The Ganesha Gita consists of 414 stanzas in eleven chapters forming the Chapters 138-148 of the Uttara¬khanda of Ganesha Purana. Careful examina¬tion of these verses indicates that 90 % of it is from the Bhagavadgita. The author of this book makes an exhaustive comparative analysis to find the similarities between the two gitas. He also determines the possible date of Ganesha Gita as between 6 and 9 century AD. The book is described in two sections, the first section compares and contrasts the two gitas, and the second translates and summarizes the philosophical commentary of Nilakantha.
The story behind Ganesha Gita is that this song of God was revealed to the royal bard (suta-) at his request by the great sage Vyasa. This song reveals the yoga that has been given to Varenya, the enquiring prince, by the Lord Ganesha. It follows that having listened to these teachings proclaimed by the Elephant-faced One, Varenya abandons his kingdom and family to seek moksha, the release from the cycle of birth & death by means of the yoga taught by the Lord Ganesha. In Ganesha Gita, Ganesha takes the place of Lord Krishna, the teacher of prince Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita. With some changes (explanatory additions and omissions), the poet-author of the Ganesha Gita follows the order of the verses of the Bhagavadgita. Nilakantha, the main commentator on Ganesha Gita, is credited for establishing its philosophy, and he was a believer of Advaita Vedanta.
The philosophy expounded in the Ganesha Gita is essentially the same as that of Bhagavadgita. The only distinguishing feature of Ganesha Gita is that Ganesha is regarded as the Supreme Brahman and the all-pervading World Soul. Brahman, according to Nilakantha is the sole existence. It is also the pri¬mary ground or cause of all beings. It constitutes not only the individual soul of all beings, but also appears in the form of the phenomenal world. But as Brahman is immovable and unchangeable, it is also Nilakantha's opinion that the appearance of the phenomenal world is made possible by the illusory power called Maya. The illusory power mediates the physical reality of the world. Brahman, in his view has two aspects or gradations; 'conditioned' or 'with qualities', and 'absolute' or 'without qualities'. It is the 'absolute' Brahman which is identical with one whole reality, consciousness and bliss; while God is the 'conditioned' and lower aspect of Brahman, which is experienced as the World-Soul. God is from the practical point of view, merely an aid to finding the 'absolute' Brahman. But, from the stand-point of the Absolute, there exists only the 'absolute' homogeneous Brahman of the one nature of the highest bliss that is 'without qualities'. It is then according to Nilakantha, the final object of human pursuit must be to identify with this 'absolute' undifferentiated Brahman. Apart from the supreme Brahman, the phenomenal world which is characterized by dualism is unreal. It is neither a transformation nor an evolution of Brahman. It is wrongly imposed on the highest Brahman, and this super¬imposition to which also God as well as the individual souls belongs is caused by Maya. Nilakantha observes that world is a product of mind and if mind is restrained and brought to cessation through yoga, then the power of Maya disappears. When the illusion disappears, the yogin finds unity with highest undifferentiated Brahman. A yogin, who has found the highest Brahman, after having removed the illusion by means of the yoga, still has the body, but, according to Nilakantha, he is, as it were, bodiless. Similarly, he still has eyes, but he is, as it were, without eyes; because he sees the sameness (identity) of all (beings).This is the feature of a yogin who has attained Jivanmukti is purified, and then purifies all the worlds. A yogin, after identifying with highest Brahman, becomes a man who has done what he should do but still, as a benefactor, he performs actions for the welfare of all beings to the end of his life; because his release is not limited to himself, but is also for the good of all the worlds.
The author of Ganesha Gita may have advanced the thought of positioning Ganesha as equal to Shiva and Vishnu. It could be that he may have belonged to one of the six sects of Ganpatyas referred to in Shankaravijaya. Jnanesvara at the end of 13 century identified Ganesha as the supreme God in his book jnanesvari.
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