Balarama – 8th avtar of Lord Vishnu

Balarama (also known as Baladeva, Balabhadra and Halayudha) is the elder brother of Krishna (an avatar of the god Vishnu) and is an avatar of Shesha.balaram-srikrishna

  • The Sankarshana form of Vishnu and the eighth avatar of Vishnu.
  • God of agriculture and fertility
  • Named Ram but called as Balaram – because of his strength
  • Balarama is Sankarshana, meaning a spirit transferred between two wombs.
  • Born in Shravana nakshatra on Shraavana Purnima or Raksha Bandhan to Vasudeva and Rohini.
  • Rohini is the mother of Balarama and his sister Subhadra, the siblings of the god Krishna.
  • Balarama is an avatar of Aadeshasha in Dwaparayuga, as Lakshmana was in Tretayuga and Patanjali in Kaliyuga.
  • Balarama is depicted as fair skinned, in contrast to his brother, Krishna, who is dark skinned.
  • Ayudha or weapons are the plough (hala) and the mace (gadā)

Legend

Balarama was son of Vasudeva. The evil king Kansa, 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 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.

Sage Gargamuni, Nanda’s priest, did naming ceremony of  Krishna and Balarama.

  • Balarama and Krishna spent childhood as a cow herder
  • Killed Dhenuka, an asura sent by Kansa, as well as Pralamba and Mushtika wrestlers sent by the king.
  • Went to the ashrama of sage Sandipani at Ujjain for study.
  • He married Revati, daughter of King Kakudmi, ruler of Kushasthali or Anarta
  • Had sons Nisstha and Ulmuka and a daughter Vatsala. Both sons Nisatha and Ulmuka were killed in the Yadu fratricidal war, after which Balarama also ended his earthly incarnation in meditation by the sea.
  • Balarama turned in to a white snake after death and entered the ocean.

Mahabharata – The Kurukshetra War

  • Taught both Duryodhana of the Kauravas and Bhima of the Pandavas the art of fighting with a mace.
  • Remained neutral when the war between Kauravas and the Pandavas declared.
  • When Bhima defeated 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.

Temples

  • Bainsa, Nawanshahr, Punjab: Baliyana Mandir, Bainsa(dist
  • Puri – Jagannath temple
  • Kendrapara – Baladevjew Temple
  • Bhubaneswar – Ananta Vasudeva Temple

More on Lord Krishna

ISKCON Temples

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