Upset Hindus are urging Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) based yoga mat firm “Enlightened Koala” for immediate withdrawal of yoga mat carrying image of Hindu deity Ganesha; calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) 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 your 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 “Enlightened Koala” 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. Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia, and according to 2016 census, formed 1.9% of the country’s population numbering at 440,300.
Objectionable Ganesha Mat, which was claimed to have been “designed to help you clear your path”, was priced at $129.90.
“Enlightened Koala Meaningful Yoga Mats”, whose tagline is “Discover Yourself”, sells mats and accessories. Its website states: Enlightened Koala Mats are not the regular pretty mats. They are designed for those who seek to better understand themselves… they bring purpose to your practice…They’re a powerful tool and reminder that you are a lot more than you think.