Sri Baladev Tattva (2):
Appearance and Pastimes

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nrisingha Palli, West Bengal
Lord Baladev's appearance day
Reading from a Sri Gaudiya Math publication
26 August 2018, part 2

 

Sri Baladev serves Krishna with His body, mind and words. We can be benefited only by His mercy.

Baladev always, with heart and soul, gives everything to Krishna. One time, Balaram beat Krishna—Krishna came to Mother Yasoda and complained, "Mother, brother has beaten Me!" Mother Yasoda chastised Baladev, "Have You beaten Your younger brother?!" Balaram gave no answer. When Mother Yasoda went away, Balaram grabbed Krishna by His shoulders and started shaking Him, "I have beaten and You have complained to mother? Who do You think loves You more, Your mother or I? Who protects You?! When You go outside, so many problems come, and who faces these problems?" Then Krishna began to cry, and Baladev cried too.

When we argue with our Gurudev, when we try to rectify or correct Gurudev with our mundane knowledge or try to imitate him artificially without actually following him, then we are following the path of asrauta (not listening to or hearing the authentic scriptures descending through the bona fide preceptorial channel) or tarka (argument) instead of the path of srauta (the following of or listening to scriptures). Only when we give up all such evil-minded tendencies and surrender unto his lotus feet, will following the path of hearing bring auspiciousness to us.

We always debate with our Guru—if Gurudev tells us something and we only pretend to be following it but we actually do not follow what Gurudev tells us to do, then we will gradually lose our intelligence. If your Gurudev tells you something and you only pretend to follow it, you cannot do that. How can we get auspiciousness? Only when we can embrace our Guru's guidance, can we proceed in our spiritual life—we must leave such durbuddhi (bad tendency of our minds) and surrender to Gurudev, then we can get auspiciousness.

The tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes the appearance pastime of Sri Baladev:

Suffering from the burden of the demons, Mother Earth took shelter of the creator Brahma. Brahma and the demigods then went to the shore of the Ocean of Milk and prayed to Vishnu. In a state of self-absorbed meditation, Brahma heard a divine voice from the sky which said that Vishnu would soon appear to reduce the burden of the earth.

When there were too many asuras, demons, creating problems on this planet, Prithivi Devi (earth) surrendered to Brahma—she came to Brahma with all the demigods, and Brahma took all the demigods to the ksir samudra (Ocean of Milk) where he began worshipping Vishnu. Then, Brahma heard a message from Lord Vishnu from the sky and understood that Krishna would come to this world soon.

Brahma then informed the demigods of the oracle and ordered them to take birth along with their wives in the dynasty of the Yadus and the family of the Pandavas for the service of the Supreme Lord.

When Vasudev married Devaki, Kamsa, out of affection for his sister, was driving their chariot. At that time, a heavenly voice rang out saying that Devaki's eighth child would kill Kamsa. Upon hearing that heavenly voice, Kamsa jumped up immediately and prepared to kill Devaki. Even after trying to convince him in many ways, Vasudev was unable to stop Kamsa from carrying out this heinous act. Vasudev then took an oath before Kamsa that whenever he and his wife would have a child, he would surrender it to Kamsa. Kamsa thought that the saintly Vasudev would surely keep his word, and therefore with firm confidence, Kamsa desisted from the killing of his sister.

In due course of time, upon the birth of the first child of Devakl, Vasudev took his son and went to Kamsa. He handed over his first child to Kamsa as he had promised. At that time Kamsa returned Vasudev's first son to him, but later heard from Narada about the true forms of the residents of Vraja and the Yadavas, about his own previous birth and whether the eighth pregnancy would be counted from the beginning or the end. When Kamsa heard such a suspicious statement, he became thoughtful. He then shackled Vasudev and Devaki in prison and killed the six children of Devaki one after the other. He also imprisoned his father, Ugrasena, and began to oppose the Yadavas. After being harassed by Jarasandha, Aghasura, Bakasura and other demons, the Yadavas fled to different states.

When Sri Baladev appeared as the seventh pregnancy of Devaki, Yogamaya, as per the Supreme Lord's instruction, attracted the seventh pregnancy of Devaki without anyone's knowledge and placed Him in the womb of Rohini, Vasudev's second wife in Gokula. Since He was attracted from the womb of Devaki by Yogamaya and placed in the womb of Rohini, He is therefore known by the names of Rohini-nandan and Sankarsan. Because of giving pleasure to the residents of Gokula He became famous as Rama, and also became known as Balabhadra due to possessing extraordinary strength.

The citizens of Mathura lamented, thinking that Devaki's pregnancy had been destroyed. Lord Krishna appeared on the 8th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadra (conjoined with the Rohini-naksatra) after the appearance of the Presiding Deity of the sandhim potency, Baladev Prabhu. Baladev's appearance day is the full moon day of the month of Bhadra. He appeared as the elder brother for the compre hensive service of Sri Krishna. In the pastimes of Rama, He appeared as the younger brother Laksman, and was therefore unable to perform the thorough service of Sri Ramachandra. In the pastimes of Krishna, this is why He appeared as the elder brother.

