Sanatan Dharma

Release Notes, Transliteration Key, Credits, Preface, Introduction, About 'Us', Dedication

Updated on: 09-12-2021

Table of Contents

1. Release Notes

Note: This article contains sanskrit words in itrans or IAST format. Firefox recognises ‘a’ and ‘ā’ as different characters while Chrome and it’s derivatives like Opera using webkit rendering engine considers letter ‘a’ and ‘ā’ as same. i.e. if you search for ‘shāstra’, FF will not highlight ‘shAstra’ while chrome will highlight both ‘shāstra’ and ‘shAstra’. Using chrome browser is recommended. Please read Transliteration key for further details.

Happy to Release on Sri Adi Shankaracharya ji’s Jayanti

On the holy occasion of Shri Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti, which is on 23rd April 2015, we have made an attempt to share basic information on Hindu Dharma. We will try to improve this article as much as possible.

Version Number Coding

Unlike Traditional Publishing where the article is typed offline, proofread and edited before it is published, the author directly types it online on Google Docs.

Since this article is constantly updated, its version number is updated in following way.

Version number is written in the format - x.y.z

x = New Heading 1

y = New Heading 2 or 3

z = Minor corrections, addition in an existing article and correcting typos.

Date of latest update is mentioned along with latest version.

Suggesting Corrections is welcome

Please note that this is not a complete article. Beginning of incomplete section is marked as [under construction] and end is marked as [/under construction]

There are some typos and inconsistencies. If and when time permits, we will add more information.

This article is also published on Google Docs anyone can comment it. Editing this article on Google Docs will require invitation from the author.

Please help proofreading this article.

Since this article is in public domain, anyone can suggest corrections. For further details, please contact indiaspirituality [at] gmail [dot] com (replace [at] by '@' and [dot] by '.')

Updated on 12-10-2020

Note: Transliteration Key is now a sub topic / subheading of Main Heading 'Release Notes' on 12-10-2020 in docx and pdf file.

1.1 Transliteration Key

There are many itransliteration keyboard schemes. Out of them two used on this site are:

  1. iTrans

  2. IAST


The "Indian languages TRANSliteration" (ITRANS) is an ASCII transliteration scheme for Indic scripts, particularly, but not exclusively, for Devanagari (used for the Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Nepali, Sindhi and other languages).

The ITRANS computer package also enables automatic conversion of the Roman script to the Indic. It was used to compile the Hindi Song Book on the internet. This became an invaluable source for the words of movie and other popular lyrics of Hindi and some related languages. It also helped popularize the ITRANS romanization scheme for storing and sharing material in the Indic languages, particularly Hindi and Sanskrit, in the electronic media where the English-keyboard Roman script is a very convenient input medium.

Following transliteration key is adapted. There can be inconsistencies. We request interested readers to suggest corrections.


Another scheme or keyboard is called as IAST keyboard. It contains diacritical marks above or below letters. Some characters in both sanskrit and roman script which are frequently used are displayed below.

For full comparison, please visit wikipedia page here. A printable copy is attached at the bottom of page.

अ = a

आ = A or aa or ā

स = sa

श = Sa or sha or śa, hence शास्त्र is written as shAstra or SAstra

ष = Sha or ṣa

च = ca or cha

छ = chha or Cha

सीता = sItA or sītā

न = na

ण = Na or ṇa

सरस्वती = sarasvatI (notice capital 'I') or sarasvatī

मणि = maNi (notice small 'i')

ॐ = OM (both letters upper case)

anusvAra (ं) i.e. dot above word is either written as n or .n or M or .m

visarga (:) is written as ‘H’

कृष्ण = kRRIShNa or kriShNa or kRShNa or krShNa or kruShNa or kṛṣṇa

Plural sanskrit words are written with ‘-s’ e.g. veda-s and not vedas. SAstra-s and not SAstras.

For full unicode chart, please visit this link, scroll down and look for the file itrans code 120108 final.pdf to either view or download file in pdf format.

Since we are primarily using itrans scheme, hence we do not follow the basic English convention of starting a new line with capital letter when it comes to writing sanskrit words. e.g. Dharma is written as dharma (without capital D).

