Difference Between Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma

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In terms of established monotheistic faiths like Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, or Judaism, dharma is commonly considered to relate to an organized religion or religious obligations prescribed in the scriptures. Concerning Hinduism or Hindu-dharma, however, it has a different meaning. According to AC Bhaktivedanta Sri Prabhupada, the word "dharma" has its origins in the Sanskrit word "dr-datoo," which means "to sustain or retain or which is vital to something." Thus, the purpose of sugar is to sweeten, the goal of the fire is to burn and produce heat, the purpose of a river is to flow, and the purpose of the air is to blow. As a result, a person's dharma consists of particular obligations that enable them to live a flourishing life.

Sanatana Dharma and Hindu Dharma do not share exact origins and have distinct histories. People may use these two terms interchangeably. The different ideas are described here to make the subtle distinctions between them evident. Despite sharing some views, they do not all adhere to them.

Hindu Dharma Vs Sanatana Dharma

Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma are fundamentally unlike in that Sanatana Dharma is absolute and everlasting, whereas Hindu Dharma is not. Sanatana Dharma includes Hindu Dharma. Several centuries ago, people from Persia invented the term "Hindu." The Sanatana Dharma predates Indian history and has no founder who was a prophet. Hindu Dharma is a phrase that has been used to refer to Indian people's religion since the 19th century. Hindus collectively refer to all Sikhism, Jainism, Vaishnava, Shaiba, and other related religions and refer to people who resided below the Sindhu River. More than 1.15 billion Hindus live on the Indian subcontinent. After Buddhism and Christians, it is the religion with the most adherents.

The Vedas are the source of the phrase "Sanatana Dharma," according to Lord Brahma. Every living thing is expected to obey it as commanded by the solitary authority, which is how it is done. Sanatana Dharma's guiding principle is to serve others without expecting anything in return. In addition, Sanatana Dharma prescribes several obligations, such as self-control, integrity, purity, and restraint.

Difference Between Hindu Dharma And Sanatana Dharma in Tabular Form

Parameter Of Comparison Hindu Dharma Sanatana Dharma
Heritage Indian residents are referred to collectively as Hindu Dharna. Sanatana Dharma has its roots in the Vedas, although a contemporary practitioner did not find it.
Managed By Hindu Dharma manages operations under several gods and goddesses with diverse titles. Sanatana Dharma does not have a specific prophet, and anybody can practice it, not just Indians or Hindus.
Believers Hindu Dharma is practiced by Jain, Sikh, Vaishnav, and Pandits. Everyone who upholds natural law automatically becomes a disciple of Sanatana Dharma, which has no particular follower group.
Sacred Space Hindu dharma worship is often conducted at temples. Temples or other places of worship are not necessary, according to Sanatana Dharma.
Theistic Atheism is the foundation of Hindu Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is a non-theistic religion with a focus solely on good acts.
Festivals The Hindu Dharma is replete with festivities and festivals throughout the years, and There is no such idea in Sanatana Dharma.
Representatives Hindu Dharma is led by business-minded Sadhus, gurus, or babas, Sanatana Dharma is led by Acharyas and Shastra.
System Hinduism has a caste structure that is in opposition to its core principles. The Varna-Ashram system is used in Sanatana Dharma.

What Is Hindu Dharma?

Ancient texts like the Vedas and Puranas mention the name "Hindu." The Persians first used the term to refer to those who resided near the Sindhu River. Hindus are essentially those who reside in a particular geographic area, such as Indians who live close to the Sindhu River. The region was known as Aryavarata before the Persians gave Indians the name Hindu. Greeks used the word Indu rather than Hindu to describe people living in this region when Greek conqueror Alexander the Great invaded it. Later, this "Indu" became India, and the inhabitants were known as Indians. Jazia, a discriminatory levy imposed on all non-Muslims during the time that Muslim rulers of India were in power, led to the categorization of all non-Muslim residents of India as a distinct religious and cultural group known as Hindus. Later in the 19th century, the term "Hindu" came to be understood to refer to the Hindu religion that dominated India's populace and the Sanatana Dharma. Indian Muslims and Christians are still referred to as Hindu-Muslims and Hindu-Christians, respectively, in many nations today.

