Upset Hindus have urged for the immediate recalling of yoga mats carrying images of Lord Ganesha sold by a California (USA) based firm Yogamatic on its website, calling it inappropriate.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to be trampled under one’s feet while doing yoga. 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 one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued.
Rajan Zed further said that such trivialization of Lord Ganesha was disturbing and offensive 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.
Yoga mats Hindu devotees are finding objectionable include two carrying images of Lord Ganesha (ym_0248 and ym_0190). Both are priced at $89, excluding tax & shipping. Each mat measures 72" x 24" with a depth of 1/4" and weight of about seven pounds. Company itself explains Ganesha on its website as: “Ganesha is widely revered… as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles..."
Yogamatic.com labels itself as "the custom yoga mat company" asking customers to "Choose from 100's of mats in our exclusive Galleries". Entrepreneur magazine listed it under “100 Brilliant Companies” with comments: "A favorite of Oprah and Jennifer Aniston". For $79 plus tax and shipping, one can order a Yoga Mat with her/his own image at Yogamatic, which claims to operate a fully functional design service from its studio/gallery in Santa Monica (California). Besides Yoga Mat, it also sells Travel Mat/Yoga Towel.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshiped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.