'da' (द),

'Da' (ड),

'dha' (ध) and

'Dha' (ढ)

are four different characters.

The correct spelling is 'dharma' (र्म). If we type capital 'D' instead of small 'd' then the word would becomeर्म (notice the difference between 'ध' and 'ढ'). Again just typing capital 'D' and omitting 'h' i.e. Darma would result into 'र्म'.

If new line starts with English word then capital letter is used. However in some instances, when IAST keyboard is used, sanskrit with first capital letter might be used. The word must contain a diacritical mark so that reader will understand that it is a sanskrit word. While using IAST keyboard, ‘sa’ and ‘Sa’ mean same word ‘स’ while ‘sa’, ‘śa’ and ‘ṣa’ mean ‘स’, ‘श’ and ‘ष’ respectively.

Initially reader may find it difficult to read words written in ITRANS as it may not appear pleasing to eye since we are not accustomed to read capital letters in the middle of a word. The idea is to convey the pronunciation of saMskrit (sanskrit). Typing 'ā' instead of capital ‘A’ is a better option as it is more pleasing to eye. In books, this approach is used. The author was not earlier acquitted with IAST keyboard, hence initially itrans scheme is used. If time permits, we will add diacritics to sanskrit words like SAstra and shAstra would be changed to śāstra. IAST has a little problem. In MS word or Writer (document editor) or in pdf viewer and in Chrome (webkit based browser), letters with diacritical marks are recognised as different characte

There are inconsistencies in syntax. Some words are very popular in English like sanskrit and upanishads. In this case, they may or may not be written as saMskrit and upanishad-s. Some words like vedic, Atmic wellbeing are a mixture of both languages. It is expected from readers to interpret them correctly. Sometimes SAstra is written as shAstra. Both are correct. The reason for using both is that while typing in word or writer or any document editor, it generally autocorrects correctly spelled SAstra to wrongly spelled Sastra. (Capital ‘S’, ‘sh’ and ‘ś’ mean the same sanskrit character ‘श’. To avoid this unforced error shAstra is used.

If time permits, we will try to change attributes of saMskrit / devanagri words from regular to italics so that they can be easily spotted.

1.1.1 Keyman Desktop - An app to type in IAST format for Windows 10

Keyman desktop is a software / App that can install on Windows 10 34 bit.

Please refer the following links - Keyman Desktop Download | Help - Options | Knowledge Base

Just type language in search box e.g. “sanskrit” or “Gujarati”, download and install them.

1.1.2 Bhashaindia by Microsoft

[Updated on 09-12-2021]

Microsoft has developed a free utility or input tool using itransliteration scheme known as Bhashaindia or simply Bhasha.

Please visit their website here.

There are many versions to download. Try version 'Indic Input 2' and see if it works for you or you need older version 'Indic Input 1' and see which ones fit you.

Any version which works for you are fine.

2. Credits and Acknowledgements

Too Close to revere, No amount of reverence and gratitude enough

Guru and Self are not different, still we must all approach to Guru with reverential attitude and as a servant. Same is the case with God. God is the Self, rules our heart and is too close to be considered as a separate from us.

On the other hand, no amount of glory, reverence or worship can repay the debt of the grace of Guru and God.

While they are too close to speak about them ‘formally’, we are not worthy enough to pay tribute to them. This servant will always remain indebted finding not enough words to sing their glory.

Whatever good you find in this work is the grace of my Guru and God, all errors are mine.

It would not be possible to acknowledge all those whose independent contribution towards sanAtana dharma is invaluable. The author, Amrut, would extend gratitude and thank online sources, spiritual websites for publishing gigantic works like Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, veda-s, purāṇa-s and various other texts on the world wide web. Amrut would also like to thank owner of discussion group Advaita-L mailing list Shri Vidyasankar Sundaresan ji and owner of forum HDF (Hindu Dharma Forums) known by screen name @satay who encourages healthy discussion on sanAtana dharma.

Amrut would also take this opportunity to extend thanks to members of these two groups especially members of Advaita-L namely Acharya Shri K. Sadananda ji and Shri V. Subramanian ji among others who are traditionally well versed in sanAtana dharma.