In Rama-lila, Laksman is younger than Ramachandra, so could not serve Ramachandra properly because a younger brother is always afraid of the elder brother. Therefore, in the pastimes of Krishna, Baladev became an elder son—as an elder son, He could serve and chastise Krishna properly (an elder brother can chastise his younger brother). When Krishna performed His pastimes, Balaram was always with Him:

Nanda Maharaj and Yasoda Devi also entrusted only Balaram with the responsibility of looking after the child, Gopal. While Krishna wandered in the forest along with His friends, Balaram was always engaged in His service. After killing Aghasura, Krishna was taking lunch with the cowherd boys on the banks of a lake. At that time, Brahma, wanting to test Sri Krishna, took away His calves and cowherd boys and hid them in a cave within Sumeru Mountain.

Sri Krishna immediately assumed the forms of the calves and cowherd boys and returned home. Due to returning in this way, neither the cowherds nor the cows were able to understand that their children had been kidnapped, but the cowherds became ecstatic with transcendental love when they touched their children. Upon touching their calves, the cows began shedding tears due to intense love. Although the residents of Vraja were unable to understand the reason for this, Baladev Prabhu understood that because Krishna had expanded Himself as the cowherd boys and calves, the residents of Vraja were exhibiting symptoms of divine love of Godhead.

One day, when Krishna was playing with His friends and cows, Brahma decided to test Krishna because he did not believe that this boy was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, Brahma hid all Krishna's friends and cows, but Krishna understood it, "Oh, Brahma is trying to test Me. No problem!" Then, Krishna created so many cows, so many friends and all the boys returned to their parents' houses and all the cows returned to their own homes. When the housekeepers touched their cows, they immediately were overwhelmed with Krishna-prema. When parents saw their son coming and hugged their boy they were also overwhelmed with Krishna-prema and they could not understand what was happening. However, Baladev Prabhu understood what was happening.

During the Kaliya-damana pastime, the residents of Vraja, being greatly distressed in separation from Krishna, wanted to enter into the water polluted by the poison of Kaliya. But Baladev Prabhu, who knows the glories of Sri Krishna, stopped them from this endeavor and saved them from drowning in Kaliya's lake.

In Kaliya-nag lila, when Krishna punished snake Kaliya, all the gopas and gopis wanted to jump into the Yamuna where Kaliya-nag was, but Baladev Prabhu stopped them. He told them, "You do not know what is happening. It is not necessary to go there, do not jump there!" He stopped them from jumping into the deadly water of the Yamuna.

Sri Baladev Prabhu performed the pastimes of killing Dhenukasur in Talavan and Pralambasur in Bhandiravan. When Balaram and Sri Krishna reached the age of pauganda (ages 5-10), Nanda Maharaj and other cowherds appointed Them to take care of the cows along with the calves. One day, Balaram and Sri Krishna, along with Their friends, arrived in Talavan while wandering through different forests. The powerful Dhenukasur, in the form of an ass, along with his powerful friends, lived there to guard the palmyra trees so that no living beings could eat the palmyra fruits. Many of the palmyra trees were full of fruits. Due to the scent of the fully ripened palmyra fruits, Talavan and other places nearby emanated a beautiful aroma. Consequently, the cowherd boys requested Krishna and Balaram to get those fruits for them.

In order to fulfil their desire, Krishna and Balaram took all Their friends and happily entered into Talavan. Out of affec tion for Sri Krishna, Baladev first entered into the forest, and like an intoxicated elephant, shook the palmyra trees. Because of this shaking, palmyra fruits began falling down making a loud sound. Angered by the sound of the falling palmyra fruits, the ass demon Dhenukasur immediately came there and struck the chest of Balaram with his hind legs and began jumping around making fearsome sounds. When Dhenukasur returned to kick Balaram, Baladev caught hold of his two legs and wheeled him around with such speed that the demon left his body while he was still being spun. Baladev then threw the demon to the top of a palmyra tree. The demon's body was so big that the palmyra tree began to break, and crashing against the other palmyra trees, they all began to fall to the ground. When Dhenukasur's cohorts arrived there in anger, they also received the same fate. The pastime of killing Dhenukasur took place in Talavan after the pastime of subduing Kaliya.

In his purport of the pastime of the killing of Dhenukasur, Srlla Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written as follows: "All the demons killed by Sri Baladev are all the anarthas (unwanted things) that will be removed by the devotional practitioner with the help of Sri Baladev. This is the secret of Vraja-bhajan. Dhenukasur is the carrying of the burden of superstition. Ignorance and nescience about one's own real self, the real form of the holy name, and the real form of the object of worship, is indicated by Dhenukasur."

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explains the meaning of Baladev killing this demon—Baladev killed this demon, but we must kill our demons: we have so many enemies living inside us, and we must kill all these elements...

 

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Poison-Free Service
'You do Vaishnav seva and become proud, 'I am spending money', 'I am doing this', 'I am doing that'—this kind of mentality can come, but our mood should be, 'I am not doing anything', 'I cannot do anything.''

 

Krsna haite chatur-mukha
'By Krsna's association, Brahma became devoted to Krsna's service. By Brahma's association, Narad Muni became devoted. After Narad came Krsna Dvaipayan Vedavyas. Purnaprajna Madhva Acharya declared he was Vyasa's servant. He was Padmanabha Tirtha's Guru.'
কৃষ্ণ হৈতে চতুর্ম্মুখ

You must remove that rust, then Krishna can attract us. That is why we need some good association.

"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"