Upcoming Darshan : 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM IST

+91 8007500175

info@iskconpunecamp.com

0 items - ₹0

    0 items in the shopping cart

Blog Detail

Blog Detail

Pastimes of Lord Balarama

APPEARANCE – Sri Baladeva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is equal in supremacy to the Supreme Godhead, yet wherever Krishna appears, Sri Baladeva appears as Krishna’s brother, sometimes elder, sometimes younger. In his vaibhava-prakasa feature, Lord Krishna manifests Himself as Balarama. The Balarama feature is as good as Krishna Himself, the only difference being that the bodily hue of Krishna is dark and that of Balarama is fair. These two Lords, Krishna and Balarama, are each the seed and womb of the universe, the Creator and His Creative potency. They enter the hearts of living beings and control their conditioned awareness. They are the primeval supreme. (Appreciating Sri Vrdavana Dhama, pg. 110).

BALARAMA THE GOPI

Lord Balarama can expand Himself into unlimited and different forms. In order to serve Krishna’s intimate conjugal pastimes in madhurya rasa, Lord Balarama expands Himself as Ananga Manjari. Ananga Manjari wears beautiful clothing the color of a blue lotus flower and she is especially dear to Lalita and Visakha. Ananga Manjari, a most exquisitely beautiful gopi, is Srimati Radharani’s younger sister. Her complexion is the color of a springtime ketaki flower.(Appreciating Sri Vrdavana Dhama, pg. 67)

LORD BALARAMA IS VRNDAVANA

The spiritual planet goloka Vrndavana, the eternal abode of Lord Krishna, is shaped like the whorl of a lotus flower. Even when the Lord descends to any one of the mundane planets, He does so by manifesting His own abode as it is. Vrndavana is compared to a lotus flower because it is incredibly beautiful, fully alive and can expand and contract. Being a form of Lord Baladeva, Sri Vrndavana-dhama is completely spiritual, fully cognizant and saturated with unlimited prema for Sri Krishna. The spiritual lotus of Vraja-dhama fully cooperates with Krishna’s desire for pastimes by expanding and contracting to facilitate His transcendental movements. Within a short time, for example, Krishna can traverse the distance between Nandagrama and Vamsivata where He meets nightly with Radharani. According to material calculations, Vamsivata is thirty-seven miles away from Nandagrama. But by Sri Balarama’s blessings, Krishna arrives there easily and quickly. In his expansion as Sri Vraja-dhama, Lord Balarama fully accommodates all the necessary features of Sri Krishna’s mind-pleasing pastimes. This is the inconceivable nature of Sri Krishna and His transcendental abode of Vrndavana-dhama. The spiritual lotus of Vraja also arranges for accomplished devotees to effortlessly wander all over Vrdavana to participate in Radha and Krishna’s splendid spiritual pastimes. One day while Srila Sanatana Gosvami was doing bhajan in Vrndavana, he walked to and circumambulated Govardhana Hill. Then Sanatana Gosvami walked to Goloka to perform madhukari, and by evening he returned to Vrndavana to serve his beloved Deity, Madan-mohan. Serving as the spiritual lotus of Vraja, Sri Balaramaji enabled Sanatana Gosvami to perform this incredible service of walking over 108 kilometers in one day. Srila Rupa Gosvami compares Vraja to a lotus: When it blooms fully, the different sites of Krishna’s pastimes appear to be distant from one another. But after sunset, the lotus contracts, and the places come closer together to assist the meeting of Srimati Radhika and Sri Krishnacandra. (Appreciating Sri Vrdavana Dhama, pg. 160)

