NEW YORK – For years, resin figurines of Hindu deities have adorned the houses and even altars of ISKCON devotees. While these hand painted miniatures of Siva, Laxmi and baby Krishna go unnoticed, collecting dust upon countless whatnot shelves, the most recent edition from Hindu-Tacki Collectibles has stirred undeniable controversy and, according to some, has led the the degradation of the human race.
The Ganesha Lingam Fountain features Ganesha, the elephant-headed demigod, hugging a Shiva Lingam. According to the manufacturer’s website and catalog, “water flows from top of lingam into lotus flower; internal light in his body glows in the dark.”
The contention seems to have been started by concerned area brahmacari, Mahasucaha das, who, in an angrily written letter to the GBC, described the sculpture as “a raunchy display of Hindu impersonalism at its worst” and demanded that it be taken out of circulation immediately.
The controversial icon went unnoticed by senior devotees until the most recent annual GBC (ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission) meetings. A special top-secret caucus was called to discuss Hindu-Tacki Collectibles’s decision to release the fountain.
While the discussions of the meeting are held under tight confidentiality, the exposure of the figurine has stunned many ISKCON devotees.
Immediately following the special caucus, six prominent sannyasis, including three gurus in good standing, publicly stepped down, unable to maintain their strict vows.
“How could I continue in the saffron dress of a renunciate after seeing such an abominable image?” asked Ahirikam das, former sannyasi.
Several other ex-sannyasis are also struggling with their return to householder life, one even marrying the first woman he saw. “If I didn’t marry a woman, the fountain would have made me think so many abominable thoughts.” said newlywed Upadana das.
“Since viewing the fountain of water spurting from the lingam, I have been unable to think of anything else for days, even weeks,” reveled ex-sannyasis Moha das, adding “I am frightened of continuing such a deviant lifestyle.”
Hindu-Tacki Collectibles CEO, Dandal Patel, issued a press release stating he “sees nothing wrong with Ganesha hugging a Lingham with water spurting from its tip.” However, even with the public outcry in mind, he refuses to consider pulling the Lingham fountain from circulation.
Sannyasis weren’t the only victims of this bawdy knick knack. Seven of ISKCON’s thirteen American brahmacaris put on white after hearing of such a display. Dvesha das, ex-brahmacari, relates, “This is just another attempt by corporate Hinduism to proliferate immoral ideals throughout ISKCON.”
Unable to cope with the shock of the figurine, a two of the seven ex-brahmacaris left ISKCON completely, purchasing a pastel-colored historical row house in San Francisco’s Sunset District.
Due to Hindu-Tacki Collectibles’s failure to immediately act upon their wishes, the GBC declared the statue “amoral.” Though many individual temple gift shops have curbed the sale of it, the GBC stopped short of placing a movement-wide ban upon the lurid sculpture of the Lingham.
Instead, they issued a decree that every package containing the Ganesha Lingham fountain be labeled with a Renunciate Advisory sticker to “warn sannyasis and brahmacaris that the contents of the package may be offensive and detrimental to their spiritual wellbeing.”
“Hopefully the movement can recover from this hardship,” said GBC spokesperson Satyendra Nandi, “our job is to focus on the important issues effecting the devotees spiritual lives.” He added, “And today, we can most definitely claim big, big victory.”