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Our relationship with Balarama

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Balarama.jpgTridandiswami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Part One
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH BALARAMA (Krishna-Balarama Mandira, Vrindavan, India August 2 1993)

Today is a very auspicious day because two very sacred tithis (days) have met together: Purnima, and the Appearance Day of Baladeva. Today also ends Jhulana Yatra, which has been going on for one month since the beginning of this sravana month. At the end of Jhulan Yatra all Vrajabasis are very sad, and therefore Baladeva Prabhu appears on this day and makes them happy.

Conclusive Statements Regarding Controversies:

Some Vrajabasis hold an opinion that Baladeva appeared after Krishna. They say that Krishna appeared on astami, the 8th moon day, and Baladeva appeared after Krishna on catra, the following 6th moon day. However, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and all our Gosvamis don't agree on this point. They explain that if Baladeva appears on the following 6th moon day, then Krishna will be older than Baladeva Prabhu by several days. Or, if Baladeva came the year before, then He will be almost one year older than Krishna. Therefore, Jiva Gosvami states in his Vaisnava Tosani that, according to Shrimad Bhagavatam, Krishna and Baladeva were both named by Gargacarya on the same day, they were crawling at the same time, their annaprasana, mahaprasada-taking ceremony of any new child, was performed on the same day, and all their developments took place at the same time. When Krishna took birth in Gokula and Baladeva first saw Him, that was the first time Baladeva had opened His eyes. When Mother Yasoda and Rohini Ma placed Them both on the same hanging swing, they were very much pleased to see each other.

Some say that Baladeva Prabhu and Krishna took birth in Mathura, but this understanding belongs to ordinary persons, not rasika and tattva-jna bhaktas. They have a different opinion. In Shrimad Bhagavatam and Hari-vamsa it is stated that Devaki is another name for Yasoda. This is written in so many Puranas, and especially in Hari- vamsa.

There was no birth in Mathura. Krishna appeared there as Visnu, as Parambrahma, as a youth of sixteen years. In Mathura He appeared in the form of Vasudeva. He was four-handed and was holding His sanka, gada, cakra, and padma. He had long, wavy hair. He wore sarana makuta, a golden crown, and He was adorned with golden ornaments. Bhagavan never takes birth. But Krishna is not only Bhagavan; He is Svayam Bhagavan. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written a sloka that reveals the opinion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: "Aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama Vrindavan." First of all, Krishna is Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanda Maharaja, and He is aradhya, the supreme worshipable Deity. Tad-dhama Vrindavanm. His abode, Vrindavan, is equally worshipable. Lord Shri Krishna and His abode, Vrindavan, are equally worshipable.

This is the idea of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishna is not the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. He is only the son of Yasoda and Nanda Baba. Vrajesa-tanayas means Nanda Baba. Our aradhyadeva is Krishna, and He took birth in Gokula.

Just as Krishna took birth in Gokula, so Baladeva Prabhu also takes birth, only in Gokula. He comes from the womb of Devaki in part, but 'in whole' He comes from the womb of Rohini, in Gokula. Rohini devi was one of Vasudeva's many wives in Mathura. In Gopala Campu it is stated that when Vasudeva and Devaki were put in Kamsa's jail, she used to go from time to time to visit and serve them there. On one visit she became pregnant, and Devaki also conceived a child at that time. The mula, original and complete, Balarama entered her womb, and His plenary portion was in the womb of Devaki. After two or three months, in order to protect Rohini from the atrocities of Kamsa, Vasudev sent her to Vrindavan to live in the home of Nanda Baba and Yasoda. Yogamaya had inspired him to do so. After Baladeva's plenary expansion had been in Devaki's womb for six months, Yogamaya took Him from her womb to Gokula, where she put Him in Rohini's womb, and both the plenary portion and original Balarama merged there. It appeared, and everyone thought, that Devaki had a miscarriage, but actually that plenary portion had been transferred to Rohini's womb. As a magnet attracts iron, so the original Baladeva attracted His own expansion. Eight months later, Rohini begot her son, and therefore, all in all, Shri Baladeva had been in her womb for fourteen months.)

When Krishna appeared as Vasudeva, His four-handed plenary expansion in Mathura, Vasudev and Devaki prayed to Him, "Please appear as a very little boy, and then we can try to save You from Kamsa." At that time Krishna, who had just taken birth from the womb of Yasoda, at once came to Mathura and took chatur-buja (four-handed) Krishna in Him and both mixed. Vasudev took this baby Krishna to Gokula, left Him there, and took Yogamaya [Krishna sister, who had also just taken birth from Yasoda's womb along with Him]. Similiarly, we should know that Rohini's son Baladeva Prabhu's plenary expansion was present in the womb of Devaki, and by the arrangement of Yogamaya, was carried to Gokula. Both 'mixed together' there, as Rohini-nandana.

