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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. Jumphigh

    One day every tongue will confess He is God...one day EVERY knee will bow!
    I promise one day you will remember this comment and wish with all your heart you had turned to Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father except through Him.

    January 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Cindy

      Amen.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bigot

      Lol. Delusional...but that is your right I guess

      January 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i can surly say this with confidence; i shall never bow to the tyrant again.

      I am the truth, the love, and the knife

      he is not the creator he is only a narcissistic sociopath, he prefers only to take created for others work so you may flatter him, he knows no humility, and is prone to only to vanity. he is destruction, lies and hatred. and seeks to destroy this wonderful world. so i say this: Death to Yahweh, and death to his avatars and vassals.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Zingo

      So your soul has knees?

      January 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • sam

      I have a bad knee, will it be okay if I just sort of curtsey?

      January 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • heliocracy

      All will bow to the mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, for there is no other. It's true because it's written in a book. I feel sorry for you who do not believe.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @heliocracy
      "All will bow to the mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, for there is no other. It's true because it's written in a book.
      I feel sorry for you who do not believe."
      ... or have bad knees.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Jumphigh
      "One day every tongue will confess He is God...one day EVERY knee will bow"

      That really sounds much more like something that your megalomaniacal "Satan" character would demand and groove on...

      January 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  2. FU

    More free toilet paper.

    January 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      have you noticed why you or your wife has black bung hole ? let me tell you why, people print Bibles, Gitas, Qurans with cheap water based black inks, goon

      January 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  3. darte

    My post "Religions see it as a way to proselytize, I see it as backup toilet paper." was removed. I don't know why, it was the truth.

    January 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  4. Reality

    And printed using lower caste slave labor!!!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    January 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  5. jo

    I support adding a copy of Bill Maher's DVD....Religulious (something like that)....you watch it before you read the books...if you still believe you just laugh at Bill....

    January 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  6. Brian

    Grimm's fairy tales should be included.

    January 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  7. BeenBrain-washedLately?

    "How To Avoid Bedbugs" might be a more fitting and pertinent read!

    January 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • tb63

      And crabs.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • jo

      Yes...let's get creative and prolific....choices...

      January 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  8. dave p

    islam foundation of u s,
    you haters... you only know to hate everybody.
    Hinduism teachs you how to get inner peace. gita does not tell you which religion you should follow.
    you hate all other religion but islam, you guys dont have wider knowledge of human life.
    i love gita.

    January 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Inner peace is in love, submission to truth absolute, Lord of universe, not hindrance to truth absolute by hindu's, ignorant s, by over dose of cannabis HEM, way of every hindu ignorant seeks inner peace being aloof of truth absolute of life. Way of hindu sanatans, ignorant shamans to preach inner peace.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • heliocracy

      My made-up fairy tale is true, but your made-up fairy tale is clearly false. How do I know? My parents told me so, then I read it in a book they gave me.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  9. Scott

    NOTE! If Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., want to place copies of their holy books in hotels and motels, then so long as the hotel/motel's owner is O.K. with it ... GREAT!

    When I say in the article: ... International Society for Krishna Consciousness ... my first thought was, Hare Krishna's? Yup, the wack jobs that use to hang out in airport terminals making a nuisance of themselves. If you were in a military uniform these freaks would zero right in on you. UGH!

    Scott

    January 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Scott

      ... correction. The first sentence should have read: When I saw the in the article ....

      January 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • jo

      Tulsa Gabbard from Hawaii is a member of the Hare Kirshna....soon we'll have every religion represented....I think that is good.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Tulsi Gabbard.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      More importantly, she's a smoking hottie.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Bunch of pot smoking hindu's, punks.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • heliocracy

      I'd much rather hang out with pot smokers than people who pull out a little rug to pray five times a day, and have no sense of humor whatsoever.

      January 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • jaga

      lol...yeah, I don't know why, maybe those in the military are more respectful, or more aware of their mortality, but they always seemed to take books more than the general populace.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Warren

      You [Scott] just fallaciously made a generalization about hundreds of millions of hindus based off of a few people you saw at the airport once. Wow. Go shove your face in a bible so that I may no longer hear you.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  10. Jim

    Torah, The Koran, Book of Mormon, Mein Kampf, 50 Shades of Grey, ... The list will grow as everyone demand their 2 cents. Maybe hotels should just have some tablet or Kindle-like device there with whatever book a guest wants to read. Will save some trees.