Indebted to Kanchi Paramacharya

Amrut indebted to Kanchi Paramacharya, Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekharendra Sarasvati Mahaswami, as Amrut has got much knowledge about traditional Hindu Dharma from the book, Hindu Dharma - Eternal Way of Life’, which is the collection of teachings of Kanchi Paramahcharya. Kanchi Paramacharya was called as the ‘Living God’.

Indebted to Sringeri Shankaracharyas Abhinav Vidyatheertha Mahaswami and Sri Bharathi Tirtha Mahaswami

Amrut is also indebted to Sringeri Shankaracharyas as Amrut has been immensely benefitted from the Divine Life of Jagadguru Sri Abhinav Vidyatheertha Mahaswami, who is a living example of a saint who has not only experienced the Supreme Truth of Advaita Sthiti, but had practiced many disciplines like Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Bhakti as means to Final Emancipation. His divine life are recorded by Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Tirtha Mahaswami and published in a book, 'Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection of Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswami (AV)'.

A brief intro of the above mentioned book is given by advaita academy. Hard copy is available in bookstores managed by Sringeri Matha. Soft copy in PDF and EPUB format are available for free down on Official Website dedicated to Sri Abhinav Vidyatheertha Mahaswami.

This book contains a detailed account of His intense spiritual practices that culminated in His Enlightenment and Jivanmukti at a very young age. Swami ji practised many spiritual disciplines and realized truth by various ways like -

  • Hatha Yoga

  • Bhakti & Karma Yoga

  • Kundalini Yoga

  • Nada Anusandhana

  • Meditation on Divine forms

  • Intense reflection on Brahman and Nikvikalp Samadhi

  • Nirvikalpa Samadhi by Grace of Guru

  • Final Enlightenment, permanent rooting in it and Jivanmukti

Indebted to Puri Paramacharya

Amrut is also indebted to Puri Shankaracharya Jagadguru Srī Bhārati Krṣṇa Tirtha for his contribution in decoding hidden mathematical formulas in the holy vedas.

Gratitude to Shri Santosh ji

Amrut would also like to thank a brotherly friend Shri Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula, the author of Mahapashupatastra Blog who has contributed to the article ‘Women and Sanātana Dharma’. Santosh ji has contributed to some wonderful articles like explaining the origin of universe from varṇamālā by Śiva and Śakti. The creation occurs from sound i.e. sanskrit vowels. He has also contributed to establishing glory of Śiva and Śakti as supreme Brahman. He has also decoded the encrypted hidden meaning of vedic verses and hymns like Mahākāla Suktam and Skambha Suktam. Santosh ji has also refuted the left hand interpretation of our scriptures. Amrut is influenced by Santosh ji’s works and it might be reflected in taking yogic stand to explain inner meaning of some vedic and purāṇic hymns, stories and riddles. Indeed Yoga is one of the best way to explain certain rules and regulations for living life as a Hindu.

Thankful to Josué MOËNS

Thankful to Josué MOËNS @ LumApps for giving free addon TOC (Table of Contents), which appears in Sidebar on Google Docs and Correctly Auto Numbers Headings and Sub-Headings with up to 6 levels. Upon Refresh, this addon correctly renumbers headings in entire article thus saving a lot of work and human error while numbering headings manually. You do not need to delete old heading number. It just gets autocorrected upon refresh.

Big Thanks to Google and it’s Team

This work would not have been possible without free services like Google Docs by Google.

3. Preface

Purpose of writing this article …

There are many books and articles written to explain Hindu Dharma. This is just another attempt to share basic information about Hindu Dharma from Traditional Point of View.

Unlike Abrahamic religions which preaches ‘One God, One Book’ theory and asks one to pledge his/her belief to one particular person for their salvation, the philosophy which is applicable to all mankind, Hindu Dharma, is distinctive in many ways. Topics are discussed in brief.

This article is not supposed to be taken as an authority but as a rough guide. It aims to make make people aware of Hindu Dharma from traditional Point of View (POV). There are some reasons for presenting traditional viewpoint. There are three types of people in every society.

