I worship Keshi Ghat, where Krishna washed the blood from his hands after he tore the great horse-demon Keshi, whose mad whinnying caused the three worlds to tremble and whose wide open, rolling eyes burned the whole universe, apart like a blade of grass.
phullann netra vighūrṇanena paritaḥ pūrṇaṁ dahantaṁ jagat
taṁ tāvat tṛṇavad vidīrya bakabhid vidveṣiṇaṁ keśinaṁ
yatra kṣālitavān karau sa-rudhirau tat keśi-tīrthaṁ bhaje
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Keshi Tirtha. After Kamsa had sent so many powerful demons to Vraja to help him to harm Sri Krishna, and Sri Krishna had so easily and playfully killed them all, Kamsa finally sent the powerful Keshi to Vraja. On Kamsa’s order this Keshi demon assumed the form of a horse through his illusory potency and swiftly arrived in Vraja. In Śrīmad Bhāgavata it is written how the Keshi demon, with his terrible appearance, was playfully and casually killed by Sri Krishna-
Sri Shukadeva told Maharaj Parīkṣit: “O King! Sent by Kamsa, and desiring to fulfill his wishes, the Keshi-demon went to Vraja, assuming the form of a gigantic horse – quick as the mind, with big eyes, a thick neck, a terrible cave-like mouth and resembling a large dark cloud – pounding and shaking the earth with his hooves, crowding the firmament, dispersing the clouds and airplanes with his manes, and terrifying everyone with his whinnying. Stepping in front of him, the Lord Challenged the horse-demon, that was frightening his Gokula with its loud whinnying, throwing the clouds into commotion with its tail-hair and seeking the Lord for a duel, roaring loudly like a lion.
Seeing the Lord, Keshi, who was not only hard to approach and possessed of terrible speed, but formidable and invincible too, turned round and ran towards him full of rage, and, drinking the heavens as it were with his wide open mouth, began to strike the lotus-eyed Lord with his hind legs.
Dodging the stroke and seizing the horse by his hind legs, Sri Krishna whirled him in a rage with his arms and, flinging him disdainfully to a distance of a hundred bows (400 cubits), just as Garuḍa would throw a serpent, stood there just as before.
Having recovered its senses and rising up again, Keshi rushed towards Sri Hari with great speed, opening his mouth in fury. The Lord smilingly thrust his left arm into its mouth just as a snake would enter a mouse hole to eat the mouse.
Touching the Lord’s arm the teeth of Keshi fell out with their roots as if they were struck by a red hot iron rod. Finding its way into the demon’s body, Sri Krishna’s arm swelled to an enormous degree, as if it had caught the disease of dropsy and had been left neglected. With its breath choked by the immensely swelling arm of Sri Krishna and its eyes rolling, and profusely sweating all over, the animal dropped dead on the ground throwing up its legs and passing stool.
Pulling his arm out of the dead body, which resembled a ripe burst-open cucumber, the mighty-armed Lord, who had killed the animal without any effort and stood unelated, was glorified by the most amazed demigods, who showered him with flowers. (Bhāgavata 10.37.1-9)
Because Sri Krishna playfully and easily killed the powerful Keshi demon and washed his blood-stained hands there in the Yamuna water, this place has become famous as Keshi Tirtha or Keshi Ghat. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I worship this Keshi Tirtha!”
trijagat ye kampita kore.
phulla netra vighūrṇane, dagdha kore tribhuvane,
keśī-daitya yevā nāma dhare.
kaṁsera prerita cara, aśva-rūpī bhayaṅkara,
śrī govinda tṛṇa tulya māni.
vidārita kori ari, ye sthānete giridhārī,
dhauta kore rudhirākta pāṇi.
yamunā pradeśa sthāna, keśī-tīrtha yāra nāma,
bhaji āmi sei keśī-ghāṭa
e boḍo lālasā mane, tīrtha kore daraśane,
yugala vilāsa prema hāṭa
I worship Keshi Tirtha, the place on the bank of the Yamuna where Sri Govinda encountered the terrible horse-demon Keshi, who was sent by Kamsa, who easily caused the three worlds to tremble and burn with his rolling, wide-open eyes and who was easily torn to shreds by Giridhārī, who considered this enemy no more than a blade of grass. I greatly long to see this holy place, which is the market place where love for Radha and Krishna can be purchased.”
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.
© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
More of Ananta Das Pandit’s writings in English translation can be found at Tarun Govinda’s blog, Amrita Tarangini.