Pronunciation of Brahma

Miroslav Rozehnal m63051 at
Wed Apr 23 08:40:33 UTC 1997

On Tue, 22 Apr 1997, Martin Gansten wrote:

> >I would very much appreciate your advice on how the word 
> >Brahma is to be pronounced.  Is it pronounced as Bramma 
> >(with no h sound), Bramha (with the h coming after the m), 
> >or is it pronounced as Brahma (with the m coming after the h)?  
> >The way it is written in Sanskrit and in English is with the m 
> >coming after the h.  However, in many vedic chanting recordings 
> >and in recordings of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, I notice that people 
> >are pronouncing the word with the h coming after the m, or as 
> >Bramma.  
> With the recent discussion among our Sanskrit scholars concerning what
> constitutes "correct" Sanskrit, etc, I thought it might be interesting to
> hear what pronunciation(s) you all feel would be permissible. Here in
> Sweden, I often hear the -h- pronounced more or less like a German Ach-Laut,
> which to my ears at least is an abomination (not in itself! -- only in
> Sanskrit words). But I suspect some would frown at my own pronunciation as
> well‚ as it tends towards the "bramha" variety so often heard among panditas.
> Any comments?

It seems to be a "prakrtization" of Sanskrit - in Pali for example almost 
all Sanskrit "hm"s are pronounced (and written) "mh".
In Sri Lanka I met one monk who claimed that this change is regular for 
pali and words "Bramha" and "" are regular for Pali.


Miroslav Rozehnal
Mandarin Training Center
National Taiwan Normal University
Taiwan, R.O.C.
E-mail: m63051 at

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