The Vedas and Puranas contain the fundamental teachings of Hinduism. These writings include a compendium of Rishis' discoveries of spiritual principles. These unbreakable principles govern the spiritual realm. As time passed, it developed into a multifaceted tradition that included a variety of closely connected beliefs and customs. The fundamental tenet of Hinduism is that one's actions, or Karma, determine how their life will unfold in the present and the future.

Hinduism is a mystic religion that instructs followers on how to discover the truth inside through Karma (activity), Bhakti (devotion), and Gyana (knowledge), as well as how to achieve oneness with God in death. As it is usually understood, Hinduism is a combination of several traditions and beliefs, including Vaishnavism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Shaiba. Hindu dharma is a set of rituals, festivals, and stringent rules still observed by about 1.15 billion people across the Indian subcontinent and many other regions of Asia. After Buddhism and Christianity, it is the third most popular religion worldwide. Today, Hinduism is a political force and an integral part of India's identity.

Doctrine Of Hinduism

The Veda ("Knowledge"), the earliest source of Hindu religious speech, serves as the foundation for the first of Hinduism's five strands: doctrine. This extensive literary heritage was primarily structured by members of the educated Brahman elite throughout the ages. Several recognizable tensions may be seen here. One is about how the divine and the world are related. The discrepancy between the world-preserving aim of dharma and that of moksha is another source of conflict (release from an inherently imperfect world). A third conflict arises between an individual's profound attachments to their family, society, and the deities connected with these conceptions and their destiny as it is determined by their Karma (the impact of their past, present, and future lifetimes).

Devoted Hinduism

A fifth thread, bhakti, which means "sharing" or "devotion," contributes to the coherence of the Hindu experience across time. It is a vast tradition of a loving God that is mainly connected to the words and lives of local poet-saints in India. These inspirational personalities, who represent both genders and all socioeconomic groups, are the subject of devotional poetry that has developed a library of imagery and moods that can be accessed in various languages. In south India's Tamil language, bhakti verses originally arose before spreading north into other areas with other languages. From one language or century to the next, certain poetry might be startlingly identical without any indication that Sanskrit, a pan-Indian language that is an upper-caste language, served as a medium.

Individual motifs frequently have significant familial resemblances in the lives of bhakti poet-saints. Bhakti offers a common challenge to all facets of Hindu life because of its prior conviction that religious faith is more important than strictures of practice or philosophy. In addition, it adds to a shared Hindu tradition—even a shared legacy of dissent. However, certain forms of bhakti are far more aggressive than others when they criticize caste, idolatry, and those who keep vows, go on pilgrimages or engage in self-mortification.

What Is Sanatana Dharma ?

Sanatana-dharma is mentioned in the Veda, the earliest work of literature ever written, thousands of years before the terms Hindu and Hinduism were coined. The responsibilities listed above can be divided into Varnashrama-dharma and Sanatana-dharma. Varnashrama-dharma outlines the social and economic obligations of individuals. Sanatana-dharma entails obligations, most of which are spiritual.

Since it is an expression of the Atman or spirit, it is universal. Therefore, objectively defining Sanatana-dharma is exceedingly challenging. The focus, however, is on the everlasting or innate tendency of people to serve others as God desires without asking anything in return. This is universal, beyond life and death, and has nothing to do with one's belief system, according to Rishis. This is universal, beyond life and death, and has nothing to do with one's belief system, according to Rishis. It outlines the everlasting obligations that all people must uphold regardless of their place of birth. These obligations include being truthful, pure, non-violent, and self-restraint.

Because it is not polytheistic like Hinduism, which has many Gods to worship, it has a large following worldwide. Numerous qualities, including charity, purity, benevolence, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-control, and asceticism, are abundant in Sanatana Dharma. It is a euphemism meaning unchanging and absolute. Sanatana Dharma has numerous unusual doctrines, like the notions that the Soul is superior to the body and that it must work for alleviation. It is well represented with a serene way of living. According to Sanatana Dharma, every creation of God has a duty to serve others with a pure heart. It is ageless because it teaches us to live in the present and build a better tomorrow.