LORD BALARAMA’S YOUTH

Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama accompanied Akura to the city of Mathura to kill the evil King Kamsa and to be reunited with Their parents Devaki and Vasudeva. After revealing to Akura Their other forms of Lord Vishnu and Ananta Sesa respectively Krishna and Balarama went to the city to dispose of the evil king. Upon Their arrival in the city the evil King Kamsa tried several unsuccessful attempts to bar Krishna and Balarama from fulfilling the inevitable prophecy that They would kill him. Finally Krishna and Balarama were with Kamsa in a great wrestling arena. Kamsa had his greatest wrestlers challenge Their Lordships to a fight. The wrestler Canura addressed Krishna and Balarama with the following words: “O Krishna and Balarama, You two are well respected by courageous men and are both skillful at wrestling. Having heard of Your prowess, the king has called You here, wanting to see for himself. You, Krishna, aren’t really a child or even a young man, and neither is Balarama, the strongest of the strong. Therefore You two should fight powerful wrestlers like us. Accepting the challenge, Krishna paired off with Canura, and Balarama fought with Mustika. Seizing each other’s hands and locking legs with each other, the opponents struggled powerfully, eager for victory. They each struck fist against fist, knees against knees, head against head, and chest against chest. Each fighter contended with his opponent by dragging him about in circles, shoving him and crushing him, throwing him down, and running before and behind him. Forcefully lifting and carrying each other, pushing each other away, and holding each other down, the fighters appeared to be hurting even their own bodies in their great eagerness for victory. As Krishna and Balarama fought the huge wrestlers, the women present gazed upon the two Lords and became enthralled by Their beauty. The ladies said, ‘Just see the lotus face of Krishna as he darts around His foe! That face, covered with drops of perspiration brought on by the strenuous fight, resembles the whorl of a lotus covered with dew. What austerities the gopis must have performed to be able to always see His beautiful form!’ ‘Don’t you see the face of Lord Balarama, with his eyes copper-red from His anger toward Mustika and its beauty enhanced by His laughter and His absorption in the fight?’ As the women spoke, Krishna powerfully struck Canura and began to break every part of his body. Furious, Canura violently pounded the Lord’s chest with both fists. No more shaken by the demon’s mighty blows than an elephant struck with a flower garland, Lord Krishna grabbed Canura by his arms, swung him around several times, and hurled him onto the ground with great force. His clothes, hair, and garland scattering, the wrestler fell down dead like a huge festival column collapsing. Mustika also struck Balarama, and Balarama returned the blow with great force. Mustika began to tremble, and blood and vomit flowed from his mouth. Distressed, he gave up his vital force and fell down just as a tree falls down during a hurricane. After the two wrestlers were killed, a wrestler named Kuta came forward. Lord Balarama immediately caught him in His left hand and killed him nonchalantly. Another wrestler named Sala came forward, and Krishna immediately kicked him and cracked his head. Shortly thereafter Kamsa was killed by Krishna. Kamsa’s eight brothers headed by Kanka were killed by Lord Balarama with the tusk of the elephant Kuvalayapida.(Krishna Book Vol. I,pg. 273- 280) The rasas Madhurya and aisvarya are in equal degrees in Mathura. Lord Krishna and Balarama’s killing of Kamsa and his associates illustrates this point. After killing these demons in the wrestling arena at Mathura, Krishna approached His parents Devaki and Vasudeva, who just stood looking awestruck in a mood of total reverence. Since Krishna hadn’t seen His parents since the day He was born (about eleven years), Krishna was expecting some heartfelt reciprocation of emotions. But Devaki and Vasudeva, seeing Krishna as the Supreme Lord and not as their son, remained firm in their mood of aisvarya. Krishna who is always hankering for his devotees’ love, began to cry upon seeing His parents relating to Him in awe and reverence, This immediately opened Mother Devaki’s heart, which flooded with vatsalya rasa. She took Krishna on her lap, covered His head with her sari and tried to breast-feed Him. Meanwhile Lord Balarama threw Himself at the feet of His father. And Vasudeva, overcome with vatsalya rasa, picked up Balarama, sat Him on his lap, smelled His head and treated Him in a very loving fatherly way.(Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama, pg. 120)

********************

Concealing Their innately perfect knowledge by Their human-like activities, Krishna and Balarama went to Avanti to reside at the school of the learned spiritual master Sandipani Muni. Sandipani thought very highly of these two self-controlled disciples, whom he felt so fortunate to have obtained. Krishna and Balarama served him as devotedly as one would serve the Supreme Lord Himself, thus showing others an irreproachable example of how to worship the spiritual master. Satisfied with Their submissive behavior, Sandipani Muni taught the two Lords the entire Vedas, together with their six corollaries and the Upanishads. He also taught Them the Dhanur-veda, with it’s most confidential secrets; the standard book of law: the methods of logical reasoning and philosophical debate: and the sixfold science of politics. Krishna and Balarama immediately assimilated each and every subject after hearing it explained just once. Thus with fixed concentration They learned the sixty-four arts and skills in as many days and nights. Thereafter They satisfied Their spiritual master by offering him guru-daksina, the traditional token of remuneration a disciple gives his spiritual master. When Krishna and Balarama offered Their teacher, Sandipani Muni, anything he desired, he asked for the return of his son, who had drowned in the ocean at Prabhasa. The two Lords at once traveled there on Their chariot and ordered the ocean to return Their guru’s son. The ocean explained that he had been captured and slain by the demon Pancajanya. Krishna in turn slew the demon. The Lords then went to Samyamani, the abode of Yamaraja., who immediately returned the child.(Krishna Book Vol. I, pg 281-289)

