On Baladeva Prabhu’s divine appearance day, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja gave a discourse in Hindi, translated by Rādhikā dāsī of Russia. Below is a transcription of that translation.


Today is the appearance day of Rohiṇī-nandana Baladeva. According to the Vedic scripture Garga-saṁhitā, Baladeva Prabhu appeared after Janmāṣṭamī, but if this is accepted, there would be confusion. Baladeva would be older than Kṛṣṇa by one year, and then they would not be able to play together, wrestle on equal terms, and have Their name giving ceremony performed for both of them at the same time. Therefore, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has explained, “Baladeva Prabhu appeared after Jhulana-yātrā on the pūrṇimā, the full-moon day, and, seven days later, Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared on bhadra-aṣṭamī, the auspicious eighth day of the moon in the month of Bhadra (August/September).”

After Kṛṣṇa appeared from the womb of Devakī in His four-armed form of Viṣṇu, Vasudeva brought Him to Gokula. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of all relationships, simultaneously took birth in Gokula. In this way, He simultaneously appeared at both places, in Mathurā and Gokula. Then, the opulent form of Kṛṣṇa (vaibhāva-prakāśa), who had appeared in the four-armed form, merged into the original form of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Yaśodā.

In the same way, Baladeva Prabhu’s partial expansion first appeared in the womb of Devakī, and then, following Kṛṣṇa’s order, Yogamāyā transferred Him to the womb of Rohiṇī. There, in Vraja, He manifested in His full feature. So, the partial expansion of Baladeva was transferred from Devakī’s to Rohiṇī’s womb, where Baladeva’s full, original feature manifested. In Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is the son of Yaśodā and Baladeva is the son of Rohiṇī, and They are the source of all other expansions.

When Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva leave Vraja for Mathurā or Dvārakā, at that time they are the sons of Devakī. Devakī-nandana Baladeva lives in Mathurā, and then Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha manifest from him. The first of this catur-vyūha (quadruple expansion) is Saṅkarṣaṇa. Baladeva Prabhu Himself manifests in His partial expansion as Mūla-saṅkarṣaṇa (Mūla means “the original.”) and in Vaikuṇṭha he manifests as Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa. Then Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa manifests as Kāraṇodakaśāyī, from him Garbhodakaśāyī, from him Kṣīrodakaśāyī who is present in the hearts of all jīvas, and his final expansion is the infinite Ananta Śeṣa.

Throughout India on this day, all ladies bind rākhīs on their brothers. Another name for a rākhī is ananta. People used to wear these anantas, either gold or silver so that Ananta-deva would protect them. Baladeva Prabhu takes the form of Ananta Śeṣa, on whose coils rest Kāraṇodakaśāyī, Garbhodakaśāyī, and Kṣīrodakaśāyī. In this way He serves them all. He arranges everything necessary for Kṛṣṇa’s manifestations. He becomes Kṛṣṇa’s sandals, umbrella and seat. All that exists in Vraja is Baladeva Prabhu’s manifestation.

Kṛṣṇa is sat-cit-ānanda. Sat is sandhinī (eternal existence or maintenance), cit is knowledge, and ānanda is hlādinī, pleasure. Baladeva is the presiding Deity of the first kind of energy, sat or sandhinī. Kṛṣṇa is the presiding Deity of cit or samvit, and Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the presiding Deity of ānanda or hlādinī. Joined together, sat, cit, and ānanda is knowledge in eternal spiritual existence, which is full of bliss. This is sat-cit-ānanda Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa is with all His energies in full, sat-cit-ānanda, then His manifestations are called svāṁśa incarnations. When He is only with His cit energy, then He is called Brahman. When He is situated within jīva-śakti, then His sat-cit-ānanda energies are present only in minute form; this manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called vibhinnāṁśa, or the jīva, the minute spiritual living entity. Or it can be said that when Śrī Kṛṣṇa, leaving aside all other śaktis, is situated in His taṭasthā-śakti (jīva-śakti), He is called Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu (Mahā-Viṣṇu), whose expansions are the innumerable, infinitesimal living entities called the jīvas.

