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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Taylor Swift trivializes sacred Hindu doctrine of ‘karma’

Hindu devotees, upset about Taylor Swift’s new song “Karma”, are seeking an apology from her for trivializing their serious and ancient religious doctrine of karma, calling it highly inappropriate.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that genuine seekers and devotees took the concept of karma very seriously; but Swift irreverently trivialized it for her mercantile or self-serving agenda; handling it frivolously; and equating karma with a boyfriend, cat purring on the lap, guy on the screen, breeze in hair, etc.; and included a lot of cursing in the “Karma” song.

Doctrine of karma had been pervasive in Hindu thought for thousands of years and found expression in ancient Hindu scriptures like BrhadaranyakaChandogya– Shvetashvatara and other UpanishadsBhagavad-GitaPuranasDharmasastraShatapatha Brahmana; and various sages delved into it. But Swift handled it very flippantly without any regard to the feelings of devotees; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated.

We welcome Swift’s belief in karma, which seems like having a colossal place in Swift’s cosmos; but she should have handled the concept more appropriately, responsibly and thoughtfully; giving due respect to the emotions of Hindus spread worldwide, who take karma very seriously. Even Sri Krishna in ancient Bhagavad-Gita talks about karma yoga, the active path of selfless service; Rajan Zed emphasized. 

Singers-songwriters should not be in the business of trivializing serious spiritual concepts. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols, and thus hurting the devotees; Zed noted. 

He further said that Hindus welcomed the entertainers to immerse in Hindu Dharma and create projects about/around Hindu doctrines; but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning/redefining Hindu Dharma’s concepts and symbols, as mentioned in the scriptures, for personal agendas. Moreover, any misrepresentation also created confusion among non-Hindus about Hindu Dharma. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly help if industry needed any assistance in exploring Hindu Dharma, Zed added. 

Zed pointed out that Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it displayed callousness towards the feelings of adherents.

Lyrics of “Karma” include: “karma is my boyfriend”, “karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend”, “karma is a cat purring in my lap…flexing like a goddamn acrobat”, “karma is the guy on the screen”, etc.

 “Karma” is track 11 on “Midnights”, the tenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 21 via Republic Records. Her online store is selling “KARMA is my boyfriend” (Cropped Ringer t-shirts) for $40 each.

-by Rajan Zed

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