the world, which enhances the greatness and glory of a country and which helps to raise the individual and society to a higher level of existence. Culture contributes to the refinement of life. The process of refinement or transformation is essential for improving the utility of any object. For instance, paddy has to be milled and the husk has to be removed before the rice is fit for cooking. This is the process known as Samskriti or transformation. This means getting rid of the unwanted elements and securing the desirable elements. With regard to men, Samskriti (culture) means getting rid of bad qualities and cultivating virtues. The cultured person is one who has developed good thoughts and good conduct. In Sanskrit, the term Atma refers to the Self (“I”) and “mine”. Where the “I” and “mine” are present strong attachment develops. This is described as Atmabhimanam (attachment to the self). Even in relation to trivial matters, when there is mention of “I”, the person concerned places his hand on his heart. This shows that the self (“I”) that is referred to is not the body but the spirit. When a person declares, “Whatever the disaster, whatever the trouble I may be confronted with, I am not afraid,” he reveals his confidence in his Atma (Self)which is the basis for his fortitude. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Divine Discourse delivered on 14th January 1990 in Prashanthi Nilayam – https://links.sairhythms.org/WCQx Audio recording available.)