  1. Theists

  2. Atheists

  3. Anti-theists

While theists believe in God, atheism is ‘lack of belief in God’. Anti-theism is to hate the word ‘God’ and anything related to it. They revolt against anything related to God, do not believe in ‘dogmas’, rejects them and ironically they openly ‘preach’ their ‘set of beliefs’ i.e. their ‘dogmas’.

There are fourth kind of people who are called as ‘critics’. Some prefer to call themselves as ‘fact finder’ or ‘explorer of truth’. Such people are generally cannot develop 100 % faith in God because of doubting nature. There are many fact finders who have genuine urge to find the truth. Such analytical minds are respected by Hindus even though they might be critical of some part of system traditionally followed. They are often needed and are praised as dharma is not to be accepted with a blind eye.

Since Britishers invaded India, the history has been changed by them and later on by Historians of Maoist-Nehruvian Ideology. There are many forces often well organized than theists who leave no opportunity to denounce Hindu Dharma and thereby create a sense of ‘inferiority complex’ in hearts of Hindus. Sometimes Hindus in foreign land hesitate to call themselves as ‘Proud Hindu’. Reformers often denounce caste system and some anti-hindu forces try to cash on these reformers. On the other hand, there are many Hindus who hardly know about their own religion. Initially, the author had in mind to quote each and everything that is said. However due to limited knowledge and time constraints it was decided to drop scriptural references for most sections. Another reason to drop scriptural references was that articles written in scholarly way, are many times not easy to understand. They become more and more complex and the author has to presume that the reader has some level of basic understanding about traditional Hinduism.

This article is aimed at the beginners and hence attempts are made to write in simple way. Knowledgeable readers may find references from Hindu scriptures.

One more important reason for writing this article is that modern people and kids may not practice religion devoutly, they may chose to ignore it but atleast they should not hate our religion. They should understand that whatever is or was practiced was the best that suited at that time. Saints preach keeping time, place and present circumstances in mind.

A Positive way of writing an article ...

Āchārya-s of advaita order like Madhusudan Sarasvatī and Vidyāraṇya Svāmī in their works like ‘Advaita Siddhi’ and ‘Panchdaśī’ (Panchdashi) have adopted a positive way of expressing their thoughts. Though they have defended their sampradāya by refuting opponent’s objections, it is done so in such a way that many times an average reader not well versed in polemical debates and not aware of the objections raised by rival sects or religions will never know that such an objection was ever raised. The reader may feel that the author has either raised a hypothetical question or the author has just removed misconception or sometimes reader won’t realise the a particular section is refuting objections. Inspired by these great āchārya-s, the author has also tried to write things in a positive way trying to spread positive thoughts, vibrations and emotions in the hearts of readers.

Practical Implementation is important than Dry Philosophy …

What is more important is practical implementation. Wise say that an ounce of practice is better than tonnes of theory. Dry philosophy is of no use. It does not change the way we live. Here attempts are made to give basic information about Traditional Hinduism, clear some doubts and create interest in readers so that they take up study of Hindu dharma, the Hindu way of Life.

Article written as a ‘Hindu’

General trend which is accepted and appreciated by many writers is to write as a ‘neutral’ third person. Articles written on wikipedia are written in such a format.

Views which are writer’s personal views are written in such a way that the writer successfully expresses his views without sounding biased. A writer is generally not unbiased as we are not free from likes and dislikes.

However the author ‘Amrut’ does not adhere to such a views. Amrut does not wish to shy away from Hindu background. Amrut is a proud practising Hindu, who has poured heart and soul in his efforts to progress spiritually and understand his own dharma. Moreover this article is not written with commercial mindset hence sounding neutral to sell work is not the motto. There is also a mindset among certain writers (and readers) that writing as a Hindu might not be a good idea. Amurt does not agree with them.

Amrut uses ‘we’ to collective speak for general Hindus or uses to word ‘author’ or at times ‘Amrut’ instead of writing ‘I’. Amrut does not shy from writing, ‘We Hindus …’ This is another purpose of writing this article to make fellow Hindus understand that we do not need to ‘sound neutral’ in order to ‘be neutral’. There is no need to shy away from our identity. While fellow Hindus will feel Amrut as their very own, Non-Hindus might find this style unusual, but as Swami Chinmayananda has said, ‘First Let Hindus be Hindus’. Primary intention is to share information on Hindu Dharma with Fellow Hindus. Non-Hindus are also welcome to read, share and adapt this work.

