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. just wondering

    will that bring the social success that is india to America?

    January 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • hemuda

      It took America more than 200 years to have civil rights for black and woman. India is much more evolved democracy in her 70 years than USA could have ever imagined. So much of hatred in mind with prejudice is expected of ignorant who think there is no world outside USA. Hindus as people are much more tolerating of minority than Christian can ever be. The only thing that prevent from hatred in America from spilling over is the law and order. If you take that out Americans would become zombies against minorities of this country.

      January 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  2. Banjo Ferret

    Tim the Destroyer of Worlds would also approve of removing all religious texts and replacing them with physics textbooks. But of course, each textbook cover should be stamped with the Tweet According to Tim. (banjoferret d c)

    January 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Banjo Ferret

    What is this nonsense? Ferretianism is the one true religion! Tim the Destroyer of Worlds demands that the Tweet According to Tim be engraved on every hotel nightstand! Repent! (banjoferret d c)

    January 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Wally the Tap-Dancing Mime Wombat

      Verily the scriptures verily state most verily, with a side of verily with verily sauce on it, that Wombatism is the twue weligion. Oh dawn, got those w's stuck again.

      January 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  4. Mohammad A Dar

    I think they should provide fiction books too, next to religious books, I suggest Hotel, Airport by Arthur Hailey

    January 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Ash

      @Mohammad: Alright dude,with all due respect, muslims are not allowed in this debate, okay!!!

      January 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Ash or Ass?

      January 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  5. Sam Yaza

    nothing against my Hindu brethren or lord Krishna, but the point is to remove the bible from hotels and motels not to add a different book. but if you really want to go this direction i would like to add

    Drawing down the moon i would like to use some of our real holy text but they are ether in the Vatican vault or in ashes.

    January 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Badda Bing

    Christians are far more likely to look at porn in their hotel room than the Bible. And honestly, the phone book is a better read.

    January 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Are you kidding? The Old Testament is one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever written.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Badda Bing

      Fiction? Yes, definitely.

      Best? Sure, if you are into fiction that alternates between ridiculous (what happened), repulsive (what god did), and boring (all of it).

      January 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Murder, betrayal, lust, r.ape (if that gives you your kicks), war, genocide. It has everything.

      January 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Badda Bing

      Maybe so, but God sure was a bad writer. He had all those cool elements and wove them together into a tapestry of boredom!

      January 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    The inner realms of the celestial and cellular cosmologies are of atomized cosmological symmetries. Without the atomic realms there could be no celestial let alone cellular realms. We are the bi-products of both the atomized and celestial cosmologies. The cellular divisions of all celestially placed megalithic life are from each and every generational quagmire of fractionalized life essences eventually befalling into the celled embodiments of mankind's arrival.

    Think precipitously upon the arrivals of humanisms as being evolution's last fruit. Though the veils of Life itself is adorned with many traits, the character trails are trials for many fruited humanistic revelations and many are to gain sanctimonies of perspective perceptions routed ways. Thoughts dare dwell upon things known and even not yet to be rationally known in fulfillments perspective perceptions. We are as slaves of resourcefulness issuances guided and gently nudged along life's faltering paths and ways.

    Lettuce Love,
    Let US Love.
    God's Oldest Dreamer

    January 12, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  8. Origin of Life

    Origin of Life: Just add WATER !!!
    Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

    Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway - which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells - has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

    January 12, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Bostontola

      Thanks for the reference.

      January 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Origin of Life

      Again your welcome.
      I like the date too.
      Dec. 20, 2012

      January 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  9. TruthPrevails :-)

    A Hide The Bible in motel rooms thing has been going on for awhile now, we can just add to it the Hide A Bhagavad-Gita.

    January 12, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  10. tnfreethinker

    Cool! Now I'll have to change the name of my favorite hotel game. 'Hide the Bible' is now 'Hide all religious texts'

    January 12, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • End Religion

      I prefer to annotate the gibberish. It can be challenging with the space constraints.

      January 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  11. vlaughlin

    I have read the Bhaghavad Gita for my Hinduism classes in college. It is a great text. I am glad to see other religions besides Christianity endorsed by hotels. I look forward to the next time I stay in a hotel in hopes of finding the Gita there. I will probably take the time to read it.

    Also, I am not Hindu, but I graduated with a degree in religious studies. These sorts of things fascinate me.

