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The Descent of Lord Balarama
Whenever Krishna appears in the material world, He is accompanied by His associates and paraphernalia. Five thousand years ago when Krishna descended into the material world, He was first preceded by Baladeva. Only after
Baladeva give His mercy did Krishna descend, such is the intimate relationship between Krishna and Baladeva.
When Baladeva appeared as the seventh child in the womb of Devaki, she could understand that this was a divine child and this made her all the more concerned about His safety. Even Kamsa could sense His potency and he became
fearful, thinking he may have been tricked by the prophecy that he will be slain only by the eight child of Devaki. At this time Krishna instructed Yogamaya, His internal potency, to transfer the unborn child from the womb
of Devaki to that of Rohini, one of the other wives of Vasudeva, who was hiding from Kamsa in the house of Nanda Maharaja in Gokul.
In this way Balarama was born in Gokul under the protection of Nanda Maharaja. Garga Muni the venerable kulguru (family priest) of the Yadu dynasty revealed to Rohini that the child she was carrying was indeed that
of her husband Vasudeva. At the time of the name-giving ceremony he named the child Rama, one who gives all pleasures. Referring to the immense strength of the child, Garga Muni predicted that He will also be known as
Balarama (bala meaning strength). Since He was forcibly attracted from the womb of Devaki to that of Rohini, He was also be called Sankarshana. As the son of Rohini He was known as Rohini-nandan and as the elder brother of
Krishna He was also called Douji.
Shri Baladeva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is equal in supremacy to the Supreme Godhead, yet wherever Krishna appears, Shri Baladeva appears as Krishna's brother, sometimes elder, sometimes younger. In his vaibhava-prakasa feature, Lord Krishna manifests Himself as Balarama. The Balarama feature is as good as Krishna Himself, the only difference being that the bodily hue of Krishna is dark and that of Balarama is fair. These two Lords, Krishna and Balarama, are each the seed and womb of the universe, the Creator and His Creative potency. They enter the hearts of living beings and control their conditioned awareness. They are the primeval supreme.
(Appreciating Shri Vrdavana Dhama, pg. 110)
Yogamaya transferred Ananta Sesa (Balarama) from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini. Seven months later during the most auspicious moment in Sravana month, Rohini, just like a lioness gave birth to Lord Balarama feeling all happiness. His complexion was just like a white lotus flower and He looked like the full moon. His eyes were brilliant like lightning flashes and his hair was the color of a new cloud yet brilliant like the sun. Such extraordinary beauty prevailed because He was none other than the Lord Sankarsana. Astrologers said that He would have long arms and kill Pralambasura; that He would have a younger brother and kill many other demons. They said He is Dhenupal, the protector of cows an the killer of Dhenekasura. The brahmanas under Vasudeva's order performed the jata karma samskara ceremony. Though He was extremely beautiful, everyone was extremely anxious because He was mute and inactive. No one could get Him to make a sound or move. Once when Yasoda was pregnant, she picked Him up and carefully placed Him on her lap next to her heart where Krishna was residing, Balarama immediately began to laugh and play like a blissful child. But when Yasoda would set Him down, again he would become inactive. He remained in this condition until the appearance of His younger brother (Krishna).