Gorakhpur, one of the main cities of Uttar Pradesh,while getting through the small and the narrow lanes one can hear the chanting of the prayers from a temple like building called ‘Gita press‘. The outstanding design of the building represents the architectural heritage inspired from the renowned temple of India.
It was established in 1923 by Late Shri Jaydayal Goyandka and Ghanshyamdas Jalan to spread the principles of sanatan dharma among the general public through Gita, Ramayana, purans etc. Hanuman prasad poddar was a lifetime editor and wrote articles for the weekly journal Kalyan. Aiming to promote the art of living as propounded in the Bhagavad Gita for peace, happiness and ultimate prosperity of mankind. Gita press strives for the betterment of life and well-being for all human beings.
Gita press undertook the difficult task of translating the holy scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Ramcharitmanas from Sanskrit to vernacular Hindi. With a rented place of rupees 10 and the first printing machine of rupees 600, Gita press printed 5000 copies of Bhagwad Gita which was sold hand in hand. Till date it is estimated that around 410 million copies of bhagavad-gita and 70 million copies of Ramcharitmanas a have been sold. These copies comes at a very subsidised rate so that everyone can afford it.
In 1926 during a session held by a marwari community where Ghanshyam das Birla was one of the member and was impressed by the ideology of Jaydayal Goyandka and Hanuman prasad poddar. He suggested them to start a journal so that maximum people get benefit from it and hence the journal came to be known as Kalyan. It was not only a journal to promote the religious cultural and the moral thoughts but also pointed out the social structure and the political views of that period like the strength of unity etc. It is noteworthy that this journal do not carry any advertisement or reviews.
Literature is incomplete without pictures. Gita press has a in-house art Gallery named “Leela charitra Mandir” which is open to the visitors. This gallery was inaugurated by late Dr Rajendra prasad. This gallery has given a pictorial representation to Ramleela, Krishna Leela and other God and goddess.The gallery also holds timeless pieces like the first printing press of Geeta press, letters by MK Gandhi, ancient Bhagavad Gita that can be read using a magnifying glass. Shlok from Gita are inscribed in the marble blocks of the wall. The art, history, architecture and hard work in this institution make it one of the most renowned publication House in country for religious books.
The 97 year old institution has seen a lot of changes in the technology but it never compromised with its ideology. This can be better understood from the fact that every bit of process in the campus are operated using automated machines except the ‘case making’ in the post press division.It is still done manually as every case machine in the world uses an animal glue which is religiously not acceptable to Gita press. It publishes books in over 15 languages and about 1800 kinds of religious books.
Approximately 2.5 crore copies are published yearly which are sold in over 50 station stalls and 21 branches. While Gita press made elders aware of the tradition through the religious text, on the other hand it also published literature for children. In short it provided reading material to all the age group. The Bal sahitya started in 1937 included books from Hindi, English alphabets to daily routine of child learning, conduct, virtues, biographies of the sages and devotees, inspiring stories on characters from Gita, Ramayana Mahabharata, many educative stories. The popularity of this non profit publication remains intact and their advice books continue to provide spiritual advice enmeshed with moral guidelines.