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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]

Representation of Vishnu as Keshava. His consorts Shridevi and Bhudevi are on either side. Above him are representations of Vishnu's ten avatars.[2]

In Sanskrit literature[edit]

  • The one with beautiful long (unshorn) hair

According to the Padma Purana the name refers to Krishna's long, beautiful looking unshorn hair.[3]

In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna uses the name Keshava[4] 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. ^ "Standing Vishnu as Keshava". The Met Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  3. ^ Alain Daniélou (1991). The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism from the Princeton Bollingen Series. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 154.
  4. ^ 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]