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Lord Balarama Appearance

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 / Published in Articles / 10,084 views


By Lakshman das

Who is Lord Balarama?

Lord Balarama was incarnations of Lord Krishna glorified in the Vedic Puranas and Itihasas. Krishna is the spiritually manifest Supreme Person, whose internal spiritual energy is the all-pervading Brahman. He is glorified as Narayana, Vasudeva, Mahavishnu, Hari, Vishnu, and many other names. Shiva and Brahma are said to be His qualitative expansions. He is the Supreme Lord, the Lord of all universes. Everything emanates from Him and dissolves back in Him. He is the cause of creation, maintenance, and dissolution of everything and every living entity. His chatur-vyuha (four-handed) expansions are Vasudeva, Sankarshana; Pradyumna; and Aniruddha. The Bhagavatam (12.11.21) says,

vasudevah Sankarsanah pradyumnah purushah svayam aniruddha iti brahman murtir vyuho abhidhiyate

“O brahmana (saint) Shaunaka, the quadruple primary expansions of Pususha
(Supreme Soul Narayana or Krshna) are Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha.”

The primary expansion of Krishna is said to Sankarsana, the infinite snake Ananta on which the Lord rests. Sankarsana beholds all universes and maintains everything united. The descended form of Sankarsana is Lord Balarama, who appeared as the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna and Sankarsana are originally one, although they appear different to the external eye. Lord Balarama assists Lord Krishna in His glorious transcendental lilas. Lord Balarama appeared as the younger brother of Lord Ramachandra by the end of treta-yuga and He appeared as Nityananda Prabhu to distribute the mercy of Krishna to people with Caitanya Mahaprabhu five hundred years ago.

Once when the four Kumaras visited the bottom of the universe, they found Lord Sankarsana as a gigantic snake with numerous hoods. The Lord was seen in deep meditation beholding innumerable universes on His head. Since He holds everything together, He is called Sankarsana, the binder who unites all. Lord Shiva always meditates Lord Sankarsana as the Bhagavatam (5.17.16) tells,

bhavani-nathaih stri-ganarbuda-sahasrair-avarudhyamano bhagavatash-chatur-murter-maha-purushasya turiyam tamarsim murtim prakrtim-atmanah Sankarsana-samjnam- atma samadhi-rupena sannidhapyaitad-abhigrnan bhava upadhavati

“Lord Shiva, served by tens of billions of maid servants of Goddess Bhavani
(in Ilavrta-varsha), deeply meditates, chants and worships one of the four expansions of the Supreme Lord known as Sankarsana in the predominant quality of ignorance.” At the time of destruction, it is said that the fire emanating from the mouth of Sankarsana would dissolve all the worldly manifestations at the end of the universe. Therefore, Sankarsana helps Lord Krshna and causes the union and destruction of all universal manifestations. That Sankarsana appeared as Balarama and any devotee who seeks Krishna should first seek His mercy to be blessed with proper bhakti (devotion) to Lord Krishna.

Appearance of Lord Balarama

Hearing the celestial voice that the eighth child of Devaki would kill the demoniac King Kamsa, he killed all the children born from Devaki. Mother Devaki was in deep distress during her seventh pregnancy because she felt the child would be divine in nature. To allay the fear of Devaki, Lord Krshna called Yogamaya and told her to transfer the child in the womb of Rohini, another wife of Vasudeva living in Nanda Gokula. Suddenly Devaki felt loss of her pregnancy while Rohini sensed pregnant. When Garga Muni, the kula-guru of the Vrishnis, visited Nanda Gokula, Rohini met the saint and he said, “Your child’s father is your husband Vasudeva and he will grow into a strong and beautiful divine boy.” After the birth of the child, Garga Muni again visited Nanda Gokula and named Him Rama (the one who brings piety and prosperity). Garga Muni also said that He would grow very strong and become famous as Bala as well. Since He is the common child lived in the wombs of Devaki and Rohini and therefore he would be called Sankarsana because he would unite people and He would be known as Dauji being the elder brother to Krshna.

Balarama grew up into a handsome and powerful youth. He was gaura (fair in complexion) and adored always in blue. He preferred the colour blue because it resembled the embodiment of the Supreme Lord Krshna. He wore a bejewelled necklace, flower garlands, long ear rings, and tied His graceful hair on head. He also wore splendid armlets, bracelets and anklets. He applied a tilaka on forehead and wore a gunja on chest. He had long arms and His voice was grave like rumbling of clouds. His splendid embodiment defeated the beauty of the rising moon and His awesome power could destroy many mighty armies and even the whole world. Balarama always carried a plow on hand as His weapon. Krishna and Balarama moved together from childhood and He rarely remained separate from the Supreme Lord and always participated in the nectarine lilas of His Younger Brother.

Balarama married Revati, the daughter of King Raivata, who lived in sattya-yuga. Unable to find a suitable match, the king and his daughter visited Brahmaloka and met Lord Brahma and sought his opinion. Lord Brahma advised to solemnise the marriage of Revati with Balarama. People of sattya-yuga were much taller and when they returned, Balarama shrunk the size of Revati placing His plow on her head.

Glories of Lord Balarama

Lord Balarama always participated in the Krshna-lilas. The lilas of Krshna-Balarama are in the tenth kanda of Srimad Bhagavatam a few of them are briefed here. Balarama destroyed the demon Dhenuka appeared as a powerful ass and denied the Gopas the fruits of Talavana. Balarama destroyed the assistants of Dhenuka hurling them on treetops and did the same to Dhenuka as well and killed him. The tala trees bent down in supplication and offered fruits to the celestial siblings and the Gopas.

Once while playing with the Gopas in Vrindavan, the demon Pralamba arrived in disguise like a Gopa and played with them to kill the divine boys. The looser would carry the winner on shoulders was the bet. Pralamba lost the game and he carried Balarama on his shoulders. When the demon assumed strength, Balarama became a shade heavier than him. Unable to carry further, the huge demon took to the sky and grew gigantic. Balarama hit on the head of Pralamba and instantaneously killed him.

When both Krishna and Balarama moved in the forest, the trees adored them bending down to touch their feet. Krishna often said, “Even the trees and divinities want to touch the lotus feet of Dauji to receive His blessings.” In fact, the great sages took the form of trees to grace the lotus feet of the divine brothers. It is said that Krishna often massaged the feet of Balarama while He took a brief nap in the jungle resting his head on the lap of their cowherd boy friends.

While living in Dwaraka, once Balarama visited the Vrajavasis at Vrindavan and enjoyed the pastimes with the Gopis on the bank of Yamuna. He drank the juice of the Varuni tree and wanted to enjoy water sport with His friends. He called on Yamuna, but she didn’t respond. Balarama took His plow and dragged Yamuna and soon the goddess of Yamuna appeared and begged to forgive her. After taking bath, Lakshmidevi appeared and offered new clothing to Lord Balarama.

Shamba, the son of Lord Krshna and Jambavati, loved Lakshmana, the daughter of Duryodhana (the eldest among the Kauravas) and lived incognito in Hastinapura. The Kauravas arrested the valiant Shamba and imprisoned him. Balarama went and requested to free Shamba and solemnise their marriage, but the proud Kauravas disobeyed Him. He immediately took His plow and began to drag Hastinapura into River Ganga, Seeing the disturbances, the Kauravas agreed for the marriage, and Shamba and Lakshama returned to Dwaraka with massive gifts.

Balarama was Sankarshna and therefore he opposed the Mahabharata war. He approached both the Kauravas and Pandavas not to war seeing their destruction thereafter. The proud Pandavas never listened to Him. Therefore, Balarama went on a pilgrimage to tour the entire Bharat-varsha. He visited Naimisaranya and sage Romaharshana, giving a lecture of Bhagavatam in the assembly of great sages, did not get up to greet Him thinking His visit was to listen to the lectures. In bit of rage, Balarama withdrew his life using a blade of grass and gave him refuge and deliverance in the Supreme Lord. He then proceeded his journey.

Lord Balarama retreated from this world at Prabhasa Kshatra on the bank of River Ganga. A snake emerged from His embodiment and entered in the holy waters of Ganga. Thus Balarama returned to Goloka Vrindavana as Sankarsana. Anyone who fasts and listen to the glories of Lord Balarama and Lord Krishna on the day of Balaram-Jayanti and sing in praise of Them will verily become eligible to live in Goloka Vrindavan and witness their divine nitya-lilas eternally.

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7 Responses to “Lord Balarama Appearance”

  1. Lakshman Das says :

    Worship of Lord Sankarsana :

    Anyone who wishes to worship Lord Sankarshana must learn the pious story of King Citraketu who attained the Supreme Lord in seven days hearing the instructions of Devarsi Narada and constantly reciting the song in praise of His glories as in Bhagavatam (6.16-18-25),

