Kirtankar Sant Keshava Swamy 'Punya Tithi' Celebrations on 13th January 2014

Death anniversary of Sant Keshava Swamy (1610-1683), a 'Yogi', an erudite scholar, philosopher, poet who brought radical changes to the lives of inhabitants of Hyderabad city during the Qutub Shahi dynasty is celebrated by Sri Sri Sri Mahasant Keshavswamy Maharaj Samadhi Samsthan Committee in January 2014.

Sant Keshav SwamySant Keshav Swamy

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, January 6, 2014 /India PRwire/ -- Hyderabad was earlier known as 'Bhagyanagar' during the ruling Qutub Shahis dynasty in 1600-1700s. The Musi canal was known as 'Muchikunda' on whose banks several Hindu Yogis and Muslim Sufis were buried to eternal sleep. Akkanna & Madanna who served as Finance & Defence Ministers under King Abdul Hassan Tanashah of Golconda were ardent disciples of Sri Kesava Swamy, a Hindu Saint who migrated to Hyderabad from Maharashtra and attained 'siddhi' along with other Saints like Sri Bhaskar Maharaj, Sri Bhataji Bapu Maharaj, Sri Narayana Maharaj, etc. The city dwellers led their life peacefully under the spiritual shade of these great saints. Amongst them, Sri Kesava Swamy was the earliest Saint.

Sri Keshava Swamy was an erudite scholar, philosopher, poet & multilingual personality. He mastered Marathi, Hindi, Urdu & Persian Languages. He was a well-known Kirtankar.

During 17th & 18th century, the Hindu locals faced atrocities of Muslim Kings whereas the Hindu religion and culture was in precarious situation. The problems faced by Vemana, Pothuluri, Veerabrahmam and Poodota Lingavadhut with their people were quite different compared to that of Sri Keshava Swamy and Kancharala Gopanna (1620 - 1681). The higher/intellectual castes ignored their own customs and language and often followed other religions for gaining favourism due to lesser awakening about self religion/esteem in the working class.

Sri Keshava Swamy had detached himself from family & worldly affair since his childhood. He endured a strict obstinate life by observing meditation, dhyana, upavasa in the service of God. As an ardent disciple of his Guru the great Guru Kashi Raja Swamy, he used to travel to the far flung villages for propagating 'Bhakti and Vedanta'. The people of Bhagyanagar were strongly attracted by his methodical ways of preaching and explaining the means of leading life. The local devotees and intellectuals persuaded him to remain in Bhagyanagar for the rest of his life where he formed his Ashram.

While leading life amongst the people, Sri Keshava Swamy gained suitable place for delivering spiritual sessions. According to him, the moral and spiritual lives are not different. Another great contemporary Saint of their times, Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy (1608-1682) and Sri Keshava Swamy were known to each other. He was contemporary to Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy and a member of 'Das Panchayatan'.

Sri Keshava Swamy led life in the service of God and state that 'Brahma' is above all knowledge and ignorance. He preached that the soul puts the body to test with memories in the brain consisting of knowledge whereas ignorance covers the body. This divine message of Sri Keshava Swamy was attested by Sri Ekanath Maharaj who agreed that the worldly life and the spiritual life are one and the same.

Considering the political, social and religious scenario of the period, Sri Keshava Swamy devoted himself towards strengthening the harmony of the locals within the society. This was not an easy task and was just like entering the Lion's den to tame it. It was entirely a matter of self confidence and spiritual strength which were abundantly present in Sri Keshava Swamy. He would get insulted by the Muslim Kings by being called as 'God of Kafirs', 'Dharma of Kafirs' and his preaches would get disturbed from time to time. Later on, the Muslim community would understand his preaching's and respected him.

Sri Keshava Swamy followed two-fold method of enlightening the people through religion (Hindu Dharma) and established its greatness in the people and preached true sense of Hindu Dharma to Hindus. He strongly opposed sacrifices and other malpractices being practiced in the name of religion and appealed to stop them. He strived to bring together all Hindus irrespective of their high and low status. Sri Keshava Swamy faced many difficulties but he had already chosen Bhagyanagar as his 'Karma Bhoomi'. Several Muslims became his followers such as Shah Turab (Sufi poet) whom he lamented and craved to meet Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy and Sri Keshava Das to express his sorrow to them. Shah Turab translated 'Manache Sholk' an album teaching of Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy as 'Man Sanjhavan".

Sri Keshava Swamy taught people about the pure practices of Hindu Dharma. He preached them on common Hindu Dharma instead of worshiping many Gods. He filled their hearts with self confidence and inspired them to recite the name of God. He shattered the evil ways of pseudo Sadhus. He advocated that the appearance of Brahmin in one self is not possible by mere scholastic attraction, usage of magical words and speeches filled with the vanity of sounds. Brahmins need to attain 'brahm-gyan' bestowed by Saints and blessed for pure devotion. In 1676, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj visited his Ashram for blessings.

The devotional path of Sri Keshava Swamy was a path of welfare of the world and was meant for one and all. What Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy strived to do in Western Maharashtra was done by Sri Keshava Swamy in Deccan.

Pandit Sadashiv Khando Ausekar who wrote the biography Sri Samartha Ramdas Swamy has mentioned about the correspondence between the two great Saints. He writes that though their bodies are not one but their ways of thinking were the same. Sri Keshava Swamy was a great "yogi". Though, Sri Keshava Swamy was a great yogi like Sri Sant Gynaneshwar, he led the common people to tread on the path of devotion.

He was a great Yogi of soul realization. He found himself attached to God and was an embodiment of the devotion of the oneness of God and Soul. The doctrine of 'Aham Brahmasmi' or 'Self is Brahma' gains strength by shattering illusion and experiencing 'I' and 'I' only, becomes tangible. This kind of oneness in devotion was achieved by Sri Keshava Swamy.

Sri Keshava Swamy wrote many hymns in Hindi and Marathi which later got embedded in musical notes. Publications like 'Sri Keshava Swamy Kavitha' comprising 850 verses were published by Late Sridhar Naik (1941). His spiritual and srungara songs remind us of 'Gita Govinda' by Jayadev with their exquisite descriptions of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Sri Keshava Swamy also used to write riddles having layers of meanings where the inner and outer meanings were different containing words and its pronunciation with a hidden spiritual meaning therein. These are mystic writings. Around 2700 Slokas and 231 Hymns still exist in an unpublished form in the Samardha Vagdevatha Temple of Shanka Sri Krishna Dev in Dhuliya today. He took Samadhi at his Ashram situated on the banks of Muchikunda (now known as Ziaguda) & attained 'siddhi' on 01-Jan-1683 at the age of 73 years. This year the 'punya tithi' will be celebrated on 13th January 2014 at the Ashram.

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