Journey to Spiritual Places with Radhanath Swami

Keshi Ghat

Keshi GhatKeshi Ghat is the principal bathing place in the town of Vrindavan. It is little east of Chir-ghat on the banks of the Yamuna. Keshi Ghat is one of the most beautiful ghats of Yamuna with stone inlaid palaces on the banks and massive Madanmohan temple visible in the backdrop. Here the sacred river Yamuna flows very graciously and extends herself to everyone without discrimination. Anyone who touches, drinks, sees, smells and bathes in her waters become infinitely purified. This ghat (series of steps leading down to a water body) is named after the pastime of Lord Krishna killing the demon Keshi.

Keshi demon, a gigantic horse demon sent by Kamsa, was galloping towards Vrindavan to kill Krishna. He wanted to pulverize Krishna’s lotus like soft body with his legs but Krishna caught his legs, whirled him and threw him away. Keshi again attacked with his wide open mouth wanting to eat Krishna but Krishna teasing Keshi with His thumb put His lotus hand inside Keshi’s dirty mouth and choked him up. Keshi, perspiring and suffocated, passed immense quantities of stool and finally his body just broke open like an over-ripe piece of melon. Radhanath Swami while narrating this pastime said that after killing Keshi, Krishna came down to the ghat on the banks of the Yamuna to take His bath because His hand was stuck in Keshi’s dirty mouth. From then on this ghat came to be known as Keshi Ghat. Jokingly Srila Rupa Goswami forbids wordly men to go to Keshi Ghat saying, “If you have even a slight desire to enjoy life with your wife, sons, relatives and friends, then listen to my advice. Never go to Keshi Ghat in Vrindavan, even by mistake. There, Shri Govindaji is standing in His charming threefold-bending form, smiling. A person who even once beholds this deity of Govinda never returns to his home, and his household life is ruined.” In other words, by having darshan of Govindaji at Keshi Ghat, one is freed from all material attachments and becomes mad after Him like all the residents of Vraja.

Prayer: Radhanath Swami states that Keshi demon represents the anartha of pride in ones own devotional practices and achievements. Keshi also represents the sense of vanity and ego. Keshi was a horse. Horses are controlled by pulling their mouth with ropes.  So, Krishna put His hand right in the mouth of Keshi and controlled him. Proud people often boast about themselves with their own mouth and criticize others. So, one should curtail these demoniac tendencies by restricting ones tongue from engaging in prajalpa (unnecessary gossip) and by chanting the holy names of Krishna. Therefore the prayer that one should offer at Keshi Ghat is to become blessed by Krishna so as to be able to render more and more devotional service in the humble mood of being the servant of the servant of Krishna’s servants without becoming unnecessarily proud of one’s devotional practices and achievements.