    aum namas-tubhyam bhagavate vasudevaya dhimahi

    pradyumnaya-aniruddhaya namah sankarshanaya ca

    namo vijnana matraya paramananda murtaye

    atmaramaya shantaya nivrtta dvaita drstaye

    atmanadanubhutyaiva nyasta shakty-urmaye namah

    hrsikeshaya mahate namas-te ananta-murtaye

    vacasy-uparate aprapya ya eko manasa saha

    anama-rupash-cin-matrah so-avyan-nah sad-asad-parah

    yasminn-idam yatash-cedam tisthaty-apyeti jayate

    mrnmayesv-iva-mrj-jatis tasmai te brahmane namah

    yan-na sprshati na vidur mano-buddhi-indriya-asavah

    antar-bahish-ca vitaram vyomavat-tan-nato-asmy-aham

    dehendriya-prana-mano-dhiyo-ami

    yad-amsha-viddhah pracaranti karmasu

    naiva-anyada lauham iva-aprataptam

    sthanesu tad drstr-apadesham-eti

    aum namo bhagavate maha-purusaya maha-

    anubhavaya maha-vibhuti-pataye sakala-satvata-

    parivrdha-nikara-kara-kamala kudmalopalalita-

    caranaravinda-yugala parama paramesthin namas-te

  2. Lakshman Das says :

    Translation by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad: O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, who are addressed by the Omkara [pranava], I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Lord Vasudeva, I meditate upon You. O Lord Pradyumna, Lord Aniruddha and Lord Sankarsana, I offer You my respectful obeisances. O reservoir of spiritual potency, O supreme bliss, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who are self-sufficient and most peaceful. O ultimate truth, one without second, You are realised as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan and are therefore the reservoir of all knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Perceiving Your personal bliss, You are always transcendental to the waves of material nature. Therefore, my Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. You are the supreme controller of the senses, and Your expansions of form are unlimited. You are the greatest and therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. The words and mind of the conditioned soul cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for material names and forms are not applicable to the Lord, who is entirely spiritual, beyond the conception of gross and subtle forms. The impersonal Brahman is another of His forms. May He, by His pleasure, protect us. As pots made completely of earth are situated on earth after being created and are transformed into earth again when broken, this cosmic manifestation is caused by the Brahman, situated in the Supreme Brahman, and annihilated in the same Supreme Brahman. Therefore, since the Supreme Lord is the cause of Brahman, let us offer Him our respectful obeisances. The Supreme Brahman emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and expands like the sky. Although untouched by anything material, it exists within and without. Nonetheless, the mind, intelligence, senses and living force can neither touch Him. I offer unto Him my respectful obeisances. As iron has the power to burn when made red-hot in the association of fire, so the body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence, although merely lumps of matter, can function in their activities when infused with particle of consciousness by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As Iron cannot burn unless heated by fire, the bodily senses cannot act unless favoured by the Supreme Brahman.

  3. Lakshman Das says :

    O transcendental Lord, who are situated in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Your two lotus feet are always massaged by a multitude of the best devotees with their lotus-bud hands. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, complete in six opulences. You are the Supreme Person mentioned in the Purusha-sukta prayers. You are the most perfect, self-realised master of all mystic power. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

  4. dear devotees
    Please accept my humble obaisences
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    One devotee asked me:
    Now; Lord Balaram is the first expansion of the Lord Sri Krishna and as such He is the original Visnu Tattva !. Did Srila Prabhupada gave any instructions concerning avoiding grains on His Appearance Day ? Half day fasting is mentioned in all calendars!

    If you could find anything; please let me know. I would appreciate it. Hare Krishna !!!!

    my response:

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    Balarama Purnima is fasting from all grains like ekadasi , and best is to take anukalpa prasadam in the evening or do nirjala until next day, In ISKCON the fast is set to noona .And some temples follow the old ISKCON standard which is fasting until moonrise and take ekadasi prasadam(anukalpa is the technical term)
    Actually the beautiful full moon on Balarama purnima ,even reminds devotees of Lord Balarama

    When I joined in 1979 fasting for Lord Balarama was at moon rise, and all I recall was ekadasi prasadam.Some fast until noon and take grains prasadam feast.
    However it appears from all sastras that taking grains on Visnuttava days is no auspiscious.
    Anyhow I hope this will not create any controversy.
    Actually Haribhakti Vilasa is very specific about fasting on Ramanavami, it is recommended to do Nirjala .The same for Lord Narasimha ,Janmastami etc.
    Now when it comes to Balarama Purnima there is no mention in Haribhakti Vilasa and we have to remember Haribhakti Vilasa are quotes from sastra
    about these days of fasting ,and was compiled on the direct order of Lord Caitanya to Srila Sanatana Goswami. .Now Sanatana Goswami has not mentioned,Gaura Purnima,Advaita Acaryas Apperance day,Nityananda Trayodasi
    and Radhastami. Lord Balarama is the souce of all other incarnations and expansions of Krsna.

    vaibhava-prakasa krsnera-sri-balarama
    varna-matra-bheda, saba-krsnera samana

    Balarama. Balarama is considered to be the elder brother of Krsna. When Krsna was present, Balarama became His elder brother. When Rama was there, thisBalarama represented Himself as His younger brother, Laksmana. So Balarama is the first manifestation of His personal expansion.
    see Srila Prabhupadas lecture:
    http://www.prabhupadavani.org/main/Caitanya_Caritamrta/CC052.html

