Man-donna: I'm not a Hindu, and it's not against my spiritual beliefs
to watch t.v. (including Music Television), and let me tell you, you
were still wrong to use the Hindu garb in your televised performances.
So where's your snappy comeback to that?
Stop using religion to hype yourself, to get free press. It's reprehensible
to use other people's religious beliefs for music video fodder and
to maintain or to change your public image. There's nothing cute,
endearing, or trendy about it.
answers criticism of her sexually charged performance at MTV Video
Writer Gil Kaufman
Madonna issued a brief but pointed response to a Hindu organization's
condemnation of what it called her "sacrilegious" performance
of a song at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 10.
In addition to
suggesting that the Hindu group, the World Vaishnava Association,
was being hypocritical in their attack on her, the ex-Material Girl
questioned its representative's choice of television viewing.
of purity and divinity is non-judgment," Madonna said in the
statement. "They should practice what they preach."
so pure," Madonna continued, "why are they watching MTV?"
The response followed
equally chilly remarks from a representative of the World Vaishnava
Association, which earlier this week criticized the controversial
singer for either misunderstanding or misusing the significance of
wearing a Tilak facial adornment during her performance at the video
the WVA protested Madonna's use of the sacred Eastern Tilak as imagery
in her sexually charged performance, which opened the awards ceremony.
said Madonna's use of "Vaishnava Tilak" facial markings,
which are traditionally worn with gravity and sincerity as an expression
of devotion to the Hindu Supreme Lord, was inappropriate due to the
sexual, provocative nature of the singer's performance, which included
her bumping and grinding with retro-rocker and guitarist Lenny Kravitz.
The WVA also reportedly
objected to the singer's use of henna marriage markings on her hands,
as she gyrated in a sexually suggestive manner and wore clothing through
which her nipples were clearly visible.
the vice president of the WVA, Swami B.V. Tripurari, countered the
earlier comments and gave his blessing to the singer's performance.
"The Hindu community and Eastern spiritual seekers the world
over should be happy for Madonna personally, in terms of her genuine
interest in enlightened life, and grateful to her for her sincere
efforts to attract others to the same."
at the awards show began innocently enough, with the singer dressed
in traditional Indian garb, including a black sari and colorful face
East Asian dancers, she performed a subdued version of the hymn-like
song "Shanti/Ashtangi" (RealAudio excerpt), from her hit
album Ray of Light, which includes several songs that deal with what
the singer has called her recent spiritual rebirth. In typical Madonna
fashion, things started to get raunchy as soon as she launched into
the more uptempo title track (RealAudio excerpt) from Ray of Light,
during which she stripped to black dress pants and a sheer white tank-top
and engaged in a sultry bump-and-grind dance with Kravitz.
On Monday, Ray
Goff, a director of the Mandala Publishing Group, the organization
that provided Madonna with one of the backdrops for the performance,
defended the artist's choice of stage props and costumes. "We
are happy to have supplied Madonna with the image that she used at
the recent MTV awards," Goff said.
The image, a woman
with four hands playing a guitar, entitled "Sarasvati, Goddess
of the Arts," is from the book "Form of Beauty," a
copy of which Goff said Mandala gave to Madonna.
The WVA's Tripurari
is one of the directors of the Mandala Publishing Group, which publishes
books and artwork pertaining to Vedic and Hindu religious subjects.
that while the Hindu community should be thankful for Madonna's interest
in a spiritual life, her use of popular music and dance in such pursuits
is potentially controversial, given her influence on her millions
of fans. "Thus a rather small and conservative group of Hindus
has criticized her performance in terms of its sensual appearance,"
He added that
he does not entirely agree with such criticism, which he felt bypassed
the "very heart of spiritual pursuit."
spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, reportedly offered her own response to
the latest criticism of the singer, who has also run afoul of the
Catholic Church in the past for her controversial melding of sacred
and suggestive images.
that No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani has modeled henna markings during
recent public appearances, while wearing such skimpy outfits as the
blue bikini she sported at the MTV event, Rosenberg was quoted in
the New York Daily News as asking, "Why don't they pick on her?"
[Nice of you to inadvertently admit, Madonna, that you were
ripping off Stefani regarding the Hindu trappings]