All eight important centers of the Ganesha cult are situated in Maharashtra. However, according to Ganesh Puraan there are twenty one important centers, of which thirteen are situated in Maharashtra. These sites are listed in the essay. The temple of Morgaon is described in details.
Ganesh Puran, Mudgala Puran and Ganesh Geeta are some of the fundamental compositions for the followers of the Ganesha sect. Generally the Mahanubhavs do not praise Ganesha since they do not consider him an important deity. Mahanubhav poet Narendra includes the salutations to Ganesh in his work ‘Rukminiswayamvara’ because it was composed before he choose the Mahanubhav sect.
Rest of the saint poets including Dnyandev, Raghava Chaitanya, Tukaram, and Ramdas invoke Ganesha in the beginning of their verses. Some of the quotes from Ramdas are given in the essay.
Raghava Chaitanya: First in the spiritual lineage of Tukaram was Raghava Chaitanya. He had stayed at Lenyadri for worshiping the deity. He composed Mahaganapati Stotra which is related to the Tantric worship of Ganesha.
Jani Janardana (d.1601 C.E.) was a prominent devotee of Ganesh who hailed from Beed. He composed Jananki swayamvar and other verses.
His disciple Eknath composed Ganeshvilas. Because he used the name ‘Janardan’ in his compositions, he was confused with Eknath of Paithan, the disciple of Janardan Swami of Devagiri. Jani Janardana also composed Dashamskandhteeka, Nirvikalpa, Chaurikaleela. His Ganeshvilas consists of 14 chapters in 1742 verses.
Nirajanswami Karhadkar (1637-1727) His first name was Yelhoba. He was a disciple of Kashirajswami. He was later known by the surname ‘Deo’.. (His son, Bhagawant Deo has also written both prose and poetry.) He wrote Niranjanswami Charitra, a biography of his grandfather. He also composed Vinayakamahatmya, Vakratundakhyan, Chintamani-avatar, Bhrushundi Akhyan, Ganapatijanma, Pratahsmarami Stotra and more than 300 verses.
Niranjan Ballal was a disciple of Niranjanswami Karhadkar. he composed Ganeshgeetateeka at the behest of Niranjanswami. It is divided into 11 chapters based on 410 shlokas with 6323 verses in elaboration. It was composed in 1729. He also wrote the Ganeshpuran in Shake 1726 at Dhom - Dhavadashi. The Ganeshgeeta has been published in modern times. If the Ganeshpurana is also published, it will add to the treasures of Marathi literature.
Shankaradas: He hailed from the tradition of Niranjanaswami. His first name was Kashi. He refers to himself as Shankardas, Shivadas or Kashi Shivadas. He wrote the Shivaratrikatha, Niranjancharitra, Ganapatiswayamwar and Ganapati- Kartikswami Bhandan. The Niranjancharitra is a critique on Omkarashtaka and Niranjanashtak of Shankaracharya.
Madhwamunishwar (Samadhi 1731)
An ardent devotee of Ganesh in Bhogur, he is believed to have been inspired to write by the blessings of Ganesha. He founded a monastery at Shendurvade and is credited with several verses, praises and aratis.
Yadumanik was inspired by Madhwamunishwar’s work. He wrote, in 1725 at Nagapur in Verul, a critique on Sindurakhyan and Ganeshgeeta from the Ganeshpuran consisting of 13 chapters and 1759 verses in which he describes the pathetic situation of the society in his times under the crushing heel of Islam.
Gosavinandan: His work ‘Dnyan Modak’ is an anthology of his verses, consisting of of 1284 verses in 22 chapters. It is in the form of a dialogue between Lord Ganesh and himself. It describes ‘Panchikaran’ and other means of worship based on the Ganesh Puran. His metaphorical descriptions of Ganesh are discussed by the author.
Moraya Gosavi and his family lineage: In the sixteenth century, a certain Vamanbhat Shaligram came to live at Morgaon with the objective of performing penance for the boon of an offspring. He was blessed with a son whom he named ‘Moraya’ after the Ganesh deity. Moraya was characterized from an early age by his devotion to Ganesh and a certain Sidhdha Yogiraj advised him to go to Theur and there do penance. Moraya stayed at Theur for forty two days observing a strict fast. It is believed that he experienced divine revelations. After the death of his parents he left Morgaon for Chinchwad. Although a householder, he was distinguished by a spiritually pure mindset. In 1655, he decided to renounce his life by through ‘sanjeevan samadhi’ (voluntarily consigning oneself to be interred in a sepulcher). Moraya’s son, Chintamani Gosavi, built a temple in the place of the sepulcher. The family began to be known by the surname ‘Deo’ (meaning god) instead of ‘Shaligram’. Moraya Gosavi and Chintamani Gosavi were devotees of Ganesh for about seven generation. The compositions in praise of Ganesh of all the seven generations are available.
Ganesh Yogindra: Originally from Ambi near Somnath in Gujarath, it is believed that he was born to Moreshwarshastri as benediction for the latter’s devout penance at Morgaon. He was named Ganesh in veneration for Lord Ganesh. After studying Vedas at Ambi, he entered asceticism (sanyasashram) at Shringeri. He came to Morgaon, did penance for twelve years and composed literature telling of the glorious deeds of Ganesh . He set out on a pilgrimage to establish his sect. He attained Samadhi at Morgaon in 1805. The position of the Monastery, that he held, existed since ancient times.
He wrote Ganeshviajay - a critique on Ganeshgita - Yogeshwari, Ganeshguhyastotra, Mayuresh- charitra, Verses of Lalita, verses in praise of Ganesh, and aarati of Brahmanaspati.
Ganeshvijay consists of 22 chapters with 4522 verses and reflects Ganeshyogindra’s scholarship. His arguments are supported by ancient authorities such as the Puranas, Vedas and Upanishadas.
In Yogishwari, he documents cotemporary conditions of devotees and their peculiarities. The author cites such verses.
After Ganeshyogindra, Sidheshvarayogindra assumed the chair of Yogindrapith. He was succeeded by Ankushdhari. He composed many works including Yogindra Vijay,
Ganeshgeeta - a Marathi mirror in verse to verse translation. An Omkar family in Pune was blessed by Ganesh Yogindra. They have preserved manuscripts of Ganesh Yogindra and other devotees of Ganesh. Amongst the manuscripts, a piece of work was found composed by one Govind. According to the information furnished by a member of the Omkar family, it was written by Govindrao Ganapule while he was in prison, about a hundred years ago. It consists of eleven chapters.
There are many more works in worship of Ganesh that the author cites in this book. They include Kumar-Gajanana-Leela, Gajanan-Shadanana-samvad by Shridharswami and Ganeshpuran by Mahipatibuwa. The other works cited are as follows:
Madhavaswami Tiruvelandurkar- composition based on Ganeshpuran.
Amruteshvar of the monestary at Mardhe- Ganeshgeeta
Jagajjivana and Raghav- Ganapati aakhyan
Moropant Paradkar- Gajanan Mahatmya, Gajananastava, Shrimayureshwar Prarthana Arya.
Chintamani Joshirao- Mantragajanana
Vinayak Mahadeo Natu of Badoda- Ganeshapratap
Ramachandra Bhojrao Deshpande of Patchhapur- Ganeshcharitra
Ganapatarao Hariharrao Patwardhan- Ganesh Puran arya
Dhondo Sakharam Pophale- Shri Chintamani Vijay
Atmaram Moreshwar Chatre- Shrimadganeshleelamrut.
Ganesh worship by Shivaji
Shahaji had been a donor to Moraya Gosavi. Jeejabai had built the Kasaba Ganapati temple in Pune. Shivaji had a temple built at Ambavade near Bhor. A reference from Rajyavyavaharkosha is quoted in the essay indicating Shivaji’s reverence for Ganesh under tutelage of Narayan Gosavi.
Peshwas of Pune
Nanasaheb Peshwa, Madhavrao and Savai Madhavrao were known for their devotion to Ganesh. Nanasaheb Peshwa is even credited with a composition in Sanskrit - Shriganeshkutukamrut.