    January 12, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • telveer

      Just download the ebook. paper books are so yesterday

      January 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Is it about talking serpents, fratricide, incest, murder, genocide, betrayal, adultery and more adultery, hubris, virgins giving birth, dead people who don't stay dead? The bible is such a ripping good read I'm really looking for a sequel.

    January 12, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • cigarlover

      Well not such things... may be war, lots of it.
      But its one of a better text, as it has more logic and concept of "karm yogi", meaning do what is right and expected of you, even if the path is filled with thrones, stuff like that.

      January 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  13. Quip

    If all these hindus took care of the poor in India, India would be a much better place free of poverty, starvation and child slavery. What profit is it when your people are suffering and you are distributing books????

    January 12, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Hinduism has always supported social division through the caste system. What do you do to help the poor of India?

      January 12, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • It is Called

      Power of the dollar = G factor (greed)

      January 12, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Economies and many key industrial processes are based

      Oil Gold Water

      OIL & GOLD around 200 million years after earth formed.

      Were Does All Earth's Gold Come From? NOT G-od
      Precious Metals the Result of Meteorite Bombardment, Rock Analysis Finds

      Sep. 9, 2011 — Ultra high precision analyses of some of the oldest rock samples on Earth by researchers at the University of Bristol provides clear evidence that the planet's accessible reserves of precious metals are the result of a bombardment of meteorites more than 200 million years after Earth was formed.

      Dr Willbold continued: "Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion tonnes of asteroidal material."

      January 12, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The world would end tomorrow if people stopped being greedy.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Oubliette

      @Quip: Rational Libertarian is correct. Most Indians engage in some kind of charity, even though it doesn't bring everyone out of grinding poverty. In fact most religious people, that is to say, most people in the world, follow admonitions to show charity to the less fortunate. It is atheists who predominantly absent themselves from such charitable giving, since they don't believe in the God or gods who told you to "do unto others as you would have done unto you." In their minds, they are not part of the problem, and therefore are not required to be part of the solution. They rise above the petty concerns of whacko religionists.

      Besides, all religious preacher do is beg for money! If there was a God, churches wouldn't need all that money to take care of the sick and homeless, God would do so directly. See?

      January 12, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You missed my point entirely. Poverty exists because of Hinduism, it supports it.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Oubliette

      @ Rational – no, I got your point. That's why I wrote:

      "In their minds, they are not part of the problem, and therefore are not required to be part of the solution."

      January 12, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • It is Called

      The world would end tomorrow if people stopped being greedy.

      Not but the g-od factor would go away.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The god thing would probably magnify if anything. People get desperate when they have nothing and religion is the ultimate desperation.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Oubliette

      @RL – thats one way to look at religion. Another way is that it is the ultimate hope and that a belief in nothingness is the ultimate desperation.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      There can be a fine line between hope and desperation. Also, you seem smart enough not to equate atheism with nihilism.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • It is Called

      Hopefully not and common sense takes over.

      Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Oubliette

      @RL agreed on the fine line.

      And I am smart enough not to equate atheism with nihilism. That's why I didn't. No mention of atheism in that combox. That said, atheism lends itself to nihilism, just like religion lends itself to belief in a reality that is beyond absolute scientific conclusions.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      There are an infinite number of things that currently lend themselves to a belief in a reality that is beyond current scientific conclusions.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Oubliette

      @RL – Hmm! Maybe those infinite other things are on to something?

      January 12, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I doubt it.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • It is Called

      Earth’s timeline Fact
      Trace our planet's geological and biological ages

      January 12, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Oubliette

      And the subject of your sentence was "I"

      Knowing how limited your knowledge is, and mine for that matter, I wouldn't place too much stock in one persons hunch's.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No, but I would and do place a lot of stock on empirical evidence and scientific discovery.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Oubliette

      And I (the subject of this sentence) choose to accept that there is a reality that is beyond absolute scientific conclusions. In fact, that is why modern science came from religious and theological inquiry. A search for ultimate reality and meaning.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No, you don't choose to accept, you believe. There is no acceptance in your standpoint, just a belief. Also, modern science (although I'm not quite sure what you mean by modern science) happened in spite of religion, certainly not because of it.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • tnfreethinker

      Oubliette said:“It is atheists who predominantly absent themselves from such charitable giving, since they don't believe in the God or gods who told you to "do unto others as you would have done unto you." In their minds, they are not part of the problem, and therefore are not required to be part of the solution.”