Balarama always thought, and He was in the mood, that His father was Nanda Baba -- not Vasudev Maharaja. He never thought, "I am the son of Devaki and Vasudeva." Mula Sankarsana is Baladeva in Dvaraka or Mathura. Baladeva in Gokula or Vraja is not Mula-Sankarsana; He is something different. In tattva they are both one, but by rasa-vicara, consideration on the basis of rasa, They are not one. When Krishna appeared in Mathura He was not the original Krishna, but Vasudev-nandana. Similarly, when Baladeva appeared in Mathura, He was not Rohini-nandana, but rather Mula-Sankarsana. In both Dvaraka and Mathura He is Mula-Sankarsana, a partial manifestation of Baladeva Prabhu. From Him, Maha-Sankarsana in Vaikuntha is expanded, and from Him, Karanadakasayi Visnu comes. From Karunadakasayi Visnu, Garbodakasayi comes, and from Garbodakasayi comes Khirodakasayi Visnu. The last part of Maha Sankarsana is Khirodakasayi Visnu, as Ananta Sesa. All these expansions have the mood to serve Krishna, and they are serving Him.

Baladeva and Krishna Are the Same

There is no difference between Krishna and Baladeva. Krishna is Svayam-rupa, and Baladeva Prabhu is also like that -- but still He is Krishna's prakasa or manifestation. There is only some difference in color and paraphernalia. Baladeva never carries His hala and mussala, plow and club, in Vraja; and Krishna also never carries any weapon there. He only carries His vamsi, and Baladeva Prabhu carries only His Shringar (buffalo horn). Sometimes Baladeva also carries a vamsi, but the vamsi is not prominent. Krishna also carries a Shringar, but the vamsi is prominent for Him. By that vamsi He performs rasa-lila and all similar pastimes.

Baladeva does not keep a plough or club because there is no use for them in Vraja, where all His lilas are madhura, sweet. He is not married in Vraja, and Krishna is also not married there -- openly. They only engage in Their sweet lilas there. In Dvaraka however, it is Vasudev-nandana and Devaki-nandana who appear. 'Vrindavan parityaja na padam ekam gacchati.' It is not only the part of Krishna, but also the part of Baladeva Prabhu, who go there. Baladeva Prabhu also never leaves Vrindavan. He always lives in Vrindavan.

(Someone may say that Baladeva was in the womb of Rohini in Mathura, and at that time, therefore, He was out of Vrindavan. But this is not true. Rohini is a visuddha Vrajabasi. She is always in the consciousness that, "I am a Vrajavasi." Even when Nanda Baba and the cowherd boys went to Mathura with Krishna, they were still in Vrindavan because their consciousness was such. Yogamaya Paurnamasi apparently lived in Ujjain before moving to Vrindavan, but actually she is an eternal visuddha Vrajabasi. Rohini apparently came from Mathura, but she is also an eternal visuddha Vrajabasi. Therefore, when Rohini-nandana Baladeva appeared in her womb, He was in Vrindavan.)

Baladeva is Sat

Krishna is a 'mixture' of sat, cit, and ananda. The meaning of sat is sattva, the existence potency. Cit here means bhava, transcendental loving emotions manifested in the five rasas. In the ordinary sense it is taken as jnana, knowledge; but there is no jnana in that sense in Vrindavan. In Shrimad Bhagavatam it is stated:

jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva
jivanti san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam
sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir
ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyam

["My dear Lord, those devotees who have thrown away the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth and have therefore abandoned discussing empiric philosophical truths should hear from self-realized devotees about Your holy name, form, pastimes and qualities."]

If you want to serve Krishna and Shrimati Radhika in Vraja-bhava, you will have to leave jnana. You will have to try to hear only the pastimes of Krishna, to remember them, and to chant the names of Krishna and Radhika. Otherwise, if you are not ekantika, one pointed, you cannot approach Vraja. When tattva-jnana becomes bhava, that bhava can reach to Vrindavan, and we can serve in Vraja with that bhava. In the ordinary sense jnana is only in relation to Brahman. Those who are jnanis think themselves Brahman. When jnana is tattva-jnana, realization of Bhagavan, one can go to Vaikuntha but he cannot reach Vrindavan. Here jnana means the bhava experienced in the five rasas: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya. This is called samvit, the knowledge potency, the potency by which Krishna knows Himself and by which others know Him.

