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Subhamoy Das

Hindu Deities Kali, Vamana & Agni Star in Online Game SMITE

By July 3, 2012

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American online interactive entertainment company, Hi-Rez Studios, has developed SMITE, an online battleground of mythical gods features a number of Hindu Gods and Goddesses such as Kali, Vamana and Agni, the Fire God. Upset Hindus, who recently urged these online game developer to remove Hindu gods from action game SMITE saying it trivialized revered deities, are further shocked now on the developer's announcement of adding even more deities.

Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Hi-Rez should be more understanding of the hurt feelings of Hindus worldwide over the mishandling of deities like Kali. The purpose of online games was to entertain and not to offend a large chunk of world population, he said. Moreover, portrayal of goddess Kali, who was highly revered by Hindus, appeared like a pornstar in the SMITE game, which was quite distressing for the devotees.

Zed said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the movements of goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities. He stated that video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and no faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered. As these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people it would create more misunderstandings about Hinduism, which was already a highly misunderstood religion in the West.

When urged to remove the Hindu gods Agni, Kali, and Vamana, Hi-Rez issued a statement explaining why they will not remove the characters from the game: "SMITE includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse," Todd Harris, Hi-Rez's COO said. "Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret all the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer."

What do you think? Please post your comments below and have your say.

Comments
July 3, 2012 at 3:50 am
(1) Deivi says:

Indians must copyright the names and forms of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and ensure that whoever violates the copyright must be proceeded against. This could be one solution to consider, if it is feasible.

July 3, 2012 at 8:02 am
(2) Mohan says:

As long as we remain “tolerant” this is how people will take advantage. Would they even dare designing games with Jesus, Mary or Allah?

July 3, 2012 at 10:22 am
(3) fs thompson says:

Agree with Mohan entirely

July 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(4) Jelu Iliov says:

Do not be afraid to fight for yours rights. The Evil is not strong es much es it looks. Do not postpone it. Otherwise you are encourage it.

July 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm
(5) Roger Mitra says:

I do agree with Mohan and Thompson but here is a point …that…

they don’t have much iconic heroes to name a heroic character on those games. If they do they don’t posses that charm and attraction to attract players in to it… Finally this would be the challenge for the gamers to win the game and so they can remember the Gods and Deities… This way Hindu Gods gets more remembrance … I saw little kids ( other than Hindu kids) naming Krishna, Shiva, Kali, Vamana, Varaha, Guru, Pandit, Avatar, etc etc more than Jesus, Allah, Mary… I hope world’s oldest religion Hinduism is getting its fame back. Where according to the population of religion, Hinduism is number 3 in the world… Long Live Hinduism…

July 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm
(6) Tushar Singh says:

Well I don’t think I’m upset as God is above all this. But I agree that drawing inspiration from Hindu gods is one thing and portraying them in poor light is entirely different. I have the faith and conviction to remain detached from such incidents but these kinds of instances equip the people who are out there to malign sanataria dharma and influence impressionable minds. Playing with anyone’s faith shouldn’t be encouraged. We can either ignore it or protest against it. I would be inclined to ignore it but I don’t want to be seen as tolerant just because of not being disturbed by such attacks on my beliefs. I would definitely make it known that it is disrespectful and ignorant. Hare Krishna

July 4, 2012 at 12:31 am
(7) Katya Barnes says:

I pondered Todd Harris’s statement: “In fact, given Hinduism’s concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret all the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute.” and my conclusion is that he’s talking utter nonsense! He doesn’t seem able to discriminate between what is mythical and what is a living religion – by which I mean a religion which has worshippers, followers, devotees, whatever word you wish to use to describe believers. Mixing up ancient Greek, Egyptian and Norse gods with Hindu Gods and Goddesses merely confuses the issue.
Hi-Rez Studio’s lack of understanding in this matter is absolutely deplorable and I propose that we all who are offended by this BOYCOTT Hi-Rez Studios and all their products – in other words nobody buy anything from them and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Let’s teach them that it will cost them financially to offend Hindus all over the world!

