L - R: Prof S. Ananthanarayan, Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri
In Sanskrit there is the word (Sanskrit: Ekasandigrahi) which denotes a learner who takes in everything at the very first hearing and reading. Such people, though rare, have been always there. Dr. S. Srikantha Sastry belongs to this category of people blessed with a mind that grasps everything worthwhile even at first sight. He has a phenomenal memory which enables him to remember and quote passages after passages without a single mistake or moment’s hesitation. “My memory feeds me and sustains me in my life’s work” is what he said to me once. Genius is said to consist of very hard work. Dr. Sastry works very hard and has an emotional and imaginative understanding of what he works on. Added to his unique memory and capacity to take in all material at the first glance, it has given him a vast range of achievement. The wide sweep of knowledge reaped by him is astounding. Knowing more than 15 languages in and out, contributing more than 400 research papers on a wide and varied range of subjects and the writing of a score of scholarly books on History, Archaeology, Music, Literature and such other subjects is really monumental. Dr. Sastry’s work is the greatest monument to Dr. Sastry’s own life.
I have been twice blessed that I have known Dr. Srikantha Sastry ever since 1941 and he has showered his affection on me all these sears. In those days when we lived in the same street in Mysore, near the college, I had just joined the Maharaja’s College as a student. I used to see him—with a graphite grey coat, check trousers, whitish round face slightly pock-marked and short hair parted in the middle. He always wore brown canvas shoes and it appeared as if he dragged his left foot as he walked rather fast even for us.