It would be nice if publishers clearly marked books with warnings such as, “We are trying to lure your children into the worship of demons.” Then good parents could easily avoid such books. Alas, that would impact book sales, wouldn’t it?
So, instead of “A Mickey Mouse Guide to Hinduism”, the actual title seems quite innocent: “A Very Special New Year – An Adventure in India”.
Sounds like good, clean fun, doesn’t it?
In fact, this book is not innocent at all. Young, unsuspecting readers are exposed to Hindu cultural practices, the Hindu holy day of Diwali, and a full color introduction to the Hindu deity Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and wife of the pagan cow-god Vishnu. All of these things are presented in a positive light, without any hint of criticism. And, of course, the numerous Christian churches in India are never mentioned.
The first hint of paganism comes in the form of a red dot which Hindu women commonly wear in the middle of their foreheads. It might be forgivable if this red dot were the book’s only passing reference to Hinduism. In this case, though, it is only the first introduction to Hinduism, eventually leading young readers into direct contact with a Hindu holy day and belief in a Hindu deity.
The red dot identifies a woman as a Hindu worshiper. They say that it represents their third eye of spiritual sight, which sees things the physical eyes cannot see.
According to ReligionFacts.com:
“The tilak (Sanskrit tilaka, “mark”) is a mark made on a Hindu’s forehead. On a man, the tilak takes the form of a line or lines and usually indicates his sectarian affiliation. On women, a tilak usually takes the form of a bindi dot, which has its own symbolism . . . A tilak is also applied by a priest during a visit to the temple as a sign of the deity’s blessing . . .”
The Hindu religion boasts numerous deities, one of the most popular being Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Lakshmi is worshiped especially during the Hindu festival of Diwali (sometimes spelled Divali). According to Wikipedia,
“The five day festival of Diwali begins on the day Lakshmi was born from the churning of a cosmic ocean of milk during the tug of war between the forces of good and forces of evil; the night of Diwali is the day Lakshmi chose Vishnu as her husband and then married him.”
During this time of Diwali, families come together, celebrate, and offer puja (prayers) to Lakshmi. According to this Mickey Mouse book, an entire village participates in a nighttime vigil, waiting for the arrival of the goddess:
“Tomorrow evening,” she whispered, “everyone will place golden oil lamps on their roofs and windowsills, so that Lakshmi will be able to find her way to every home.”
“Will we be able to see her?” Morty whispered back.
“No,” replied Chanda, “She visits only when everyone is sound asleep.”
Finally, children are presented with a full color illustration of the Hindu goddess, Lakshmi:
Is this the sort of book you would want your children to read?
Is this what we can expect from Disney?
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
This book is going in the trash.