In Vraja, Baladeva Prabhu is the son of Rohiṇī, and in Mathurā and Dvārakā, He is the son of Devakī. He manifests in these and other forms to serve Kṛṣṇa in all Kṛṣṇa’s incarnations. In Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation as Rāma, Baladeva became Rāma’s younger brother, Lakṣmaṇa. Lakṣmaṇa did not like to carry out some of Rāma’s orders, like taking the exiled Sītā to the forest, but he was compelled to follow his elder brother’s order. During the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Baladeva Prabhu came as Nityānanda Prabhu, the elder brother of Mahāprabhu. When Mahāprabhu would lose consciousness due to being immersed in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Nityānanda would take care of Him. Also, He is guru-tattva. He killed Dhenukāsura, the personification of ignorance. He also killed Pralamba, who personified hypocrisy. As long as our hearts are not cleared of hypocrisy, we will attain nothing in the realm of bhakti. If we want a good job, marriage, and relatives, how can Kṛṣṇa come into our hearts when we have so many material desires? Therefore, first, Baladeva Prabhu comes and purifies us of those material desires. He also killed Dvivida, who had offended Lakṣmaṇa during Rāma’s pastimes.

When Baladeva visited Naimiṣāraṇya, Romaharṣaṇa was narrating the śāstras. Everyone present stood up to greet Baladeva, but out of pride Romaharṣaṇa did not rise from his seat and show respect. Baladeva Prabhu said, “I am jagad-guru, guru of the entire universe. Thousands of sages have offered their respectful obeisances to Me, but you did not even rise from your seat. You are not qualified to be a guru and speak Bhāgavatam.”

With these words, Baladeva Prabhu killed Him simply by touching him with a blade of kuśa grass, and the sages cried, “Alas, alas! O Baladeva Prabhu, You have made a great mistake. Although You are Lord of the entire world, it was wrong of You to kill Romaharṣaṇa, who was glorifying the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

“Should I bring him back to life?” Baladeva asked.

“No, no, find someone else who can narrate Bhāgavatam to us,” the sages said.

Then, Baladeva Prabhu put His lotus hand on the head of Romaharṣaṇa’s son, Sūta Gosvāmī, the disciple of Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He blessed him by saying, “May all the Vedas, Purāṇas, Upaniṣads, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other scriptures manifest in your heart. Sit on this āsana and narrate all these scriptures to the sages.” Baladeva Prabhu is the original guru (ādi-guru) who can give all knowledge. This pastime is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and there are many other histories as well.

When Kṛṣṇa kidnapped Rukmiṇī, He conquered all the armies of Rukmi, her brother. At that time Rukmi raised his arm and vowed to stop Kṛṣṇa or never return to his kingdom. He violently attacked Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa caught hold of him and bound him up. Kṛṣṇa was ready to kill him when Baladeva Prabhu arrived there and exclaimed, “What are You doing? Leave him.” Therefore, instead of killing Rukmi, Kṛṣṇa cut his hair, leaving many locks hanging down. He cut loose the ropes that bound him and let him go. Baladeva Prabhu was worried that Rukmiṇī would suffer if her brother were killed, and that is why He advised Kṛṣṇa to free him. Thus, He solved that situation most excellently.

Happiness and distress are not in our hands, whereas the nature of our activities does depend on us. Whatever happens in a devotee’s life is not his karma but the Lord’s mercy. When suffering comes, an ordinary devotee becomes hopeless and laments, “Alas, what shall I do?” Undoubtedly, such a devotee tastes the fruits of his own past activities. However, an advanced devotee thinks, “This is the Supreme Lord’s mercy. My Lord has sent me this suffering to free me from pride and to make me humble and tolerant.” A true devotee accepts suffering with a smile, whereas a materialist accepts it with tears. There are many teachings in Baladeva Prabhu’s pastimes.

There is a pastime about a disagreement between Baladeva and Kṛṣṇa, by hearing which one might ask, “This should not be so. Does Baladeva not know Kṛṣṇa’s heart?” As explained earlier, Baladeva is not different from Kṛṣṇa. Baladeva is Kṛṣṇa’s second body. The only difference is that They carry different paraphernalia (Kṛṣṇa carries the flute in Vraja, and Baladeva carries a horn/bugle made of leaves) and have slightly different appearances.

Why, then, would They have any disagreement? This question cannot be answered without knowledge of naravata-līlā, Their human-like pastimes. During Their human-like pastimes, something may happen that looks like a quarrel. They are two loving brothers, but it appears that they argue. Father and son, or son and mother, may apparently disagree in their loving exchanges.

Baladeva Prabhu wanted his sister Subhadrā to marry Duryodhana. Kṛṣṇa, Vasudeva, Rohiṇī, Devakī and all other members of the Yadu family wanted her to marry Arjuna, but none dared express their wish out of fear of Baladeva. No one could bend Baladeva to accept her marriage with Arjuna. Neither Vasudeva, nor Devakī, nor Rohiṇī could do so. They all feared to act against His desire.

