Upset Hindus are urging Chattanooga (Tennessee) area based “My Mat My Mantra” company for immediate withdrawal of yoga mat stickers 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 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/heels/hips/knees/legs/thighs/toes/etc. on or for 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 “My Mat My Mantra” to offer a formal apology, besides withdrawing the objectionable Lord Ganesha yoga mat stickers.
Yoga products 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 were painful for 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.
Objectionable Ganesha “MantraSpot” yoga mat stickers, “Made in USA”, are stated to be the “best seller”, and are said to be “tested to withstand high temperatures in a hot yoga class”.
“My Mat My Mantra” claims: “Created for your yoga mat, MantraSpots bring focus and inspiration during your yoga practice and beyond.” Its products are available online and for purchase in select Dick’s Sporting Goods stores. It states to have “retail partners” in 26 US states; besides Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Switzerland.