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Keśava may also refer to: the grammarian Kesiraja

Keshava (Sanskrit: केशव keśava) is a name of Vishnu from the Hindu tradition. The name appears as the 23rd and 648th names in the Vishnu sahasranama of the Mahabharata. Keshava is venerated by those persons wanting to avert bad luck, or ill omens. His consort is Keerti.[1]

Scriptural references[edit]

Vishnu Sahasranama[edit]

According to Adi Sankara's commentary on the Vishnu sahasranama, "Keshava" has the 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

Padma Purana[edit]

  • The one with beautiful long (unshorn) hair

According to the Padma Purana the name refers to Krishna's long, beautiful looking unshorn hair.

Bhagavad Gita[edit]

  • Killer of the Keśī demon

In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna uses the name Keshava[2] 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).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, Margaret Stutley, p.71, 73
  2. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 148-149 (v 54)

External links[edit]