TOKYO: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took a dig at his “secular friends” over his gifting a copy of the holy Hindu text ‘Bhagvad Gita’ to Japanese Emperor Akihito, saying they could kick up a storm and trigger TV debates back home.

Modi had an audience with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace on the fourth day of his five-day visit to Japan to strengthen bilateral ties.

Addressing the members of the Indian community at a reception in India, Modi spoke of him carrying a copy of the Gita during the Japan visit for gifting it to the emperor.

“Today I went to the maharaja of Japan, I have given one to him,” he said, adding,” Because I don’t think that I have anything more to give and the world also does not have anything more to get than this.” The remark triggered another round of applause from the assembled gathering.


In addition to the Sanskrit version, a Japanese version of the Bhagavad Gita was also presented to Abe by Modi, in August 2014.

Modi, who has been “excited” about the visit, gifted books to Abe who made a special gesture of travelling here specially to meet the Indian Prime Minister in this historic city before their formal Summit meeting in Tokyo on Monday.

The Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता, Śrīmadbhagavadgītā in IAST, or commonly called, Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, bhagavad-gītā in IAST, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈbʱəɡəʋəd̪ ɡiːˈt̪aː]; lit. “Song of the Lord”), often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 25 – 42 of the 6th book of Mahabharata).

Hindu traditionalists assert that the Gita came into existence in the third or fourth millennium BC. Scholars accept dates from the fifth century to the second century BC as the probable range.