Sri Baladev Tattva (3):
Later 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 3

 

In the 18th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the pastime of the killing of Pralambasur is described as follows:

Sri Krishna and Balaram's wandering place of Vraja-dhama was decorated with all the pleasing qualities of spring even during the summer season. One day, Krishna and Balaram, along with Their friends, were engaged in playing, dancing and singing when Pralambasur entered their midst disguised as a cowherd boy. The cowherd friends were unable to understand this, but omniscient Lord Krishna understood that the newcomer cowherd was a demon in disguise. In order to kill him, He received him as a friend. All the cowherd boys then divided into two parties for a game. Krishna became the leader of one group and Balaram became the leader of the other. The condition of the game was that the party that was defeated would carry the victor on his shoulder. When they played, Sridam and Vrisabha of Balaram's party became victorious. Consequently, Krishna carried Sridam and Bhadrasena carried Vrsabha. On the other side, Balaram defeated Pralambasur. Avoiding Krishna, Pralambasur ran away carrying Balaram stealthily on his shoulders.

Balaram, understanding the ill motives of the demon, became so heavy on the shoulders of Pralambasur that he was unable to bear His weight. The demon then assumed his real form. Upon seeing the terrible form of the demon, Haladhara Baladev at first expressed symptoms of doubt. But just as Indra hurled his lightning bolt, shattering mountains to slay the demons, Baladev struck the demon a ferocious blow on the head with His fist. This blow shattered Pralambasur's head and he began to vomit blood. He left his body in this state of repeatedly vomiting blood. The cowherd boys and demigods then began to glorify Lord Baladev profusely due to the excellence of His deed.

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur describes the purport of the killing of Pralambasur as follows: "Pralambasur is a symbol of illicit sexual connection (stri-lampatya), aspiration for gain, adoration (labha-puja) and name and fame (pratistha)."

Although Sri Baladev is Vishnu-tattva, He Himself serves the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna as His foremost servant. He also engages others in the service of Krishna and exhibits the pastime of acting as the original spiritual master. In spite of all this, during His manifest pastimes in this material world, He Himself performed the pastime of accepting a guru in order to teach the importance of taking shelter of a guru. This is described in the 45th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam: "Concealing Their innately (self-effulgent) perfect knowledge by Their humanlike activities, the two omniscient Lords of the universe, Krishna and Balaram, Themselves the origin of all branches of knowledge, desired to reside at the school of a spiritual master and therefore approached Sandipani Muni, a native of Kasi living in the city of Avanti."

Sandipani Muni, being satisfied with the service of Krishna and Balaram, taught Them the entire Vedas, political science and the sixty-four varieties of fine arts in sixty-four days.

When Krishna and Balaram expressed the desire to offer guru-daksina (a fee or gift given to a priest) to Their spiritual master, the muni asked for the return of his son who had died in the ocean at Prabhas Tirtha. To fulfil the desire of Their spiritual master, Sri Krishna and Balaram went to Prabhas-tirtha and were informed about the abduction of the child by the powerful demon Panchajan. Upon hearing this, Lord Krishna entered the water and killed the demon but could not find the boy within the demon's belly. Lord Krishna took the conchshell that had grown around the demon's body. That conch became famous as Panchajanya. Sri Krishna and Balaram then reached Yamaloka and loudly blew the conchshell, Panchajanya. Upon hearing the sound of the conchshell, Yamaraja arrived there and elaborately worshipped Them. Thereafter, Sri Krishna and Balaram brought the son of Their spiritual master from Yamaraja and gave the child to him as guru-daksina. Sandipani Muni expressed great joy to have disciples like Sri Krishna and Balaram, and gave Them permission to return home.

sri gurur-uvacha
samyak sampadito vatsa
bhavadbhyam guru-niskrayah
ko nu yusmad-vidha-guroh
kamanam avasisyate

The spiritual master said: "My dear boys, You two have completely fulfilled the disciple's obligation to reward his spiritual master. Indeed, with disciples like You, what further desires could a guru have?"

(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.45.47)

Sri Balaram was the teacher of Bhima and Duryodhana in the art of fighting with clubs. Sri Krishna, who is the performer of wonderful tasks, took away Rukmini, the daughter of the Vidharbha king, Bhismaka, in order to fulfil her desire. Jarasandha and two other warriors fought with Krishna but were defeated. Rukmini's brother, Rukmi, who was jealous of Krishna, was unable to tolerate this. He again attacked Sri Krishna. Due to Rukmini's prayers, when Krishna was about to kill Rukmi by destroying all his weapons, He let him go, but only after defacing him. At that time, Baladev came there and pacified Rukmini not to lament unnecessarily out of ignorance.

Although Rukmi was filled with animosity toward Sri Krishna and considered marriage relations with the enemy to be against dharma, he married his granddaughter Rochana to Aniruddha, the grandson of Rukmini, desiring to please his sister out of extreme affection for her.

Rukmini, Baladev, Sri Krishna, Samba, Pradyumna and other Yadavas were present at Aniruddha's wedding in the city of Bhojakata. After the wedding, on the advice of the arrogant kings headed by the King of Kalinga, Rukmi began a gambling match with Baladev. In the first match, Rukmi defeated Baladev, whereupon the King of Kalinga laughed at the Lord, displaying all his teeth. Later, upon the repeated victory of Baladev, Rukmi began to say that He was winning by cheating and lying. Apart from this, Rukmi repeatedly ridiculed Baladev by saying that He was only expert at tending cows. For some time, Baladev remained silent, but upon being insulted repeatedly, Lord Baladev struck Rukmi with His parigha (a kind of iron cudgel used in war in ancient times) to destroy his pride. Rukmi died then and there, and the other offensive kings fled to save their lives.

All living entities are created from the fleeting glance of Karanodakasayi Maha-Visnu who is an amsa-avatara of Sri Baladev Prabhu. In this way, Baladev has a direct relationship with all living entities. Because of His natural compassion for the living beings, He is affectionate toward them and also controls them for their benefit. Therefore He carries the plough, pestle and other weapons. In the 65th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, there is a description of Sri Balaram's visit to Gokula, His consolation of the gopis by imparting news of the well being of Krishna, His sport with the gopis in the groves by the bank of the Yamuna and His pastime of attracting Yamuna. Sages who became enchanted upon seeing His beauty witnessed this. In this enchanted state, they recited Balaram's glories and while singing, played kettledrums in the heavens and showered down flower petals. One day during that time, Lord Balaram drank some intoxicating divine varum juice that had been sent by the demigod Varuna and in an intoxicated state, He began wandering about the forest. While wandering in the forest, He summoned the Yamuna River so that He could play in her waters but she refused to come, thinking that He was intoxicated. Because of her disobedience, Balaram, in order to punish Yamuna, began to pull her with the end of His plough to split her into hundreds of streams. Frightened and trembling, the goddess Yamuna then fell down at Lord Balaram's lotus feet, chanting and repeatedly praying for forgiveness. Thereupon, Lord Balaram forgave her. Later, for the pleasure of the gopis, the Lord bathed and sported with them for a long time in the waters of the Yamuna. Finishing the water-sports, Baladev came out of the Yamuna and Goddess Kanti, a special form of Goddess Laksmi, presented Him with a set of blue garments, precious ornaments, and a beautiful necklace. Lord Balaram dressed in the blue garments and wearing the golden necklace, appeared resplendent:

kamam vihrtya salilad
uttirnayasitambare
bhusanani maharhani
dadau kantih subham srajam

"The Lord played in the water to His full satisfaction, and when He came out Goddess Kanti presented Him with blue garments, precious ornaments and a brilliant necklace."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.65.31)

Bearing the mark of the strike of the piough, the Yamuna still exhibits the prowess of Baladev.