July 4, 2012 at 1:03 am
(8) Soundrarajan K. Kalliappan says:

I totally agree with the comments of Katya Barnes. Furthermore, I would like to emphasise here that Hindu Gods and Goddesses are NOT myths and Hinduism is NOT mythology. For some people who possess pea sized brains and cannot conceive the vastness and greatness of Hinduism, they chose to brand it as mythology and I am afraid SMITE has fallen into this category. It’s only a matter of time we all will witness the demise of SMITE. I will sit on a special pooja towards Mother KALI for the demise of SMITE. You Ladies and Gentlemen reading this will bear witness to this.May Mother KALI Bless you all.

July 5, 2012 at 4:57 am
(9) Debs Boodhram says:

Don’t let us be used and abused. We all must stand together and fight the evil in the name of Hinduism.

July 5, 2012 at 5:39 am
(10) Ahuv says:

I can see how this can be seen as offensive. But how serious or respectable is this video game anyways? If other mainstream media would use images of our Gods that might seem offensive, we could challenge that but is this worth for a game like this? Many computer games in this genre include violence, blood, sex and other material that will offend people. You can object to that but there will always be people who want to consume such things.
I’ve seen statues of Buddha or the Holy Virgin Mary in night clubs or in advertising. The consequence I draw from that if it offends me that I won’t buy their product. End of story.

July 5, 2012 at 9:07 am
(11) dakshina kali says:

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this is very sad and upsetting for me and for hinduism i would never belived something would ever happen like this, iam a kali devi worshiper and she is my mother where iam seeing her in a digital board game and which will controlled by hand held gagets. Rather than been worshipped .

July 5, 2012 at 11:02 am
(12) Sushila Karia says:

It is just unbelivable that “Smite”, have got no respect for “GOD”.
“SMITE” might be richest and cleverest company, but please remember, God has given you all the talent and money. My special request from bottom of my heart, please don’t abuse “GOD”.
jUST COOL DOWN AND THINK TWICE, before everything starts going wrong on your side.

July 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm
(13) kk says:

Its high time the whole world community irrespective of their religion should object to anyone trying to hurt the sentiments of any body . It should be handled in a firm manner for the benefit of all.

July 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm
(14) Nij Goel says:

I hope SMITE is a game of past as soon as possible like so many other games. Hindus are tolerant people and that is how people is taking advantage. But the creator of the game who is justifying inclusion of our Gods should have first included Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Joan, Moses etc.

I think half the the problem arises as we do not care about our Gods. We let pictures be printed on tshirts, sarongs and bags, which makes them common and ordinary. I for one never buy these even for friends as gifts thought I have been asked to. In fact I discourage my non Indian friends from buying them.

July 7, 2012 at 3:16 am
(15) jai maa kali says:

I just wanna worn the demons like smiTe creator’s,
you are gonna pay for all this.
5 months more- jesus loves you.

July 7, 2012 at 4:26 am
(16) Rama Rao K says:

It is amusing to see people who are otherwise very intelligent and erudite, to get worked over such trivial issues like depiction of mythological characters of India. In fact, we in India name our missiles as Agni and the main battle tank as Arjun and the anti-tank missile as Nag, Trishul etc. but so far no one in India ever objected to such naming.
Historically seen, during the Vedic period there was no Hindu pantheon. The people than worshiped the nature viz. Sun – Aditya, Wind – Vayu, Agni – Fire, Clouds or Rain as Varun etc. The pantheon of Gods and Goddesses came much later probably through the Greek influences.
I strongly feel that the need of the hour is to fight untouchablility, caste systems, and a host of other issues that are plaguing our Hindu society and polity and not such trivial issues like the one discussed above.

July 8, 2012 at 6:51 am
(17) manisha says:

ppl who r dealing wid dis shld take strng actions against dat video cmpny..aftr readng dis m al temprd.fo d sake of dr entrnmnt n high money thng ….its a shame fo us hindus dat v r tolerating dis,if dr is any thng daT I CN DO PLS TELL

July 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(18) Jaya Radha Madhava says:

If they absolutely must include Hindu deities, then couldn’t they at least include ones that aren’t held in such high esteem as Kali, Vamana, and Agni? For example, couldn’t they have Yama or Daksha or one of the other minor deities?

July 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm
(19) lolllol says:

All these mad hindus are insane… wake the careless about gods in a game like… its a damn game cmon

July 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm
(20) Dot says:

What Rama Rao K says makes the most sense out of all of these comments. I agree, there are much bigger things to worry about.

