Can someone please clarify what is the right spelling and pronounciation in Sanskrit - Sanatan Dharma OR Sanatan Dharam??

I always thought 'Dharma' was an English term and 'Dharm' Hindi/ Sanskrit. Like Rama English for Ram and Mahabharata for Mahabharat.

  • 1
    It is Dharma ( धर्म ), not Dharam ( धरम ).. maybe you can say Dharm ( धर्म् )
    – ram
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 20:30
  • So, it is pronounced as 'Dharma' in Sankrit not Dharm? - Righto. Both Hindi & Sanskrit use Devanagiri script but due schwa deletion rule in Hindi, Dharma is pronounced Dharm in Hindi. Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Both spellings are wrong as per Sanskrit to English transliteration schemes.

According to IAST scheme, सनातन धर्म is written sanātana dharma or if you wish to capitalize the first letters, Sanātana Dharma also works.

Harvard-Kyoto (HK) is much simpler and easy to type. In HK, it would be sanAtana dharma.

When in doubt, you can use spokensanskrit.org and search for a word using its approximate English spelling. It then shows the correct spelling in both Devanāgarī and English (IAST or HK).

For the correct pronunciation of sanātana dharma, check the beginning of this YouTube video (Sanatana Dharma An Introduction_Part-1/9_What is Sanatana?).

Also, see:

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    Harvard Kyoto is bit difficult because sh in Shiva is written as Z and the name becomes ziva. It is easy in IAST because it allows capital letters whereas ITRANS or HK doesn't. The pronunciation changes. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 7:59
  • But HK is easy to type. Problem with ITRANS is it has versions and no way to tell which version you're using. Two people conversant with both HK & IAST may prefer to use HK for a quick informal chat. @Sarvabhouma Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:01

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