A child asks his father questions about life. As is common, the father is perplexed, realizing that he does not have adequate answers. From such family needs, this catechism arose, and that includes this illustrated alphabet with its simple summary of Sanathan Dharma for the very young.



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.

E is for Earth, our lovely blue planet, which we treat as sacred, protecting all its wonderful creatures.

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.