||Avatari of Shesha or Vishnu|
Balarama (बलराम, Balarāma),
also known as Baladeva, Balabhadra and Halayudha, is the
elder brother of Krishna (an avatar of the god Vishnu) and is
regarded generally as an avatar of Shesha. He is also sometimes
considered as the Sankarshana form of Vishnu and the eighth
avatar of Vishnu.
He may have originated in Vedic times as a deity of agriculture and
fertility. In scripture, Vishnu impregnated the belly of the goddess Devaki with two
strands of hair, one black, one white. To ensure their safety, they were
transferred before birth to Rohini. Krishna was born with
darker complexion, while Balarama was fair. In Jainism he is known as Baladeva.
He is often depicted with a drinking cup, pitcher, shield and sword.
Birth and originedit
Balarama was a son of Yadava king Nanda. The evil king
Kamsa, the brother
of Devaki, was intent upon killing the children of his sister because of a
prediction that he would die at the hands of her eighth son.
Vishnu then impregnated the belly of the goddess Devaki with two strands of
hair, one black, one white. To ensure their safety, their essence was
transferred before birth to Rohini, who also desired a child. At birth, Krishna
had a darker complexion, while Balarama was born fair. The other name of
Balarama is also Sankarshana, meaning a spirit transferred between two
He was named Rama, but because of his great strength he was called Balarama,
Baladeva or Balabhadra, meaning "Strong Rama". He was born under Shravana
nakshatra on Shraavana Purnima, or Raksha
He is often depicted with a drinking cup, pitcher, axe, shield and sword.
Balarama may have originated in Vedic times as a deity of agriculture and
fertility. In Jainism he is known as Baladeva.
Balarama Kills Dhenukasura, Folio from a Harivamsha
(Lineage of Hari, Vishnu), ca 1585-1590
One day, Nanda Maharaja
requested the presence of Gargamuni, his priest, to name
the newborn Krishna and Balarama. When the
Gargamuni arrived, Nanda Maharaja, received him well and requested the naming
ceremony. Gargamuni then reminded Nanda Maharaja that Kaṁsa was looking for the son of
Devaki, and if he performed the ceremony in opulence, it would come to his
attention. Nanda Maharaja therefore asked Gargamuni to perform the
ceremony in secret, and Gargamuni did so:
Because Balarama, the son of Rohini, increases the transcendental
bliss of others, His name is Rama, and because of His extraordinary strength,
He is called Baladeva. He attracts the Yadus to follow His instructions, and
therefore His name is Sankarshana.
—Bhagavata Purana, 10.8.12
Balarama spent his childhood as a cow herder with his brother Krishna. He killed
Dhenukasura, an asura sent by Kansa, as well as
Pralambasura and Mushtika wrestlers sent by the king. After the
evil king died, Balarama and Krishna went to the
ashrama of sage Sandipani's at Ujjayini for study. He later
the daughter of King Kakudmi, ruler of Kushasthali or
Kurukṣetra war of the Mahābhārataedit
Duryodana was defeated by Bhima - A scene from
Balarama taught both Duryodhana of the Kauravas
and Bhima of the
Pandavas the art of fighting with a mace. When war broke between the Kauravas
and the Pandavas, Balarama cared for both sides, and so remained neutral. When
the mighty Bhima defeated the more skilled Duryodhana by striking him in the
groin with his mace, Balarama threatened to kill Bhima. This was prevented when
Krishna reminded Balarama of the vow of Bhima—to kill Duryodhana by crushing the
thigh he had exposed to Bhima's wife Draupadi.
In the Bhagavata Purana, it is
described that after Balarama took part in the battle causing the destruction of
the remainder of the Yadu dynasty, and witnessing the
disappearance of Krishna, he sat down in a
meditative state and departed from this world.
Some scriptures describe a great white snake that left the mouth of Balarama,
in reference to his identity as Ananta-Sesha. The place where he departed
is situated near Somnath Temple in Gujarat.
The local people of Veraval believe that the in cave near the temple
place, the white snake who came out of Balarama's mouth got into that cave and
went back to Paatal Lok.
