Bhagavad-Gita and Advaita – Q. 329

Q:  How would it be possible to deal with our common Bhagavad Gita in terms of Advaita Vedanta?

A (Ramesam): Please appreciate that Bhagavad-Gita is not the primary or basic text for Advaita. Though many of the verses in it are almost exact mantras from various Upanishads, prior to Sankara (8th Century A.D), Bhagavad-Gita was not perhaps as popular a scriptural text for teaching Vedanta as it is today. It was a part of the mythological story, Mahabharata.  Some people hold that the Bhagavad-Gita of Mahabhrata contained 745 verses. Some others opine that the original Gita was much smaller and it was Sankara who compiled the present Gita putting together diverse verses from different sources. None of these opinions, however, have any credible supporting evidence.  The first extant gloss on the Gita is by Sankara and it contains 700 verses (one or two verses are still disputed and said to have been later insertions). Continue reading