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Status of protest: In progress
Link to denigration: http://whipin.com/brewery/the-brews/
December 13, 2013 (Margshirsha Shukla Pratipada, Kaliyug Varsha 5115)
|| Shree ||
Namaskar, dear supporter of Hinduism,
We have received several complaints from Hindus about a severe denigration of Hindu deities and practices by Whip In’s Kamala brewing (previously known as Namaste Brewery) in Austin Texas. Whip In has several house made beers named after sacred Hindu deities like Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha.
Attempts have been made by several Hindus to educate the owners into removing the names and images of Hindu deities from their products, but the owners have rejected all such requests to stop the denigration of Hindu deities, and are continuing to denigrate the Hindu deities and practices.
Our email correspondence with Dipak Topiwala, owner of Whip In, Austin, Texas:
From: Hindu Awakening <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Subject: Re: Deities denigration
To: Dipak Topiwala <email@example.com>, Amrit Topiwala <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Forum .” <email@example.com>
In your below reply to Matthew you have mentioned that there is no issue of denigration as the Deities’s pictures are not on the beer bottles that will be thrown in trash and hence you don’t see it as denigration.
Your desire to introduce Hindu culture to the rest of the world is understandable. However, depicting the Deities’ pictures on beer kegs is not an appropriate medium for it. There are many other ways to educate people on Indian culture or Hindu Dharma, such as using pictures of Indian historical monuments or sites that are little known. You can also set up an altar in your brewery or shop and daily perform puja at the altar and garland the picture of the Deity, light an incense stick in front of the Deity’s picture and so on.
We would like to bring to your attention that Hindu Dharma shastras have provided a protocol to maintain the sanctity of our Deities’ Murti (idol) or pictures. As per that protocol the Deities are to be worshiped by placing in an altar at home or temple. If their pictures are put on wall or other place like a work desk, then the same purity has to be maintained. This is as per the principle in spirituality that the ‘word, touch, form,
taste, odor and the energy of an object co-exist’. Wherever there is a Murti or picture (form) of a Deity, that particular Deity’s energy is present, hence that Deity is present. Hence the Murti or picture needs to be kept with sanctity and reverence as we keep it in an altar.
It must be clear by now that the beer kegs are not the place for the Deities’ pictures. Also, putting Deities’ images on kegs of beer, which is a spiritually impure (tamasik) drink, further denigrates the Deities.
Another aspect of depicting Deities’ pictures on the beer kegs is the sin one incurs by doing so and also when one handles the Deities’ pictures in ways inappropriate or not in accordance with the protocol set by Dharma shastra.
Please read Dr. David Frawley’s article to understand what is denigration of Hindu images and why it upsets Hindus : http://www.forumforhinduawakening.org/awakening/misconceptions/denigration-hindu-images
Portraying Deities’ images on beer kegs would not only incur sin but would also send out the wrong message to the world that it is okay to portray Hindu Deities’ images on any object.
Talking about art in Indian culture, there was a great painter Raja Ravi Varma, who depicted Deities beautifully with utmost respect that will evoke devotion in the viewer and there was M. F. Husain, who denigrated Deities by depicting them in a nude and vulgar way. Art expresses the inner perspective of the person.
The denigration of our most revered Deities, Shree Ganesh, Devi Kali, Lord Shiva, Devi Lakshmi done by you is hurting the religious sentiments of devout Hindus all over the world. We urge you to remove these pictures from the beer kegs and render a written apology to the Hindu community.
Spokesperson, Forum for Hindu Awakening
On Sun, Dec 15, 2013 at 7:57 AM, Dipak Topiwala <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
thanx for your kind letter in regards to the issue of the gods Kali & Ganesh. you should be very glad to know that your complaint is not an issue since the beers that we make with love & respect for our heritage and traditions are NOT put in cans or bottles for disposal. we serve our beers from tanks called kegs, and they are dispensed through a tap rather like a faucet.
our beers are meant to be part of the indian culture, helping folks to learn and respect the various aspects of our religion and art, sacred and profane. we use these tasty quaffs to help folks love and enjoy each other with respect and not denigrate closed mindedness and uneducated perspectives of art and reality.
we hope you can see this perspective as a measure of the diverse and dynamic Indian culture making its way into a very monolithic American field. Here outside of India itself, the right wing Christian fundamentalists cannot even imagine a multitude of gods/goddesses who encompass the vast unconscious and unawakened dharma and karma that we hope to realize. As Carl Jung was fond of pointing, it is art and imagery that ultimately destroys our reality so that we become whole and fulfilled to what we want: enlightenment and peace.
if y’all have any questions regarding how we operate and want to discuss further how art and imagery and idolatry work for our Hindu perspectives to promote our call for peace, joy & enlightenment, i am at your beckon call.
all the best,
On Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 9:28 PM, Matthew wrote:
I have recently come across an article that your company has been using Kali and Ganesh on beer bottles.
When I saw the photos I felt like it is a big mistake. These deities when worship are for our spiritual progress and rid us of all troubles. When we put the photos on something impure it is first not good, but then every time the bottles are thrown away the picture is crushed. It is sin in God’s name and then trashing His pictures. Something that gives us so much, seeing it trashed is disturbing.
Would please ask to remove these photos from the bottles.
Why is this a denigration?
Since time immemorial Hindu Deities and Goddesses have been worshipped with much reverence. Every ritual (e.g. Aarti), every festival(e.g. Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Dassera), every act in Hindusim starts with divine invocation of a sacred Hindu deity.
During Navratri, on each of the nine days Goddess Durga is worshipped in her various forms by millions of Hindus.
During any puja, Lord Ganesh is first invoked through sacred mantras and shlokas.
To trivialize divinity with items consumed for temporary fun such as beers and ales, is not only being insensitive but extremely hurtful to billions of followers of Hinduism who worship Hindu deities.
We request you all to call and email the owners of Whip In to register your protest and request them to take down this denigration. You can also sign up our protest at the end of this post.
“Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha | (Dharma or God protects those who protect Dharma.)”
Sadhaks at Forum for Hindu Awakening (www.HinduAwakening.org)