A positive mind will always see positive in dharma and try to apply as much as s/he can in practical life. Things that cannot be understood or digested are ignored for personal spiritual progress until one finds an explanation.

Maybe due to writing as third person, readers may feel that they are reading ‘Forward’ instead of ‘Preface’.

Article written as a Third Person

‘M’, (Mahendranath Gupt), the author of Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita), has never used the word ‘I’ for himself in the entire book. He always referred himself as third person as ‘M’ or ‘Master’ as he was a headmaster of school so people used to call him ‘Masterji’. ‘M’ chose to write in such a way so that the biography and discourses are always centered around Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna is always in the center stage in the entire book. The author remains unnoticed. I have not seen such a humility by any other writer. Inspired by Shri ‘M’, Amrut has also avoided to use the ‘I’ word. Amrut has attempted to write articles with this approach with humility and reverence in heart for his Guru and God. Article is written with positive intention to show Hindu Dharma in a positive way from Traditional Point of View.

Understanding behaviour of Saints in important

Nature (prakriti) always tries to maintain balance. It is it's nature to remain in equilibrium. When orthodoxy, rigidity, misinterpretations, evil deeds, and non-vedic elements creep into society, there is increase in negativity and the balance is broken. God via prikriti, in order to restore the balance will induce thoughts and emotions which are stronger than the prevailing negative thoughts into hearts of selected men and act through them in order to break the wrong prevailing customs. In process of doing so, day-2-day wide spread concepts are challenged and opposed. The objective is not to defame veda-s and scriptures themselves, but to break the negativity in minds of people and wrong understanding and application of concepts. Hence their words are not to be taken eternal, but only as a remedy used to break the then prevalent wrong customs. Once the balance is restored, their words are not that important. However, society take their words even after the 'correction' is done and keep fighting for the cause of their 'guru', which is very wrong. We must understand this fact that only the eternal concepts as mentioned in vedānta are eternal, rest concepts change according to the 'need of hour'.

|| Hari OM ||.

4. Introduction

Some info about article …

|| Hari OM ||


Dear Divine Souls, this article is a humble attempt to share some basic info about the eternal dharma, Sanatan Dharma from Traditional POV.

The article covers wide range of topics including

  • Importance of Guru

  • What is shāstra

  • What is dharma

  • Concept of Īśṭa devatā

  • Mantra: Meaning and Importance

  • 14 abodes of knowledge (vedas, puranas, etc)

  • Theories of Creation in Hinduism (sanātana dharma)

  • Status of women in sanātana dharma

  • 8 types of marriages,

  • Different types of Yoga

  • Varṇāshram dharma (caste system)

  • Why a dharma should be eternal

  • Religious Tolerance

  • Vegetarianism and Nonviolence

  • Idol worship and beyond

  • and many more ...

The article also explains why Hindu Dharma is the most organized, integrated spiritual and practical way of life.

There are many sects and sub-sects in Hinduism. They have different philosophies each claiming itself to be the ultimate truth and the true essence of vedAnta. The author belongs to advaita school of thought. Hence one may find tilting towards advaita in some places. Though the author practices advaita at personal level author respects all traditional philosophies.

There are two types of works

  1. Polemical

  2. Informative

  1. Works of Polemical nature are often filled with logic and scriptural reference, refuting objections of opponent(s) and raise objections to rival sects or religion under discussion.

  2. Another approach is to write in an informative way where all complexities are avoided and concepts are explained in simple way.

Present work is of informative nature. As explained earlier, the author has tried to speak positively about Hindu Dharma than trying to be critical of other religions. Though at times concepts of other religions are briefly touched for the sake of comparisons, the author has not tried to denigrate any religion or philosophy.

There are three ways to interpret any verse or a story

  1. Literal

  2. Symbolic - connected with mind

  3. An encrypted form of Yogic process

  • Literal meaning are useful for instilling faith and devotion in God.

  • Symbolic interpretations are indirect pointers in which any story or incident or verse is interpreted with our inner qualities or for pointing out a particular approach for the benefit of meditator. Moral of the story is important than the story itself. This approach is directly connected with workings of mind - both conscious and sub-conscious.

