Lord Balarama is the first expansion of Lord Krishna appearing as His elder brother eight days before Krishna’s appearance in this world. While Krishna’s complexion is like a dark bluish cloud, Balarama’s complexion is like a white autumn cloud. He assisted Lord Krishna in His earthly pastimes of protecting the devotees and ridding the world of the misguided. Whilst Krishna is known for carrying a flute whose beautiful sound enchants His devotees, Balarama holds a plough in His hand that represents His strength. Devotees fast till noon on this day, followed by a feast in His honour.
Today marks the appearance day of Lord Balarama and we honor it with a short story from the Krsna Book.
Lord Balarāma prepared Himself to meet the demon Balvala. At the time when the demon usually attacked the sacred place, there appeared a great hailstorm, the whole sky became covered with dust and the atmosphere became surcharged with a filthy smell. Just after this, the mischievous demon Balvala began to shower torrents of stool and urine and other impure substances on the arena of sacrifice. After this onslaught, the demon himself appeared with a great trident in his hand. He was a gigantic person, and his black body was like a huge mass of carbon. His hair, his beard and his mustache appeared reddish, like copper, and because of his great beard and mustache, his mouth appeared to be very dangerous and fierce. As soon as He saw the demon, Lord Balarāma prepared to attack him. He first began to consider how He could smash the great demon to pieces. Lord Balarāma called for His plow and club, and they immediately appeared before Him. The demon Balvala was flying in the sky, and at the first opportunity Lord Balarāma dragged him down with His plow and angrily smashed the demon’s head with His club. By Balarama’s striking, the forehead of the demon became fractured. There was a profuse flow of blood from his forehead, and he began to scream loudly. In this way the demon, who had been such a great disturbance to the pious brāhmaṇas, fell to the ground. His falling was like a great mountain with a red oxide peak being struck by a thunderbolt and smashed to the ground. (Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 79, The Liberation of Balvala, and Lord Balarāma’s Touring the Sacred Places)
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)