"Asura's Wrath," a popular Hindu-themed action adventure video game has come under criticism from Hindus in the United States for trivializing the religion and its concepts.
The hack and slash adventure game is full of vendetta and uncontrollable anger. It's a blend of Hindu elements and science fantasy.
The video game shows Durga (who gets murdered) as the wife of Asura. In Hinduism, Durga is revered as 'Adi Shakti' or the original power and destroyer of evil, who vanquished buffalo-demon Mahisasura, to free Heaven and Earth from his terror.
In "Asura's Wrath," Asura is depicted as a hero. The game also features refashioned Hindu concepts and symbols of Brahmastra (Brahma's missile, which appeared in Epics), Mantra (Vedic hymn) and Naraka (hell).
In a statement, the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, said in Nevada, U.S., that "such trivializing and reimagining of highly revered symbols and concepts of Hinduism was not okay as it was upsetting for the devotees."
Urging the video-game developers to refrain from unnecessarily dragging Hinduism for mercantile greed, he said developers were welcome to use Hinduism-related themes, but the information should be based on its actual ancient texts. Religion is one of the most complex and powerful force of human life, so it should be taken seriously.
According to Zed, "freedom of expression was important, but faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video-games developers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people and thus seriously affected the outlook and thought process of our next generation."
Zed noted that unless the developers could accurately and authentically deliver religious imagery and symbolism, they should not unnecessarily delve into religion. Entertainment is the prime purpose of video-games and so it must be tough for developers to do justice to religion and treat it fairly or provide it with the real depth it needs. Zed further opined that video games were not an appropriate platform to discuss God seriously and adds to more confusion in young minds about the already misunderstood area.
Zed stated that the video-games industry was, however, welcome to use religious ideas, but prudently and with a thought for the sentiments of the devotees. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly provide genuine seekers from video-games industry the resources they needed for their study and research regarding Hinduism.
Recently released "Asura's Wrath", heavily-infused with Hindu themes, is published by Capcom (headquarter Osaka, Japan), developed by CyberConnect2 (headquarter Fukuoka, Japan), directed by Seiji Shimoda and produced by Kazuhiro Tsuchiya for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms.