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  1. Who is Lord Balarama?;
  2. Srila Prabhupada's Appreciation; and
  3. Guru Maharaja’s Instructions.


Who is Lord Balarama? Lord Balarama is the elder brother of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, when you say that a layman will frown at this comment and think how can God have an elder brother? Especially when most of the people do not believe that God has a form, what to talk of God having a form when most people all over the world don’t even believe in the existence of God. When they hear that we are celebrating the appearance day of God’s elder brother I am sure they are completely flabbergasted. Yes, God has an elder brother not only an elder brother; He has His father, mother and grandfather. Why God shouldn’t have? In order to enjoy one needs his associates around him. Actually, one cannot enjoy alone. So, when God wants to enjoy he expands, in the Vedanta sutra it has been established that one can become many. God although He is one He became many. Why? Because He is anada mayo bhyasat. He is the Supreme Enjoyer. It has been pointed out that the Lord in order to enjoy He expands Himself into many and they are His intimate associates in the spiritual world. This is a very profound find on the subject of spiritual nature. The Supreme spirit Krishna is not only anada mayo bhyasat the enjoyer but He is Raso vai sau, the source of all mellows. Enjoyment is related to mellows or rasas. There are 12 rasas: 5 principle and 7 secondary. (1) adoration of the Lord (santa), (2) servitude (dasya), (3) friendship (sakhya), (4) parental love (vatsalya), and (5) conjugal love (madhurya). Conjugal is the highest of all. So, in order to enjoy the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands into many and His first expansion is Balarama. When Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself, first He expands into Balarama and then the further expansions take place through Balarama. Balarama expands into 5 features, (1) Balarama or Mahasankarshan, (2) Karanadakasayi Vishnu, (3) Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, (4) Ksirodakasayii Vishnu, and (5) Ananta Sesa. So, expanding Himself in this five different forms Balarama actually renders service to Krishna. Although Balarama is Krishna’s expansion, Balarama is the source of all the service to Krishna and any paraphernalia that is used in serving Krishna that is actually an expansion of Krishna. When you offer aartik, those paraphernalia are actually expansions of Balarama; the camara, the bell, the lamp they are expansions of Balarama. So, anything that is used in serving Krishna even this singhasan is an expansion of Balarama. The throne where Krishna is situated is an expansion of Balarama. Krishna’s bed Ananta Sesa is an expansion of Balarama. Everything that is used in rendering devotional service to Krishna is actually an expansion of Balarama. It is a very profound realisation of the absolute truth so unless and until one has the basic knowledge it is difficult to understand. Unfortunately, just in one meeting it is not possible to explain the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth to the fullest extent so that is why we always request people to read books. We have many books to reveal our philosophy or establish our points that after all we are not blindly following certain dogmatic process. We are not blind followers; we are following the highest philosophy that has been founded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself and thus we are following the Absolute Truth. There is no room for imagination and mental speculation or any kind of concoction. This knowledge that we are practising is flowing in the disciplic succession, guru parampara and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original guru and then He imparted the knowledge unto the first created being on this universe Brahma and Brahma gave the knowledge to his son Narada, Narada gave this knowledge to Vyasadeva (the compiler of the entire Vedas) who simplified the Vedas for people of this age of Kali. In this way the knowledge is flowing in a bona fide disciplic succession. The support of this knowledge is the scriptures and whatever we follow, preach and propagate is based on those scriptures. We never say anything just out of our mental concoction. Whatever we say is supported by the scriptures so that’s why it is so authentic and appealing especially to the intelligent class of people.  

When we say Krishna, we mean God. When we say God, it is not a Hindu God or Muslim God or Christian God and so and so forth or an Indian God or Russian God or Chinese God. GOD IS GOD! He is one without any second, He is the Supreme Personality. Although He is one He has innumerable names according to His innumerable pastimes and qualities even in English also we notice God is addressed as Almighty, Omnipotent and these are names of God. Since God is all powerful that is why He is Almighty or Omnipotent. The same way God is all cognisant that is why another name of God is Omniscient. So, the same way in Sanskrit God’s different attributes and qualities have been analysed in different names. Krishna in Sanskrit means all attractive. God is all attractive that is why He is Krishna. It is not that when you call him Krishna He’s one personality and when we call Him Jehovah He becomes another personality. A self-realised person who knows God he will see that Krishna and any other name of the Lord is addressing the same personality. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is one without any second and although there is no one equal to Him or superior to Him that is another attribute of the Lord in Sanskrit He has been described as Asama one who does not have an equal and urdhva means above. There is no one superior or equal to the Lord. Although He is one without a second but still expands Himself into innumerable forms and although He expands Himself in innumerable forms He still remains the original Supreme Personality. He expands with His inconceivable potency but still He remains the same personality it is not that His expansions are different from Him His expansions are identical to Him. Krishna is God and Narayana is also God. Now Krishna and Narayan are non-different; Krishna and Vishnu are non-different; Krishna and Rama are non-different; Krishna and Varaha or Kurma or Nrsinghadev or Vamana they are non-different. It is one personality that expands Himself into many different forms. From a material point of view, it seems to be impossible or imaginary but even from our material perspective we can understand by some examples even from the material platform one man can have different features or appearances. Let us consider s high court judge, when he is in the court he is the judge and everybody is looking at him with great awe and reverence and he is addressed as “My Lord” then when this same person goes to the club then he is just a so and so with his friends and there he is dealing with others in an equal platform and then when that same person goes home then someone is his son and someone is his wife and someone is his daughter and someone is his mother and so and so forth. Now the same person in high court appears to be one and in the club appears to be in another form and at home in another form. Although He expands Himself His potency does not deteriorate. If in the material platform we can see different individuals have different features although he is the same personality so what to talk about the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has inconceivable potency and who can do whatever He wants. So, when God wants He can expand Himself into innumerable forms it is possible for Him. Although the Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He expands Himself in innumerable forms with equal potency but still He remains the original personality. Govindam Adi Purusham. Now in the material platform it is impossible to understand that how a person can expand himself into innumerable forms but still he can remain the same because in the material platform when we see when you take something away from something it diminishes and when you add something to something it increases but on the spiritual platform this is the absolute platform.  

I wanted to speak on Lord Balarama’s appearance but I first of all had to establish that Krishna is God and then we can go into His pastimes. Like if we not understand that Krishna is God, God is the Supreme Personality with form, variegated qualities and entourage and paraphernalia then it is impossible to go deeper into that philosophy. Lord Balarama who is the elder brother of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna, He appeared before Krishna came. Actually, before coming to this material world, this universe, this earth planet Krishna made the arrangements. First before coming Himself He sent His fathers and mothers and then He sent His elder brother and other relatives and friends and then Krishna appeared. Balarama was actually the seventh child of Vasudeva and Devaki, the father and mother of Krishna. When the earth was very much troubled by the tyrannical demons Mother Earth went to Lord Brahma in the form of a cow and with tears in her eyes she told Brahma about her distress of how demons were troubling her so Brahma then decided to go to the Lord along with other demi-gods and Mother Earth to the milk ocean and there Brahma began to offer his prayers to Lord and the Lord instructed Brahma in the heart that very soon He would descend to rid the earth of the miseries and He would establish darma and He asked Brahma to tell the demi-gods to take birth in the Yadu and Vrisni dynasty. In this way the Lord predicted His advent and He made arrangements that before He came the other associates of Him should take birth on this earth planet. Then He sent all His associates and friends and His relatives. In the meantime, His father and mother got married. Now the question may arise how come the Lord has mother and father? The Lord is unborn but in order to perform His pastimes the Lord takes birth as a child of some of His devotees. He has explained it in Bhagavad Gita by saying ajo api sann avyayatma bhutanam ajo means unborn bhutanam isvaro although I am unborn and eternal and the Supreme Lord of all beings but still in order to give pleasure to My devotees I take birth by My internal potency. In the material nature we are born and changing one body to another due to our karma our previous actions But God doesn’t take birth by the influence of karma He appears by His causeless desire. He simply desires to be born and He appears through some of His devotees those who wanted to have Him as their son. Devotees are related to the Lord in different mellows as I have mentioned. Those mellows are neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parental and conjugal, Some devotees of the Lord are related in parental mellow, some devotees want to get the Lord as their own son. Now when the devotee desires like that the Lord also allows them to have Him as their son so the Lord takes birth through them as their child. When His two great devotees Vasudeva and Devaki got married and when Vasudeva was taking his wife to his palace at that time Devaki’s cousin Kamsa was driving the chariot and there was a celestial announcement from the sky that “Kamsa you are such a fool so jubilantly you are taking your sister and her husband in your chariot and you are personally driving the chariot but you do not know that the eighth son of this sister of yours is going to kill you,” As soon as Kamsa heard this forecast he immediately grabbed Devaki by her hair. Although Devaki was his cousin still he had no mercy because he was a great demon so he decided to kill her right there. He grabbed her by her hair, pulled out his sword and was about to chop her head but Vasudeva stopped Kamsa and said, “Kamsa you are such a great person and you should not kill a woman because if you do everybody will look down upon you. A brave hero like you killed a woman.” In the Vedic culture killing a woman is considered to be a great crime or heinous act. In this way he consoled Kamsa and said, “Look Devaki is not going to kill you but her eighth son will kill you so when Devaki gives birth to her sons I will bring the sons to you and you can do whatever you want with them. In this way Kamsa was pacified and he let her go and then when a son was born to Devaki, Vasudeva true to his commitment took the son to Kamsa. Kamsa in the beginning mellowed down and felt that he has only to be afraid of the eighth son so he had nothing to fear from the first son so he gave the son back to Vasudeva and said, ‘You take him back, I don’t want to do anything to him. He is not going to cause any harm to me.” Then Kamsa was advised by his friends not to take a chance like that, this instruction came from Narada. Narada is a great devotee of the Lord and he wanted to hasten the advent of the Lord if possible so he tricked Kamsa to understand that there was no way of knowing that the eighth son would be counted in forward or backward progression. The first son could be the last son counting from the last son, In this way he convinces Kamsa and Kamsa immediately went and killed the child. Not only did he kill the child but he put Vasudeva and Devaki in the prison, In this way year after year they were giving birth to a son and they were brutally killed by Kamsa. Six sons were killed one after the other. 

The seventh son is actually Baladeva, Balarama Krishna’s elder brother. When Balarama was seven months old in the womb of Devaki then by Krishna’s instruction Yoga Maya Krishna’s internal potency took Balarama from Devaki’s womb and transplanted Him in Rohini’s womb. Rohini was another wife of Vasudeva who was staying in Vrindavan under the protection of Nanda Maharaja. This has been analysed why Balarama first came to Devaki’s womb and then to Rohini’s womb that has been described as Balarama makes the arrangements of Krishna for Krishna’s bed and paraphernalia. So, before Krishna arrived in Devaki’s womb Balarama went there and made all the arrangements for Krishna to come and then after making the arrangements He went to Rohini’s womb and then Krishna came as Devaki’s son and Balarama was born as Rohini’s son. In this way Balarama appeared so today is the day when Balarama appeared in Vrindavan. Balarama is Krishna’s first expansion and the same Balarama expanded Himself as Ksirodakasayi Vishnu who is present in everyone’s heart as Paramatma the super soul. Actually, the super soul in our hearts is the expansion of Balarama or Balarama Himself. The super soul is the original guru. The Lord who is present in our heart is the spiritual master so Balarama is THE spiritual master. Balarama is the shelter of all living entities. When the living entities go back to Godhead then first they go back to Balarama and through Balarama they go to Krishna. This Balarama appeared again as Nityananda prabhu and Krishna appeared as Caitanya Mahaprabhu brajendra-nandana jei, saci-suta hoilo sei balarama hoilo nitai. Brajendra nanda Krishna became the son of Saci mata and Balrama became Nityananda. In Mahaprabhu’s pastimes one has to approach Mahaprabhu through Nityananda prabhu. Hena nitai bine bhai radha Krishna paite nai. Without Nityananda prabhu one cannot approach RadhaKrishna. Without the sanction of Balarama one cannot approach RadhaKrishna because our original shelter is Balarama so we have to go back to our original shelter in the spiritual sky. Balarama is the source of all the living entities. By Balarama’s mercy we are engaged in devotional service to Krishna. Today is the appearance day of Lord Balarama who very mercifully came to help us go back to Godhead so let’s take full advantage of His advent and glorify Him so that His mercy can spread all over the world and thus the whole world can benefit. Hare Krishna Thank you very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! 


We have very wonderfully noticed in Srila Prabhupada our spiritual master. Prabhupada went to America at a time when many Indian Swamis went to America to start their religious business. The difference between them and Prabhupada is that Prabhupada had never blown his own trumpet like the others. When you see the other religious groups they all are named after the person who was propagating that cult. You can consider every single religious group in the west, Bal yogi, Rajesh yogi, they had their own society but this society that was propagated by Srila Prabhupada is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness it is not International society for Bhaktivedanta or Prabhupada consciousness, it is International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Prabhupada never presented himself as the centre point. Prabhupada always presented Krishna, for many many years even today what to talk of the western world even in India some do not know that this International Society for Krishna Consciousness was established by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Prabhupada always remained in the background and he put Krishna in the front. Prabhupada simply presented Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that is why it worked. When practically all other religious groups are simply fizzling out this ISKCON is becoming stronger and stronger and as the time passes this society will become stronger and stronger because this society is simply glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not a cult that worships some individual and puts the individual in the centre and does everything for the sake of the individual. Yes it is done for the individual and that individual is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that is why everyone is so perfectly situated and satisfied in this society.


When I decided to take to spiritual life and went back to India I was searching for one and a half years for a guru but I never thought that I would join ISKCON. Finally, I got Prabhupada’s books I realised that this is THE philosophy and the process that I was looking for all this while. This is dealing with the Absolute Truth, when you look at the society from a distance you may have all kinds of misconceptions and I don’t blame anyone for having misconceptions. Yes we are strange with our shaved head, sikha and saffron robes. Yes we do look strange from a distance but when one comes close to us I am sure he will see that after all we are not that strange. Even if we may be a little strange we are not bad. After all a person who does not eat meat, take intoxication, who doesn’t indulge in illicit sex and who doesn’t gamble must be a good man. Only a good man can follow these four regulative principles. My earnest request to everyone is please don’t judge us from a distance. Please try to come close to us and find out for yourself what we are actually doing. 

(The content of this E-magazine is based on a lecture given by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami in ISKCON Ujjain on 3 May 2020)

(Compiled and Edited by Hemavati Radhika Dasi)