Elahn Keshava – Biography
Elahn Keshava is a teacher, writer and musician and the visionary founder of Shekinashram,
the well-loved Bhakti Yoga ashram in Glastonbury UK.
Elahn’s life is a story of transformation, which simply illustrates the potential we all have to turn around our lives by following our inspiration with a certainty of being. Two years after leaving home at the age of 16, Elahn had a spontaneous awakening experience. From that day his life completely changed. Previously as a rebellious youth he had held an atheistic viewpoint of life, but during this awakening he had a direct experience of the inherent divinity within all things and began his life anew in pursuit of the Supreme Consciousness, but this time by studying and utilising ancient yogic practices associated with transcendence.
Elahn lived in Brixton, one of the principle cultural hubs of London where at the age 21 he started an organic vegan bakery and lived as a musician playing in bands until he was 28 years old. At that time he uprooted his life and went travelling with the Rainbow Gathering family caravan across Europe, Israel and Egypt and onto India. He had finally realised his aspiration to make a pilgrimage to India the home of yogis and saints. In 1995 after returning from his epic pilgrimage, Elahn visited Mother Meera for darshan in Germany. Almost immediately after returning home an opportunity was presented for Elahn to begin a new chapter in his life, and he was invited to move into a shared community house on the side of Glastonbury Tor, which had been a regular place of pilgrimage for him for many years.
It was during this time that his direction shifted its focus to working directly with people in group work and the first seeds of inspiration for Shekinashram were planted. In 1998 Elahn deepened his pursuit of the awakened state, and having trained to master a process known as the Enlightenment Intensive he began this pursuit in earnest along with others who would join him in this process. One evening whilst walking home from a satsang Elahn experienced a major shift in his consciousness. During the next six months following this event, he had a series of profound realisations. After this time, he landed in a more ‘ordinary’ state of consciousness.
In 1999 Elahn travelled back to London to see Amma having not seen Her for some 8 years. At the end of Her program during Devi Bhava darshan, Elahn experienced a direct transmission of energy from Amma revealing the True Nature of the Divine Mother. It was after this event that he understood his dharma, to serve the Divine Mother and visited Amma at Her ashram in Kerala, India, during which time he received internal clarity regarding the template for a western ashram. Elahn returned to England to complete this work.
Three years later in 2003 Shekinashram opened its doors in Dod Lane, Glastonbury. On the Ashram’s official opening day many visitors came including a group of bhaktas who sat to sing bhajans. This was to mark the beginning of the next stage of Elahn’s life where devotional practises (bhakti) would become his prominent focus. During this period there was such an influx of bhakti, and the sweetness of devotional life that Elahn’s focus, and respectively that of the ashram naturally became more devotional.
In 2005 whilst Elahn was in Vrindavan, India, a beautiful free spirit and medicine woman from Argentina entered the ashram. Her name was Gisela Lirusso, and she was to become Elahn’s life partner. Together over the coming years they would play kirtan together and develop the ashram and it’s devotional programs whilst also extensively travelling together. In 2008 Elahn had the good fortunate to meet and receive diksa initiation from Srila Narayan Maharaj into an ancient lineage of saintly spiritual masters in the Vaishnava bhakti yoga tradition in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
For the next 8 years Elahn gave daily morning satsang, weekly havans, ran bhakti weekend retreats and other annual bhakti events and study groups. His work continued in teaching and sharing how to develop in devotional life under the expert personal guidance of Sri Ramana Bihari Dasa Babaji, by whose personal example and sweet and intimate mood of bhakti became an increasing influence and inspiration to Elahn and the ashram.
Elahn draws from a broad spectrum of spiritual influences, and is well known for his ability to demystify and share vedanta philosophy and the ancient wisdom of yoga in an easy to understand way.
On 12th May 2010 Gisela gave birth to their beautiful daughter Tulsi.
Elahn and family usually spend the winter months in India and South America travelling and sharing the beauty and joy of the path of Bhakti Yoga through kirtan (devotional singing), storytelling & ceremony. Elahn’s work continues to evolve and change, and he has now stepped back from the day to day running of the ashram and gives support and guidance, principally from the background, allowing space for family time and new inspirations to develop and be realised.
Tulsi in Peru 2016