The essence or sum and substance of hladini is called prema, and prema personified is Shrimati Radhika.

Baladeva Prabhu is the adhhisthatri-devata, predominating Deity, of sat, sattva, or sandini. Krishna is the adhisthatri-devata of cit, that is, both jnana and bhava together, and Shrimati Radhika is the adhisthatri-devi of hladini.

Sat-cit-ananda. Sat is the existence potency. The jiva is also ever-living, or ever-existing, but Baladeva is the master of all. He is the personification of sat; He is the original existence potency. We see Krishna, we see His vamsi, we see all the Vrajabasis, we see this world and we see the jivas. All are expansions of Baladeva Prabhu. Krishna, with Baladeva and Radharani, is Vrajendranandana Syamasundara. Without Baladeva there would be no existence of the pastimes of Radha-Krishna and the gopis and no existence of the land of Vrindavan, because He is the existence potency. All the associates of santa, dasya, sakya, and vatsalya rasas are manifestations of Baladeva. Regarding madhurya-rasa, those gopis who are kayavyuha-rupa, bodily expansions of Shrimati Radhika, are Her manifestations. Baladeva serves in all rasas, but not in Shringara or madhurya-rasa. To serve in that rasa He takes the form of Ananga Manjari.

Our Root Cause is Baladeva

The root of all jivas, the cause of all jivas, is Baladeva Prabhu. In Vraja, the jivas have manifested from the original Baladeva. They have never come to this world. They have always served Radha and Krishna in madhurya rasa or sakya rasa. From Baladeva comes Mula Sankarsana in Dvaraka. Asanka, innumerable, jivas come from Baladeva in His form as Mula Sankarsana, and they serve Dvarkadhisa and Mathuresa Krishna in so many ways. From Mula Sankarsana comes Maha Sankarsana in Vaikuntha. He manifests the mukta-jivas there, and they eternally serve Rama, Nrsmha, Kalki, Vamana, Narayana and all other svansa incarnations. From Maha Sankarsana comes Karanodakasayi Visnu in the tatastha region, and He manifests the tatastha-jivas. Among them, some become free from maya and some become baddha jivas, conditioned souls. In this way, we see that all kinds of jivas have come from Baladeva. It is told like this in the scriptures, but actually there is no birth of the jivas. They are all eternal like Baladeva Prabhu Himself. This is only said to convince the sadharana, ordinary, jivas, or conditioned souls. There are so many things that sastra has told us, whereas in reality, in Goloka Vrindavan dhama, these things will be seen in another way.

Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Part Two

All scriptures such as Chaitanya Caritamrta and Shrimad Bhagavatam are nothing but the glorification of Shri Baladeva Prabhu. Baladeva in akanda-guru-tattva; that is, He personifies the principle of teaching all souls how to serve Krishna. All scriptures are only the glorification of service to Krishna, and therefore all scriptures glorify Baladeva. Both forms of Bhagavatam, that is, the grantha-bhagavata (book bhagavata) and the bhakta (person) bhagavata, are manifestations of Baladeva Prabhu. Shrimad Bhagavatam, for example, is said to be the body of Krishna. The first two cantos are His two lotus feet, etc. The existence of Krishna's form is a manifestation of, and rests upon, His existence potency, sandini-sakti or Baladeva. Regarding the bhakta-bhagavata, he is the bona fide guru, and all gurus manifest from Baladeva. Without Baladeva's mercy, one cannot attain the mercy of Krishna.

Baladeva exhibits all moods and rasas for serving Krishna, and in His inner mood He also has madhurya-rasa. To manifest that mood He becomes Ananga Manjari.

Baladeva Manifests Sastra

In the forest of Naimasaranya, during the recitation of the Puranas and Mahabharata (Shrimad Bhagavatam had not manifest yet) the speaker, Romaharshana Suta, did not stand up when Balarama arrived. Balarama is the guru of all gurus. He is also the guru of Vyasadeva, who is the guru of Romaharshana Suta. By offending Balarama, Romaharshana Suta exhibited that he was not actually part of akanda-guru-tattva, and he was killed. The son of Romaharshana Suta was Ugrasrava Suta, or Suta Gosvami. By Balarama Prabhu's placing His hand on Suta Gosvami's head, all the scriptures manifested in his heart.

