Understanding Buddhist Sanskrit Terms

Appendix 1: Combining Letters in Devanagari

After you have the list of vowels and the list of consonants you can combine them to form consonant-vowel combinations. It can take some time to get used to these if you have not seen them before. Table A1 below shows all the combinations of consonants decorated with diacritics for vowels.

Table A1: Consonants + vowel combinations
Consonant (IAST) With Vowel Diacritic (IAST)
प (pa) पा (pā), पि (pi), पी (pī), पु (pu), पू (pū), पृ (pṛ), पॄ (pṝ), पॢ (pḷ), पॣ (pḹ), पे (pe), पै (pai), पो (po), पौ (pau)
ब (ba) बा (bā), बि (bi), बी (bī), बु (bu), बू (bū), बृ (bṛ), बॄ (bṝ), बॢ (bḷ), बॣ (bḹ), बे (be), बै (bai), बो (bo), बौ (bau)
फ (pha) फा (phā), फि (phi), फी (phī), फु (phu), फू (phū), फृ (phṛ), फॄ (phṝ), फॢ (phḷ), फॣ (phḹ), फे (phe), फै (phai), फो (pho), फौ (phau)
भ (bha) भा (bhā), भि (bhi), भी (bhī), भु (bhu), भू (bhū), भृ (bhṛ), भॄ (bhṝ), भॢ (bhḷ), भॣ (bhḹ), भे (bhe), भै (bhai), भो (bho), भौ (bhau)
त (ta) ता (tā), ति (ti), ती (tī), तु (tu), तू (tū), तृ (tṛ), तॄ (tṝ), तॢ (tḷ), तॣ (tḹ), ते (te), तै (tai), तो (to), तौ (tau)
ड (ḍa) ढा (ḍā), ढि (ḍi), ढी (ḍī), ढु (ḍu), ढू (ḍū), ढृ (ḍṛ), ढॄ (ḍṝ), ढॢ (ḍḷ), ढॣ (ḍḹ), ढे (ḍe), ढै (ḍai), ढो (ḍo), ढौ (ḍau)
थ (tha) था (thā), थि (thi), थी (thī), थु (thu), थू (thū), थृ (thṛ), थॄ (thṝ), थॢ (thḷ), थॣ (thḹ), थे (the), थै (thai), थो (tho), थौ (thau)
ध (dha) धा (dhā), धि (dhi), धी (dhī), धु (dhu), धू (dhū), धृ (dhṛ), धॄ (dhṝ), धॢ (dhḷ), धॣ (dhḹ), धे (dhe), धै (dhai), धो (dho), धौ (dhau)
ट (ṭa) टा (ṭā), टि (ṭi), टी (ṭī), टु (ṭu), टू (ṭū), टृ (ṭṛ), टॄ (ṭṝ), टॢ (ṭḷ), टॣ (ṭḹ), टे (ṭe), टै (ṭai), टो (ṭo), टौ (ṭau)
द (da) दा (dā), दि (di), दी (dī), दु (du), दू (dū), दृ (dṛ), दॄ (dṝ), दॢ (dḷ), दॣ (dḹ), दे (de), दै (dai), दो (do), दौ (dau)
ठ (ṭha) ठा (ṭhā), ठि (ṭhi), ठी (ṭhī), ठु (ṭhu), ठू (ṭhū), ठृ (ṭhṛ), ठॄ (ṭhṝ), ठॢ (ṭhḷ), ठॣ (ṭhḹ), ठे (ṭhe), ठै (ṭhai), ठो (ṭho), ठौ (ṭhau)
ढ (ḍha) डा (ḍhā), डि (ḍhi), डी (ḍhī), डु (ḍhu), डू (ḍhū), डृ (ḍhṛ), डॄ (ḍhṝ), डॢ (ḍhḷ), डॣ (ḍhḹ), डे (ḍhe), डै (ḍhai), डो (ḍho), डौ (ḍhau)
च (ca) चा (cā), चि (ci), ची (cī), चु (cu), चू (cū), चृ (cṛ), चॄ (cṝ), चॢ (cḷ), चॣ (cḹ), चे (ce), चै (cai), चो (co), चौ (cau)
ज (ja) जा (jā), जि (ji), जी (jī), जु (ju), जू (jū), जृ (jṛ), जॄ (jṝ), जॢ (jḷ), जॣ (jḹ), जे (je), जै (jai), जो (jo), जौ (jau)
