9 jULY ; Burger King Corporation has pulled the offensive advertisement poster in Spain showing Hindu goddess Lakshmi promoting a meat sandwich, which Hindu groups protested calling it repugnant, according to reports. Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked the Burger King management for removing this advertisement poster but added that it should not have been created in=2 0the first place. He suggested that Burger King should form an internal team of senior executives who should clear all the publicity material before it went to the public and this team should be well trained. If Burger King wanted its executives to learn about world religions, he was willing to help, Zed added.
According to the reported statement: "Burger King Corporation values and respects all of its guests as well as the communities we serve. This in-store advertisement was running to support a limited-time-only local promotion for three restaurants in Spain and was not intended to offend anyone. Out of respect for the Hindu community, the in-store advertisement has been removed from the restaurants."
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was very disturbing to see goddess Lakshmi, who was highly revered in Hinduism, modeling for a meat sandwich as shown. Lakshmi was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not for pushing meat sandwiches in the streets for mercantile greed of a global corporation.
The concerned poster was titled “LA MERIENDA ES SAGRADA”, which roughly translates as “Snack is sacred”, and showed a meat-cheese sandwich with few other products for 1.75 Euros. What was so ‘sacred’ about a meat sandwich, Zed asked.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Hinduism promoted strict vegetarianism insisting on ahimsa (not harming living creatures) and non-killing, and renouncing animal slaughter and meat eating. It suggested taking of sattvik (vegetables, fruits, etc.) and avoiding rajasik (eggs, etc.) and tamasik (meat, intoxicants, etc.) foods.
Zed argued that there was extensive protection of life in Hinduism and ahimsa was a command. It was a clear denigration showing a Hindu goddess patronizing a meat sandwich.
Launched in 1954 and headquartered in Miami (Florida, USA) with John W. Chidsey as C hief Executive Officer, Burger King Corporation is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world with over 11, 200 restaurants in 69 countries and revenue of over $2.2 billion. Over 11 million customers visit Burger King daily.
Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and beauty in Hinduism and is also known as ‘world-mother’. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.