  • Yogic Interpretation is concerned about exploring the inner universe, dealing with subtle bodies. It is encrypted way of describing inner universe called as pinḍāṇḍa.

Attempts are made to make one understand that one must not always try to interpret scriptures in literal sense. Symbolic and yogic interpretations are also very useful for spiritual progress.

With this in mind let us understand our dharma from traditional POV.

|| Hari OM ||

4.2 About ‘Us’ (Ourselves)

Note: About 'Us' is now a sub topic / subheading of Main Heading 'Introduction' on 12-10-2020 in docx and pdf file.


In today's busy life, which is quite materialistic, with money being the center of our life and so driving force behind most of our decisions, we have forgotten our goal of life. In this age of excessive competition, there is increase in stress and tension thereby increasing the diseases (dis-'ease's) of emotional origin and psycho-somatic diseases.

In this materialistic age, we have disconnected ourselves from nature, on the contrary, we leave no stone unturned to go against nature and harm it not realizing that sooner or later nature is going to give us back everything that we gave it and you will not be left with any option to escape it's wrath.

In this money centric life, we have often ignored importance of values and learn and adapt only that which 'works' for you and makes you successful. IQ (Intelligence Quotient) may rise with education, but EQ (Emotional Quotient) is often neglected and is decreasing day-by-day as people become more and more 'professional'. A wealthy person need not be necessarily happy and a happy person need not necessarily be wealthy. Happiness is a state of mind and it is our birthright to achieve it. We all long for freedom and happiness. There is nothing wrong to long for them, what is wrong is to find them outside while it is inside.

dharma teaches us how to achieve absolute freedom and be eternally happy. To achieve this Blissful divine state, certain rules, customs and processes are to be diligently followed with proper attitude. However, today most people are ignorant about dharma to such an extant that we do not even know the names of our basic scriptures says Kanchi Paramāchārya. To add to it, Mughals, Mongols, Muslim kings, Britishers and Communists have hijacked our glorious history, destroyed our rich culture and gurukul system. Britishers and Communists have made us to think that whatever the west has produced is all good and whatever is Indian is trivial, obsolete and inferior (to west). Britishers and communists separated Hinduism from Hindustan i.e. removed Indian-ness from India. Some of us even began to hate our own culture and blindly accepted western way of life.

Scriptures, namely purāṇa-s and itihāsa shape the way we think. They induce and nurture moral and ethical qualities in us. They teach us lessens of life and give us proper direction. They teach us dharma in friendly way. They instill faith in God and show us path of moksha. Our scriptures shape our mind. They shape our identity. They make 'us'.

Spirituality is direct dealing with mind. Mind is nothing but continuous flow of thoughts. The word 'dharma' includes studying and transcending nature (dharma) of mind, our duties, responsibilities and much more. Hence first step in knowing 'us' is to know the basics of sanātana dharma. There is always a reason behind certain concept, certain rites and rituals and certain way of life. The best way is to know them from Traditional view. Hence let us understand the basics of our dharma from traditional viewpoint.

5. Dedication

This article is dedicated to Lotus feet of Guru _/\_ (As it was my guru who introduced this ignorant soul to vedAnta and the great lineage of Adi SankarAcArya)

Jagadguru ShrI Adi SankarAcArya jI the revivalist of vedic dharma.

Dedicated to Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Shri Ramana Maharshi whose teachings have deep impact on Amrut’s life.

I would also like to dedicate this article to the lotus feet of all the acharyas and Gurus who have kept the holy tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara alive.

Whatever is good is my Guru's, all errors are mine.

How can Dedication to Brahman, the Supreme Self, substratum of entire universe be forgotten!!!

Lets begins our journey. Let us try to understand what Hindu Dharma (HD) is, it’s uniqueness and know the reason why and how Hindu Dharma is best organized approach of living a harmonious life.

The basic texts which are referred by Hindus are called as shAstra-s. shAstra-s require the knowledge of basic foundation which is Dharma. Let us understand what is Dharma, which is the first of the four main foundations of Sanatan Dharma i.e. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

The first question that comes to our mind is - What is Dharma?