Kesari was a male vanara (Sanskrit: वानर)–a group of ape-like humanoids in the Hindu epic Ramayana, who were brave and inquisitive by nature–and a monkey chief. He was the father of the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman and husband of Anjana. Before Hanuman was born, Kesari used to wander around to different holy places, and whenever he found a scenic garden, he would sit in long meditation. Together with Anjana, he prayed to the god Shiva for a son. Shiva, pleased by their devotion and prayers granted the request and Shiva was born to Anjana, later named Hanuman. This is why Hanuman is also called Rudra, another name Shiva was known by.
Kesari was a powerful vanara. Once, while he was residing in Gokarna (a holy place of Lord Shiva in Karnataka), he found a great monster, Shambasadana, who was continuously persecuting the holy saints who were residing there. Kesari confronted this monster and hit him forcefully with his fist. There was a great wrestling match, and Kesari was finally successful in slaying him.
Kesari was a chief of Sugriva's vanara force. Kesari also fought bravely in the Lanka war along with Sugriva’s army.
- Keśavadāsa; Krishna Prakash Bahadur (1 January 1976). Selections from Rāmacandrikā of Keśavadāsa. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-81-208-2789-9. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Rama Balike Bhat (30 September 2006). The Divine Anjaneya: Story of Hanuman. iUniverse. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-595-41262-4. Retrieved 14 July 2012.