Will Clarke's novel “Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles” has defamatory references to Lord Vishnu, his followers and Indian mythology in general.
The protagonist Travis Anderson refers to Lord Vishnu as the blue guy in the entire plot with little understanding of what the color means. Blue is the color of Lord Vishnu, which signifies his all-pervasive
nature. Blue is the color of the endless sky as well as the vast oceans on which he resides.
Travis has some sort of psychic power or remote viewing capacity, which enables him to detach himself from his conscious and travel to a location often very distant from his body. A private spying organization wants to utilize this potential of Travis and in turn help him evade IRS by paying off his huge taxes. Travis is scheduled to meet with an IRS agent at Lord Vishnu’s temple in Dallas, which by the way, he thinks is a church of some sort. The most apathetic text then follows when Travis remarks on Lord Vishnu’s paintings at the temple using the ‘F’ word and as a shirtless guy playing the flute. He comments about Lord Vishnu’s ‘love handles’ used for romancing a girl. [I will save you some pain and disgrace by not directly quoting from the novel]. To make things worse Travis further disrespects idol worship by comparing the
Aarti ritual as playing with dolls. He ineptly describes the
Alankarana of Lord Vishnu and Laksmi Devi as Mardi Gras outfits. He refers to the holy idols as ‘****’ dolls. Towards the end of the plot,
(Travis’) derogatory references to Lord Vishnu diminishes and he eventually saves the world using his psychic ability. The gist, from what I understand, is that a bad guy (alcoholic) turns good (sober) and starts to believe in the power of Lord Vishnu.
The plot of the story is well written but I am just shocked and sickened at the attitude of the author
in creating a character who talks about a religion and its supreme deity in this rude manner. It hurt me when I read the novel and it hurt me again to even rephrase the statements already published in the book. You don’t have to be a staunch religious person or even belong to this religion to become upset with this kind of defamation – anybody with
a conscience can feel the pain. Only a prejudiced, half educated and inconsiderate individual
could think of associating a deity with such lewd language. It doesn’t take an exceptional mind to understand that an ordinary man cannot see God and the idols represent the differentiated forms of God as described by great sages. The Rig-Veda, which is an ancient holy scripture, states that there is only one God and sages refer that God by many names. The idols represent the faith and fear of God; and several religions use idols to concentrate on God who is formless; and no ridicule can tarnish this fact.
I believe in freedom of speech; a freedom that doesn’t allow
you to hurt the religious sentiments of people belonging to other faiths. I hope the author and the publishers
will learn to uphold the constitutional rights of themselves and everybody else. The author’s website claims that this book would soon be a major motion picture, which I think, if made, should be very carefully portrayed without hurting any religious sentiments. I pray that our kids don’t get exposed to such offensive language and descriptions being associated with God and traditions-
be it of any religion or belief or country. I urge upon the authors and creators of characters whether in literature or art, to stop desecrating Gods and religious beliefs and help our future generations to confidently associate themselves with a religion or culture without losing respect for it.
PS – I do not write for a living. I admit that there possibly could be some inner depth and meaning in this novel which is beyond my levels of comprehension, so I ask you to be open-minded about this book. To me association of filthy language with God is immoral and this triggered me to pen down my thoughts and feelings. As a secular Indian, I respect every religion equally & I pray to God to let peace and harmony prevail in the world.
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