Hindu Book Debuts in Motel Nightstands

By Raj Jayadev, New America Media on June 17, 2010 – 7:30 a.m. PDT
The Bible may no longer be the only religious book motel patrons find in their nightstands. The Panchajanya Project, based in San Jose, aims to place at least 1 million copies of the English-language edition of the Bhagavad Gita, considered the most important Hindu religious scripture, in hotel and motel rooms across the Bay Area.

Krishna Gita in motelsThe Hindu text Bhagavad Gita coming to a motel near you.

The Bible may no longer be the only religious book motel patrons find in their nightstands. The Panchajanya Project, based in San Jose, aims to place at least 1 million copies of the English-language edition of the Bhagavad Gita, considered the most important Hindu religious scripture, in hotel and motel rooms across the Bay Area.

India Currents reports that the effort, spearheaded by Vaisesika Prabhu, the leader of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness Silicon Valley (ISKCON), has been making headway in the hotel and motel industry nationally.

Project volunteers told India Currents that through working with motel owners, they have already placed Bhagavad Gitas in the nightstands of Howard Johnson, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Super 8 and America’s Best Value Inn. To date, the ISKCON volunteers have put 30,000 books in hotel and motel rooms. In their most concentrated organizing effort, Panchajanya Project representatives took a booth at the national Asian American Hotel Owners Association last year to promote their efforts. They received more than 12,000 confirmed orders.

Part of the acceptance of the Gita by the motel industry could be attributed to the fact that so many motel owners may already be familiar with the text — an estimated 60 percent of the economy lodgings in the United States are owned by Indian Americans, primarily Gujarati Patels.

For now the books are being supplied free of charge to owners, but project coordinators are hoping that motel owners will start giving donations. Currently, the books can be supplied for roughly $3 each.

India Currents reports that motel goers of all different ethnic backgrounds have been receptive to the new reading material. “The Bhagavad Gita is profound literature … it has helped me to understand who I am and about life. Life is much happier and less stressful. I still cannot believe my luck,” wrote Jon Rodriguez, a guest who dropped a complimentary letter at the Best Western in Memphis.

Posted in In the News.