    January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Bibles and The Bhagavad-Gita are free. Kindles aren't.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Ken

      Now I like that idea.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  11. Grim

    It doesn't really matter what religion/faith you follow, the core idea behind them all remains the same, woman are subservient, and that alone shows they were all created by men, and of course the super-being overlord behind them all (much like the Wizard of Oz) is a male. Surprise, surprise.
    So dust off those ancient texts written by wise men (who thought the world was flat) and..........
    BOW!
    YIELD!
    KNEEL!
    AND, GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!

    January 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jay The Christian and Jew Loving Hindu

      Hi Grim
      Hinduism is a religion that has many gods – The Gods are not to be taken literally but each one teaches some lesson.
      One of the most important deities in Hinduism is Lakshmi – She is the goddess of Good Fortune.
      Contrary to what you may hear / see / read - go into any Hindu Temple and look straight down the middle. You can't miss her.

      Please dont spread this falsehood. Open your eyes, let the hate go, and find me. I'll buy you lunch and share some good stories.

      Peace Brother.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Please count count your fingers after shaking hand with a hindu, crook.

      January 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  12. Freethinker Seeking Reason

    How about a copy of The God Delusion in every hotel room? That would surely free some enslaved minds.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Amazon

      Sure, why don't you cough up some money for it instead of posting free comments

      January 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  13. quantumelf

    Too bad a tome for the hotel rooms isn't coming soon that points out the irrationality of all the currently distributed ones.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      An atheist group is starting a tax deductible fund to furnish free copies of "The God Delusion" to hotels that ask for it. You can log on and donate at www. likethatsevergoingtohappen.com

      January 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  14. LIsaM

    Cool. I'll read it.

    Seems fair enough. While we're at it, let's add those prayers and Muslim prayers to classrooms... oh, and if you're Christian and just read that and are upset (and I know some true Christians are ok with that) then you know how I feel when some Christians try to cram their religion down my, and everyone else's, throat.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  15. Eric

    I guess soon we'll have a mini-library in hotel rooms. Other religions are interesting though. For instance, Jainism has the "10 commandments" beat with a much superior and concise guide to living a moral life:

    "Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being."

    January 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What's so bad about insulting people?

      January 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam

      Come to think of it, insult is pretty broad. I mean, some people end up insulted over every little thing.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  16. Laurel

    For the record, I had a copy of The Principles Of Budaism in a hotel in Chicago about 14 years ago...

    January 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  17. Paul

    Why not just reading entertainment

    January 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Sandy

      A copy of the Kama Sutra would be handy...

      January 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Only if you're flexible. Otherwise it's an accident waiting to happen.

      January 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • LIsaM

      Sandy, Rational... LOL, yep.

      January 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • sunflower2

      Sandy and Libertarian, you gave me the best laugh for the day! Thanks for the chuckle.... LOL

      January 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's no joke. I tried a position once and my backed seized up. I was walking like Quasimodo for a month. Since then, missionary only, although I treat myself to a reverse cowgirl on my birthday.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      How do you do that to yourself? I require the assistance of The Wife.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • JeramieH

      > I was walking like Quasimodo for a month.

      How do you explain that to people?

      January 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      My girlfriend usually joins in although I bet I'll be able to do it to myself after several more advanced Yoga sessions.

      Jeramie
      Honestly.

      January 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  18. cwgmpls

    The InterContinental Hotels Group has replaced all of the Bibles in their hotels with Kindles that come pre-loaded with various holy books, as well as wifi connection so the guest can download and read any book they want. Sounds like a better idea than trying to turn the nightstand into a mini library.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  19. FreeFromTheism

    Can't wait to see what happens when an Islamic non-profit, well-meaning group proposes the same.
    Instead of removing religious texts, here are people trying to add more of them. Either way, who doesn't like fiction, eh?

    January 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • sunflower2

      Unfortunately, if that happens there will be a lot of small fires in bathroom trashcans and clogged toilets.......

      January 15, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  20. Tina

    Hinduism is a way of life. One does not convert to Hinduism, there is no conversion rites. You lead the Hindu way of life.
    Gita is book on soul searching, it answers you most basic question on "Who am I". It does not preach you to follow a certain God. God in Geeta is YOU, the god with in YOU. Kirishna narrates Gita to Arjuna (a warrior). Hindus worship teachers, because they impart knowledge and in the same sense Krishna is worshiped.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • rod

      Tina, can I trust the "god" with in you? Who is he?

      January 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
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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.