Upset Hindus are urging Weed (California) based Mount Shasta Brewing Company to apologize and not use Hindu deity Lord Ganesha’s image on its Mountain High IPA beer, calling it highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer. Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful, Zed added.
Breweries should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivializing of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesha to be portrayed on a beer label, Rajan Zed emphasized.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 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; Zed noted.
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, Rajan 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.
Mt. Shasta Brewing Co., the microbrewery which started producing bottled beer in 2005, claims: “Our beers guarantee to please your palate”. Mountain High IPA (62.1 IBU – 7% ABV) is described as “deep golden, mild and malty”. A blog posted on the microbrewery website about this beer label mentions Ganesha, describing him as “a Hindu God” and “lord of success”.