Kṛṣṇa wondered, “What should be done? Whatever happens, My sister must not marry that villain Duryodhana, who is the enemy of the Pāṇḍavas, the Yadus, and My enemy as well.”

So Kṛṣṇa arranged a trick. He told Arjuna, “Listen, dress up as a sannyāsī and come to Dvārakā. Perform your bhajana-sādhana there. My sister, Subhadrā, will come to get your darśana, and then you can flee Dvārakā together with her.”

Arjuna agreed. When he saw Subhadrā, he was enchanted by her beauty and strongly desired to marry her. In the meantime, Duryodhana was eagerly waiting for her arrival, just as Śiśupāla previously awaited Rukmiṇī in his palace.

Duryodhana thought, “If I marry Subhadrā, all the Yadus will be on my side and not on the side of the Pāṇḍavas.” He was a clever politician, but Arjuna disrupted his plans by coming to Dvārakā dressed as a sannyāsī. He did not talk to anyone, lived a very austere life, and ate and slept very little, as real sannyāsīs do.

Yaśodā-Maiyā loves Kṛṣṇa with all her heart, but when Pūtanā came, Yaśodā thought, “Oh, this lady is so full of affection. Why should she stand outside? I should let her in.” She could not discern that Pūtanā’s loveliness was false. Similarly, Arjuna was able to bewilder all the residents of Dvārakā. Even Baladeva Prabhu came to him to offer obeisances, and Arjuna gave him blessings. In the meanwhile, Kṛṣṇa instructed Subhadrā, “This sannyāsī has come to fulfil your innermost desire. Go and worship him.”

Subhadrā dressed exquisitely, decorating herself with sixteen ornaments, and arrived in her chariot to see Arjuna. Arjuna was informed about her arrival and was ready for her. He seated her on his own chariot and then personally entered upon it, giving the reins to control the horses into Subhadrā’s hands. While she was driving the chariot, he stood with his bow and arrows in His hands, forbidding anyone to stop them.

“Arjuna stole My sister!” cried Baladeva when He heard the news. “Come, Yadus, we should take a big army with us and punish this offender.”

When they were about to set out for the chase, Kṛṣṇa checked them by inquiring, “Where are You going?”

Baladeva told Kṛṣṇa, “Do you not know? Arjuna has kidnapped Our sister!”

Kṛṣṇa said, “Oh, brother, don’t You know that kidnapping is within our family tradition? Did I not kidnap Rukmiṇī? Did Sāmba not kidnap Duryodhana’s daughter? So what is wrong if Arjuna does the same? You actually helped Sāmba in this undertaking. Don’t You remember that You led our armies against Duryodhana? What’s more, do You really see Arjuna kidnapping Subhadrā? Subhadrā is the one driving the chariot. O Baladevajī, You may kill Arjuna, but if You do so, Your sister will be very distressed.”

Baladeva replied, “Why didn’t You tell Me about all this before? I shall also agree if you all favour her marriage with Arjuna.”

We see that there was a disagreement between Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva, which was not really a disagreement but a semblance of it for the purpose of the successful execution of Their pastimes together.

Also, in the final days of the battle of Kurukṣetra, Bhīma had a club fight with Duryodhana. Both had learned club-fighting from Baladeva Prabhu. Baladeva arrived at the beginning of the duel. In front of Baladeva, Kṛṣṇa signalled Bhīma, who then struck Duryodhana’s thigh forcefully with his club. To beat someone below the waist is against the rules of club fighting, but it was Kṛṣṇa who advised Bhīma to do so. In great anger, Baladeva raised his club, ready to kill Bhīma.

Kṛṣṇa then remarked, “Today You are just in time, brother. But where were You when Duryodhana, Śakuni, and others murdered our dear nephew, Abhimanyu? When this wicked Duryodhana tried to burn the Pāṇḍavas alive in the shellac palace, where were You to save them? When he and his brothers tried to undress Draupadī in the Kaurava assembly, where were You to protect her? Where were You when Duryodhana did all this injustice to the Pāṇḍavas?

Baladeva then calmed his anger and left the scene in silence. He acted in accordance with Kṛṣṇa’s desire.

Lord Baladeva’s pastimes are unlimited, His virtues are unlimited, and His love for Kṛṣṇa is unlimited.

Gaura Premānande!

Source: Purebhakti.com

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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Prabhupāda (Vedabase.com)

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