Also, since it seems to be a trendy suggestion, would you stop complaining if Moses/Joseph/Mary/judeochristian characters were introduced into the game? No? Then stop trying to make it a point. Besides, the game is still in beta and I’m sure they will put in characters from other religious backgrounds, it would be awesome to play as Samael or Ziz or Behemoth. It wouldn’t be fun to play as Jesus, what would he do? Turn water into wine and force the enemy to drink it to give them alcohol poison? People who are asking why not x have clearly never even played the game or understand it.

And good luck boycotting it, it’s a free to play game.

July 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm
(21) Jasmin says:

I must say I expected hindu organisation’s to be more open when talking about such things as depicting their gods in popculture. I’d say it’s actually very good that deities from hindu are shown in such a game, since hindu is hardly known in western culture, and this could broaden the knowledge of many people. I respect hinduism, I took my time to read Ramayana (as much as a translated version can give it justice) and I’d pay honours to Kali when I’m in india, the same way I’d pay respects to Odin when in Nordic countires or Zeus when in Greece.

There are still people worshipping Zeus, Odin, Wukong, Bastet and so on. Following the logic of the author they should protest as well. I know that christians would curse anyone trying to depict jesus and radical muslims would be ready to bomb a studio willing to make a game about Mahomet, but neither of them are cultural nor ready to admit that there are other religions and other gods, apart from their one and only.

As to the way Kali looks in Hi-rez’s Smite… Isn’t it respectful to depict Kali as a beautiful woman? Especially given the fact that India is the country that gave birth to the art of love in a form of Kamasutra? Isn’t is respectful to model her in game the same way an artist would create a beautiful painting?

I for one am very happy that Hi-Rez took the time to research many different religions, including hinduism, and took entire deieties from it. Let holy men worship their gods in a way they find proper, and let the common people mention the gods in a a way acceptable to them. I don’t expect that normal american 13 yeard old will think about worshipping Kali when playing this game, but neither should a person for whom she is the one to pray to every day. It’s a game after all.

July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am
(22) sataghni says:

Jasmin just confirms the misunderstanding of the Hindu culture in the west. Mother Kali should be kept out of this.

July 20, 2012 at 5:55 am
(23) xyz says:

To fight against this issue, none of the indians should purchase any games with that company.

July 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(24) Jake says:

People in this world are to sensitive, people need to stop being offended by everything. Why someone would be offended by a video game is ridiculous. If someone portrays god(s) as evil or ugly or gorgeous or anything that does not match your interpretation you want to crucify them. Stop crying about hurt feelings, its the whiners who think everything in the world should be about unicorns and rainbows. Well it is not, suck it up and stop being a big baby. If I cried this much growing up my father would of looked at me, and smacked me across the face, and told me now you have something to cry about.

July 22, 2012 at 9:56 am
(25) Bollywood Movies says:

Hi friend your site have good information….i like your page…thanks for posting….Totally agree with your suggestion… Very nice post and good information here… Thanks for posting that…

July 25, 2012 at 3:56 am
(26) krishna says:

they should be punished……..

July 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm
(27) Jeff says:

It wouldn’t be fun to play as Jesus, what would he do? Any time Jesus dies, he is resurected 3 seconds after, at the spot he died. This effect can only occur once every 5 minutes. I WOULD TOALLY PLAY A JESUS HEALER.

August 23, 2012 at 8:38 am
(28) Pakistan Drama says:

Totally agree with your suggestion… Very nice post and good information here… Thanks for posting that…

September 4, 2012 at 3:56 am
(29) Abhi says:

Get over yourselves. I take my religion just as seriously as the next person, but if you cannot laugh at yourself you shouldn’t be a part of this conversation.

This game is not demeaning to our gods, it is simply a GAME. All of the offensive nature is derived from your own interpretation. By drawing attention to the fact that you are angry about this only fuels the fire, which in this case wasn’t even set in the fireplace before this whole issue.

I never heard ANYONE talk about the Hindu gods in a negative light with respect to this game until major Hindu leaders started to complain. Honestly, you have brought this upon us, not the game.

Now stop complaining and find something better to do.

