Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…


April 20th, 2009 by

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism has come forward to request that tattoo artists learn the basics regarding the Sanskrit language and to study and research the philosophy behind the Hindu culture itself.

The request came shortly after the discovery that singer Rihanna’s Sanskrit tattoo, which was supposed to read “forgiveness, honesty, suppression and control” was misspelled.  Zed placed particular emphasis on those in the tattoo industry coming to some sort of educational co-operation with the Hindu community, in order to better understand the religion and its Sanskrit alphabet.

While Rajan Zed’s wishes are understandable, in reality, it just isn’t going to happen.  The inherent flaw of such a request is that it’s not the artists who should be studying Hinduism and the Sanskrit alphabet, it’s the responsibility of the people getting the tattoo to actually know what they are getting tattooed on to their flesh.  A tattoo artist is there to provide the service that the customer pays for.  While it is arguable to say that because this is the case, the artist should know what he/she’s offering to their customers, the fact remains that it just isn’t their responsibility.  When the artist gives you that last look at the stencil before they start inking it in, you should know what you’re getting in to.

Maybe it’s easier for me to say this because I would never get a tattoo that wasn’t in a language that I could speak and/or read.  And maybe it’s not overly practical to suggest that people learn the language simply because they like the look of its script.  It does make sense however, to believe that in the end, your tattoo is exactly that: YOURS.  If you want to follow in the footsteps of the numerous Hollywood celebrities who’ve had their own Sanskrit tattoos done, look into what you want to get and make sure you know exactly what it means and what it looks like.  It’s that simple, really.  Not that I’m knocking Hinduism or suggesting that people don’t look into its philosophies and what not, but if studying a religion isn’t your thing and you want to avoid a Rihanna style mistake, it’s probably a good idea to research your tattoo before committing to it.

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