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Re: Pronunciation of Brhama, Vahni, Jahnu, etc.

From: Krishna Kalale (
Date: Fri Apr 25 1997 - 15:09:54 PDT

At 09:50 PM 4/23/97 -0700, Mani Varadarajan wrote:
>No one has stepped forward to answer this question yet,
>so let me take a shot. I am no authority on Sanskrit phonetics,
>but I have always heard these words pronounced as "brum-ha",
>"van-hi", etc., with the "h" sound coming after the "m" sound.
>I recall reading elsewhere that originally these words may
>have been pronounced with the "h" sound coming first -- the
>old Greek transliterations of these words spell them as
>"braachmaNa", etc., implying that the "h" sound came *before*
>the "m". 
>Any Panini experts care to offer their opinion?
>P.S. I am happy Sri Krishnamachari did not hesitate to
>post this informal, everyday question to the list. We used
>to have many more of these in the early days of our activity.
>I hope no one is scared of posting their questions or thoughts,
>no matter how casual they may seem! Please, use this list for
>dialogue on any issues of faith and religious practice you
>are wondering about.

I also had this doubt also. I asked this question to many folks. there
seems to be a difference in the way the words brahma, vahni etc. are
written in sanskrit and how they are pronounced. As far as I know they are
pronounced as Bramha, Vanhi etc. I do know that even in vedic recitations,
these are the pronunciation.

I thought sanskrit was phonetic. even to day no one has answered me
properly why is this anomaly.

Krishna Kalale
619-658-5612 (phone)
619-658-2115 (fax)