Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hinduism A to Z

A is for Aum, the three-syllabled mantra that represents the Sacred Mystery in sound and vibration.
B is for bhakti, deep devotion and love for the Divine which softens even hearts of stone.
C is for culture, the beauty of Hindu music, fine arts, drama, dance, literature and architecture.
D is for dharma, which is righteousness, cosmic order and duty, leading us on the right path.
E is for Earth, our lovely blue planet, which we treat as sacred, protecting all its wonderful creatures.
F is for family, the precious cornerstone of Hindu life, culture, service and tradition.
G is for guru, our enlightened master who, knowing Truth himself, can guide us there.
H is for hatha yoga, healthful physical science for vitality, energy-balancing and meditation.
I is for India, Bharata, Mother- land to one-sixth of humanity, holy land for Hindus everywhere.
J is for japa, repetitive, prayerful mantras which quiet emotion and empower the mind.
K is for karma, the law of cause and effect by which we determine our experience and destiny.
L is for lotus, the heart's inner shrine, where God dwells, ever serene, ever perfect.
M is for mauna, not talking, the inner silence known when words, thoughts and actions are stilled.
N is for nonattachment, the art of living the simple life, without too many needs or desires.
O is for open-mindedness, the Hindu's tolerant freedom of thought, inquiry and belief.
P is for puja, mystic worship of the Divine in our home shrine and holy temples and places.
Q is for quest, seeking to know, "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?"
R is for reincarnation, our immortal soul's journey from birth to rebirth. We do not fear death.
S is for samskaras, sacraments sanctifying life's passages: name- giving, marriage, death and more.
T is for tilaka, forehead marks worn in honor of our unique and varied lineages.
U is for utsava, our many home and temple festivals, full of bhakti, fun, feasting and family sharing.
V is for Vedas, our oldest and holiest book, the word of God recorded in 100,000 Sanskrit verses.
W is for wealth (artha), one of life's four goals, along with love, dharma and enlightenment.
X is for xerophily, the ability of certain plants and animals to thrive in India's hot, arid plains.
Y is for yoga, union of the soul with God which brings release from worldly bondage.
Z is for zeal, the fervor with which we perform service, go on pilgrimage and greet our holy religious leaders.

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