Srila Jayadeva Gosvami in his composition, Dasavatara-stotra, prays to the Lord of the universe in His form as Haladhara (wielder of the plough) in this way:

vahasi vapusi visade vasanam jaladabham
hala-hati-bhiti-milita jamunabham
kesava dhrta-haladhara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare [8]

"O Hari! O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! You have assumed the form of Balaram! All glory to You! On Your white body You wear garments the colour of clouds and the River Yamuna when she is frightened by the striking of Your plough."

(Sri Jayadeva, Dasavatara-stotra, 8)

The Hastinapur pastime of Baladev has been described in the 68th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Samba, the son of Krishna's queen Jambavati, had taken away Duryodhana's daughter Laksman from her svayamvara assembly.

The Kauravas were enraged by this improper act and began to fight with Samba in order to arrest him. While they were fighting, the Kauravas observed and appreciated the wonderful heroic form of the boy. However, four warriors of the Kaurava party collectively surrounded Samba and defeated him by unjust means. They then arrested him along with Laksman, and took them both to Hastinapura. When Sri Krishna and the Yadavas heard from Devarsi Narad of this injustice by the Kauravas, they became angry. Taking permission from King Ugrasen, Sri Krishna prepared for war, along with the Yadavas.

Duryodhana was Sri Baladev's disciple in the art of mace fighting. Baladev being aware of the power of Krishna, thought, “If Krishna goes to battle, then Duryodhana may lose his life.” Thus, out of compassion for His disciple, He pacified Sri Krishna and the Yadavas, and set off for Hastinapur with several brahmanas and Yadava elders. During the journey, Baladev was thinking that upon His persuasion, His disciple Duryodhan would accept His words and free Samba along with Laksman. Camping on the outskirts of Hastinapur, He first sent Uddhav to ascertain King Dhrtarastra's intentions. When Duryodhan and other Kauravas heard from Uddhav about Baladev's arrival, they joyfully took auspicious items to Him and worshipped Him. After inquiring about each other's welfare, Lord Balaram said, "You have captured Samba in an unjust fight. In order that there not be any hostilities between you and the Yadavas, I am telling you by the order of King Ugrasen that you should hand Samba over to us."

Upon hearing these words of Lord Baladev, the Kauravas felt insulted and replied with fury, "Amazing! The Yadavas are trying to give orders to the Kauravas? Look at the crookedness of time and how the times have changed! Today, the leather shoe is eager to climb atop one's crowned head. The Yadavas are related to us because of the marital ties of Kunti Devi, and for this reason only they have the opportunity of sharing our beds, seats and meals. Indeed, it is only by our mercy that they have been given royal thrones, and now they are thinking that they have become equal to us? It is certainly true that they are enjoying the royal crown, royal bed and other paraphernalia today by our mercy only. Just see, they have lost all shame and dare to command us like masters! These Yadavas will surely have to step down from their royal position."

nunam nana-madonnaddhah
santim necchanty asadhavah
tesam hi prasamo dandah
pasunam lagudo yatha

[Lord Balarama said:] "Clearly the many passions of these scoundrels have made them so proud that they do not want peace. Then let them be pacified by physical punishment, as animals are with a stick."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.68.31)

Upon seeing the misbehaviour of the Kauravas and hearing their abusive words, Balaram became filled with rage and laughingly spoke as follows, "Those scoundrels who are intoxicated with the pride of wealth and power never want peace. Just as beasts do not show understanding without being beaten by a cudgel, scoundrels cannot come to their senses without physical punishment. I came here desiring the welfare of the Kauravas after pacifying the Yadavas, but they are so proud that they have disrespected Me. So, is King Ugrasen unfit to command the Kauravas when Indra and other planetary rulers are bound to obey his orders? That Lord whose servant is Laksmi Devi; the dust of whose lotus feet is carried on the heads of Indra and other rulers of the universe; of whose spiritual identity Brahma, Shiva and Myself are simply amsa-avataras or even amsamsa-avataras—is that very Krishna not fit to sit on a royal throne? Are the Yadavas indeed like shoes whereas the Kauravas are like the head? I shall surely punish all these impudent Kauravas immediately."

