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Balarama brings Krishna!

By Sacinandana Swami,
August 2018

Lord Balarama, who has inconceivable potencies, is Krishna’s first expansion. When Krishna takes “one step to the side”, He becomes Balarama, and from Lord Balarama come so many expansions – one of whom manifests all the material universes.

There is a particularly wonderful function Lord Balarama performs out of His mercy that endears all devotees to Him: He brings Krishna! An example of this is described by Jiva Goswami in his Gopala Campu:

When the feelings of separation became intolerable to the residents of Vrindavana, Krishna asked His elder brother, Balarama, to go to Vraja and give His devotees solace. But that was not easy… Balarama knew that the Vrajavasis could only be satisfied by the sweet darshan of Krishna – not by anything or anyone else. So how did Balarama resolve this?

He brought Krishna to His own mind first, and then displayed Krishna to the gopis. The gopis were immediately overwhelmed with love from the darshan of their beloved Krishna, satisfied at long last by Lord Balarama.

This incident is also described by Srila Prabhupada in his Krishna Book: “In the presence of Lord Balarama, all the gopis and other inhabitants of Vrindavana became as cheerful as they had been before in the presence of both brothers, Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama.” (Krishna Book, Chapter 66)

So, this is the power of Lord Balarama: He brings Krishna! Thus, one of the names of Balarama is Sankarshana – which means to attract or to draw. Whom does Balarama attract or draw? Krishna!

For all of the souls who have forgotten Krishna, Balarama mercifully attracts them to the Lord by taking away obstacles from their path. To accomplish this mission, He carries a plow, which has deep significance. Balarama frees the hearts of devotees from all attachment by the action of His plow!

We all know that Krishna carries a flute by which He attracts (akarsana) all those who can hear its clear, divinely gorgeous notes. But alas! The conditioned souls have no ability to hear the Lord’s flute play because of worldly desires that have overgrown their spiritual hearts. Thus, Lord Balarama takes His plow and uproots the weeds of material desires, making the devotee’s heart into a fertile field for the seed of bhakti to grow. Then only can the jiva again respond to the attraction of Krishna – His names, form, qualities and pastimes.

Balarama’s representative here in this world is the spiritual master, who instructs his disciples how to purify the heart and cultivate bhakti. Thus cultivation (karsana) is needed first so that we can experience full attraction (akarsana). However, not all souls like to be corrected… But the moment one surrenders to be set straight on our path, one feels immediate relief, and bhakti grows in the heart. Think of when Balarama was in Vrindavana and Yamunadevi first disobeyed His orders but then surrendered to Him.

There is a beautiful prayer by in this connection:

“My dear Balarama, You are the most powerful personality, and You are pleasing to everyone. Unfortunately, I forgot Your glorious, exalted position, but now I have come to my senses, and I remember that You hold all the planetary systems on Your head merely by Your partial expansion Sesa. You are the sustainer of the whole universe. My dear Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are full with six opulences. Because I forgot Your omnipotence, I have mistakenly disobeyed Your order, and thus I have become a great offender. But, my dear Lord, please know that I am a soul surrendered unto You, who are very affectionate to Your devotees. Therefore, please excuse my impudence and mistakes, and, by Your causeless mercy, may You now release me.” (Krishna Book, Chapter 66)

Upon displaying this submissive attitude, Yamunadevi was forgiven, and Lord Balarama enjoyed the pleasure of swimming in her waters.

On this sacred day of Balarama’s appearance, let us all present our hearts to the merciful plow of Lord Balarama. Rest assured that his “heart-surgery” will be most pleasing, relieving and inspiring!

Sri Balarama ki jaya!


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