Upset Hindus are urging Minneapolis headquartered “luxury” yoga mat firm “Big Raven Yoga” for immediate withdrawal of yoga mat carrying images of Hindu deity Ganesha; calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Lord Ganesha was greatly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to lie/sit/stand/tread/walk on or put abdomen/ankles/buttocks/calves/feet/genitals/groin/heels/hips/knees/legs/thighs/toes/ umbilicus on or for absorbing/handling one’s sweat. Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged “Big Raven Yoga” and its CEO Joleen Emery to offer a formal apology, besides withdrawing the objectionable Lord Ganesha yoga mat.
Yoga mat companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesha to be such displayed on a yoga mat, Rajan Zed emphasized.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 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, Zed noted.
Rajan Zed further said that 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.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha 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.
Objectionable “Mountain Ganesha” mat was priced at $137.
Big Raven Yoga describes its mats as “Yoga Mats for the Bold”, “perfect blend of art and engineering”, and “yoga towel and mat all in one”. Besides yoga mats; it also sells jewelry, stickers, cards. “Big Raven was born out of frustration”, its website states.