Many kinds of ‘Gita’s – a bird’s eye view

‘Gita’ is commonly understood as the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in which Lord Krishna preaches Arjuna on various aspects of life. But you will be surprised to know that there are about sixty different kinds of ‘Gita’ which exist in the rich Indian tradition and each has got its own special place in the cultural heritage and the devotee's heart. Gita is song or verse that appeals directly to the human heart. Verse is fluent to recite and easy to memorize. The ‘Gita’s contain instructions or answers given by the learned ones (Jivanmuktas and Aparoksha-Jnanis) to the eager questionings of earnest seekers. So let us know about them.
1. Guru Gita – Conversation between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It stresses the need for and the importance of seeking a Spiritual Teacher (Guru) and extols his greatness. It is described in Skanda Purana. 2. Ashtavakra Gita – Conversation between Sage Ashtavakra and King Janaka. It speaks about Advaita Vedanta, bondage and self-realization. It emphasizes on the superiority of the Indwelling Atma to the frailties of the human body and its afflictions as symbolized by Ashtavakra. It is described in the Vana Parva of Mahabharata. 3. Avadhuta Gita – Conversation between Sage Dattatreya and Skanda (Lord Kartikeya). It asserts the highest realizations of a Jivanmukta or a realized soul. 4. Bhagavad Gita - Conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the eve of the Mahabharata war. It is the most popular form of Gita that puts light on various aspects of life. 5. Anu Gita – Conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. When Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to repeat to him the original Bhagavad Gita, as he had forgotten the same, in reply Sri Krishna says its repetition is impossible and narrates this sequel to the original. 6. Brahma Gita – Conversation between Sage Vasishtha and Sri Rama. It is described in Nirvana Prakarana of Yoga-Vasishtha. In this Gita, the nature of Brahman, the world and the soul is clearly expounded. 7. Janaka Gita – Soliloquy by King Janaka after his hearing the song sung by the Siddhas near his palace. 8. Rama Gita-I – Conversation between Sri Rama and his brother Sri Lakshmana. It expounds the Advaita-Vedanta with its different principles of Jiva, Avidya, Isvara, Maya etc. and the process of the realization of the Eternal Being, the Brahman. It is described in Adhyatma Ramayana. 9. Rama Gita-II – Conversation between Sri Rama and Lord Hanuman. It is a scripture of the Anubhavadvaitins and stresses upon acquirement of knowledge, and not retirement from the world. It is described in Tattva Sarayana. 10. Ribhu Gita – Instructions of Sage Ribhu to his disciple Nidagha. It is an acclaimed Gita dealing with Advaita Vedanta and it forms the heart of the Shivarahasya Purana which is one of the Upapuranas regarding Shiva and Shaivite worship. 11. Siddha Gita – Song sung by many Siddhas near the palace of King Janaka. Its gist is that - the expansion of consciousness into infinity is effected through self-control and the negation of the subject-object relationship. It is described in the Upashanti-Prakarana of the Yoga-Vasishtha. 12. Uttara Gita – It is a supplement to the Bhagavad Gita described in Brahmanda Purana. It treats of Jnana and Yoga and allied topics. 13. Vasishtha Gita – Instruction of Sage Vasishtha to Sri Rama on the eternal truths. It is described in the Nirvana-Prakarana of Yoga-Vasishtha. 14. Baka Gita – Conversation between Lord Indra and Sage Baka in which the Sage gives a description of the sorrowful condition of the world which a person who lives for a long time has to see. It is described in the Mahabharata. 15. Bhikshu Gita – Quotes of Lord Krishna to Uddhava in form of a greedy Brahmin who becomes a sage later and sings a song which has its burden the method of the control of the mind. It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. 16. Gopi Gita – The Gopis’ song of separation from Sri Krishna. This Gita is replete with the highest kind of devotion to the supreme Lord. It is from Srimad Bhagavatam. 17. Hamsa Gita – Conversation between Lord Vishnu in the form of a swan and the sons of Brahma. This Gita considers the world as an illusion and the Atman alone as the permanent reality. It is found in Srimad BhagavatamIt is also referred to as Uddhava Gita.
