Human Values as taught by Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The words or terms that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba uses in telugu (His mother tongue) referring to ‘Human Values’ are mānavata viluvalu or mānava guṇamulu or mānavatvaṁ. In this post we explore a few excerpts from various discourses delivered by Bhagavan Baba, to portray a wide canvas of what He meant by Human Values.

What is the difference between humans and rest of animal kingdom?

“Embodiments of Love! What is the difference between birds and animals and humans? Can eating, drinking, sleeping and ultimately dying, be the be-all and end-all of human life? All these are common to animals and human beings. What, then, is the difference? Although one is endowed with intelligence, discrimination and wisdom, without endeavouring to know the truth, a human regards physical phenomena as the only reality, the Divine as remote, and forgets the main goal of life. (1)

Jantūnā Narajanma Durlabham (Vivekachūāmai)

Among all beings, rarest to obtain is the Human birth

“Born as human beings, growing as human beings, human beings have forgotten the value of human existence. Developing religious differences, fostering demonic tendencies, they are destroying peace. What is the state of human life today? The foremost thing that should exist is respect for human values. However great an intellectual or scholarly or learned one may be, one has also to acquire humanness. Without humanness, scholarships and intellectual eminence are of no value. It is only when men cultivate humanness that society will shine with radiance and the nation and the world will progress.” (2)

What bestow values to humans?

“If money is lost, by struggle and strain you can get back the lost money. If the health is lost, by consulting physicians you can get back your fitness. But once character and values are lost, human life is a waste. Human values are most important today. Human values are not found in any texts nor are they imported or exported. In fact, human values have their origin in humans. When you follow the path of truth and undertake truthful activities, you will have the human values with you. More than the education you acquire, or the activities you undertake, if you uphold the human values, all the rest will follow automatically.” (3)

“Humanness can be promoted only through spirituality and not by any other means. Just as a seed can sprout only when it is planted in the soil and watered, human values can grow only in a spiritual soil. If a person wants to cultivate human values he has to apply the manure of spirituality to his heart, water it with love so that human values will grow.” (2)

“Awareness of, “I am a human being,” is only half the truth. “I am not a beast,” is the other half. Always remind yourself of what you are, as well as what you are not; when this is done, when activities are in accordance with that awareness, a human will be manifesting the full significance of the name he is known by” (8)

What is spirituality?

“What is spirituality? That which destroys human’s animal nature, nurtures humanness, and finally transforms him into a Divine being is spirituality. (4) Spirituality aims at enabling a human being to manifest, in all its fullness, the divine Caitan’ya (cosmic consciousness) that is present within and outside. It means getting rid of the animal nature and developing the divine tendencies. It means breaking down the barriers between God and Nature and establishing their essential oneness. (5) Spirituality means the quest for oneness.” (6)

“The body, mind and Ātma together constitute the human entity. Actions are undertaken by the body and cognition by the mind. The Ātma is the Divine Spirit present in the heart. Action, Awareness and Being are the threefold aspects of human life which have to be properly understood. Although they appear to be distinct, it is the unity in Action, Awareness and Being which makes for the fullness of human life.

What are the 5 cardinal Human Values?

The Vedas have declared “Prajñānaṁ brahma”. Prajñā is the principle that is present equally in the body, the antaḥkaraṇa and the Ātma. Hence it may be regarded as “constant integrated awareness.” It is this constant integrated awareness that is the source of all values in a human being. This Prajñā is permeated with Prēma (Love).  Satya (Truth) is the echo that resounds from the love-filled Prajñā. All actions that arise out of this love-filled Prajñā are reactions, constituting Dharma. Śāntī (Peace) is a reflection of this Satya (Truth) and Dharma. Thus Satya (truth), Dharma ​(Righteousness) and Śāntī (Peace) emanate from the Prajñā that is charged with Love, as resound, reaction and reflection. The proper understanding of the source and nature of Satya, Dharma, Śāntī and Prēma is Ahiṃsā (the attitude in which one cannot think of causing harm to anyone).” (7)

Sri Sathya Sai Baba summarised the above understanding in four simple yet profound statements as follows:

Love as thought is Truth.

Love as action is Right living.

Love as feeling is Peace.

Love as understanding is Non-violence.

A summative representation of the above quotes:


The endeavour of Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Human Values is to strive for understanding the Human Values and how they can be practiced in daily life and living.



  1. ‘Divine potencies in man’, 9/10/1994
  2. ‘Spiritual basis of human values’, 18/1/1996
  3. ‘Dedicate Your Everything To God’ 14/1/2003
  4. ‘Nature of Self’, 28/04/1999
  5. ‘Goodness is Godliness’, 12/2/1991
  6. ‘Give up selfishness, Cultivate unity’, 27/4/1990
  7. ‘Spiritual basis for value education Address’, 24/9/1987
  8. ‘Message to the students’, Summer Showers 1972

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