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Hindu holy book coming to a nightstand near you
January 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Hindu holy book coming to a nightstand near you

By Jordan Hultine, CNN

CNN–It’s about to get crowded in your hotel room nightstand.   The newest addition could soon be  a sacred Hindu text called the Bhagavad-Gita.

The Bhagavad-Gita is literally translated as “song of God” and is a discussion between Lord Krishna and his student, Arjuna, on revealing one’s spiritual identity and a relationship with God, says Vaisesika Dasa, founder and president of the Motel Gita project, the group behind the effort.

Motel Gita, with the help of a Hindu nonprofit, has distributed approximately 150,000 copies of the Bhagavad-Gita to 1,100 hotels and motels. Dasa said their goal is to place at least 1 million books to, “provide solace to traveling souls by giving them spiritual knowledge.”

The idea for the project came to Dasa after seeing the positive effect the Bible has had on hotel guests for many years he said. Dasa partnered with Milan Doshi and Dilip Patel, who has been involved in the hotel industry for more than three decades. They started by distributing Bhagavad-Gitas to hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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At first they worried guests and hotel owners wouldn’t accept the books, but Dasa said, “we quickly found that prominent motel owners whole-heartedly welcomed and supported this program and that their guests were appreciating finding the Gita.”

Support grew from there with the help of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKC) around the United States, Canada and Britain. ISKC is a nonprofit network of more than 500 temples, schools and communities whose members donate money for numerous outreach programs, including the Motel Gita. The group also recruited their members to help deliver the Gitas to interested hotels.

There are an estimated 1.79 million Hindus in the United States, according to The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. More than 1 billion around the world, making Hinduism the world's third-largest faith after Christianity and Islam.

The Asian-American Hotel Owners Association reports their 11,000 members, predominantly Indian-American, own more than 20,000 hotels in the United States.  Dasa said that definitely helps their cause. Hindus make up roughly 80 percent of the population in India with an estimated 974 million believers, according to the The Pew Forum.

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Manu Patel is the owner of a Days Inn hotel in Salem, Oregon. He requested the Gitas for his hotel and says the response has been very positive. “We have many customers come to the front desk and ask for a copy to take home,” he told CNN.

Jitu Ishwar owns four hotels in Ukiah, California. He said he often sees guests reading the Gitas they found in their rooms while eating breakfast in the lobby.

Ishwar said God has given him a lot and this is his way of saying thank you.

“Bhagavad-Gita provides depth of knowledge not easily accessible to people in the Western countries. The concept of spiritualism, nature and God described in this holy book should be shared for the benefit of all humanity,” he said.

The Gita’s nightstand companion, the Bible, is usually placed in a hotel by The Gideons International. Their members are identify as evangelicals, and according to their mission statement they are “dedicated to saving the lost through personal witnessing and the distribution of God’s Word in more than 190 countries around the world.”

The Gideons report they have handed out more than 1.7 billion Bibles around the world since 1908.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Hinduism • Uncategorized

soundoff (610 Responses)
  1. srinitai

    ISKCON not ISKC

    October 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Science

    The talking snkae lost

    EVOLUTION IN A TEST TUBE Jan. 30 2013

    News Release

    3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

    University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

    Thanks Doc.

    February 5, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  3. Ishwar Das

    I m glad the Bhagvad Gita is made available. It is a book for Humanity. The concept of God in Gita is one that is for all living creatures from plants, living organisms, animals to humans. All are God's creation and all deserve love and effection. The Gita represents such loving concept of God not one that shows ego on part of God where he will put you in hell fire or punish you for not following his guidance. God cannot have such EGO.

    Gita however is complex book and cannot esily be understood the first time you read or the 10th time. There is always something you learn each time. I hope those who read it find it useful and brings them more closer to Humanity and Peace.

    January 28, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      How are plants supposed to read this again?

      February 5, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  4. SoldierOfConscience

    No devil will make me say Ommm or do yoga. This should be banned.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Satan

      Drop and give me twenty soldierof looneyville

      January 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • WeAllNeedGuru

      99% of humanity needs religion. So the question of of the human race adopting an atheist world view is pure fantasy and delusion. If you agree with the preceding statement, then what religion do you want the human race to follow? The Abrahamic Faiths are driving divisiveness and hatred around the world. They set us apart into Balkanized, xenophobic metaphysical enclaves. This is a blueprint for hell on earth, which we see in the news every day. Devotees of the Abrahic Faiths are afraid to expand their spiritual awareness. Well - read Bhagavad Gita. You'll be amazed. You'll see God in a new light, and will gain a greater understanding of man and man's place in the universe. Also good are Sikh Sri Guru Granth Sahib and teachings of Buddha.. all show you the path, true understanding. Read Bhagavad Gita, you cowards, but until then keep your ignorace to yourselves.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  5. Trojan

    I like to put used condoms in the drawer with the holy roller book.

    January 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  6. Tim

    Surely, the answer isn't to promote another book of violent fiction everywhere. A better read would be God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

    January 17, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The book written by the scion of slaveholders?

      January 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  7. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Fly me to the Sun with Torah.

    January 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  8. You know what would be funny

    If someone left a ouija board in a hotel. Too many people would be freaked out by it.

    January 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • You know what would be funny

      Again, it's something that would be hilarious to me, but I know not everybody feels the way I do.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, that'd be kind of funny. Someone just needs to claim it's a core part of their religion necessary to comfort lone travellers who want to talk to their dead ancestors.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Spectrophiliac

      There's nothing better than going to a cheap motel with a ouija board.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • chihuahua

      Leave a half eaten burrito next to babble in drawer so that next person to stay in room will be gross out.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  9. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    American brand hotels in Saudi Arabia carries only Koran.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  10. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    fly me to the moon with Bhagavad-Gita.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  11. lindaluttrell

    Why keep ANY religious materials in hotels??? If you're devout enough, you'd probably carry your own...

    January 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think the idea from a Christian perspective is to provide solace to those Christians who don't carry their own bibles (I know quite a few Christians and I doubt they carry bibles) and maybe are lost or in trouble and to offer conversion to others. Roughly the same probably goes for other books. From their perspective it proseems to make sense. If I had a hotel I wouldn't want any religious books in it (except maybe in some sort of free lending library with other books) but it doesn't seem irrational from their perspectives.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  12. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    koran is consti tution of America.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  13. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Koran is environmental friendly.

    January 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • ohil

      bro quran is a hate book with 164 hateful verses against non muslims...

      July 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  14. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    keep Korans too

    January 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Korans are usually on cheaper paper than bibles, so they tend to burn a little too fast on the spliffs.

      January 15, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • wejie

      100% guarantee of fake Muslims posters.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • wejie Sr

      my son and grandson gives 100% money back guarantee that ISLAM FOUNDER is a fake muslim.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  15. wejie

    100% guarantee of fake Muslims posters.

    January 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.