The Universal Society of Hinduism wants its deities out of Smite.
The Universal Society of Hinduism is once again up in arms over a videogame, this time Smite, a multiplayer game that pits gods from various pantheons against one another in online arena combat. The game is currently in closed beta, with five gods – Artemis, Ra, Kali, Ymir and Sun WuKong – available for free, while others may be unlocked through gameplay or microtransactions. Developer Hi-Rez Studios says it plans to continue adding new gods to the game throughout the beta period and after release.
But Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, wants Hindu gods like Kali taken out of the game. He said that their inclusion in a videogame trivializes the deities and that controlling them with a gamepad or keyboard “denigrates” them and the faith of Hindus. Hindu gods are meant to be worshiped in temples and at shrines, he said, and not reduced to mere characters in games.
But it sounds like Zed is going to be disappointed. “Smite includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse. Hinduism, being one of the world’s oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game,” said Hi-Rez Chief Operating Officer Todd Harris. “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.”
This isn’t the first time the Universal Society of Hinduism has waded into the videogame fray. Zed made similar comments in March, when he criticized Asura’s Wrath for “trivializing” Hindu gods and upsetting devotees. Then, and now, Zed invited the industry to “immerse” itself in Hinduism, but only if it did so “seriously and respectfully.”
Source: Alpharetta-Milton Patch