Thus, Sri Baladev, intending to rid the earth of all the Kurus and cast Hastinapur into the Ganga, dug His plough weapon into the southern side of the city and began using it to drag Hastinapur. By the extra-mundane miraculous power of Baladev, Samba was excluded from the submersion of Hastinapur. Upon seeing that Hastinapur was falling into the Ganga due to being pulled by the tip of Balaram's plough, the Kauravas became terrified and in great distress cried out, "Trahi Baladeva!" ("O Baladev, please save us! Please save us!"). Putting Samba and Laksman in front of them, they approached Lord Baladev and surrendered before Him while praying: “O Lord, in Your form of Ananta, You carry the earth on one of Your heads. At the time of annihilation, You destroy the entire universe and lie down to rest on Sesa. Please rescue the Kauravas as we are ignorant and misguided.” The protector of the surrendered, Baladev, forgave them immediately with the words, "Ma bhaih." ("Do not fear.") Baladev also killed Narakasura's friend, the powerful ape, Dvivida, with His pestle and plough.

yadavendro 'pi tam dorbhyam
tyaktva musala-langale
jatrav abhyardayat kruddhah
so 'patad rudhiram vaman

"The furious Lord of the Yadavas then threw aside His club and plow and with His bare hands hammered a blow upon Dvivida's collarbone. The ape collapsed, vomiting blood."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.67.25)

namaste tu halagrama namaste tu musalayudha
namaste revatikanta namaste bhakta-vatsala
namaste balinam srestha namaste dharanidhara
pralambare namaste tu trahi mam krsna purvaja

"Obeisances unto You, O holder of the plough; obeisances unto You, O wielder of the pestle; obeisances unto You, O beloved husband of Revati; obeisances unto You, O affectionate benefactor of Your devotees; obeisances unto You, O upholder of the earth; obeisances unto You, O best of the mighty; obeisances unto You, O killer of the Pralamba demon. Please save me, O elder brother (Baladev) of Krishna."

To teach the people in general, Sri Baladev killed Romaharsana Suta who was unqualified to recite Srimad Bhagavatam. Later, He accepted the arrangement of the sages to atone for the sin of killing a brahman. This incident is described in the 78th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam as follows:

In order to remain neutral, Lord Baladev left Dvaraka on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage after hearing of the possibility of war between the Pandavas and Kauravas. The Lord bathed in sacred places such as Prabhasa and eventually came to the holy Naimisaranya Forest where great sages were performing an extended fire sacrifice. The sages rose from their sitting places and worshipped Baladev. Baladev accepted a seat, and after sitting down, the Lord noticed that Romaharsana Suta, who was a disciple of Vyasadev and a member of the pratiloma suta caste, was sitting on a higher seat than the other sages. He was also bereft of the etiquette of standing up to welcome the Lord. Lord Balaram thought, "He is not qualified to recite the Bhagavatam. He is only performing a recitation of the Bhagavatam for his livelihood. He is vainly proud of falsely assuming himself to be a scholar. He is a greater sinner than the people who engage in sin." Baladev Prabhu, the protector of religion, then killed Romaharsana with a blade of kusa grass, which was in His hand. The sages, distressed by the death of Romaharsana Suta, prayed to Baladev, "We gave Romaharsana Suta the seat of the spiritual master and granted him a long life so that he could remain alive until the end of our yajna, but You were not able to understand our motive. Therefore, to set a perfect example for the people in general, it would be good for you to undergo the prescribed atonement for slaying a brahman." When Baladev asked the sages about the atonement for killing a brahman, the sages requested Baladev as follows: "Romaharsana, who was killed by You, had also been awarded a long life by us. Please preserve the truth of both of these incidents." Sri Baladev, following the Vedic maxim that 'one's son takes birth as one's own self,' granted Romaharsana's son, Ugrasrava, the position of speaker of the Puranas, and awarded him a long life with unfailing sensory capacity.

Baladev performed His pastime of disappearance after the destruction of the Yadu dynasty.

Jay Sri Baladev Prabhu ki jay

 

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