Christian-Buddhist-Jewish leaders back Hindus in recall of German Shiva gambling slots

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Christian-Buddhist-Jewish leaders have come out to the support of Hindus who were upset at Germany developed Hindu god Shiva themed slot gambling game titled “Shiva”, calling it highly inappropriate.

Reverend Richard L. Smith, a United Church of Christ pastor in Nevada (USA), in a statement, said: I support the protests of Hindus who are offended by the name and image of the god Shiva being used to promote gaming machines. As I recall, it was the Roman soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’ clothing, so I would be likewise offended if his name were to be attached to such a product. I urge the Gauselmann company to find another, more respectful approach.

Jikai’ Phil Bryan, well-known Buddhist leader, in a statement, stressed: The game’s usage of Shiva and other Hindu religious symbols and iconography is wholly inappropriate and should be discontinued.

ElizaBeth W. Beyer, Jewish Rabbi in California and Nevada, in a statement, insisted that Gauselmann Group stop using deities revered by millions of Hindu adherents. Religious iconography, such as Lord Shiva, necessitates respectful and thoughtful use. It should not be trivialized on a game, Rabbi Beyer adds.

Developed by Merkur Division of Espelkamp (Germany) headquartered Gauselmann Group, “Shiva” slot gambling machine shows a blue four-armed Lord Shiva with dark red lips carrying damru in one hand. This five-reels and 50 win-lines gambling machine, besides Lord Shiva symbol (which substitutes all symbols) also shows symbols of cobra, Taj Mahal, monkey, etc. “Step into the realm of the god Shiva and experience an exciting adventure!”, website announcement says. It can be played live on various online casinos.

Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, welcoming the support of these diverse religious leaders, in a statement in Nevada today, urged Gauselmann AG and its chairman Paul Gauselmann to publicly apologize and immediately recall this slot game showing Hindu Lord Shiva. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed pointed out.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in an earlier statement, noted that Lord Shiva, who was highly revered in Hinduism, was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for promoting gambling on slots for mercantile greed of an international company.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed had said.

In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, forms the great triad of Hindu deities. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

Globally active Gauselmann Group, launched in 1957, claims to be “world’s leading gaming companies” which reportedly did over €1.8 billion business in 2013. Merkur Gaming, whose tagline is “More than just a game”, has a large game selection and develops “cutting-edge casino machines” with presence in various countries of Europe; besides Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

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