Miami Beach (Florida) based sports apparel firm Platinum Sun Inc. has apologized and taken down yoga mat carrying image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha within few hours of Hindu protest, which called it “highly inappropriate”.
Marina Pavlovska of Platinum Sun, in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, wrote: “We apologize for this error. We didn’t mean to offend anyone; our designer is not very familiar with the Hinduism. We have taken down the product per your request an please accept our apologies.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Platinum Sun for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was highly insensitive.
Rajan Zed suggested that Platinum Sun and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Zed had 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 for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
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 had noted.
Zed had stated that such trivialization of Hindu deity was disturbing to the Hindus world over. 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.
This objectionable “Ganesha Cork Yoga Mat” was selling at Platinum Sun website for $79.99, claiming to be “perfect for hot yoga, Bikram, sweaty practice, pilates, floor exercises, stretching, and meditation”. Its description pointed out: “Ganesha is the god of wisdom, success and good luck. This will help you attract all of life’s positivities while doing Yoga.”
Platinum Sun, which describes itself as “Elite Sports Apparel” and whose products include watersports apparel and yoga accessories, states: “Our commitment is your fun, comfort, sexy look and healthy lifestyle.”