Frequently Asked Questions

Hinduism

Why does Hinduism have so many Gods?


Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, Hindus all worship a one Supreme Being, though by different names. This is because the peoples of India with different languages and cultures have understood the one God in their own distinct way. Through history there arose four principal Hindu denominations—Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. For Saivites, God is Siva. For Shaktas, Goddess Shakti is supreme. For Vaishnavites, Lord Vishnu is God. For Smartas—who see all Deities as reflections of the One God—the choice of Deity is left to the devotee. This liberal Smarta perspective is well known, but it is not the prevailing Hindu view. Due to this diversity, Hindus are profoundly tolerant of other religions, respecting the fact that each has its own pathway to the one God.




Do Hindus believe in reincarnation?


Yes, Hindus believe the soul is immortal and takes birth time and time again. Through this process, we have experiences, learn lessons and evolve spiritually. Finally we graduate from physical birth.




What is karma?


Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect. Our actions, both good and bad, come back to us in the future, helping us to learn from life’s lessons and become better people.




Why do Hindus worship the cow?


The cow represents the giving nature of life to every Hindu. Honouring this gentle animal, who gives more than she takes, we honour all creatures. To the Hindu, the cow symbolizes all other creatures. The cow is a symbol of the Earth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. The cow represents life and the sustenance of life. The cow is so generous, taking nothing but water, grass and grain. It gives and gives and gives of its milk, as does the liberated soul give of his spiritual knowledge. The cow is so vital to life, the virtual sustainer of life, for many humans. The cow is a symbol of grace and abundance. Veneration of the cow instils in Hindus the virtues of gentleness, receptivity and connectedness with nature.




Are Hindus idol worshipers?


Hindus do not worship a stone or metal “idol” as God. We worship God through the image. We invoke the presence of God from the higher, unseen worlds, into the image so that we can commune with Him and receive His blessings. They are the form through which their love, power and blessings flood forth into this world.




Do Hindus have a Bible?


Our “Bible” is called the Veda. The Veda, which means “wisdom,” is comprised of four ancient and holy scriptures which all Hindus revere as the revealed word of God. Each of the four Vedas has four sections: Samhitas (hymn collections), Brahmanas (priestly manuals), Aran-yakas (forest treatises) and Upanishads (enlightened discourses). For untold centuries unto today, the Vedas have remained the sustaining force and authoritative doctrine, guiding followers in ways of worship, duty and enlightenment. The Vedas are the meditative and philosophical focus for millions of monks and a billion seekers. Their stanzas are chanted from memory by priests and laymen daily as liturgy in temple worship and domestic ritual. All Hindus wholeheartedly accept the Vedas, yet each draws selectively, interprets freely and amplifies abundantly. Over time, this tolerant allegiance has woven the varied tapestry of Indian Hindu Dharma.




Is Yoga a Hindu Practice?


Deeply rooted in Hindu scripture and belief, yoga is, and always was, a vital part of Hindu religion and culture. Today it is embraced by tens of millions of non-Hindus seeking its renowned benefits to physical, mental and spiritual health. B.K.S. Iyengar, a renowned yoga teacher, gives a more traditional definition on his website: “Yoga is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. The word yoga originates from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means ‘union.’ On the spiritual plane, it means union of the Individual Self with the Universal Self.”




How do Hindus view other religions?


Hindus honour all religious traditions and the people within them. While regarding our faith as uniquely endowed, we believe that there is no exclusive path, no one way for all. Hindus readily accept the idea that it is not necessary, desirable or even possible for everyone to hold the same beliefs. And certainly, such differences should never be cause for tension, criticism, intolerance or violence. An ancient Sanskrit verse summarises the Hindu attitude: “As the different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”




Why do Hindus cremate the dead?


Hindus arrange swift cremation of the dead, ideally within 24 hours. The fire and accompanying rites sever ties to earthly life and give momentum to the soul for its continuing spiritual journey. Hindus do not believe in bodily resurrection and the reuniting of each soul with its physical body, so they place no importance on preserving the corpse.




What is Hinduism?


Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with over a billion followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. The rest are spread over USA, UK and South East Asia. Because the religion has no specific founder, it’s difficult to trace its origins and history. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies.





Temple

What are the Temple Opening Hours?


Opening Hours are: Monday 17:30-19:30 Tuesday 17:30-19:30 Wedneday 17:30-19:30 Thursday 17:30-19:30 Friday 17:30-19:30 Saturday 17:30-19:30 Sunday 17:30-19:30




How can I help the Temple?


You can help in two ways. This can be either by time or donations. Donations help provide
financial support for the maintenance of the fabric of the Temple but your time is also
important. Please see our volunteering page.




How can I join the Temple management committee?


The way to join the committee is be co-opted on to Executive committee. This will help in
the learning process i.e. understanding how the committee works and where you could best
contribute. If you are happy to join then you need to apply formally and be elected to the
committee by the membership at an AGM. Visit our membership page here for information on how to join our comittee: https://www.readinghindutemple.co.uk/constitutiongovernance





Hall Hire

Hall Availability


Please send us a completed enquiry form with your requirements and we will review and get back to you. Access the form here.




Temple Food Policy


All food brought into temple for consumption at any event is strictly vegetarian. The Temple kitchen facilities are currently not available. All leftover food must be fully cleared in disposable bags and taken away from the Temple.




Havans


The Reading Hindu Temple’s building insurance policy specifically prohibits open fires or Havans in the Temple premises. There will be no exceptions to this policy.




Deposits


For any Hall Hire a refundable deposit will be collected before the hire. This deposit will be used to cover the cost of any rectification work required to cover any damage or cost of clearing the hall. This deposit will only be returned in full after a satisfactory check has been carried out.




Temple Halls Floor Plan


The floor plan for the Main Hall and Dining / Function Hall is below. The plan shows the Fire Exits and location of the Fire Extinguisher. The rear Dining and Function Hall has a capacity of up to 70 people. Tables and chairs can be provided for any event. The Main Hall at the front of the building can cater for up to 250 people. This Hall has a stage. Tables and chairs can be provided. Access the Floor Plans here.




Music


The Temple does not provide does not provide a music or pa system. The Hirers should bring their own should they require one for the event.





Forms

Gift Aid Declaration Form


This should be completed for all donors who are UK taxpayers. This allows the Temple to claim Gift Aid from the Government. The value of this gift can increase the value of your donation by up to 20%. Access the form here.




Standing Order Mandate


For donors who wish to pay a regular amount directly from their bank account should complete this form and send it to the Temple. If you have an online access to your bank account you can also instruct your bank via this method. Our bank account details are on the Standing Order Mandate form. Access the form here.




Membership Application Form


The types of membership available and the procedure for becoming a member of The Reading Hindu Temple are provided in this form. Access the form here.




Membership Renewal Form


This form is for the renewal of Annual, Associate and Corporate membership. Access the form here.




Hall Hire Form


Hall Hire form is avaliable here.