Satya Vrat Shastri (29 September 1930 – 14 November 2021) was an Indian Sanskrit scholar, writer, grammarian and poet. He wrote three Mahakavyas, three Khandakavyas, one Prabandhakavyas and one Patrakavya and five works in critical writing in Sanskrit. His important works are Ramakirtimahakavyam, Brahattaram Bharatam, Sribodhisattvacharitam, Vaidika Vyakarana, Sarmanyadesah Sutram Vibhati, and “Discovery of Sanskrit Treasures” in seven volumes.
He was an honorary professor at the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies (now known as the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies (SSIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was the Head of the Department of Sanskrit and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Delhi, where he was the Pandit Manmohan Nath Dar Professor of Sanskrit (1970–1995).
During his career he won many national and international awards, including, the Sahitya Akademi Award for Sanskrit, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, in 1968 for his poetry work, Srigurugovindasimhacharitam, then in 2006, he became the first recipient of the Jnanpith award in Sanskrit language (conferred in 2009 by Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn).
He joined the University of Delhi soon after, where for the next forty years of his teaching career, he held important positions as the Head of the Department of Sanskrit, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Satya Vrat Shastri was also the Vice-Chancellor of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri, Orissa, and a visiting professor at the Chulalongkorn and Silpakorn Universities in Bangkok, as well as the Northeast Buddhist University, Nongkhai, Thailand, the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He was a Visiting Professor of Sanskrit and in his class, among other students there was also Thailand‘s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who studied a minor paper on Sanskrit and received her M.A. in Oriental Epigraphy in 1979 at Silpakorn University [1977–1979].
Satya Vrat Shastri wrote many important poetic works in Sanskrit, the most important being his rendition from Royal Thai into Sanskrit, of the Thai version of the Ramayana, viz., Sri-rama-kirti-maha-kavyam, and with a foreword by the Princess of Thailand. Later research projects were the Sanskrit inscriptions and Hindu temples in Thailand, Kalidasa Studies, a critical edition of the Yogavasishtha, the Sanskritic vocabulary of South East Asia, and the Rama story in South East Asia.
In 2009, he became the only Sanskrit poet to win the (2006) Jnanpith award, for his contributions to the enrichment of the language, and conferred by his former disciple, Princess of Thailand, Maha Chakri Sirindhon.