छ (cha) छा (chā), छि (chi), छी (chī), छु (chu), छू (chū), छृ (chṛ), छॄ (chṝ), छॢ (chḷ), छॣ (chḹ), छे (che), छै (chai), छो (cho), छौ (chau)
झ (jha) झा (jhā), झि (jhi), झी (jhī), झु (jhu), झू (jhū), झृ (jhṛ), झॄ (jhṝ), झॢ (jhḷ), झॣ (jhḹ), झे (jhe), झै (jhai), झो (jho), झौ (jhau)
क (ka) का (kā), कि (ki), की (kī), कु (ku), कू (kū), कृ (kṛ), कॄ (kṝ), कॢ (kḷ), कॣ (kḹ), के (ke), कै (kai), को (ko), कौ (kau)
ग (ga) गा (gā), गि (gi), गी (gī), गु (gu), गू (gū), गृ (gṛ), गॄ (gṝ), गॢ (gḷ), गॣ (gḹ), गे (ge), गै (gai), गो (go), गौ (gau)
ख (kha) खा (khā), खि (khi), खी (khī), खु (khu), खू (khū), खृ (khṛ), खॄ (khṝ), खॢ (khḷ), खॣ (khḹ), खे (khe), खै (khai), खो (kho), खौ (khau)
घ (gha) घा (ghā), घि (ghi), घी (ghī), घु (ghu), घू (ghū), घृ (ghṛ), घॄ (ghṝ), घॢ (ghḷ), घॣ (ghḹ), घे (ghe), घै (ghai), घो (gho), घौ (ghau)
म (ma) मा (mā), मि (mi), मी (mī), मु (mu), मू (mū), मृ (mṛ), मॄ (mṝ), मॢ (mḷ), मॣ (mḹ), मे (me), मै (mai), मो (mo), मौ (mau)
न (na) ना (nā), नि (ni), नी (nī), नु (nu), नू (nū), नृ (nṛ), नॄ (nṝ), नॢ (nḷ), नॣ (nḹ), ने (ne), नै (nai), नो (no), नौ (nau)
ण (ṇa) णा (ṇā), णि (ṇi), णी (ṇī), णु (ṇu), णू (ṇū), णृ (ṇṛ), णॄ (ṇṝ), णॢ (ṇḷ), णॣ (ṇḹ), णे (ṇe), णै (ṇai), णो (ṇo), णौ (ṇau)
ञ (ña) ञा (ñā), ञि (ñi), ञी (ñī), ञु (ñu), ञू (ñū), ञृ (ñṛ), ञॄ (ñṝ), ञॢ (ñḷ), ञॣ (ñḹ), ञे (ñe), ञै (ñai), ञो (ño), ञौ (ñau)
ङ (ṅa) ङा (ṅā), ङि (ṅi), ङी (ṅī), ङु (ṅu), ङू (ṅū), ङृ (ṅṛ), ङॄ (ṅṝ), ङॢ (ṅḷ), ङॣ (ṅḹ), ङे (ṅe), ङै (ṅai), ङो (ṅo), ङौ (ṅau)
व (va) वा (vā), वि (vi), वी (vī), वु (vu), वू (vū), वृ (vṛ), वॄ (vṝ), वॢ (vḷ), वॣ (vḹ), वे (ve), वै (vai), वो (vo), वौ (vau)
य (ya) या (yā), यि (yi), यी (yī), यु (yu), यू (yū), यृ (yṛ), यॄ (yṝ), यॢ (yḷ), यॣ (yḹ), ये (ye), यै (yai), यो (yo), यौ (yau)
र (ra) रा (rā), रि (ri), री (rī), रु (ru), रू (rū), रृ (rṛ), रॄ (rṝ), रॢ (rḷ), रॣ (rḹ), रे (re), रै (rai), रो (ro), रौ (rau)
ल (la) ला (lā), लि (li), ली (lī), लु (lu), लू (lū), लृ (lṛ), लॄ (lṝ), लॢ (lḷ), लॣ (lḹ), ले (le), लै (lai), लो (lo), लौ (lau)
स (sa) सा (sā), सि (si), सी (sī), सु (su), सू (sū), सृ (sṛ), सॄ (sṝ), सॢ (sḷ), सॣ (sḹ), से (se), सै (sai), सो (so), सो (sau)
ष (ṣa) षा (ṣā), षि (ṣi), षी (ṣī), षु (ṣu), षू (ṣū), षृ (ṣṛ), षॄ (ṣṝ), षॢ (ṣḷ), षॣ (ṣḹ), षे (ṣe), षै (ṣai), षो (ṣo), षौ (ṣau)
श (śa) शा (śā), शि (śi), शी (śī), शु (śu), शू (śū), शृ (śṛ), शॄ (śṝ), शॢ (śḷ), शॣ (śḹ), शे (śe), शै (śai), शो (śo), शौ (śau)
ह (ha) हा (hā), हि (hi), ही (hī), हु (hu), हू (hū), हृ (hṛ), हॄ (hṝ), हॢ (hḷ), हॣ (hḹ), हे (he), है (hai), हो (ho), हौ (hau)