  5. Lord Balarama is the vaibhava prakash the first expansion of Lord Krsna, and from Lord Balarama is manifested , Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha.
    Even Vasudeva Krsna is thus inferior to Lord Balarama.
    Srila Prabhupada writes in the Krishna book ch.46,
    “When Krishna was starting for Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were blocking the way, Krishna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed and in this way pacified them. But when He failed to come back with Nanda Maharaja, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krishna was neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krishna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaja and stayed with the gopis and mother Yashoda in His bhava expansion. Krishna and Balarama remained in Mathura not in Their original forms but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sankarsana. The real Krishna and Balarama were in Vrindavan in Their bhava manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krishna. Externally, however, They were absent from Vrindavan.”

    What this means is that when Krsna Balarama goes to Mathura and Dvaraka that is their expanded form, Vasudeva and Sankarsana.

    In the CC Adi lila chapter 5 we read:

    CC Ādi 5.4: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarāma is His second body.
    CC Ādi 5.5: These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Lord Balarāma is the first bodily expansion of Kṛṣṇa, and He assists in LordKṛṣṇa’s transcendental pastimes.
    CC Ādi 5.6: That original Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in Navadvīpa as Lord Caitanya, and Balarāma appeared with Him as Lord Nityānanda.
    Now we fast till sunset for Lord Ramachandra if we follow Srila Prabhupadas strict instruction and only take anukalpaprasadam,so how can we do anything less when Lord Ramachasra is a manifestation of the second expansion of Vasudeva
    ,Sankarsana ,Pradyumna and Aniruddha , so for Lord Ramachandra and Lord Narasimha full Nirjala fasting is recommended
    or ordered if you like in sastra (and recorded in Hari Bhakti Vilasa).So how can Lord Balarama’s fasting be any less than that?

  6. Adi Purana states:
    “He who is Krsna is He who is Balarama, and he who is Balarama is He who is Krsna.Anyone that sees Them as being different will never leave the world of birth and death.”
    Hari Vamsa states:
    That jiva who makes a distinction between the Balarama and Krsna verily lives in hell.This is spoken by the great sages.
    So the vasinava calendar committe has avoided these issues as they could not come up with the proper Siddhanta.
    I have written an article about Lord Nityananda Prabhu also,
    http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/profiles/blogs/shri-nityaananda-ash…
    Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has clearly stated that Lord Nityananda Prabhus apperance should be celebrated as a fast.
    He has done so in his confidential names of Lord Nityananda Prabhu’s 108 holy names at the very end:
    maaghe maasi site pakshe
    trayo-dashyaam tithau sadaa
    uposhanam pujanam ca
    shri-nityaananda-vaasare
    yad yat sah kurute kaamam
    tat tad eva labhen narah

    Paatha Mahaatmya:-

    The most fortunate soul, who recites this Stotra, fasts and offers worship to the Supreme Lord Shri Nityananda Prabhu on the most auspicious thirteenth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Maagha{Jan-Feb} [ Shri Nityananda Trayodashi Tithi ], will certainly have all of ones desires quickly fulfilled.
    Lord Balarama and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are the same Supreme Lords,Srila Narottama das Thakura has sung:
    balarama hoilo nitai
    In my humble opinion this is the correct siddhanta about Balarama Purnima and I hope it inspires devotees to fast from grains.In Haribhakti Vilasa many quotes are there that grains is never allowed on Janmastami so the same is certainly true for Balarama Purnima.

    your humble servant
    Payonidhi das

  7. Shyamarupa says :

    I have a question, regarding the statement
    “The primary expansion of Krishna is said to (be) Sankarsana, the infinite snake Ananta on which the Lord rests. Sankarsana beholds all universes and maintains everything united. The descended form of Sankarsana is Lord Balarama, who appeared as the elder brother of Lord Krishna.”
    My understanding is that, according to the siddhanta of our Gaudiya Sampradaya, is that Balarama is the primary expansion of Krsna, from Whom Sankarshan and all other Visnu avatars are expansions of.
    In the Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila, Chapter 5, verse five, Srila Prabhupada translates as “Lord Balarāma is the first bodily expansion of Kṛṣṇa, and He assists in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental pastimes.” and in verse 10, Srila Prabhupada states in his purport, “…Balarāma, as the chief of the original quadruple forms, is also the original Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, the first expansion of Kṛṣṇa, expands Himself in five forms: (1) Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa, (2) Kāraṇābdhiśāyī, (3) Garbhodakaśāyī, (4) Kṣīrodakaśāyī, and (5) Śeṣa. These five plenary portions are responsible for both the spiritual and material cosmic manifestations.”
    Not wanting to cause any controversy, but could this be clarified? Thank you and Hare Krsna.

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