Calcutta, India — Tuesday, August 28th

Lord Balaram

Today is the divine appearance day of Lord Balaram, Lord Krishna's elder brother. Balaram is the first plenary expansion of Krishna, and He appears just prior to the advent of the Supreme Lord to set the stage, to help Krishna to more fully enjoy His pastimes (lila).

There are so many wonderful accounts of the pastimes of Krishna and Balaram in the authoritative scriptures like the Srimad Bhagavatam and in the hymnals of our Vaishnava acharyas. When I was researching my As luck would have it blog, I came across one such hymn in Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Gitavali.

We are all familiar with the first Prasad-Sevaya song (sarira avidya-jal), because we sing it every day before honoring prasadam. Less well known is Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's sixth Prasad-Sevaya song, which retells this wonderful pastime of Krishna and His brother Balaram and Their cowherd boy friends playfully eating lunch in the Vrindavan forest:

rama-krsna gocarane, jaiben dura vane,
eta cinti' yasoda-rohini
khir, sar, chana, nani, du'jane khaowano ani',
vatsalye ananda mane gani'

"Thinking, 'Today our two boys, Balaram and Krishna, will go to the forest to tend Their cows,' Mother Yasoda and Mother Rohini, absorbed in the ecstasy of parental affection, prepare a wonderful feast of khir, solid cream collected over yogurt, curd, and fresh yellow butter for their two boys."

vayasya rakhala-gane, khay rama-krsna-sane,
nace gay ananda-antare
krsnera prasada khay, udara bhoriya jay,
'ara deo' 'ara deo' kare

"All the cowherd boys have lunch with Balaram and Krishna and dance and sing in ecstasy. They eat the remnants of Krishna's lunch until their bellies are full, but still they cry, 'Give us more! Give us more!'"

This is why Krishna consciousness is so appealing, and so satisfying. There is so much information about God and His pastimes! It is easy to love God when you know so much about Him. And when you discover that you don't have to "sit around heaven playing a harp all day," but that you can participate in pastimes like this with Krishna and Balaram and Their friends, you actually want to go to heaven!

And Balaram, the original guru, comes to inform us of that prospect and to prepare us for that life — a life of eternity and bliss with Krishna and all His associates. Lord Balaram is exclusively devoted to Sri Krishna: as the older brother He paves the way for Krishna, and as the guru He shows us the way to Krishna.

Tags: Krishna's Companions

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Layout by iMonk — August 28th, 2007.