(Other names : Kewat, Kewath, Kevath)
Kevat was the one who took Ram across the river Ganges. The fact that the stone Ahilya had been brought to life at the touch of the dust from Ram’s feet was something that Kevat had only just heard about. Although he was unlettered, he was clever. He knew the power of the dust from Ram’s feet.
So he said to him, “I will not take you across the river Ganga unless I wash your feet first. The touch of your feet turned a rock into a woman. My boat is made of wood. What if it too turns to a woman at your touch? How will I earn my living and look after my family?”
Ram understood his sentiments and said, “Brother, we just want to go across to that shore. Do what you must to protect your boat.” Thus the emotional boatman was permitted to wash the feet of Ram, Lakshmana and Sita in a wooden vessel. He had enough dust to bless himself and his family. He then helped them into his boat and rowed them across the river.
Sita prayed to Ganga, that they might return hale and hearty after the period of fourteen years in the forest. When they came back on the Pushpak Vimana (aerial chariot), flying back from Lanka to Ayodhya, they stopped on the banks of Ganga so that Sita could again pray to the river.
When Kevat rowed them across the river, Ram realized he had no money or material object to give Kevata as payment. Sita then gave her ring to Kevata after great persuasion. But Kevata said, “Prabhu (lord), I have no desire for any material object. I have taken you safely across the River Ganga.
Please take me safely across the river of life in return. That will suffice as payment.” With Ram’s blessing and the dust of his feet, Kevat would certainly have been able to cross the earthly river and reach the heavens. He is thus a venerable part of the Ramayana.
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