Hindu Dharma vs Sanatana Dharma: Difference and Comparison

Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma are not synonyms of each other both have their history from their inception. In a few instances, People use this terminology interchangeably.

There distinguish concepts are listed below to clarify the differences between them. They have some common beliefs which are not followed unitedly. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Hindu Dharma is the religion followed by Hindus, while Sanatana Dharma represents the eternal cosmic order and natural laws.
  2. Sanatana Dharma predates Hindu Dharma, encompassing a wider range of spiritual and philosophical beliefs.
  3. Hindu Dharma is more ritualistic and structured, whereas Sanatana Dharma promotes individual spiritual paths and experiences.

Hindu Dharma vs Sanatana Dharma

Sanatana Dharma is a Sanskrit term meaning “eternal truth” or “eternal law.” It is an ancient concept referring to the fundamental principles and practices guiding the Hindu way. Hindu Dharma is a more specific term that refers to Hinduism‘s religious practices and traditions. Hindu Dharma is rooted in the principles of Sanatana Dharma and incorporates a diverse range of beliefs. 

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The term Hindu Dharma has established during the 19th century to describe the religion of Indian People.

Hindu means people who lived behind the Sindhu River; the term is collectively used for Sikhism, Jainism, Vaishnava, Shaiba, etc.

In the Indian subcontinent, more than 1.15 billion people follow Hindu Dharma. It is one of the largest practised religions after Christianity and Buddhism.

The term Sanatana Dharma emanated from the Vedas as corresponded by Lord Brahma. It is practised as the duty to be followed by every living creature as directed by sole power.

The motto of Sanatana Dharma is to do the service of people selflessly- without expecting anything in return. Duties guided by Sanatana Dharma’s are Self-Discipline, Honesty, Purity, Non-Restraint, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHindu DharmaSanatana Dharma
OriginHindu Dharna is a combined terminology used to denote people living in India.Sanatana Dharma has no particular prophet; every human can follow this religion not Indian or Hindu only.
Managed ByHindu Dharma is operational under various gods and goddesses with different names.Jain, Sikh, Vaishnav, and Pandits are the followers of Hindu Dharma.
FollowersSanatana Dharma has no specific follower group; everyone who follows the natural law becomes a follower.Usually, the Worship of Hindu dharma is performed at temples.
Worship PlaceSanatana Dharma is non-theistic, with a motto of good deeds only.Sanatana Dharma doesn’t require Temple or any other worship place.
TheisticHindu Dharma is based on an atheistic approach.Sanatana Dharma is non-theistic with a motto of good deeds only.

What is Hindu Dharma?

The Hindu Dharma is the most prominent religion followed in India. It was established during the 19th century when European people segregated Indians for their political benefits.

People who believe in Hindu Dharma have a significant attitude of accepting everything wholeheartedly.

Every human is responsible for facing the consequences of their deeds, irrespective of the fact” Good or Bad”.

Vedas and Puranas are the teaching source of Hindu Dharma, and their sub-religion has its holy books for life lessons. They are created to make the right decision in life by choosing the right path.

It spreads love and harmony among all by protecting the Dharma.

The path followed in passing over the teaching to the next generation by the Guru-Shishya tradition.

This Dharma has been practised since Vedic times, and earlier, it was called Vedic Dharma which has its roots in the Sanatana Dharma.

The teachings of Hindu Dharma are based upon God and Goddess.

Celebration of Multiple festivals to remember the Lord more intensely is practised in Hindu Dharma.

The birthplace of Hindu Dharma is India, as the mass believers of Hindu Dharma are in the Indian sub-continent. Worship of numerous gods is performed in Hindu Dharma.

hindu dharma

What is Sanatana Dharma?

Sanatana Dharma is the oldest religion and the foundation of Dharma for multiple faiths. It intensely believes that good deeds are to be performed by every living creature on earth.

It carries a single goal to be united in every situation without harming anyone. Sanatana Dharma has no specific roots as it grows its references from the Vedas.

It has many followers globally since it is not polytheistic like Hinduism for worshipping numerous Gods.

Sanatana Dharma is flooded with many virtues, generosity, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, and asceticism.

It is a synonym for eternal and absolute.

There are some unique teachings of Sanatana Dharma that the Soul is superior to the body; Soul must strive for relief. It is wholly captured with a way to live life peacefully.

As per Sanatana Dharma, every creation of God is responsible for serving others with a pure heart.  It is timeless as it teaches us to make a better future while living in the present. 

The purpose of life is to serve someone wholeheartedly but never expect anything in return, as taught by Sanatana Dharma. It is universal law invented by Rishi’s thousand years ago from the Vedas.

Natural law under Sananatan dharma says one should represent his responsibilities since birth.


Main Differences Between Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma

  1. Festivals: The Hindu Dharma is full of festivals and celebrations across the years, and no such concept in Sanatana Dharma.
  2. Leaders: Hindu Dharma has entrepreneurial Sadhus, gurus, or babas as a leader, whereas Sanatana Dharma has Acharyas and Shastra as a leader.
  3. System: Hindu Dharma has a caste system, which is anti-thesis. Sanatana Dharma has a Varna-Ashram system.
  4. Objective: Dharma, Arth, Kama, and Moksha are the four objectives of Hindu Dharma, and Sanatana Dharma’s objective is to teach the way of life.
  5. Source: Hindu Dharma has its sources from the Indus Valley Civilization. On the other hand Source of Sanatana Dharma is Pre-historic.
Difference Between Hindu Dharma and Sanatana Dharma
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3773407
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10781-004-8640-7

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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