Does it mean it has existed forever and would exist forever? Does it mean it is changeless? The evidence shows that India is now only 80 percent Hindu and there are all kinds of forces trying to reduce this number. How does this square with Hinduism being "Sanatana Dharma"?

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    'Also does Hindu scripture use the word Hindu anywhere?' - that's a separate question and dup of What is the origin of the word “Hindu”? Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 16:51
  • Also TAG correction is needed. the name TAG is not related . But the Dharma TAG is surely needed. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 17:08
  • Evidence shows only 20% of the world's population today is literate in physics and Newton's laws of gravity. Does this mean gravity has existed forever and would exist forever ? Does it mean it is changeless ? Sanatana Dharma is eternal. Sanatana Dharmis on the other hand.. maybe, maybe not. Those who follow it will survive. Those who don't will perish. If any religion follows its tenets while calling itself a different name, it will survive so long as it follows it.
    – ram
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 21:04
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    there is overwhelming evidence that Physics is universal and sanatana. There are no sectarian physicists. If the value of the gravitational constant changes, it will be accepted. With the advent of digital media, yes the texts of Hinduism will live as long as there are humans. Just like samskaras except marriage and death have been largely abandoned, vedic yagnas are hardly conducted anymore, vedic gods like varuna and brhaspati hardly worshiped any more, god-men lik sai-baba emerging - it is not clear what is sanatana about hinduism. @ram
    – S K
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 23:33
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    what is universal is that there are no sects and almost no dogma in modern Physics. big bang theorists and steady state theorists would squabble for a while but if experiments prove one over the other the loser concedes. It was religion that stood in the way of respecting verifiable facts over everything else. @ram
    – S K
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


Sanatana (सनातन) is a Sanskrit word referring to eternal, having no beginning or end. The phrase dharma sanātana does occur in Hinduism scriptures. Traced back as far as valmiki Ramayana . The word is also present in Bhagvat Purana and in Manu smriti.

Valmiki Ramayana

कृते च प्रतिकर्तव्यमेष धर्मः सनातनः
सोऽयं त्वत्प्रतिकारार्थी त्वत्तः सम्मानमर्हति ।। VR 5.1.114VR 5.1.114।।

कृते when help is rendered, प्रतिकर्तव्यम् it should be repaid, एषः this, सनातनः eternal, धर्मः dharma, तत्प्रतिकारार्थी for doing service in return, सः अयम् this, त्वत्तः from you, सम्मानम् honour, अर्हति he deserves.`

When a service is done, a return service needs to be rendered. This is an ancient tradition. Such this ocean who wants to do a return service to the Raghu dynasty, is suitable for respect by you."

Bhagvat Purana

चतुर्युगान्ते कालेन ग्रस्तान्छ्रुतिगणान्यथा ।
तपसा ऋषयोऽपश्यन्यतो धर्मः सनातनःSB 8.14.4

catur-yugānte kālena grastāñ chruti-gaṇān yathā
tapasā ṛṣayo ’paśyan yato dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ

At the end of every four yugas, the great saintly persons, upon seeing that the eternal occupational duties of mankind have been misused, reestablish the principles of religion.


सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियं ब्रूयान्न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् ।
प्रियं च नानृतं ब्रूयादेष धर्मः सनातनः4.138

satyaṃ brūyāt priyaṃ brūyānna brūyāt satyamapriyam |
priyaṃ ca nānṛtaṃ brūyādeṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ || 138 ||

He shall say what is true; and he shall say what is agreeable; he shall not say what is true, but disagreeale; nor shall he say what is agreeable, but untrue; this is the eternal law.—(138)

So I have traced the word uptill Valmiki Ramayana .

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    – Pandya
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 1:01
  • @SwiftPushkar .. you are a nice devotee from your within... great work done!!
    – user30612
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 19:18
  • @user30612- Thanks for your compliment. Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 7:17

Sanatana Dharma was mentioned in Rig Veda III.3.1.

वैश्वानराय पर्थुपाजसे विपो रत्ना विधन्त धरुणेषु गातवे | अग्निर्हि देवानम्र्तो दुवस्यत्यथा धर्माणि सनता न दूदुषत ||

To him who shines afar, Vaiśvānara, shall bards give precious things that he may go on certain paths: For Agni the Immortal serves the Deities, and therefore never breaks their everlasting laws.

Sanatana Dharmas or Eternal laws indicate the LAWS of Universe, but not that of one single country.

One school of thought perceives Sathya Dharma mentioned in Rig Veda V.63.1 indicates Sanaatana Dharma, the law of the Universe.

रतस्य गोपाव अधि तिष्ठथो रथं सत्यधर्माणा परमे वयोमनि | यम अत्र मित्रावरुणावथो युवं तस्मै वर्ष्टिर मधुमत पिन्वते दिवः ||

Two guardians of truth, you ascend your chariot, the Satya Dharma in the supreme ether; Who Mitra and Varuna you protect, for him the honey like rain pours from heaven

  • The word सनता (sanatā) simply means "from of old", the same word is used before in RV II.3.6 where it's translated as 'aforetime' by the same translator and not 'everlasting.' Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 21:26
  • @sv.: I heard and read that Vedic Sanskrit is different from Classic Sanskrit. So there can be different interpretations. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 5:52
  • P V Kane also translates 'sanatā dharmāṇi' as 'ancient ordinances'. Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 23:59

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