********************

” Powerful Lord Balarama is sixteen years old, full of the luster of youth and has a fair complexion the color of crystal. Balarama wears blue garments and a garland of forest flowers. Baladeva’s handsome hair is tied in a graceful topknot. Splendid earrings adorn Balarama’s ears. Sri Baladeva’s neck is splendidly decorated with garlands of flowers and strings of jewels. Splendid bracelets and armlets ornament Douji’s graceful and very strong arms. Balarama’s feet are decorated with splendid jeweled anklets. Sri Baladeva is Krishna’s dearest friend. Baladeva is a great reservoir of the nectar mellows of many kinds of transcendental pastimes.” “Lord Balarama’s beauty is enhanced by the earrings touching His cheeks. Balarama’s face is decorated with tilaka made from musk, and Balarama’s broad chest is ornamented with gunja (small, red, black, and white berries native to Vrndavana). Sri Baladeva’s voice is very grave and His arms are very long, touching his thighs.” (Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama, pg.110) MATURITY After defeating the king Jarasandha several times, Krishna decided to move His family from the city of Mathura to an unconquerable fortress in the sea, known as Dwarka. After moving His family, Krishna and Balarama pretended to be afraid of Jarasandha and fled to mount Pravarsana. Jarasandha chased the Lords up said mountain, but unable to find them he set the mountain on fire. In order to avoid the fires, Lord Krishna and Balarama jumped some eighty-eight miles to the ground.(Krishna Book Vol. I, pg 348)

********************

In another instance Lord Balarama was challenged to play chess with a demoniac in-law of His, Rukmi. On the advice of the King of Kalinga, Rukmi challenged Lord Balarama to play chess for various wagers. Knowing that Lord Balarama, in this particular rasa, was not the most adept of chess players, the two sought this opportunity to make fun of Lord Krishna and Balarama. The first two games were played for 1,000 and 10,000 gold pieces respectively and Lord Balarama was the loser in each game, but the third game was for 100,000 gold pieces. Fortunately Lord Balarama was the winner, but the sinful Rukmi attempted to cheat the Lord and claim that he was the winner. This angered Balarama so He made another wager of one hundred million coins. Again Lord Balarama was the victor and again Rukmi attempted to cheat the Lord. This time there was a voice from the sky that stated that according to the rules of chess, Lord Balaram was the winner. Still Rukmi persisted that he was the winner and insulted the Lord with artful words. At this time Lord Balarama became very angry and summoned His mace, Sunanda, and smashed Rukmi on the head killing him with one blow. Lord Balarama also took this opportunity to capture the fleeing King of Kalinga who feared for his life. Balarama used His mace to smash the teeth of the king because he was always showing them while criticizing the Lord. Balarama also captured all the princes who supported the king and beat them with His club, breaking their hands and legs. (Krishna Book Vol. II, pg.194)

********************

Once Lord Balarama was feeling very anxious to see his father and mother, Nanda and Rohini, so He returned to Vrndavana for a visit. At this time He also sought to pacify the gopis who were feeling great distress due to separation from Lord Krishna. To alleviate their distress Lord Balarama described the wonderful pastimes and glories of Krishna, and chanted Krishna’s transcendental names. Balarama became so absorbed in chanting that his complexion assumed Krishna’s blue color. (Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama, pg 112) When Lord Balarama visited Vrndavana for two months, He would enjoy at night with His cowherd girlfriends in a garden on the bank of the Yamuna. One night, intoxicated with joy and Varuni (a liquid honey form of the daughter of Varuna) Lord Balarama summoned Yamuna so that he could play in her waters. Thinking that the Lord was drunk, she disregarded His command. This angered Lord Balarama, and He began dragging the river with the tip of His plow, Hala. Lord Balarama said, ” O sinful one disrespecting Me, you do not come when I call you but rather move by you own whim. Therefore, with the tip if My plow I shall bring you here in a hundred streams.” At this time Yamuna realizing her mistake sought to please the Lord with kind words and immediately presented her waters for His enjoyment. Thereupon He released her and, like the king of elephants with his entourage of she-elephants, entered the rivers water with His female companions. (Krishna Book Vol. II, pg.220) It is noted that after pleasing Lord Krishna’s gopis with words, that Lord Balarama had the above mentioned relations with His own separate gopis. Lord Balarama performed His own rasa-lila at Ram Ghat, which is a long distance from the site of Krishna’s rasa-lila. The gopis attached to Krishna in the mood of madhurya rasa would be attached to Lord Balarama in the mood of friendship only and vice-versa. While Lord Balarama performed rasa-lila for two months, Krishna’s gopis watched from a distance. Lord Balarama respects Lord Krishna’s gopis and is very careful to avoid mixing with them. (Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama, pg.71) If while walking on Govardhana Hill, Krishna’s elder brother Balarama, sees a series of golden stones, He thinks: “The daughter of King Vrsabanu (Radharani) must have just walked before Me,” and Balarama changes course to avoid an awkward situation. In the same way if Radharani sees a series of crystal stones, She thinks, “Balarama must have just walked before Me,” and Radharani then changes course. (Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama, pg113) It was during one of these evenings of Lord Balarama’s rasa-lila that He was accosted by the terrible gorilla Dvivida. This Dvivida was as strong as 10,000 elephants and the friend of a demon killed by Lord Krishna . He sought to cause harm to Lord Krishna and all those dear to Him. Dvivida happened upon Lord Balarama during an evening of the Lords pleasure. He insulted the Lord and His gopis, and sought to fight with Him. Balarama being angered by the demon’s activities engaged Dvivida in combat and after leveling a mountain and a forest killed the demon with His bare hands. (Krishna Book Vol. II, pg.229)

********************

Shortly thereafter Lord Balarama returned home to Dwarka. There was then an incident where His nephew, Samba, was kidnapped. The family patriarch, King Ugrasena, called for retaliation. Seeing the family preparing for a fight, Balarama pacified them in order to avoid conflict between the Yadu and Kuru dynasties. He then went to the Kaurava household where He expressed King Ugrasena’s demand for Samba’s return. They became very angry, insulted Balarama and the Yadu dynasty, and then returned to their city. Balarama decided to punish them all. He took His plow, intending to rid the earth of all the Kurus, and began dragging their city of Hastinapura toward the Ganges. Seeing that their city was in eminent danger, they quickly returned Samba. They then prayed, “O Lord, please forgive us, who are truly ignorant of Your true identity”. Feeling appeased Balarama assured them He would not harm them, and returned home with Samba. (Krishna Art, plate 151)

********************

There was once an incident where in order to marry Balarama and Krishna’s sister Arjuna, upon the advice of Krishna, disguised himself as a sage. Balarama, believing Arjuna to be a sage presented him Subhadra to render him service. Subhadra consequently fell in love with Arjuna and willingly left with him. Balarama, thinking His sister was kidnapped, was going to punish Arjuna. Krishna the greatest architect of flowery words pacified Balarama and explained to Him what truly happened. (Krishna Book Vol. III, pg. 122)

********************

Once Lord Balarama began to talk in his sleep as follows: “O lotus eyed Krishna, Your childhood adventures are manifest simply according to Your will. Therefore, please dispose of the stubborn pride of this Kaliya serpent.” By saying this Lord Balarama astonished the assembly of the Yadus and made them laugh very loudly for some time. Then yawning so hard as to make ripples on His abdomen, Lord Balarama, the bearer of the plow, returned to His deep sleep. This is an instance of sleepiness in ecstatic love. (Appreciatig Sri Vrndavana Dhama, 113)

********************

There came a time when it was inevitable that the two arguing factions of the Kuru dynasty were going to war. Lord Balarama, not anxious to see the outcome of this conflict decided to take pilgrimage to all the holy places. At one such place there was a large sacrifice taking place. Many great sages were present at this sacrifice and when Lord Balarama approached they rose and offered Him all due respects. Thereafter they offered Balarama a proper seat and worshipped Him as the Supreme Lord. All the sages present did this except Romaharsana, who remained seated on the Vyasasana. Seeing his impudence Balarama struck him with a single blade of kusa straw and killed him. Upon seeing the Lord kill Romaharsana, the other sages in attendance became greatly distressed. They humbly petitioned the Lord saying that they had bestowed the great boon of long life upon Romaharsana and that the Lord had caused their benediction to become false. The sages then requested the Lord to please set an example and atone for the sin He had committed even though He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead and therefore sinless. Lord Balarama heard the words of the sages and was pleased with them. He said that the benediction of the father, Romaharsana, should be passed on to the son, and the Lord also agreed that He would do whatever the sages suggested that he do in order to atone for the sin. The sages then asked that He please slay the demon Balvala, who was a great source of anguish for the sages. After He had performed this task , the sages said that Lord Balarama should continue his pilgrimage for 12 months. Balarama accepted what the sages said, and the next time the demon Balvala appeared Balarama called for His club and His plow. Although the demon was flying here and there in the air, the Lord swiftly snagged the demon with his plow and pulling him down He smashed his head with His club. After accepting due praise from the sages and taking their leave Lord Balarama continued on His pilgrimage. (Krishna Book Vol. III, pgs. 59-63) LORD BALARAMA’S DISAPPEARANCE Due to a curse placed on the Yadu dynasty they were to be the cause of their own destruction, thirty-six years after the end of the battle of Kuruksetra. After Balarama took part in the drunken battle that caused the destruction of the rest of the Yadus, and after He witnessed the disappearance of Lord Krishna, Lord Balarama sat down in a meditative state and gave up His body. His soul passed out of His mouth in the form of a great white naga, and thus he was carried by Sesanaga in the shape of a serpent.(Srimad Bhagavatam First Canto pg.573) MISC. PASTIMES After the mace fight between Bhimasena and Duryodhana Balarama was prepared to kill Bhima for what He believed was cheating, but he was stopped by Lord Krishna. (Srimad Bhagavatam First Canto pg 573).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *