Kartik Braj Darshan with Vrindavan Today (Day 33): Kesi Ghat
2021-11-18 (Vrindavan Today News) : “Friends: If you have any desire to enjoy mundane pleasure in the company of your friends and relatives, then never go to Keshi Ghat to see Shri Krishna, whose face always smiles fascinatingly, whose three-fold bending posture forcefully attracts the heart, whose long-drawn eyes are crafty and enchanting, whose flute-playing is maddening to the damsels of Braj, and whose crown is decorated with a beautiful peacock feather.” (Bhakta Rasamrita Sindhu 2.239)
The twisting narrow street leads us onward to Keshi Ghat by the side of the Yamuna River. This famous and elegant ghat of Vrindavan is where youthful Krishna saved the Brajvasis from the terrible Keshi demon in the form of an immense horse. This exciting story is told in the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam.
The Keshi demon was a henchman of cruel King Kamsa who instructed him to terrorize the Brajvasis. The horse-demon entered Vrindavan digging up the earth with his hooves while his tail moved in the sky like a big cloud. Krishna appeared and challenged him to a fight, while fiery-eyed Keshi responded with a terrible sound that resembled the roar of a lion. The horse demon rushed with great speed at Krishna trying to crush the Lord with his hard stone-like hooves.
However, Krishna easily caught his legs and threw Keshi a hundred yards just as Garuda throws a big snake. Though temporarily knocked senseless, the demon soon regained consciousness and thundered at Krishna with his mouth open. Taking full advantage of the situation, Lord Krishna pushed His hand into the demon’s mouth knocking Keshi’s huge teeth out. Keshi felt the fist of Krishna to be just like a hot iron rod. Krishna expanded His hand in Keshi’s mouth and the demon was unable to breathe, threw his legs hither and thither. With his eyeballs bulging in the sockets, the life-breath of the demon forced its way from out of his body. The demigods on the highest planets expressed their amazement at the Lord’s skill by showering Him with flowers. After the incident, Krishna washed Himself here to remove the demon’s blood from His body.
While taking bath at the Keshi Ghat, one should remember this incident and chant Krishna’s holy name. In that sublime mood one can become completely purified. Indeed, the Adi Varaha Purana confirms that a bath in Keshi Ghat is worth 1,000 dips in the Ganga. The results of bathing in all holy places await those who bathe here.
The small Shiva temple here is named Manchinteshwara Mahadeva. Beside it is a Yamuna ji Temple in which is worshipped a picture of Krishna powerfully thrusting His hands into Keshi’s mouth.
Often melodious Bhagavata discourses echo from the adjacent galleries which have been erected in spectacular Rajasthani style. Indeed these galleries from the rear of the mansion of Rani Lakshmi, a past queen of Bharatpur.
Nearby is the Bhramar Ghat ( Bumble Bee Ghat) where Shri Vilvamangala Thakura, author of Krishna Karnamrita, performed penance . He has previously been attached to a prostitute who once chastised him for lack of devotion to Krishna. Later he tore out his eyes to force his mind to become detached from the flickering material beauties of this world. It is said that here in Vrindavan Lord Krishna used to personally serve Vilvamangala prasada . When Lord Chaitanya would listen to the shlokas from Krishna Karnamrita, He would go into a trance of devotional ecstasy. The ghat however is not kept up nowadays.