Upset Hindus are urging Charleston (South Carolina) based yoga mats and accessories company Yoloha Yoga 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 today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to sit on or put feet/buttocks/legs on or sweat on. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged Yoloha Yoga to offer a formal apology.
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. 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.
Design of “Ganesha Native Cork Yoga Mat”, priced from $169, is described on website as: “The image of Ganesh helps us to remember what he stands for: Learning, Persevering, and succeeding in the face of challenge”.
Yoloha Yoga, founded 2013, claims to be “creators of the world’s first cork yoga mat” and "eco-friendly, high-quality yoga products”. Describing its Cork yoga mats, it states: “Unmatched performance and grip, even when wet”. Chris Willey is the Creator.