Purpose Of  Sanatana Dharma

According to Sanatana Dharmi, the goal of life is to serve others without expecting anything in return. It is a global law that Rishis created from the Vedas thousands of years ago. According to natural law based on Sanatan Dharma, each person has a responsibility to uphold from birth.

21 lessons to be learned from Sanatan Dharma Principles

  1. Every action has a reason. Causes are neutral; we categorize them as positive or negative.
  2. Every action has an effect. There are both good and bad consequences.
  3. In the web of life, neither a single cause nor a single effect exists. This makes life difficult to forecast.
  4. Diverse causes and effects lead to a variety.
  5. Hierarchy breeds diversity, which produces inequity.
  6. Everyone enjoys hierarchy because it makes them feel unique and individual.
  7. When hierarchy weighs on us, we perceive it as a problem that has to be fixed. In other words, we talk about justice and equality while attempting to demolish them.
  8. Our ego constructs the concepts of victim, villain, and hero. If we are the recipients of hierarchy, we are worthy contenders for our fortune and heroes. If not, we are the ones who suffer, and the villain benefits.
  9. Our anxieties are a result of our ego. It gives us the impression that nature should treat us differently from other living things because we matter. It provides the belief that we can make a difference on our own.
  10. Since it is difficult to consider every influencer when we change the world and attempt to solve issues, we create new ones.
  11. There are never any guarantees in life, no matter what we do.
  12. The past predates us, and the future will bring more history.
  13. Nothing lasts forever. Things come together to disintegrate.
  14. Communities do not change; people do.
  15. Diversity is not productive. We, therefore, crave uniformity, homogeneity, and equality.
  16. We protect what we consider to be ours.
  17. Just like the concepts of debt and fair trade, possessive pronouns like mine, yours, his, her, and ours are human creations.
  18. Justice assumes that history will end when the books are in order. However, in rebirth cultures, this never occurs.
  19. Rebirth is a code used to explain life's unpredictability and the world's diversity.
  20. Karma forces you to embrace the present and make a decision, though the result is uncertain.
  21. There are bad times and good moments. You can sometimes be on top of the wheel, and other times you can get crushed. Never-ending.

Main Differences Between Hindu Dharma And Sanatana Dharma in Points

  • While Sanatana Dharma lacks the notion of festivals, the Hindu Dharma is full of celebrations throughout the year.
  • Hindu Dharma is led by the Sadhus, gurus, or babas, whereas Acharyas and Shastra teach Sanatana Dharma.
  • Hinduism has a caste system, which is in opposition to its core principles. The Varna-Ashram system is used in Sanatana Dharma.
  • Hindu Dharma has four main goals: Dharma, Arth, Kama, and Moksha. Sanatana Dharma's primary goal is to spread the way of life.
  • Sanatana Dharma's source is prehistoric, but Hindu Dharma's origins are in the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Atheism is the foundation of Hindu Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is a non-theistic religion with a focus solely on good acts.
  • Hindu dharma worship is often conducted at temples. But, at the same time, Temples or other places of worship are not necessary according to Sanatana Dharma.
  • Hindu Dharma is active under several different gods and goddesses with diverse titles. On the other hand, Sanatana Dharma does not have a specific prophet, and anybody can practice it, not just Indians or Hindus.


People worldwide practice Sanatana Dharma since it doesn't call for worshiping any specific idol or image. The path of Sanatana Dharma is to serve others selflessly. Sanatana Dharma is older than Hindu Dharma. Sanatana Dharma, in contrast to Hindu Dharma, is a relatively simple religion that emphasizes acts of kindness. Hindu Dharma adherents of Indian descent are grouped into several sub-religions, including the Sikh, Jain, Vaishya, and Brahmans. Sanatana Dharma is also the third most popular religion in the world. According to Sanatana Dharma, some obligations for living things exist from birth.


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"Difference Between Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 05 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-hindu-dharma-and-sanatana-dharma-706>.

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