Asraya Vigraha Sri Baladev
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Today is a very good day—Sri Baladev Purnima. Baladev is nondifferent from Guru, nondifferent from Nityananda Prabhu.
In Treta-yuga Rama could not properly serve Laksman because Laksman is younger, and a younger brother does not take service from his elder brother. So, in Dvapar-yuga Laksman is born as Baladev, and in Kali-yuga as Nityananda Prabhu. In the song "Hari Hari viphale janama gonainu" it is said: "Balaram ha-ila Nitai, Balaram became Nitai!"
Krishna always wants to serve His devotees, and Baladev, as well as Nityananda Prabhu, is His sakti—They are asraya vigraha. Krishna has two forms—one is He Himself and the other form is Baladev (or Guru). Gauranga Mahaprabhu also has two forms—Gauranga Himself (Radha-Krishna's combined form), and the other form is Nityananda Prabhu (or Guru).
Without the shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, without the shelter of Baladev Prabhu, we cannot think about Krishna—then you can understand how important Baladev's appearance day is. Baladev appears before Krishna, so every year before Janmastami we celebrate the appearance day of Baladev first. In the same way, every year before Gaura Purnima, we first celebrate Nityananda Prabhu's appearance day.
Visvanath Chakravarti wrote:
"I offer my obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Guru, who is said by all the scriptures to be the Lord Himself, and considered to be so by the sadhus, yet is also the Lord's beloved devotee."
Sri Sri Gurvastakam, 7
Krishna Himself comes in the form of Guru, and it also says in this verse that at the same time Guru is the dearmost of Krishna—Srimati Radharani, Sriman Nityananda Prabhu, Sriman Baladev Prabhu. This is the proper conception of Guru.
The Dauji Temple
When we go on Kartik parikrama, we always visit the Dauji temple. 'Dauji' means "an elder brother" in Hindi. There is a story about that place.
It happened at the time when India was ruled by Muslim kings. Once, the king of Agra called Samrat Akbhar asked, "Who is the strongest person in this area?" Somebody said to him, "Here, the strongest person's name is Baladev." Akbar became excited, "All right, I want to fight with Him!"
The Dauji temple is less than a hundred kilometres from Agra, perhaps sixty or seventy kilometres or so. In those days, there were not so many means of transport (no cars, no airplanes), so the soldiers travelled by horse or on foot. The emperor asked, "How many days does it take to reach Baladev's house?" He was told, "Walk straight this way, and in just three days you will be there."
So, the emperor took his soldiers, food, and other provisions and set off from Agra on foot. He was walking and walking... Three days passed, but he still did not find Baladev's house. He continued walking—seven days passed, one month passed... All their food and everything else was finished, and the emperor was perplexed, "We were told, 'Go there, it is only three days,' but more than one month has passed and we still have not got there! What is going on?"
Then somebody explained to him, "That is because Baladev is not an ordinary person. He is the Lord Himself! Do you want to fight with Him? It is impossible!" The emperor then understood who Baladev was and surrendered to Him, "I will not go to fight with You. I am coming to serve You." After that he reached Baladev's house within one day.
The emperor worshipped Baladev and granted tax exemption to the village where the Dauji temple was. He said, "This village is special because it is Baladev's village, so nobody has to pay the tax here."
To this day, in honour of Balaram that village does not pay any tax.
Always near, always dear
You heard that Baladev is always with Krishna, that Baladev always protects Krishna. Once, though, Krishna did something wrong and Baladev gave Him a big slap. Krishna began to cry and complained to His Mother, "Mom, today dauji (Baladev) beat Me!" Mother Yasoda became very sad and called Baladev, "Have You beaten Him today?! He is younger than You, a small boy, and You have beaten Him?!" Baladev got chastised.
Later, Baladev grabbed Krishna and began shaking Him, "Hey! Do I not give affection to You?! Do You think only Your mother gives You affection?! Do You think only she loves You, and I do not love You?! Tell Me, who gives You more love and affection, Me or Your mother? I give You more love and affection than anybody else!" Krishna began to cry again and said, "Yes, Brother, You love Me so much, more than My mother! You always protect Me, always give everything to Me... You are more than My mother."
Baladev always fulfils Krishna's desire—He does everything. Whenever any problem comes, Baladev is always there with Krishna—and He knows who Krishna is. He is always very close to Krishna, always protects Him, always thinks about Krishna. There was only one time when He could not come with Krishna because His mother told him not to—at that time the Kaliya-daman lila happened. You all know how it happened. Krishna made that lila because He wanted to teach us that we must demolish our ego.
We must understand how to serve, how to give nourishment to Baladev. Gurudev always said that you may be doing many things, but if your Guru is not happy, your result is zero, nothing.
Many people stay in the temple, but how many are doing service? Many do karma. Karma means sakam bhakti (সকাম ভক্তি). There is sakam bhakti (সকাম ভক্তি) and niskam bhakti (নিষ্কাম ভক্তি). Sakam bhakti means that I am doing some service, but I want my own happiness, I want my own pleasure. This is not service. We must think, "How shall I make my Guru happy?" We must not think, "How shall I make myself happy?" I may be sad, I may be unhappy, it does not matter to me as long as I can make my Guru happy. This is called service. Niskam bhakti means there is no other desire except making your Guru happy—this is our only goal. That is the main thing.
So, today is a very auspicious day and it is very important that we worship Balaram perfectly.
More merciful than anybody else
You must understand it and must always think, "How can I make my Guru happy?"
গুরু রুষ্টে হৈলে কৃষ্ণ রাখিবারে নারে
guru ruste haile krsna rakhibare nare
"If your Guru becomes angry, Krishna cannot protect you, but if Krishna becomes angry, your Guru can protect you, Balaram can protect you."
You heard about Nityananda Prabhu and how He rescued Madhai. Gauranga Mahaprabhu called His Sudarshan chakra, but Nityananda Prabhu said, "What are You doing? You must stop Your Sudarshan! Please, I am begging one thing from You today. I am begging Madhai from You." Krishna is merciful, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is merciful, so He gave Him that. Nityananda Prabhu is actually more merciful any anybody else—He is more than Krishna, more than Mahaprabhu.
Guru is nondifferent from Nityananda Prabhu, from Baladev, so we must serve our Guru, in the proper way...
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