- Keśava may also refer to: the grammarian Kesiraja
Keshava (Sanskrit: केशव keśava) is a name of Vishnu from within Hindu tradition. The name appears as the 23rd and 648th names in the Vishnu sahasranama. Lord Keshava is venerated by those persons wanting to avert bad luck, or ill omens. His consort is Keerti.
According to Adi Sankara' s commentary on the Vishnu sahasranama, Keshava has following meanings:
- one whose Kesa or hair is long, uncut and beautiful
- The lord of creation, preservation, and dissolution.
- one who destroyed the demon Keshi in the Krishna avatar.
- one who is endowed with the rays of light spreading within the orbit of the sun.
- one who is himself the three: kah Brahma; ah Vishnu and Isa Shiva.
- The one with beautiful long (unshorn) hair
According to the Padma Purana the name refers to Krishna's long, beautiful looking unshorn hair.
- Killer of the Keśī demon
In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna uses the name Keshava for Krishna a number of times, referring to him as the 'Killer of the Keshi demon' : I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Kesava, killer of the Keśī demon. (Bhagavad Gita 1.30). The demon Keshi, in the form of a horse, was sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna but was overpowered and slain (Vishnu Purana 5.15-16).
- The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography by Margaret Stutley p.71 73
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 148-149 (v 54)
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola
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