Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day
Today marks the auspicious appearance of Lord Balaram. We honor it with a half day fast and celebration.
Lord Balarama is Krishna’s elder brother and His appearance day takes place on the full moon day (purnima), two weeks before Krishna Janmashtami. Krishna and Balarama were the darlings of Vrindavan/ Vraja. Together They would spend the day enjoying the company of the cowherd boys in the forests of Vraja. Their wonderful pastimes are related in the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which Srila Prabhupada also translated as The Krishna Book. Lord Balarama is also considered the original spiritual master and His worship is therefore most important for Vaishnavas.
Lord Balarāma has two weapons, a plow and a club, from which He takes service when they are required.
(from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 65 Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana)
…In the Upaniṣads it is stated, nāyam ātmā bala-hīnena labhyaḥ. The purport is that one cannot attain the supreme platform of self-realization without being sufficiently favored by Balarāma. Bala does not mean physical strength. No one can attain spiritual perfection by physical strength. One must have the spiritual strength which is infused by Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa. Ananta, or Śeṣa, is the source of the power which sustains all the planets in their different positions. Materially this sustaining power is known as the law of gravitation, but actually it is a display of the potency of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa, is the source of spiritual power, or the original spiritual master. Therefore Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, who is also the incarnation of Balarāma, is the original spiritual master. And the spiritual master is the representative of Balarāma, the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who supplies spiritual strength. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is confirmed that the spiritual master is the manifestation of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. (from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)
…Regarding your question, “What does Rama mean in Hare Rama? Is this Balarama or Lord Ramacandra?”, you can take it both ways, because there is no difference between Ramacandra and Balarama. Generally it means Krishna, because Rama means enjoyer. So either Ramacandra, Balarama or Krishna are all Visnu Tattvas and are always enjoying. The sakti tattva, or jiva tattva is always enjoyed. Our position is always predominated. If we remain in that position and properly use our small independence, then we remain happily eternally. But artificially, if we want to be independent and imitate the Supreme Enjoyer, then it is delusion. Material life means trying to imitate the Enjoyer, and spiritual life means to remain in one’s eternal position as enjoyed. This Hare Krishna Mantra is addressed to the energy of the Lord and the Lord Himself to keep the chanter in his eternal position of being enjoyed. The prayer is “My Lord, Oh the Spiritual Energy of the Lord, kindly keep me engaged in Your service.” Regarding your other question, Krishna in His four-handed Visnu Form is within our hearts, but He is not different from two-handed Krishna. (Letter to Arundhati September 9, 1969)