Breweries scrap packaging after Hindu protest

Wednesday 02nd January 2019 12:01 EST

A brewery has agreed to stop using the sacred Hindu 'Om' symbol on its bottle after criticism from a Hindu community. The Award-winning microbrewery Cheshire Brewhouse based in Congleton, used the symbol on its award-winning Govinda range of India pale ale.

Om is the most sacred syllable, symbol, or mantra in Hinduism that signifies the essence of the ultimate reality, consciousness or Atman. The Om sound is the primordial sound, and is called the Shabda-Brahman (Brahman as sound). It is a syllable that is chanted either independently or before a mantra. It is also found in Kainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Head brewer and owner Shane Swindells has agreed not to use the symbol any more after a complaint from the Universal Society of Hinduism, based in Nevada.

On the other hand, a Scottish brewery, Tempest Brewing Co. that upset Hindus with the use of its imagery of the deity Ganesha has apologised for the packaging after it was deemed 'highly inappropriate'. In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.

Their website description stated “Channel your inner Ganesha and overcome all obstacles with our hoppy pilsner. Clean, cold and crisp fermentation meets juicy dry hops and refreshing bitterness. With a crisp, fruity hop flavour and great drinkability, you’ll be at peace in no time. Namaste!”

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement, said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols 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 was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful. He asked these companies to send their executives for training before deciding on packaging or labels.

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