NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a giant Bhagavad Gita, running into 670 pages and weighing 800 kg, at the ISKCON temple here on February 26, officials said Sunday.
Dubbed the 'Astounding Bhagavad Gita', and measuring 2.8 m by 2 m, it is billed as the "largest principle sacred text ever to be printed," according to ISCKON.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 temples and runs 100 vegetarian restaurants and a wide variety of community-serving projects.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to unveil the 'Astounding Bhagavad Gita' on February 26 at the ISKCON Temple and Cultural Centre in East of Kailash in New Delhi," ISKCON said in a statement.
The Prime Minister's Office said the prime minister will be attending the event on Tuesday.
"With an artistic touch of 18 exquisite paintings and an innovative elegant layout, the book has been printed in Milan, Italy, on YUPO synthetic paper so as to make it untearable and waterproof," the statement said.
Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as the Gita, is a sacred text, revered by the Hindus, and is part of the epic Mahabharata, containing the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield.
"Among many things that attract the world towards India, a central part of it is our culture and deep philosophical knowledge," said Yudhistir Govinda Das, National Communications Director of ISKCON.
"We try to do our part in promoting Indian culture and knowledge which is aptly represented in the Bhagavad Gita.
This particular edition is an emblem to represent these values of India and serve as a beacon of peace and goodwill for the years to come," he said.
Prime Minister Modi will be joined by senior ISKCON functionary Gopal Krishna Goswami, and other dignitaries from India and abroad, Das said.
"The 'Astounding Bhagavad Gita' comprises of 670 pages which cover the original 700 Sanskrit verses along with the commentary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (ISKCON's Founder-Acharya), for a total of one acre of printed matter," the ISKCON said.
Yudhistir claimed, "While there are other bigger books, the 'Astounding Bhagavad Gita' is the largest principle sacred text to ever be printed."
"A team of ISKCON devotees from various countries worked round-the-clock for months to produce this Gita as offering to Srila Prabhupada and the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, which have taught us compassion, service and a connection with the supreme Lord," he said.
Prime Minister Modi will also address a gathering comprising spiritual leaders, diplomats, social leaders, scholars along with devotees and members of ISKCON from around the world, the statement said.
The ISKCON temple in south Delhi, endowed with unique latticed towers having a fusion of traditional design and modern sensibilities, is an iconic landmark and visited by a large number of devotees every day.