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If you ever have a young person from the Hindu faith in your section or District, you are in touch with the distant eras of history, because Hinduism is the oldest of the world's religions and, partly because of that, it is different from most of the others. For example, it has no rigid set of beliefs, though the Hindu follower will pray with deep devotion before his Dharma or guiding spirit

To be a Hindu only two things are required -- to seek the truth and to do no harm to anyone. (Failing to help someone in need can be understood as doing them harm). In order to be able to do these two things properly, the Hindu must prepare his or her mind and body to be capable of undertaking them. Which is very much the heart of Scouting.

The Temple is the Hindu's holy place of prayer, but a room set aside for the purpose, or a tent is quite suitable for prayer and meditation. In fact, a Hindu will normally be prepared to use a church or other place of worship for his or her own devotions.

The Hindu symbol is important. Hindus do not have a word for God like Jews, Christians and Muslims. The essence of their faith is in the syllable AUM - the symbol - which describes the relationship of the "Spirit" or Brahman to the world: "A" stands for the power of God to create the universe; "U" stands for the power of God to preserve the universe; and "M" stands for the power of God to dissolve this universe.

There are two sets of holy writings -   the "Isruti" which are divine and eternal; and the "smriti" which are less so. There are 1,000 chants or hymns. The Hindu believes that the great spirit appears in three forms - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, using many different guises, human and animal. They also believe in the doctrine of reincarnation - that after this life we shall be born again in another body. The quality of a person's life this time helps determine in what kind of body they will appear next.

Most Hindus are vegetarian but some may enjoy chicken and lamb. Beef is strictly forbidden.  Hindu Scouts are normally immaculately turned out and will readily join in a Scout's Own. Other Scouts will be welcome in the Hindu Temple.

The main Hindu festival is Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated toward the end of November. It would be good to ask a Hindu Scout to tell about it or tell a yarn from the long history of his faith.

Courtesy of - The Mac Scouter's Big "A Scout is Reverent" resource book

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