Owner of Karma Club Responds to the Protest

Shree Srinivas Reddy posted the following response on our guestbook regarding the protest. We leave it to the readers of this site to judge his words.
I am one of the owners of Club Karma in Chicago and I would like a fair chance to respond. First, I would like to respond to the accusation that numerous attempts to reach me for my comments went unheralded. That, plainly put, is completely false. I have returned every phone call received on the subject promptly. First, all of you are passing judgement on something you have not viewed for yourself firsthand. You are all passing judgement on one person’s view of the place. Specifically, a student at Loyola University, Chicago–so much for anonymity–we know exactly who this was. I respect his opinion, however, I completely disagree with his posting of my home telephone number and address. I have no problems with receiving phone calls or mail at the club itself. So, first I ask anyone with comments to please try to reach me at the club.

Secondly, contrary to many comments, I am a devout Hindu who actively practices the religion, speaks our mother tongue, acted for many years in religious dramas reinacting our Bhagvad Gita. How many of you have read the Gita as I have from beginning to end? There five deities in the main level of the club consisting of Krishna, Bramha, Hanuman, Ganesha, and Nataraja. None, I repeat, none of the deities are in any remote type of compromising position. The Nataraja is on a 7 foot pedestal to the side of the dance floor (being the god of dance). The other deities are out of reach of any patron and are displayed up and away from people. These statues in no way add to our income at the club and actually cost a great deal of money to make. In other words, we’re not using these statues to profiteer. As for the name or concept of Karma, the concept transcends many religions. What shocks me is that this same person that posted my home address and telephone number brought his concerns to me and I had listened to his concerns. Instead of protesting the club himself, he showed up the following two weekends in a row. When asked, he said he only came because his friends were there. Some brilliant wholehearted protest, huh? We created club with a view of being educational. I can’t tell you the number of times that a non-Hindu asked why nataraja was dancing on a baby? It was this question that even prompted us to explain the significance of the nataraja on our opening weekend invite. For those of you who don’t know–nataraja is dancing on a demon baby symbolizing ignorance.

The other issue one of the e-mails brought up was would Christians allow Christ or the Virgin Mary in such an establishment. For one, the small section of the mixed media collage that is posted on this site only shows pictures of Indian deities, however, (conveniently omitted) right next to this section of the bar are sections of collage depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary, Buddha and other religions. I have not heard any outcry from those denominations? Is that Hinduism places too much emphasis on idol worship? Maybe, we as a religion should place much more emphasis on the ideals and beliefs of Hinduism instead of the idols we have chosen to represent them. I invite anyone to please, when in Chicago, give us a call and visit Karma, not to spend a dime at our establishment but to be fair and pass your own firsthand judgement. I thank you for your time

Srinivas Reddy
Chicago, IL USA – Friday, October 03, 1997 at 19:19:03 (EDT)