Status as avataredit
Main article: Dashavathara
Narratives of Balarama are found in the Mahabharata, Harivamsha, Bhagavata Purana and
The Bhagavata Purana suggests Balarama as incarnation of Vishnu. He is
classified in the vyuha avathar Sankarshana, of Vishnu where in Adishesha and Lakshmana is
An earlier reference to Balarama is in Kautilya's Arthashastra (13.3)
Early individual Balarama worship was followed by obeisance to Balarama
alongside Krishna in various Vaishnava sects. The most revered temple of
Balarama is in Kendrapada and in Puri in Odisha.
coin depicting Balarama, 1st
Sage Atri's Samurtachanadhikara of Vaikhanasas, the most ancient
school of Vaishnava theology, has described protocols for building temples and
idols for Balarama and his consort. The Pancharatras, one of the
earliest Vaishnava sects, worshiped Samkarshana as the second vyuha of
Godhead. Krishna is usually depicted darker than Balarama. In Rama-lila, Balarama serves Ramachandra as his younger
Brother, Lakshmana and in the current
age (Kali yuga), Balarama spreads
the 'Sankirtan movement' of Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu as his close friend Nityananda.
Balarama at the lower right of a Maurya
coin, holding a
mace and conch; 3rd-2nd century BCE, from the British
believe Balarama to be the supreme divinity, and worship him in the same level
of Krishna as Balaram is considered to be the source of all Vishnu forms.In their belief
system, when Krishna is depicted, Baladeva is
also always shown as his brother—sometimes elder, sometimes younger. They depict
Balarama serving Krishna in all of his incarnations. Krishna has been described
as creator, and Balarama his creative potency, with them being
worshiped together as embodiment of Godhead.
Balarama is depicted as fair skinned, in contrast to his brother, Krishna,
who is dark skinned, Krishna in Sanskrit means dark. His āyudhas, or
weapons, are the plough hala and the gadā. He often wears
blue garments and a garland of forest flowers. His
hair is tied in a topknot, and he has earrings, bracelets and armlets, and he is
known for his strength.
The Jain Puranas, notably,
the TriṣaṣṭiŚalākāpuruṣacarita of Acharya Hemachandra,
narrate hagiographical accounts of nine Baladevas or Balabhadras, who are
believed to be the Śalākāpuruṣas
(literally "torch-bearers, great personalities"). These nine Baladevas are:
Achala, Vijaya, Bhadra, Suprabha, SuDarśana, ānanda, Nandana, Padma (Rama in Hinduism) and
Rāma (Balarama in Hinduism).
Baliyana Mandir, Bainsa (dist Nawanshahr) Punjab
- "Lord Balarama is the original Vishnu; therefore anyone
remembering these pastimes of Lord Balarama in the morning and the evening
will certainly become a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
and thus his life will become successful in all respects." - A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
- "The splendor of Lord Balarama's transcendental form eclipses many
millions of glistening rising moons, and the slightest scent of His boundless
strength is sufficient to destroy many armies of demons." - From
Appreciating Sri Vrindavana Dhama, pg.
Chandra, Suresh (Aug
15, 2012). Encyclopaedia of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Kindle
- ^ "Bhagavata Purana
- ^ Pargiter, F.E. (1922, reprint 1972). Ancient Indian
Historical Tradition, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.98
- ^ Varkey, C.P. (2001). A
Pilgrimage Through The Mahabharata. Mumbai: St. Paul Society.
pp. 148–149. ISBN 81-7109-497-X.
- ^ Bhag-P
- ^ A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1987). Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, ed.
Srimad-Bhagavatam: Bhagavata Purana. ISBN 0892132507.
- ^ Rangarajan, L.N. (1992) (edited, rearranged and
translated), Kautilya — The Arthashastra, New Delhi: Penguin, ISBN
- ^ http://www.iskconmanchester.com/Balarama-Jayanti.html
- ^ Joshi, Nilakanth Purushottam
(1979). Iconography of Balarāma. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-107-5. , p. 5
A. C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami (1970). Krsna the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Los Angeles:
ISKCON Books. p. 67. ISBN 0-912776-30-7.
|Data Arrangement, Technical Arrangement & Graphics|
|♦ Master Murugan Chillayah - Silambam Academy|
|References ( Balarama )|