Lord Balaram, Elder Brother of Dark-Hued Krishna
This is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the first expansion of the dark-hued Krishna. Devotees offer special prayers to Balarama, the icon of duty, honesty and simplicity to receive spiritual strength from Him.He incarnated on the full moon day of the month of Shravana.
Balaram, Balarama and Sankarsana are some of Lord Baldev's other names. Balaram had incarnated as Lakshman in the Treta Yuga which came before Dwapar.
Sheshnaag, the Thousand-Headed Snake
He is considered the incarnation of Sheshnaag, the thousand-headed snake on whom Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world.Because he was drawn from Devaki's to Rohini's womb, He is known as Lord Sankarsana.As of today there are many temples of ‘Dauji’(elder brother)where he is worshipped religiously. It is a common belief that he bestows riches on this materialistic world.
Lord Balaram as Haldhar
Balaram is also famed as Haldhar, the god of the farmers.They devotedly worship the plough, his weapon, before undertaking any task.
Sites in Braj Bhoomi Related to Lord Balaram
Braj Bhoomi is truly divine and most fortunate because Lord Krishna along with his elder brother Balaram lives here in the garb of a human. Braj is considered superior to even Vaikuntha because it is here that Lord Krishna plays the flute with Balaram, grazes cows and engages in playful dalliances, spreading joy and love in the process.
Shri Rohini Temple and Shri Baldev’s Birthplace:
On the sixth day of Shukla Paksh, five top planets assembled and Baldev was born to Rohini, wife of Vasudev, blessing Nanda’s house. Kansa petrified of his own death had imprisoned Vasudevji and Devkiji and killed six of their children. Lord Shesh ( name of a thousand-headed snake, regarded as the symbol of eternity) a portion of the Lord was to be born as the seventh child. Lord Vishnu ordered for his removal to Rohini’s womb and Lord Sankarshan was born. He was acclaimed as Ram because he strived for mankind’s well-being and called Bal Bhadra for his courage.
The Gaushala where Krishna and Balram were named
Shri Gargacharya was the highly learned family priest of Nand Rai. Once he journeyed to Braj and was requested by Nanda to name his two sons. Being the family priest of the Yadus, he refused initially because Kansa would figure out that Krishna was Vasudev’ son.Soon after, they planned to perform the ceremony at a gaushala or cowshed in seclusion. He named the elder lad Rohiney because he was Rohini’s son. “Since the boy would delight close relatives and friends, he will be addressed as Ram and being greatly courageous he will be hailed as Bal,” said the priest.” He was to bond people together and thus he is titled Sankarshan.”
Dauji or Baldev
The husband of Revti and the giver of boons to cowherds, I make obeisance to both your forms!Once Shri Nand Raiji invited the Yadus (a community) and gathered the milk of one lakh cows.Various delicious sweet meats, clarified butter, candy and rice-pudding were cooked for the love of Lord Baldev.
Dugdh Kund is the site where milk was gathered for Dauji.
Dauji's Svarupa is Very Attractrive
The fair-skinned Dauji’s svarupa is very attractive with Revti, his wife, facing Him. The Mughal Emperors were highly impressed by his miraculous feats. Once on a spree of destroying temples, Aurangzeb fanatically sought Dauji’s temple but failed in doing so and returned to his fort. It was truly a miracle. During Akbar’s reign it is believed that Dauji was manifest at a certain kund. Goswami Gokul Nath handed the service of Lord Balram to Shri Kalyan and the seva is adhered to till date by his successors. Highly revered by Braj residents, He is offered mishri and makhan popularly known as Dauji Ka Handa, so that their wishes are fulfilled.
Sankarshan Kund is close by with the Hathaura Village, known as Nand Raiji’s Baithak, next to it.
Lord Krishna and Balaram had their ears pierced at Karnaval. Shri Mathuresh was manifest in the Thakur form in this village. Temples of Madan Mohanji and Shri Madhav Raiji dot this site.
The Mallamal Pilgrimage
Lord Krishna and Balaram along with their sakhas performed several wrestling feats at this place. Gopeshwar Mahadev settled by deities, resides at Mallamal.
Expiating all sins,Loh Van is the site where Lord Krishna coupled with Balaram and their cowherd friends grazed their cattle. Taking respite from the scorching heat of the afternoon they made merry under the shade of the plantation.
The ancestors of present day Goswamis resided in Kharot Village. They grazed cows and looked after the fields. Once Shri Anandghan’s father was tending cows when one cow went to a cavern in the mountains and offered her milk. On knowing of this incident he dug up the shrub nearby and it is believed that Shri Krishna and Balramji manifested from this site.
Nandishwar Mahadev: On Shri Yashodaji’s request Shri Nandishwar became resplendent in the form of a lingam (in which form Lord Shiva is worshipped) in Braj. Delighted on her wish being fulfilled; Shri Rudra made an entreaty to her that since he was a mount here, now she, Nandraiji and their sons Shri Krishna-Balram should adorn his back and bless him by the touch of their feet. This is precisely what happened the idols were enshrined here. Earlier the water of Shri Krishna’s bath would flow over Nandishwar (Mahadev) but now a new set up has changed its course.