      As an atheist, I must respectfully disagree. I am a foster parent. An atheist website recently generated about $200,000 in donations in one day for Doctors Without Borders. In 2011, The American Cancer Society rejected a matching donation offer of $250,000 from an atheist group. And many other stories of atheist charity. The Gods didn’t tell us (or anyone) to "do unto others as you would have done unto you." Our common sense and logic did. People learned quickly that life was easier when you treated others the way you would like to be treated.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • It is Called

      Maybe a driving force

      The G factor is with US 24/7 depending on how we react with it depends on how our life proceeds
      power of the dollar= greed

      January 12, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Oubliette


      You did respectfully disagree. Kudos.

      As a Christian of a certain flavor, I believe in the ultimate goodness of human nature. Human beings are essentially good – though capable of the worst depravities. So it's no surprise to me that you take in foster children, pay your taxes, trim your lawn, and recycle your bottles and cans. Nor does it surprise me that some atheist groups band together to offer assistance when disaster strikes, or in the face of other glaring need. But I would argue, as have dozens of agenda-ridden studies, that on the whole, atheists give less than do religious people. It's just the way it is.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • It is Called

      What drives education in Public Schools ?

      January 12, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • It is Called

      How about the Red Cross ?

      January 12, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      But Gordon Gecko was right: Greed is good.


      But when an atheist does something good, they're not doing it to get a plus mark on their 'Get Into Heaven' scorecard.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • It is Called

      Bottom Line children should be the winners.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Oubliette


      How can you speak of "doing good"? If there is no God, there is no "good" and "bad". There are no moral laws because there is no lawgiver. Only social constructs exists – the goodness and badness of every act are ultimately non-realities. They're just temporary arrangements. Moral goodness and badness by definition require something outside of the empirical world to declare them as such. No scientific study can say whether something is good or bad – only what happened – and science can even only do that partially.

      I appreciate atheists in the west who attempt to conform to Judeo-Christian norms or morality, which is most of them. I'm glad they do. But to say that something is morally good or bad, apart from a belief in an ultimate reality, and ultimate lawgiver, is a claim they cannot honestly make. It's a cop out.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Sorry, I thought first that you were an otherwise rational person who happened to believe in a deity but now I realize you are a babbling moron. Also, if I was going to conform to Judeo Christian morality I'd just sacrifice my son and massacre non believers.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Oubliette

      Sorry to have sloughed you off. That usually happens when philosophy and ethics are introduced.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Ethics is to religious morality as cheese is to Frank Zappa.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • End Religion

      Looks like once again, religion is on the wrong side of the discussion. Even monkeys learn. It seems religious folks just don't stand a fighting chance. It's like taking candy from a wee baby.

      January 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • cigarlover

      QUIP, HIndus indeed took care of themselves, but that was till 1000 years back. They were one of the most enlightened society. They were great in knowledge and sciences. At that time Europe/Middle east were living in dark ages.
      But then the last 1000 years of slavery happened to them under marauding Muslims and Colonist Christians. Thats where they lost their knowledge/culture/traditions. But being a exceedingly pluralistic religion (in fact its a way of life, not religion per se), many were able to preserve the manuscripts, practices (e.g. Yoga), etc. Then the Hindu revival happened during the end of colonial era and they are still reviving their large population. It wouldn;t be too long before they regain their old glory.

      January 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  14. Rational Libertarian

    Hindu: What do you call the moisture on your Hin?

    January 12, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  15. It is Called

    Can't be taught as fact!!!!

    According to courts can't teach ID/creationism in public schools in US.
    NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial
    Nov 13, 2007 – Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents,

    January 12, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Mac

      Evolution WON fact. Cool Science
      Everything starts in the Brain!

      January 12, 2013 at 7:52 am |
  16. Origin of lLife

    Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe – CNN
    Sep 2, 2010 – God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking
    More junk in the trunk at hotels

    January 12, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Amazon

      Albert Einstein: God doesn't play dice.
      btw, even Stephen Hawking accepts the existence of God

      January 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  17. GodsPeople

    I don't like finding literature on my nightstand if I stay at a hotel. If I want a holy book with me, I'll bring mine, as I usually do.

    January 12, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  18. Reality

    And printed using lower caste slave labor!!!

    January 12, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  19. I like it

    Add to that I am not a Hindu but I would read the Bhagavad-Gita if I found it in my hotel.

    January 12, 2013 at 6:16 am |
  20. I like it

    I think it's a good idea to have other faiths have access to support for their belief systems.

    January 12, 2013 at 6:14 am |
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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.