Transliteration of Devanagari
Transliteration of Classical Greek
Our New Transliteration Standard
At the time of this writing, we have not yet seen any completely satisfactory, or
even acceptable, method of simulating standard, printed Roman transliteration
of Devanagari with HTML-based internet browsers such as Netscape and Internet Explorer.
The two most popular metodsthe "alternating small/CAPS" system ("kRSNa", "rAm")
and the "periods in-between letters" system ("kr.s.n.a", "raam")are both too
clumsy and unrefined for our taste.
And even though some versions of the most popular web-browsers may soon use Unicode, we are
not willing to accept that standard right now. First of all because
we feel that there is a huge number of persons that, for many years, will continue using
older browsers; and secondly, because the new technology is not yet really proven.
In order to serve our well-versed Sanskrit readers better, we therefore found it
necessary to develop a new system of how to simulate, as closely as possible,
modern, printed transliteration of Devanagari. By using the capability of standard
HTML to underline text, as well as using a certain subset of special characters
that all HTML browsers can display, we have been able to define a better, more
consistent transliteration typography than in any of the two above mentioned methods
(see Table 1, below).
Our system is better for two reasons. First, because it does not add any extra
characters to simulate the original transliteration characters. For example, Devanagari's
long a is transliterated in modern printed works as an "a" with a horizontal line above it.
But in the "periods in-between letters" system this sound is represented with the
characters "aa", thus adding another "a" to denote that the sound should be long instead of
short. In our solution, however, we avoid adding extra characters, and
instead use an "a" with a circumflex, an "â". This is not only closer to modern standards,
but is also how older transliterations of Sanskrit material sometimes were done.
Another reason why our solution is better is that we are consistently using small
letters for transliteration. Thus, instead of the curious "kRSNa"
(as in the "alternating small/CAPS" system), we use "krsna". This is
much closer to how modern transliterations are done, and also typographically
With our new transliteration standard, verse 66 in Chapter 18 of
will be rendered as:
mâm ekam šaranam vraja
aham tvâm sarva-pâpebhyo
moksayisyâmi mâ šucah
HOW WE TRANSLITERATE DEVANAGARI
||as in cup
||twice as long as in car
||as in sin
||twice as long as in pique
||as in bush
||twice as long as in rule
|Letter Vocalic R
||as in river
|Letter Vocalic RR
||twice as long as in reel
|Letter Vocalic L
||as in they
||as in aisle
||as in no
||as in cow
|Letter KA + virama
||as in kane
|Letter KHA + virama
||as in ink-horn
|Letter GA + virama
||as in get
|Letter GHA + virama
||as in loghouse
|Letter NGA + virama
||as in bring
|Letter CA + virama
||as in chair
|Letter CHA + virama
||as in staunch-heart
|Letter JA + virama
||as in jam
|Letter JHA + virama
||as in hedgehog
|Letter NYA + virama
||as in canyon
|Letter TTA + virama
||as in stop
|Letter TTHA + virama
||as in boathouse
|Letter DDA + virama
||as in bird
|Letter DDHA + virama
||as in cardhouse
|Letter NNA + virama
||as in long
|Letter TA + virama
||as in tame
|Letter THA + virama
||as in pot-house
|Letter DA + virama
||as in desk
|Letter DHA + virama
||as in madhouse
|Letter NA + virama
||as in no
|Letter PA + virama
||as in sp>in
|Letter PHA + virama
||as in topheavy
|Letter BA + virama
||as in bind
|Letter BHA + virama
||as in rub-hard
|Letter MA + virama
||as in man
|Letter YA + virama
||as in yes
|Letter RA + virama
||as in rain
|Letter LA + virama
||as in lion
|Letter VA + virama
||as in voice
|Letter SHA + virama
||as in session
|Letter SSA + virama
||as in shine
|Letter SA + virama
||as in son
|Letter HA + virama
||as in house
||as in French bon
final h-sound, with a slight echo of the preceding vowel;
i.e. râmah is pronounced as "raamaha"
Table 1. Eyes of Scripture's new Roman transliteration method
"Abandon all varities of religion and just surrender
unto Me [Krsna]. I shall deliver you from all
sinful reactions. Do not fear."
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupâda 1994, p. 850.
These letters are not mentioned in Unicode's tables.
Our nomenclature, however, seems to be consistent with how they have constructed
the other names. See http://www.unicode.org for more details.
The sounds of these letters do not exist in the English language;
to pronounce them correctly, place the tip of your tounge against
the roof of your mouth, instead of against your teeth.
Aklujkar, Ashok (1992) Sanskrit: An Easy Introduction to an
Richmond, B.C.: Svadhyaya Publications.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupâda, A. C. (1994) Bhagavad-gîtâ As It Is,
Complete Edition, Revised and Enlarged.
Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Macdonell, Arthur A. (1927) A Sanskrit Grammar for Students.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wilson, H. H. (1847) An Introduction to the Grammar of the
Sanskrit Language for the Use of Early Students.
London: J. Madden and Co.
(about the author)
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