Shri Nand Baithak
It is believed that Shri Krishna-Balram sat at Nand Baithak close to Yashoda Kund, when they went to graze cows in the forest. An enchanting place, it is closely related with the memories of great saints.
The Path of Grazing Cows
It is time to take the cows for grazing and Lord Krishna ventures from Nandgaon to the forest, spotting some isolated site on banks of the Yamuna where green pastures, pristine water and dense foliage abounds with the passionate singing of birds. An excerpt from Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji's observations affirms that in this joyous mood both Sri Krishna-Balaram along with the gopas venture for grazing cows every day. Their mother decks them splendidly, packing chhak for their midday meal.Upset by the very thought of their day long absence; she accompanies them off and on.
Both Shri Krishna-Balram have their own private gardens and they often visit each other. Today Shri Krishna came to his brother’s domain and along with his gang of sakhas teased him. Balramji was a bit vexed but soon appeased by the Lord’s winsome manners. He lay down to rest and instantly Shri Krishna taking his feet in his lap pressed them. Delighted to see his brother in deep sleep, the Lord headed towards Shri Radha and her sakhis.
Lord Krishna & Balaram Leave for Mathura
Motivated by Kansa, Shri Akroor came to Braj for taking Lord Krishna-Balaram to Mathura. Mounting the chariot both the brothers were ready to leave. The Brajwasis just couldn't bear the separation and they surrounded the ratha with the deeply pained sakhas. The instance of parting made it seem as if lightning had struck the Braj denizens.
Tears streamed down the gopis cheeks due to the anguish of separation. That very moment a streak of lightning struck the earth because of Yogmaya (creative power of the supreme spirit) who was aware of the Lord’s wish. Scared the Brajwasis ran helter skelter. The site is situated about one and a half miles from Nandgram.
Sankhi or Ramtala
Shri Krishna and Balaram were romantically dallying with the sakhis of their respective zones.All of them were impassioned on a moonlit night with blossoming flowers and a soft breeze. Shankhchur, a follower of Kuber abducted some gopis and was about to flee along with them. Leaving Balramji with the cowherdesses, Shri Krishna chased him and severed his head adorned with the chudamani, from his body. He got the mani and presented it to his elder brother. Since Balramji was present at this site it is also known as ‘Ramtala’, situated about two miles from Sahar.
Bathains Big and Small:
The site of the gopas’ mutual discussion and reflection came to be known as Bathian.Balramji had valiantly killed Dhenukasur and Lord Krishna had put an end to several demonic forces. The gopas savoured delicious fruits and returned to Braj.
Lord Krishna & Balaram being Pampered
Yashodaji and Rohiniji were relieved and pampered the two brothers with delicacies. The Lord joked that Balramji had performed a great feat of killing an ass today. The sarcasm in his tone offended Balramji.Yashodaji tried to appease him but Balramji was calmed only when he and Shri Krishna were allowed to take their respective cows to separate sites.
Balramji took his cattle to the big Bathain and Lord Krishna to the small one.There was another reason underlying this sarcasm.The next day the Lord had to kill Kaliya Naag and since Balramji is the incarnation of Sheshnag it was not possible in his presence.
In the Sheersagar( mythological, ocean of milk) Baldevji became Sheshnag (name of a thousand- headed snake, regarded as the symbol of eternity, on which Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world) while Shri Krishna reclined on him in the Narayan form. A lotus sprang from his navel with Shri Brahmaji manifest in its centre.
When Shri Radha arrived, the Lord at once transformed in to the Krishna incarnation because the majestic Vishnu form could not hold out in front of her.
Khami and Banchari Villages:
Shri Krishna-Balram came to Khami and Banchari village to graze cows and imparted delight to their sakhas. It is a known fact that Vajranabhji got pillars erected here to demarcate the Braj boundary and they are worth seeing.
Close to Yamunaji is the Kharot Village, a site for grazing cattle where Balramji showered loving tenderness on the sakhas.The Goswamis serving in the big temple of Shri Nandgaon reside here. Their ancestor Shri Ghananandji began seva in Nandgaon.
NANDGAON:Tryst with the Supreme Lover
Shri Ram Ghat
Shri Ram Ghat
Imparting love to the gopis at night, Lord Balramji stayed here for the Chaitra and Vaishakh months.While living in Dwarka both Krishna-Balram longed for mother Yashodaji, Nandbaba and their lovable cowherdesses. Once Lord Krishna sent Balramji to Vraja to ask about their well-being.Questioning Balramji about Krishna did not satiate the gopis' pathos of longing but memories of his romantic escapades tugged them.
Balramji sighted the ethereal banks of the Yamuna bathed in moonlight, saw the intense desire of the Brajbalas, with blossoming flowers all around, and the rustling fragrant breeze as it blew over the environs. Precisely then Varuni Devi sent by Varuna (god of the ocean) flew in amidst the trees and blessed the entire forest with its sweet water.
