Balaram Purnima, Appearance Day of Lord Balaram


HOUSTON: On the auspicious occasion of Balarama Purnima let us meditate upon the advent of Lord Baladeva, the first plenary expansion of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna! In the Nectar of Devotion (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu) by Srila Rupa Gosvami, the all-attractive beauty of Lord Balarama is described thus:

“Let me take shelter of the lotus feet of Balarāma, whose beauty is enhanced by the earrings touching His cheeks. His face is decorated with tilaka made from kastūrī [musk], and His broad chest is decorated with a garland of guñjā [small conchshells]. His complexion is as white as an autumn cloud, He wears garments of blue color, and His voice is very grave. His arms are very long, touching His thighs, and He has shown His great strength by killing the Pralamba demon. Let me take shelter of this chivalrous Balarāma.”

The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.1.24 ) states that, Being the origin of all incarnations within this material world, and previous to the appearance of Lord Krishna, this original Sankarsana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krishna in His transcendental pastimes.
Also known as (among His other names) Sankarsana (because He was transported from the womb of Devaki to that of Rohini); Ananta (the Infinite One); Baladeva (the Powerful One); Nityananda (the Eternally Blissful One); Lakshmana (the One with auspicious signs); and Ramanuja (younger brother of Lord Rama), Lord Sri Balarama is one of the most magnificent expansions of the Supreme Lord Sri Hari.

One thing to be noted is that the word “Bala” does not necessarily mean physical strength; in the context of the Lord Balarama it means spiritual strength. And, because “Rama” also means pleasure or bliss, Sri Balarama is also considered as the source of spiritual bliss.

Their Lordships Krishna and Balarama were always inseparable and enjoyed some delightful pastimes together. Together they got rid of several demoniac personalities that had been plaguing the general populace. Especially remarkable was the display of strength by Lord Balarama (whose weapons of choice were a club – Sunanda, and a plow, which is why He is also called Haladhara) when He eliminated Dvivida, the monstrous gorilla who had the strength of 10,000 elephants.

Lord Balarama was also instrumental in the killing of the demon Dhenukasura, who practically ruled over the Tala forest by spreading terror and distress amongst the people that lived there. Similarly the demons Pralambasura and Balvala also met their end at the hands of the Lord.
Further to that, He also killed the blasphemous Rukmi after Rukmi had made fun of Him and Lord Krishna, and also had tried to cheat them at a game of chess, which actually Lord Balarama had won. Ignoring a divine voice that asserted that Lord Ananta had won, Rukmi continued to poke fun at the Lord and thus invited his own death.

In order to deliver the worst of the worst sinners in this age of Kali, Lord Nityananda (the closest associate of Lord Chaitanya) appeared to help spread the mercy of Harinaam (the Holy Names) and to ensure our salvation. Let us express our eternal gratitude to Lord Nityananda for His infinite compassion!

Typical celebrations surrounding this joyous occasion involve devotees fasting until noon; then abhisheka is performed on Their Lordships. Devotees may also participate in the breaking of a pot (filled with prasada and honey) with a stick while blindfolded!

Balaram Purnima occurs eight days before Janmashtami, the appearance of Lord Sri Krishna. Hare Krishna Dham, ISKCON Houston will celebrate Janmashtami festival on Wed, Aug 28, 6:30PM to midnight, and cultural events on Sun, Sep 1, 5:30pm. Please join in the celebrations of the appearance day of Lord Krishna (Aug 28 & Sep 1)) and His elder brother Sri Balaram on Tuesday, Aug 20, 6:30pm. For further details visit Hare Krishna Dham at 1320 W 34th Street, Houston TX – 77018, , 713-686-4482).