Krishna Kali installed in Keoratala Burning Ghat.

Washington DC – Another sales pitch with an image of a Hindu goddess has drawn the ire of the Indian American community, which has demanded the halt to the release of an alcoholic beverage, criticizing it as an inappropriate use of Hindu deities or concepts for a commercial agenda.

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism (Nevada, US), in a statement urged Portland-based (Oregon, US) Burnside Brewing Company not to release its “Kali-Ma” beer, calling it inappropriate.

Zed stressed that the Goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshipped in temples and not to be used in selling beer for corporate greed.

According to an announcement on “The Full Pint,” an online craft beer news publication, Burnside Brewing is releasing “Kali-Ma” on Tuesday, May 15.

“Come worship ‘the black one’ Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!” reads the announcement, adding, “Kali-Ma is inspired by the Hindu goddess and her tribute in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva.”

Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity, noted Zed. 

There have been other cases where Hindu symbols have been hijacked for commercial purposes. In November of 2010, Newsweek magazine depicted President Obama as the Hindu deity Lord Shiva the destroyer on its front cover.

Earlier in 2005, an online shop selling lingerie with images of Hindu gods and religious icons drew the wrath of the Indian American community, which demanded withdrawal of the women’s underclothing. (IATNS)


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