Balramji took along his herd of gopis and drank from the stream. His eyes intoxicated; adorned with the vaijantimala and ecstatic on hearing their melodious song, he was lost in a pleasurable dalliance. During this escapade he called out to Yamunjaji but being Shri Krishna’s beloved she refused. Angered, he pulled her with the end of his plough and dragged her to this sensuous site. Till date the holy river leaves its natural course and flows at the Shri Ram Ghat.
Bhandir Vat (Akshay Vat):
Shri Krishna-Balram along with their sakhas went to graze cows and spread joy by indulging in various sports. Today they wandered to Bhandir Vat on the Yamuna banks. With the cows grazing, the brothers were busy in their sported antics when demon Pralambasur entered their group. Shri Krishna-Balram led different gangs.
According to the game’s rules the side which lost had to carry the other side’s sakha on his back to a certain distance. In the guise of a cowherd the demon sneaked in. Carrying Balramji on his back, he fled.
Lord Balaram Kills Pralambasur
Initially Balramji was scared when Pralambasur transformed to his terrifying form but remembered his valour instantly and killed him. All the cowherds were delighted and deities showered flowers.
Shri Nand Ghat:
Shri Nandraiji fasted on ekadashi to be blessed with intense love for Shri Krishna. Since dwadashi was round the corner he went for a bath in the Yamuna at night, when demons are rampant. The envoys of god Varun(god of the ocean) caught him and took them to their deity. Nandraiji’s missing grieved the Brajwasis and they entreated Shri Krishna-Balram to find a way out.
Shri Baldev Sthal
I make obeisance to you, oh Revtiraman! It is believed that Lord Baldev who is radiant here manifested for Narayan Bhatt from a dense growth of trees. A huge temple enshrined the idol amidst a cluster of trees.
I make obeisance to Bilav Van which grants penance. Pained by the constant atrocities of demonic forces, Nandbaba, Upandji and other gopas came and lived in Vrindavan. Shri Krishna-Balram would venture here to graze cows, resting beneath the shade of its dense foliage and savour fruits. The group was given in to joyous abandon with their spirited antics, leading to its name Bilav Van.
Arishtasur’s killing did not lessen Kansa’s fear of his impending death, he felt doomed. Coming up with a new stratagem, Kansa deputed Akroorji who reached Shri Nanda’s house in Braj to bring Shri Krishna-Balram to Mathura.Yashoda and Nandrai were apprehensive but comforted that mighty Krishna would soon finish his task. Who could possibly describe the depth of the gopis’ despair, they swooned on hearing this heart-rending news.
Gopis Swoon when Krishna & Balaram Leave for Mathura
The distraught gopis fainted while others daring decorum lay in front of the chariot which soon moved ahead with the ruler of their hearts.Gradually it disappeared from sight and now the dust was not visible.Shri Krishna-Balram on the swiftly moving chariot soon reached the banks of the sacred Shri Yamuna.Akroorji bathed and when he ducked into the water he sighted both the brothers. Assuming it be a figment of his imagination he took out his face and saw them seated on the chariot which alarmed him.
When he dived in again Akroorji was stupefied to see Dev Shesh a thousand-headed snake (Balrama), the symbol of eternity, and dark-hued Lord Krishna sleeping on his body (Lord Vishnu sleeps throughout periods of dissolution of the world).This site was famed as Akroor Ghat.
The cowherds gathered for grazing cows began glorifying the valour of their adorable Kanhaiya and Balram and confessed they were starving.To bless the Brahmans’ wives the Lord told them to go to the Angira Yagya being performed nearby and taking his name get some eatables from the Brahmans.
MATHURALord Krishna and Balrama have been wandering in the environs, forests and market-places of Mathura which is far superior to the mundane world and beyond earthly attachments.
Kansa got the Rang Bhoomi constructed for exhibiting it to Lord Krishna and Balrama.
Lord Krishna & Balaram Fighting a Duel with Chanoor & Mushtik
Invited by king Kansa, Lord Krishna along with Balrama and denizens of Braj came to Mathura, entering the Rang Shala for the bow sacrifice.Conspiring against the Lord, Kansa had got the arena construced.Lord Krishna instigated Chanoor and Mushtik for a deul.The Braj denizens were overawed as Lord Krishna-Balram killed them along with Koot,Shal and Toshal.Furious Kansa ordered the imprisonment of both the brothers plus cowherds.
Lord Krishna Kills Kansa
Krishna strangled Kansa like a vulture and killed him.Though in ruins now the historical site speaks volumes of Krishna and Balaram's valour.
Lord Krishna & Balram Killing Demon Dhenukasur
This is the sacred forest where Lord Krishna and Balram killed demon Dhenukasur for the well-being of Yadhus.Once fatigued while grazing cattle the cowherds longed to relish the ripe fruits of its trees.Scared of the demon they did not dare to do so but Balram put an end to the fiend soon enough much to the delight of his sakhas.
Lord Krishna frequented this forest along with Balram for grazing cattle.The cowherds scrambled for their midday meal and loved to eat the Lord' leftovers.
It is believed that after Kansa was killed, his eight brothers fled to Arheeng and were finally slaughtered by Lord Balaram.The temple of Kilol Bihari is on the south-east of the pond.