Birth of Lord Balarama
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According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Balarama was the elder brother of lord Krishna. Lord Balarama is also known as Balabhadra, Baladeva and Haladhara. He is described as being physically very strong In Vaishnava traditions and Hinduism, he is acknowledged as being a manifestation of Sheshanag, one thousand headed serpent, on whom lord Vishnu rests. He is worshipped as the supreme teacher or Adiguru. He is the source of the entire spiritual world and the original spiritual master. His weapons are the hala (plough) and the gada (mace). He wears blue garments and a garland of forest flowers. Lord Balaram is also known as "God of farmers". Farmers in India worship him before any task. His weapon Plough is worshipped by farmers.
Birth of Lord Balarama
Lord Balarama was born to Vasudeva’s wife Rohini. Kansa was the brother of Devaki and cruel king of Mathura. Kansa loved his sister very much and he married his sister to Vasudeva. After their marriage, they heard a prediction that Kansa would be killed by Devaki’s eighth son. Therefore, Kansa threw his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva into prison, and proceeded to kill each of their children as they were born. However, the seventh child was transferred miraculously from Devaki's womb to the womb of Rohini, who had desired a child of her own. This child was lord Balarama. Seven months later during the most auspicious moment in Sravana month, Rohini gave birth to lord Balarama feeling all happiness. His complexion was just like a white lotus flower and he looked like the full moon. His eyes were brilliant like lightning flashes and his hair was brilliant like the sun. Thus, Rohini actually gave birth to Balarama and raised him. Lord Balarama spent his childhood as a cowherd boy with his brother Krishna and other friends under the protection of Nanda Baba.
When Kansa came to know that Krishna is Devaki’s eighth child and according to the prediction he would be killed by Krishna. He sent many powerful demons to kill Krisnha. But all the demons were killed by Krishna and Balarama. Balarama killed Dhenukasura, a demon sent by King Kansa. Dhenukasura was a powerful demon who assumed the form of an ass. With his demon friends he was occupying Talavana, one of the twelve forests of Vrindavana. Out of fear of these demons no one could approach Talavana. Balarama entered the forest desiring to kill the demons. Dhenukasura attacked Balarama with his rear legs, but Balarama easily picked him up by his legs and whirled him around until he died. As the other demon friends of Dhenuka rushed to attack, Krishna and Balarama also killed them. Balarama also killed a powerful and mighty wrestler Mushtika before Kansa's death. After Kansa's death, he and lord Krishna went to the sage Sandipani's ashrama (hermitage) at Ujjayini for their study.
Lord Balarama: The Teacher of Bhima and Duryodhana
Lord Balarama was equally affectionate to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He accepted both Duryodhana and Bhima as his disciples in the art of mace-war. When war broke between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, Balarama was equally affectionate to both parties and so decided to be neutral and instead went on an extended pilgrimage to the holy places. In last, when Bhima killed Duryodhana, Balarama became angry at Bhima for killing Duryodhana by deception, but he was appeased by Krishna.
Once upon a time, Duryodhana imprisoned Krishna's son Samba in Hastinapura. The family patriarch, king Ugrasena, called for retaliation. Seeing the family preparing for a fight, Balarama pacified them in order to avoid conflict between the Yadu and Kuru dynasties. Balarama went there and demanded his release. When Duryodhana refused he took his plough and started to drag the city into the Yamuna. To save the city Duryodhana released Samba.
Marriage of lord Balarama
King Raivata approached Balarama to accept Revati as his wife. Revati was the only daughter of Raivata. However, Revati belonged to an earlier yuga when people were much larger physically. So Balarama placed his plough on her head until she shrunk to an appropriate size and accepted her as his wife. Revati became the mother of two sons, Nisatha and Ulmuka.
After the great war of the Mahabharata, lord Krishna visited Gandhari, the queen of Hashtinapura, to offer his condolence. She cursed lord Krishna that just as the Kaurava dynasty had ended fighting with each other, similarly the Yaduvanshi dynasty would end fighting and killing each other. Lord Krishna happily accepted the curse. In the Bhagavata Purana it is described that lord Balarama took part in the battle that caused the destruction of the rest of the Yadu dynasty, after the disappearance of Krishna, he sat under a tree in a meditative state and ended his life by breathing out life from his mouth in the form of a white serpent.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.