Certain rules that modify the writing of combinations of consonants in Sanskrit. For example, the word pañca (English: five) combines the letters प (pa), ञ (ña), and च (ca). The a in ञ (ña) is not pronounced. To express this the vertical line in ञ (ña) is omitted so that pañca is written in Devanagari as पञ्च. Other examples of consonant combinations that can be combined by removing a vertical bar shown in Table A2.

Table A2: Consonant clusters with a vertical bar removed
IAST Consonants combined Written as
bhya भ (bha) + य (ya) भ्य
gga ग (ga) + ग (ga) ग्ग
ggha ग (ga) + घ (gha) ग्घ
ghya घ (gha) + य (ya) घ्य
ñca ञ (ña) + च (ca) ञ्च
nma न (na) + म (ma) न्म
nta न (na) + त (ta) न्त
sya स (sa) + य (ya) स्य
ṣta ष (ṣa) + त (ta) ष्त
ṣṭa ष (ṣa) + ट (ṭa) ष्ट
ṣya ष (ṣa) + य (ya) ष्य
tma त (ta) + म (ma) त्म
tsa त (ta) + स (sa) त्स
tsya त (ta) + स (sa) + य (ya) त्स्य
tva त (ta) + व (va) त्व
tya त (ta) + य (ya) त्य

A second way of joining consonants occurs with vertical stacking. For example, the word aṅgaṃ (English: limb), which combines the letters अ (a), ङ (ṅa), and ग (ga) ending with the Anusvāra (nasalization) diacritic ṃ. The letter ङ (ṅa) does not have a vertical bar to remove so it is combined with the letter ग (ga). The leads to writing the word aṅgaṃ as अङ्गं. Other cases where this same method is applied are when the following consonant does not provide a convenient point to anchor from or the vertical bar cannot easily be detached. Examples are shown below.

Table A3: Consonant clusters with vertical stacking
IAST Consonants combined Written as
dda द (da) + द (da) द्द
ddha द (da) + ध (dha) द्ध
dva द (da) + व (va) द्व
hla ह (ha) + ल (la) ह्ल
ṅga ङ (ṅa) + ग (ga) ङ्ग
ñca ञ (ña) + च (ca) ञ्च
ṣṭa ष (ṣa) + ट (ṭa) ष्ट
ṭṭha ट (ṭa) + ठ (ṭha) ट्ठ

Combinations with र (ra) as the first consonant are written with a curly diacritic above the second consonant or as far to the right as possible. Take note of the form when the following vowel is an o, as in rgo र्गो. This is shown in Table A4.

Table A4: Consonant clusters with initial r
IAST Consonants combined Written as
rga र (ra) + ग (ga) र्ग
rgo र (ra) + गो (go) र्गो
rka र (ra) + क (ka) र्क
rpa र (ra) + प (pa) र्प
rta र (ra) + त (ta) र्त
rmya र (ra) + म (ma) + य (ya) र्म्य
rya र (ra) + य (ya) र्य

In combinations where र (ra) as the second consonant a short horizontal line is used. Examples are shown in Table A5.

Table A5: Consonant clusters with final r
IAST Consonants combined Written as
bra ब (ba) + र (ra) ब्र
dra द(da) + र (ra) द्र
gna ग (ga) + न (na) ग्न
gra ग (ga) + र (ra) ग्र
mra म (ma) + र (ra) म्र
pra प (pa) + र (ra) प्र
sra स (sa) + र (ra) स्र

There are some other exceptions for combinations of त (ta) and क (ka) that do not fit into the categories above. These are shown in Table A6.

Table A5: Consonant clusters with exceptions
IAST Consonants combined Written as
ddhya द (da) + ध (dha) + य (ya) द्ध्य
dma द (da) + म (ma) द्म
dya द (da) + य (ya) द्य
jña ज (ja) + ञ (ña) ज्ञ
hma ह (ha) + म (ma) ह्म
hna ह (ha) + न (na) ह्न
hva ह (ha) + व (va) ह्व
kra क (ka) + र (ra) क्र
kṣa क (ka) + ष (ṣa) क्ष
kta क (ka) + त (ta) क्त
śva श (śa) + व (va) श्व
tra त (ta) + र (ra) त्र
tta त (ta) + त (ta) त्त


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