“Then, in Vraja, after five days, in the month of Bhādra (August-September), on the sixth day of the bright fortnight, when Mercury, five exalted planets, and the constellation Libra were on the horizon, at midday, as the demigods showered a beautiful rain of flowers and the clouds sprinkled drops of water, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, illuminating Nanda’s home with His splendor, was born from Vasudeva’s wife (Rohiṇī).” -Garga Saṁhitā 1.10.28
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Balaram is the direct expansion of Krishna. Lord Balaram is non-different than Krishna. They only differ in body. In the Spiritual world, Krishna and Balaram exist eternally, neither one exists before the other. They are simultaneously, eternally, past present and future, having wonderful pastimes in the spiritual world. Lord Balaram always assists in Sri Krishna’s pastimes as He executes the orders of Lord Krishna in the work of creation with his four other forms called the Chatur-Vyuha. His only mission is to please Krishna through service. No one can approach Krishna without first getting the mercy of Lord Balaram.
Srila Prabhupada explains:
“ Baladeva [Balarama]: He is the divine son of Vasudeva by his wife Rohini. He is also known as Rohini-nandana, the beloved son of Rohini. He was also entrusted to Nanda Maharaja along with His mother, Rohini, when Vasudeva embraced imprisonment by mutual agreement with Kamsa. So Nanda Maharaja is also the foster father of Baladeva along with Lord Krishna.“ – Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.11.16-17, Purport
Balaram appeared as the seventh child in the womb of Devaki. She could feel the divine presence of this child. Even Kamsa could feel his potency thinking he may have been tricked by the prophecy – He will be slain by the eighth child. At that time, Krishna instructed Yoga Maya, his internal potency, to transfer the unborn from the womb of Devaki, who was imprisoned by Kamsa in Mathura, to the womb of Rohini, Vasudev’s first wife, who was living under the protection of Sri Nanda Maharaj in Gokul, Vrindavan.
“Gargamuni said: This child, the son of Rohini, will give all happiness to His relatives and friends by His transcendental qualities. Therefore He will be known as Räma. And because He will manifest extraordinary bodily strength, He will also be known as Bala. Moreover, because He unites two families—Vasudeva’s family and the family of Nanda Mahäräja—He will be known as Saìkarsana.” -Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.8.12.
This most auspicious appearance day of Sri Balaram is celebrated as Balaram Jayanti.
Devotees in Mayapur who are most aware of the significance of this festival take full advantage to serve and please Sri Rohini-Nandan. In ISCKON Mayapur the celebrations have already begun one day prior to the festival as devotees engage in chanting the holy name and decorating the temple in preparation for the next day. Lord Nityananda, who is non-different than Balaram, takes precedence here in Mayapur as Mayapur is the birthplace of the Golden avatar Lord Sri Gouranga, who is non-different than Krishna. Such is the mood of this holy place.
On the day itself, both Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Pancha-tattva take your breath away. The temple crowded full of devotees stand astounded for minutes takingdarshan and singing to the lordships. Deities of Sri Krsna Balaram are kept in front of the Panca Tattva altar decorated in new clothes, ornaments, flower garlands, Tulsi garlands and anklets. Devotees chant the holy name non-stop throughout the day and on the mid-day an abhisekh is performed on the Sankarsana Shilabathed with a variety of auspicious substances – panca gavya, pancamrita, various fruit juices, scented sugar syrups, and flower waters. Devotees prepare varieties of cuisines for offering along with the offerings prepared by the temple for Sri Balaram.
In Rajapur – Sri Jagannth Mandir there is an abhishek for the small deity of Baladeva. Sri Baladeva is decorated very majestically and opulently along with Lord Jagannath and Subhadra. A mace rested on right of His shoulder and a silver plough rested on His left shoulder. His face decorated with dots of sandalwood paste as they all smile majestically.
In ISKCON Mayapur devotees attend the Jhulan Yatra festival. The festival of swings which has been going on for the last four days; on the fifth and the final day the devotees take part in a pot breaking festival. In clay pot full with sweets swing on from the top filled with Sri Balaram’s favorite drink the Varuni, a celestial drink from honey that was sent by Varuna, God of the oceans. Many devotees attempt to break this pot using a stick with their eyes blindfolded by a cloth. Swinging and missing, after finally when the pot is broken the sweets gets distributed to all the devotees. Cultural programs such as traditional dance and dramas continue to entertain the lord and his devotees and sumptuous maha-prasadam is served to all the devotees assembled and they come home with full satisfaction.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies