Hindus seek withdrawal of sexually explicit mandala from Toronto gallery

Hindus want “Sacred Circle VI” mandala mosaic withdrawn from John B. Aird Gallery run in a government building in Toronto, indicating that it trivializes Hinduism and was highly inappropriate.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that mandala was a sacred symbolic drawing in Hinduism and was used for establishing a sacred space. Assembling pornographic images of women in a mandala was disturbing for the Hindus, as many times mandalas contained images of deities Hindus worshipped.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that Ontario Government should not be in the business of promoting pornography and hurting the feelings of the devotees. Explicit and graphic sex acts displayed under the pretext of “sacred” happening just steps away from Legislative Assembly of Ontario and in a government building was really shocking.

Rajan Zed urged Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to intervene in the withdrawal of this objectionable mandala mosaic from the Gallery.

Zed noted that Hindu concepts and symbols were not meant to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in art galleries. Such absurd depiction of mandala with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.

Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free expression as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it tormented the devotees. Art galleries should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.

Hindus welcomed galleries and artists to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously, respectfully and responsibly and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, Zed pointed out.

Rajan Zed further said that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added that if galleries needed any assistance about Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help.

Mandala represents cosmos/universe and is a way of manifesting deity/deities, finding mention in Agamas and Tantras. It represents the abode of the deity/deities.

“Sacred Circle VI” by Rosalie H. Maheux is part of Gallery’s “30 UNDER 30 Exhibition” (curated by Gary Michael Dault) running till July 24. The Government of Ontario provides the exhibition space and related building services for Toronto’s John B. Aird Gallery, opened in 1985 and which claims to provide a “nurturing atmosphere”.
Jowenne Herrera and Sarah Morison are Gallery Board’s co-presidents, while Carla Garnet is the Executive Director.

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