18. Jivanmukta Gita – Sage Dattatreya explains the nature of the Jivanmukta (realized soul). 19. Kapila Gita – Teachings of Sage Kapila to his mother Devahuti. It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. 20. Nahusha Gita – Conversation between Yudhishthira and Nahusha. It is described in the Mahabharata. 21. Narada Gita – Conversation between Sri Krishna and Narada. It treats of the general requisites of a spiritual aspirant. It stresses the supremacy of the Guru or the spiritual preceptor. 22. Pandava Gita – Collection of Various prayers offered by different devotees to the Supreme Lord (Narayana). It is also known as the Prapanna Gita. This Gita is referred to as the song of surrender. It is a collection of beautiful verses taken from different sources. This hymn described in the Gita was sung by the Pandavas as it was said to destroy all sins and grant liberation. 23. Rishabha Gita – Instructions of Sage Rishabha to his children on the eternal truths and way to liberation for the benefit of the world. It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam and teaches mankind the purpose of human life, how to remove the vagaries of the mind and release oneself from bondage and attain liberation. 24. Shaunaka Gita – Instructions of Sage Shaunaka to Yudhishthira on the secrets of the general life of the beings of the universe. It is described in the Aranya-Parva of the Mahabharata. 25. Sruti Gita – Prayer offered by the Srutis to Lord Narayana. It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. 26. Yugala Gita – The Gopis’ description of the glory of Sri Krishna. It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam. 27. Vyadha Gita – A sermon delivered by a Vyadha (Hunter) to Sage Kaushika. It is described in the Mahabharata. 28. Yudhishthira Gita – Conversation between Yudhishthira and a Yaksha. It is described in the Mahabharata. This Gita treats of the basic ethics which forms the bedrock of virtue and divine life. 29. Moksha Gita – Song of liberation written by Swami Sivananda. 30. Ramana Gita – Composed by Sri Vasishtha Ganapati Muni, embodies the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi 31. Ishwara Gita – Teachings of Lord Shiva described in Kurma Purana. The Ishvara Gita is a Shaivite teaching philosophy with Lord Shiva as the focal point but similar to the Bhagavad Gita following principles of Advaita Vedanta, devotion, one pointedness and surrender to Lord Shiva to cross the ocean of Samsara and achieve divine bliss and liberation. 32. Ganesha Gita – Lord Ganesha’s discourse to king Varenya. It is described in the Kridakanda of the Ganesha Purana. 33. Devi Gita – A part of Devi Bhagavatam, in this Gita, following Himalaya’s request, The Devi describes her essential forms to him. 34. Parashara Gita - Dialogue between Rishi Parasara, the father of Vyasa and King Janaka of Mithila described in the Shanti Parva of the epic Mahabharata. 35. Pingala Gita - Described in the Shanti Parva of the epic Mahabharata, the message of this Gita is the enlightenment and wisdom that dawned on a dancing girl (prostitute) named Pingala. 36. Bodhya Gita - A dialogue between Rishi Bodhya and King Yayati. It is taken from the Moksha Parva of Mahabharata, as part of Shanti Parva. 37. Yama Gita - Explains in detail the qualities of a Vishnu devotee and the nature of the self, concept of Brahman and the method to free oneself from the cycles of birth and death and attain moksha or liberation. It is described in Vishnu Purana, Agni Purana & Narasimha Purana. 38. Vichakshyu/ Vicakhnu Gita – Bhishma’s narration to Yudhishthira in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata about non-violence and stresses on the importance of sacrificing all the violent or animal qualities present in man rather than concentrating on the external aspects of sacrifice and committing sins by slaughtering animals. 39. Manki Gita – Story of a Muni called Manki, told by Bhishma to Yudhishthira in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata. 40. Vyasa Gita – Discourse of Rishi Vyasa to the Rishis described in Brahma Purana. The Vyasa Gita is highly conceptual and directed more towards yogis and advanced seekers though its concepts are meant even for the seeker who wishes to attain Brahman and is ready to assiduously follow yogic practices and study the scriptures diligently and practice discrimination. 41. Vritra Gita – It is a dialogue between a fierce demon Vritrasura and Shukracharya, the Guru of the Asuras described in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata. 42. Shiva Gita – Lord Shiva’s teachings to Lord Rama described in Padma Purana. 