California firm apologizes & removes Ganesha yogamats at Rajan Zed’s urging
California firm Yogamatic apologized and removed the yoga mats carrying images of Lord Ganesha from its website which upset Hindus considered “inappropriate” and had asked for their immediate recall.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Reno today, thanked Yogamatic for showing responsibility and maturity for taking quick action and for having an understanding for the hurt feelings of Hindu community. It was a step in the right direction, he added.
William Cawley of Yogamatic, in an email to Reno based Hindu leader Rajan Zed, wrote: “Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. The mats have been duly removed. There are millions of Ganesha products available on the internet and the contributor of this mat supplied the design in good faith. Please accept our apologies to the Hindu community.”
Rajan Zed, in a statement in Reno, said that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped 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 is 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 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 were finding objectionable included two carrying images of Lord Ganesha. Yogamatic.com labels itself as “the custom yoga mat company” asking customers to “Choose from 100’s of mats in our exclusive Galleries”. .
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.