Balarama Jayanti-The Appearance Day of Lord Balarama

Balarama Jayanti-The Appearance Day of Lord Balarama

Balarama is the elder brother of Lord Krishna. He is also known as Haladhara, Halayudha, Baladeva, Balabhadra and Sankarshana. He is the divine son of Vasudeva by his wife, Rohini. So he is also known as Rohini-nandan, the beloved son of Rohini. Balarama Jayanti, the Appearance Day of Lord Balarama is an important day in Hinduism.

Balarama is the epitome of happiness.
He was born in the womb of mother Rohini on Shravan Purnima or Rakhi Purnima tithi. Rohini is another wife of Krishna’s father Vasudeva and sister of Nanda. According to Hindu Purana, Balarama and his brother Krishna were originally conceived in the womb of Devaki, wife of Vasudeva and half-sister of Kamsa, the tyrant of Vrishni. Before their conception, Kamsa decided to kill each and every child of his sister because of a divine prediction that he would die at the hands of her sister’s eighth son. So Kamsa imprisoned Devaki and Vasudeva, and proceeded to kill each of their first six children as soon as they were born. In order to conceive of Devaki’s seventh and eight children, Lord Vishnu was said to have taken two of his hairs, one black and one white, and implanted them in Devaki’s womb. Just before their birth the two hairs turned into two offspring and those were miraculously transferred by way of Vishnu’s maya to the womb of Rohini, a woman who had desired a child of her own, so as to save them from Kamsa’s tyranny. Then Rohini gave birth to two boys, one dark or black in color and the other light. The black child was named Krishna, and the fair child was formally named Rama, but because of his great physical strength he was renamed as Balarama. Garga, the family priest, performed the naming ceremonies for Krishna and Balarama.

Balarama killed the demon Dhenuka and the two boxers Pralamba and Mushtika sent by Kamsa in his childhood. When Krishna went to Mathura to kill King Kamsa, Balarama was also with him. He also studied with Krishna at Acharya Sandipan’s Ashram in Ujjain.

Balarama killed many demons along with his brother Krishna and set the ideal of a sweet relationship with his brother. Balarama did not take sides in the Kurukshetra war. As an ideal brother Balarama was unmatched.

Balarama’s wife Revati was much older than him. Balarama’s love for her was so strong that he did not think of a second marriage. They had two sons, Nishta and Ulmuk.

Balarama was Rama’s brother Lakshmana in his previous birth. Balarama’s weapon is ‘hala’ (a huge plough). He is also known as ‘Haladhara’ for this reason. Though brother Krishna is dark in complexion, Balarama is fair complexioned. He is always blue.

In Mahabharata Adiguru Balarama is the acharya/guru of Duryodhana and Bhima. In Bhagavata Purana, Balarama is included in the list of 10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu or The Complete List of 24 Avatars of Lord Vishnu.

In the Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.4) it is said-
nayam atma bala-hinena labhyo
na ca pramadat tapaso vapy alingat
etair upayair yatate yas tu vidvams
tasyaisa atma visate brahma-dhsma
[ Meaning: One cannot attain the goal of life without the mercy of Balarama. Sri Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, nitaiyera karuna habe, vraje radha-krsna pabe: when one receives the mercy of Balarama, Nityananda, one can attain the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna very easily].

By Krishna Das

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