Upset Hindus are urging El Segundo (California) headquartered global yoga gear company Manduka for immediate withdrawal of yoga towels carrying reimagined images of Hindu deity Ganesh; calling it highly inappropriate.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to sit/stand on or put feet/buttocks/legs/body on or to absorb/wipe one’s sweat. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Manduka CEO to offer a formal apology as it had sold Ganesh yoga towel in the past also. He also urged Manduka to withdraw its yoga towels depicting reimagined images of Lord Ganesh selling on other online retailers or shops.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed noted.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Zed added.
These objectionable “yogitoes yoga towel – enlightened” and “yogitoes yoga towel – opportunity” were priced at $51 and $58 respectively and help “prevent slipping”. These are to be placed “on top of your yoga mat or directly on the floor”. Its another such item “yogitoes Skidless Yoga Towel – Stability Ganesh”, which shows up as “sold out” on Nordstrom Rack, was priced at $39.97. Though “enlightened towel” shows up as “out of stock” on Manduka’s main website, it is still available from Manduka Singapore, REI, Amazon, etc., sites.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Manduka, whose tagline is “Made for you, made for yoga.” and whose history goes to 1997, claims to make “the world’s finest athletic performance products, including yoga mats, towels, bags, props and men’s & women’s fitness apparel”. It runs “project:OM”, whose tagline is “Creating a Better World”. Manduka claims that its quality is “still unmatched in the marketplace”.