September 19, 2012 at 4:35 am
(30) trolllll says:

lolll…. u ppl have nothing better to do, do u? fighting over how our gods were depicted in a game…. A GAME!!!!!!!
btw its a free game, so boycotting wont work

September 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm
(31) The Realist says:

Oh yes, and those nude statues of our beloved idols are perfectly fine? Grow up, get with this generation, the old days are gone. Sit in the dust if you will, but I take this a sign of respect to our hindu deity’s…. ( I played this game and beat every other god senseless with kali =-D )

September 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm
(32) lolwut says:

Has there been this much outrage before? Do you know Shiva has appeared in almost all of the final fantasy games donned in some sheathe gown and bra/bikini top.

September 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm
(33) GodAllahMuhammad says:

Don’t be ignorant. No one has rights to the images of fictional characters and they can do whatever they want. The provided example of there being many interpretations is more than enough. From the internet with love, this is your STFU.

September 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm
(34) Naman says:

Am an hindu too and will say the game rocks.
There is no offense in the gods.These stupid dont realize its just a game.There is no fun in it. I played it myself and Dont find anything that offended our gods.

September 30, 2012 at 6:58 am
(35) really says:

no because here she looks so humble http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali as you see in the picture the only thing that covers her breasts that’s her necklace and below, a couple of torn sheets. I’m sure that hi-rez didn’t meant to hurt. Stop searching things to be angry because of them its really stupid for real -_-

October 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm
(36) noname says:

the evil hemself its kali and such deitys, theres only a suppreme thing, I dont know his name, how he looks, or what he want of us, but I guess that he doesnt care about things that doesnt exist like Kali mata. cuz that distract ppl from the truth.

October 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(37) Jman says:

I’m an avid player of this game, and a Hindu too.

I see how ‘outsiders’ may look at this as offensive. However since I play it, this is what I’ve experienced and feel and its similar to what some have said above:

This game depicts the deities from various religions and beliefs and I have actually found myself more educated in who they are and what their history is (out of sheer curiosity). I’ve even learnt a few things about Hindu gods that I didn’t know before! These are all by-products of a perfectly harmless and thoroughly enjoyable game.

If anything, the Hindu gods in this game are pretty kick ass! Everyone that plays this game knows a little more about Hinduism and Hindu gods than they did before (even if it’s just knowing their names).

So really there’s no harm done. The only people that would see these gods are people that are playing this game.. and not even one player will tell you that they have seen or heard anything negative about any of the gods depicted.

November 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(38) just another post says:

i dont believe that the game is insolting anyone. As said before its only a game that people play to have fun. This is my official opinion.

As an atheist (former christian) i strongly believe that as the game progresses they should add more and more religions just to show some
nutralism against all deites (old and new).

Sadly there will always be people that get offended by these trivial matters and try to shut them down, there are numerus reason why they shouldnt. First of all if they remove hindu gods from the game it may shows respect to hindu worsipers but rather luck of freedom of speech. As far as i know many gods have been used for entertaining perpuses such as movies games and so on. You people wouldnt acuse of Indiana Jones disrespecting Kali even though She was introduced as pure evil. Smite has the decensy to give u detailed info about every god which is rather good if u consider the way the way holiwood treats them.

Kali is shown as a pornstar?????? You just make me laugh. Old religions like greek or hindu were showing gods like that (for examples go she statues wallpaintings and other stuff). There is an old saying that sais that there are not dirty words (or pictures in this case) but dirty minds.

That about sums it up.

ps. Sadly i dont think smite will add christian deities because The Church has too much power and unlike hinduism they can have influence over anything in this world from politicians to large companies.
(If you remember the movie Northern Lights which was scedualed as a trilogy but was canceled due to the fact that in the end god DIES.)

November 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm
(39) h says:

no harm intended

January 20, 2013 at 11:29 am
(40) NEEL says:

I think its Ok with lesser gods aka AADITYAS (Agni,,,for eg)
but prime gods must not be used in any games, komics or any other form of entertainment…and please if u respect urs (Jesus in that case i hope) then try to respect others…belief and feelings

January 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm
(41) Siddarth says:

I’m Hindu and excited. Why is everyone crying over a stupid video game portrayal of Hindu Gods ? Grow up, You are no different than Muslims protesting over Muhammad cartoons ! if you don’t like the game, Don’t let your kids play it, It’s called Freedom of Speech !!!

