Miami Beach apparel firm Platinum Sun Inc. just got major heat from a Hindu group for a particular product it was selling.
The controversy was over a seemingly innocent-looking exercise accessory.
Priced at $79.99, the so-called Ganesha Cork Yoga Mat was described on the company’s website as “perfect for hot yoga, Bikram, sweaty practice, pilates, floor exercises, stretching, and meditation.”
Rajan Zed, president of the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism, sent out a press release early Monday morning, complaining that a mat bearing the image of Lord Ganesha, a god of wisdom, success and good luck was for sold on the site. He believes that his image was being “trivialized” and “hurting followers.”
In the release, Zed, said Ganesha was “highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to sit on or put feet/buttocks/legs on or sweat on.”
The offending mat was taken down from the site a few hours later.
A similar looking yoga mat bearing the image of an elephant still remains on the site, which also sells brightly colored rash guards, leggings, wetsuits and sports bras. Zed doesn’t seem to have a problem with that one, just the one with Ganesha.
“Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees,” adds the release. “Hinduism is 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.”
Marina Pavlovska of Platinum Sun, in an email to Zed, apologized on Tuesday.
“We didn’t mean to offend anyone,” she wrote. “Our designer is not very familiar with the Hinduism.”
This is hardly the first time Zed has tangled with companies that deign to put Ganesha on products. Most recently, he got Amazon to pull a pair of stockings. In 2014, he complained to Urban Outfitters about a blanket he found sacrilegious, and that too was yanked.