Keshavadas, Sant

   advaita Vedanta teacher
   A prolific writer, composer, and international teacher, Sant Keshavadas founded the Temple of Cosmic Religion to advance his belief in the mys-tical unity of all religions.
   Sant Keshavadas was born on July 22, 1934, on the Hindu holy day of Ekadashi, in Bhadragiri, a small village near Mysore in southern India. He was named Radha-Krishna by his parents, Ven-kataramana Pai and Rukmini Bai, At his birth, a priest cast his horoscope and predicted that the child would spread the devotion of God around the world. At age 11, he received a mystical vision of Lord VISHNU, which inspired him to sing the word of God wherever he went in order to spread sanatana DHARMA “the eternal way”—a synonym for Hinduism—across the world.
   In 1956, Radha-Krishna earned a B.A. from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College, and two years later he received an L.L.B. at the Udipi Law College. After graduation he married Srimathi Rama Mataji, who joined him in his mission and helped him establish an ashram in Bangalore, Sant Keshavadas (1934–1997), prominent teacher of Vedanta philosophy and yoga, known for his entranc-ing music and storytelling (Courtesy Temple of Cosmic Religion, Oakland) Karnataka, in the 1960s. Between 1959 and 1966, Keshavadas made 47 pilgrimage tours of India, singing and speaking about his teaching.
   In 1966, at the KUMBHA MELA festival in Allahabad, Keshavadas met the immortal BABAJI, who encouraged Keshavadas to go to the West to establish a following for the cosmic religion. Keshavadas and his wife (called Guru Mata) took this advice and traveled that year to Ger-many, England, and New York City to spread the message of sanatana dharma. Their message was received enthusiastically in the West and Keshavadas continued to make frequent trips across the world over the next 30 years. He established several ashrams in India, including his headquarters at the Vishwa Shanti Ashram in Bangalore, an ashram in Trinidad, and one in Oakland, California.
   Keshavadas taught that mysticism or direct experience of God is the future of religion. On the basis of this belief he established the Temple of Cosmic Religion. He believed that humanity is preparing itself for cosmic consciousness, but that the ego prevents each person from reaching transformation to a higher consciousness. His main teaching focused on overcoming doctri-nal differences by emphasizing unity among all religions. He offered many different approaches to unity but taught that the path to enlighten-ment requires repetition of God’s holy name. His teachings include BHAKTI, deity worship, JNANA YOGA and VEDANTA as understood through Swami VIVEKANANDA.
   Keshavadas was an accomplished composer who wrote and recorded over 6,000 songs. He often used music, storytelling, philosophy, and humor in his teachings. He spoke eight languages and lectured widely to audiences in the East and West. He also authored over 50 books includ-ing The Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, a work that explores the teachings of love and wisdom in Hinduism and Christianity. During the 1980s he organized construction of the Bhagavad-Gita Mandir (temple) near his Bangalore ashram. All 700 stanzas of the Bhagavad Gita are carved in black marble there, in English, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Kannada.
   On December 4, 1997, at the age of 63, Kes-havadas passed away while on a lecture circuit in Visakhapatnam. His work of unity and peace is continued by Guru Mata, who assumed responsi-bility for her husband’s mission.
   Further reading: Satguru Sant Keshavadas, Essence of Bhagavad-Gita and Bible (Oakland, Calif.: Temple of Cosmic Religion, 1982); ———, Life and Teachings of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas (Southfield, Mich.: Temple of Cosmic Religion, 1977); ———, Mystic Christ (Bangalore: Dasashrama Research, 1972); ———, Self Realization (Southfield, Mich.: Temple of Cosmic Reli-gion, 1976); Mukundadas (Michael Allan Makowsky), Minstrel of Love: A Biography of Satguru Sant Keshavadas (Nevada City, Calif.: Hansa, 1980).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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