I know I will play the game, It sure looks fun ! I don’t think Kali, Vamana or Agni give a shit about people playing a stupid game.. Lol

February 15, 2013 at 1:22 am
(42) Dev says:

Gods and godessess of any religion should not be used for gaining money.It is so digusting.For some people it is very entertaining while others are commenting u should grow up.In the western countries there r so many foreigners who r not hindu but are worshipping hindu gods n goddesses.So y use of cartoon to make people aware of hindu deities.If Smite add jesus it will be very cheap not only 4 christian but for all the people who believe in gods.Kali maa is a very nice mother who has

February 15, 2013 at 2:06 am
(43) devi says:

Even for a money making business for me it is a very cheap entertaining factor.We should learn how to respect the faith of people whether he is a hindu, a christian or a muslim.People should grow up as sm said.I would say yes people should really grow. Don’t defame religion in the pursuit of money.

July 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(44) sushila says:

This is about being sensitive to people’s culture heritage etc.
In every situation, someone or other is going to be offended.

I think that since these are video games ie fantasy based, why not simply create made up fantasy names rather than use names attached to people’s culture religion history? It will also reinforce the
video game as being totally 100% original.

Thanks

August 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm
(45) Indian Dramas says:

I don’t know how to sew, but I <3 these maxi skirts. They inspire me to learn. I'll follow you as well. I'm sure you have many more amazing ideas! Thanks so much!

October 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm
(46) Squiglesman says:

I am an avid player of smite and I see where everyone who is angry is coming from but look up khali she is known to be naked and covered only by severed heads and arms they just changed that to silk. Not only that but i probably wouldn’t have cared or known much about Hindu gods if not for smite. This is just people being over sensitive again honestly whats the problem with portraying your gods being able to take on gods from other religions? If we stopped doing things for every person who had a problem nothing would get done cause there is ALWAYS someone who has a problem such as religions. They have problems with other religions cause it belays their beliefs so should we stop the christian religion because the Hindus believe something else? If you don’t like it then don’t play it simple as that.

October 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm
(47) david kolb says:

Indians have their gods on packages of the little cigarettes called beedies and cans of oil and other commercial products. Hindus should be pleased at the popularity of their deities
.

November 6, 2013 at 5:51 am
(48) karan says:

i love this game. and i am indian. it helps create awareness of our myths. and god and religion are personal things. if you think they did they bad to our gods then they should be punished or dead by our gods right? so are we praying to fake gods????

and i agree that kali thing was not too good. but i have one point, she is shown powerfull and if you see pictues of kali actually she is quite naked.

believes dont have value, facts do. if i start praying to poop god , then i am offended to toilets.

March 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm
(49) mohit says:

bahot ajeeb h
americans hamaari maa , devi maa ka apmaan kr rhe hain
or humari sarkar unke talwe chaat rhi h

March 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm
(50) Dev says:

The giant irony in all this is that the game actually portrayed them VERY accurately to their original mythos. More people have learned about Hindu goddesses because of this game then the education system. Even the seemingly ridiculous outfits are ironically more classy then what the goddesses in question are depicted wearing. And since they have changed the abilities and appearance of said goddess due to outrage it has made the goddesses in question more bland and generic.

The greatest thing about all this is that the game isn’t even marketed for children! You HAVE to own a decent computer to play, and not that many kids have the money to buy one.

March 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm
(51) Something or other says:

I think this is a case of people nit-picking , in today’s world everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. People are complaining because SMITE allows Gods to be controlled.But, remember the DEMOGRAPHIC , it is not aimed specifically at Hindu’s and is aimed at people who play the MOBA genre, as a new alternative with different , this is where people have gone overboard if you don’t like the game , or how it portrays stuff,there is a solution. It’s very simple ; DON’T BUY THE GAME. If you don’t like it there isn’t uch you can do because in being a religion the theologies aren’t trademarked and if they were that would cause EVEN MORE controversy because people would complain about owning gods.

May 8, 2014 at 3:19 am
(52) Alemeno says:

So teaching people about Hinduism is disrespecting the religion? From this article it is CLEAR that Hi-Rez studios is in fact appreciating the religion, and teaching people of it, rather than disrespecting it. With all due respect, Hi-Rez is praising the religion, making people more aware. This complaint is illogical, and the writer is clearly ignorant of the Hindu religion.

May 20, 2014 at 5:01 am
(53) I respect all religions says:

There is nothing wrong on how they designed siva in smite. According to to all sources and adaptations, Siva looks exactly as potrayed in the old scriptures and ancient art. Calm the heck down. There’s nothing wrong with siva! :p

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