Kanaka Dasa, a lowly cowherd boy who became a Saint

Perth, April 25th 2003

Babaji related the story of Kanaka Dasa and had the audience riveted with attention. Babaji explained that the life of Kanaka Dasa teaches that consciousness increases if you practice meditation or the path of devotion. Kanaka Dasa was a Saint of Karnataka, South India, during the reign of Vijayanagara Kings.

He was a cowherd boy with no education. When he was a young boy he once saw some priests worshiping God. His attention became fixed on this scene so he went up to them and appealed to them to teach him how to worship God. The priests laughed at him saying, "You are a cowherd boy with no education. What worship could you ever learn in order to know about God?" Eventually, out of cunningness, they told the boy, "OK, let us see what you can do. Go and sit under the tree and repeat 'Buffalo, Buffalo', and you will get Realised. "

The boy, innocent as he was, considering them to be his Gurus, went and sat under a tree and started repeating "Buffalo, Buffalo" in his native language Kannada - "Korna, Korna" - he kept repeating. After several months of begging for alms and eating only a little food, he had a vision of Lord Yama, the God of Death, sitting on a buffalo. Lord Yama initiated the boy into the name "Kesheva", one of the names of Lord Krishna and told him to repeat the name of Lord Krishna.

The great Saint Vyasa Theertha accepted the young boy as a disciple but he was of a lower caste than the other students who always looked down on him, but the Guru knew the true quality of the other students and wanted to teach them a lesson. One day, the Guru held a competition and gave one banana to each of the students, including Kanaka Dasa, and said, "Today all of you go out and eat this banana where nobody can see you eat it and come back before sunset. Whoever comes back first having eaten the banana will win." The students were pleased and looked forward to winning the prize. All the students went and one by one arrived back after eating the banana. Lunchtime came and went and Kanaka Dasa was still not back. The students were gossipping and making fun of Kanaka saying that he couldn't even handle the simple task of eating a banana with nobody watching. "The Guru wanted to test our wisdom and certainly this Kanaka has failed."

Finally after sunset, Kanaka Dasa arrived and placed the banana at the feet of the Guru. He begged his pardon saying, "I tried to the best of my ability to eat it without being watched but wherever I went I saw Lord Krishna watching me." Such was his devotion and God Consciousness that he saw God only. The other students had heard many spiritual discourses but had not put them into practice like Kanaka Dasa. The other students felt ashamed of their ignorance and then honoured Kanaka Dasa.


Babaji explained that the moral of this story is that if one practises meditation one's consciousness increases and one would gain the awareness that God is everywhere. Babaji stressed the need to meditate every day for forty-five minutes like a valiant soldier, and then the mind will become purified and eligible to go towards God. It is God who will purify the devotee through the practice of this meditation. Babaji assured the audience that if anyone does the practice in the recommended way, that person would definitely reach God.

Copyright © 2003 SRBY, All rights reserved.

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