43. Sampaka Gita – Sampaka, a learned and pious Brahmin gives the message that one can attain everlasting happiness only through renunciation. It is described in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata in form of conversation between Bhishma and Yudhishthira. 44. Suta Gita – It is contained in the Skanda Purana, Yagya Vaibhava Khanda. It advocates monism and refutes dualism. 45. Surya Gita – Conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Dakshinamurty in which the later tells the story of Lord Surya’s discourse to Aruna, his charioteer. It is found in Guru Gyan Vasishta in Tattva Sarayana. 46. Harita Gita - The teachings that were said to be taught by Sage Harita on Sanyasa dharma according to Bhishma on the true path of a sadhaka and the qualities to be possessed to achieve moksha or liberation. It is described in the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata in form of conversation between Bhishma and Yudhishthira. 47. Vibhishana Gita - It is the discourse between Lord Rama and Vibhishana described in Ramayana. It is described in the Yuddha Kanda of the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The Vibhishana Gita enables us to go through trials and tribulations of life keeping in mind the spiritually ennobling words of Lord Rama to Vibhishana. 48. Hanumad Gita - It is the discourse given by Lord Rama and Goddess Sita to Hanuman after the defeat of Ravana and their arrival back to Ayodhya. 49. Agastya Gita - Sage Agastya explains the concepts of Moksha dharma and the ways in which the Jivatma can attain the Paramatma through devotion, renunciation and the grace of the guru. It is described in Varaha Purana. 50. Bharata Gita – Described in Srimad Bhagavat Purana, this Gita beautifully extols the glories of the Lord and explains the pitfalls that a seeker faces if the mind is uncontrolled and in the process shows us the greatness of Bharata whose name is fittingly bestowed on this great country of India known as Bharata Varsha. 51. Bhishma Gita – Described in Mahabharata, this Gita contains the hymns of Bhishma chanting the various names of Maheshwara, Vishnu and Narayana and singing these hymns with faith and devotion is said to confer bliss, peace and prosperity to the seeker. 52. Brahmana Gita - Described in Mahabharata, this Gita is in the form of a dialogue between a learned Brahmana and his wife about how to escape from the bonds of maya and illusion and attain the highest state of liberation which is the goal of all human existence. 53. Rudra Gita - Hymns in praise of Lord Vishnu expounded by Rudra for liberation in the Bhagavat Purana. In the Varaha Purana it describes the identity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as given by Rudra including a hymn on Vishnu. 54. Sanatsujata Gita - It is contained in the Mahabharata in the Udyoga Parva and is in the nature of a dialogue between Dhritarashtra - the Kaurava king and Rishi Sanatsujata. It explains the Concept of Brahman, mind, intellect and the methods of attaining the Brahman. 55. Yogi Gita - It is a collection of prayers and spiritual teachings of the fourth spiritual successor of Swaminarayan, Shri Yogiji Maharaj. It explains about all the attributes that are needed for a seeker to attain spiritual realization and become Brahmarup or attain the God realization. 56. Vallabh Gita - It is also referred to as Shodasha Granthas and is a collection of sixteen works of Shri Vallabhacharya in which all range of subjects have been discussed. He taught his disciples to seek the true goal of life which is moksha or liberation. 57. Vidura Gita - Generally referred to as Vidura Neeti, comprises of maxims of right conduct, fair play and the art of governing and politics in the form of a dialogue between Vidura and King Dhritarashtra, in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata. 58. Vidya Gita - It is contained in the Tripura Rahasya and is in the form of a story which Lord Dattatreya relates to Parashurama. It is called Vidya Gita as Tripura or the Divine Mother who presides over the three Puras or cities is Vidya or the highest wisdom herself. 59. Bhramara Gita – Conversation between Gopis and Uddhava through a ‘bee’ (Bhramara) as an intermediary. It is from Srimad Bhagavatam. 60. Venu Gita – It contains the confidential talks of the Gopis in their deep emotional turmoil upon hearing the sound of Sri Krishna's flute (Venu). It is from Srimad Bhagavatam.
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  1. Could you provide chapter numbers for the Gitas in the Mahabharata? Thanks!

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