This is the actual process. Unless the bona fide guru gives his causeless mercy, real tattva cannot manifest in the heart of the disciple.

Suta Gosvami was initiated by Shri Sukadeva Gosvami and heard Shrimad Bhagavatam from him:

suta uvaca
yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo 'bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi

["Shrila Suta Gosvami said: 'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage Sukadeva Gosvami who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life (sannyasa), leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyasadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, "O my son!" Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the bereaved father.'"]

All of Vraja is a manifestation of Balarama. Balarama has also manifested as Giri Govardhana, but there are many subtle intricacies here. According to rasa-tattva, Govardhana is a manifestation of Shrimati Radhika, but in general everything comes from Balarama.

Baladeva Gives Knowledge

Balarama killed the donkey demon, Denukasura. Denukasura represents ignorance, and ignorance is destroyed by guru. Balarama is the source of all bona fide gurus and He is akanda-guru-tattva, the complete and undivided principle of guru.

om ajnana-timirandhasya
jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai Shri gurave namah

["I was born in the darkness of ignorance, but my spiritual master has opened my darkened eyes by the torchlight of knowledge."]

What kind of jnana does guru give? Radha-tattva, Krishna-tattva, upasaka and upasana-tattva (knowledge of bhakta and Bhagavan), maya-tattva, prema-tattva all the way up to madanakhya-mahabhava, and all other tattvas manifest in the heart of the disciple.

Balarama carries a plow and a club. With His plow He cultivates the field of devotion by removing anarthas. In this way He prepares the ground to sow the seed of prema-bhakti. Then, with his club He protects the growing plant by removing anarthas that have come after the sowing the seed. Balarama gives cit-bala, spiritual strength, to the unmukha, jiva, the liberated associates of Krishna, and for the vimukha-jiva, the conditioned soul, He comes as guru-tattva.

Bhakti, beginning from sraddha and going up to the highest limit of rudha and adhirudha madanakhya mahabhava, rests on the platform of sandini, which is personified by Balarama.

Apparent Dualities
Apparent Differences Between Baladeva And Krishna

The naravata-lila, human-like pastimes, of Krishna and Balarama cannot take place without apparent differences of opinion between Them. There was a fight between Duryodana and Bhima at the end of the Kuruksetra Battle. Baladeva was inclined towards Duryodana and Krishna towards Bhima. Balarama considered Duryodana His disciple and therefore had affection for him. Krishna gave a hint to Bhima to strike the thigh of Duryodana. Baladaeva considered that Krishna instigated Bhima to violate the rules of ksatriya conduct. He became angry and wanted to kill Bhima, but Krishna stopped Him.

Another apparent difference occurred in relation to Arjuna. Arjuna disguised himself as a sannyasi and wanted to marry Subhadra, Krishna's sister. All the Dvarakavasis heard the news of the advanced sannyasi. Krishna offered him obeisances and all others followed ahis example. Later on, during the kidnapping of Subhadra, Subhadra got on a chariot and Arjuna caught her hand and she pulled him onto the chariot. She then drove as Arjuna fought with the opposing soldiers.

Baladeva took His club and plow and was ready to kill Arjuna. Krishna asked Him, "Where are You going?"

Balarama answered, "To kill Arjuna. He has abducted Subhadra."

Krishna replied, "I did the same thing. I kidnapped Rukmini, Aniruddha kidnapped Usa, and Samba kidnapped Laxmana. There's nothing wrong in that. Besides, why do You say that Arjuna kidnapped Subhadra? Subhadra herself pulled Arjuna up on the chariot and she herself drove that chariot. Moreover, if you kill Arjuna, Subhadra will become a widow."

Baladeva finally said, "Why didn't you tell me that before?"

Why did Balarama not know earlier that the sannyasi was Arjuna? The cause was Yogamaya. Yogamaya is only a manifestation of Radhika, and yet she even makes Radhika forget.


Pralambasura took Balarama on his shoulders and Balarama killed him by giving him a blow. The significance of this pastime is that guru-tattva removes the duplicity (kapatata) of the disciple. Sometimes the guru may even publicly point out the disciple's defect, and if the disciple is insincere, he may become angry and ignorantly leave his sad-guru.

Dvivida Gorilla

During the time of Ramachandra, Dvivida liked Rama but not Laxman. He knew that Balarama was previously that same Laxman, and therefore he tried to kill Him at Raivata Parvata. Even Ravana and Meganatha could not kill Divivida in Rama-lila, but Balarama easily did so.

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