Tune in to Radio Gopalavani this weekend for ecstatic stories on Lord Balarama from Srimad Bhagavatam.
Lord Balarama Slays Rukmi
After the wedding, a group of arrogant kings headed by the King of Kalinga told Rukmi, “You should defeat Balarama at dice. He’s not expert at dice, O King, but still He’s quite addicted to it.” Thus advised, Rukmi challenged Balarama and began a gambling match with Him.
In that match Lord Balarama first accepted a wager of one hundred coins, then one thousand, then ten thousand. Rukmi won this first round, and the King of Kalinga laughed loudly at Lord Balarama, showing all his teeth. Lord Balarama could not tolerate this.
Next Rukmi accepted a bet of one hundred thousand coins, which Lord Balarama won. But Rukmi tried to cheat, declaring “I’m the winner!”
Shaking with anger like the ocean on the full-moon day, handsome Lord Balarama, His naturally reddish eyes even redder in His fury, accepted a wager of one hundred million gold coins.
Lord Balarama fairly won this wager also, but Rukmi again resorted to cheating and declared, “I have won! Let these witnesses here say what they saw.”
Just then a voice from the sky declared, “Balarama has fairly won this wager. Rukmi is surely lying.”
Urged on by the wicked kings, Rukmi ignored the divine voice. In fact destiny itself was urging Rukmi on, and thus he ridiculed Lord Balarama as follows.
[Rukmi said:] You cowherds who wander about the forests know nothing about dice. Playing with dice and sporting with arrows are only for kings, not for the likes of You.
Thus insulted by Rukmi and ridiculed by the kings, Lord Balarama was provoked to anger. In the midst of the auspicious wedding assembly, He raised His club and struck Rukmi dead.
Lord Balarama Visits Vrindavana
Lord Balarama Visits Vrindavana
Intoxicated with joy, Lord Balarama sported flower garlands, including the famous Vaijayanti. He wore a single earring, and beads of perspiration decorated His smiling lotus face like snowflakes.
The Lord then summoned the Yamuna River so that He could play in her waters, but she disregarded His command, thinking He was drunk. This angered Balarama, and He began dragging the river with the tip of His plow.
[Lord Balarama said:] O sinful one disrespecting Me, you do not come when I call you but rather move only by your own whim. Therefore with the tip of My plow I shall bring you here in a hundred streams!
[Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] Thus scolded by the Lord, O King, the frightened river-goddess Yamuna came and fell at the feet of Sri Balarama, the beloved descendant of Yadu. Trembling, she spoke to Him the following words.
[Goddess Yamuna said:] Rama, Rama, O mighty-armed one! I know nothing of Your prowess. With a single portion of Yourself You hold up the earth, O Lord of the universe.
My Lord, please release me. O soul of the universe, I didn’t understand Your position as the Supreme Godhead, but now I have surrendered unto You, and You are always kind to Your devotees.
[Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] Thereupon Lord Balarama released the Yamuna and, like the king of the elephants with his entourage of she-elephants, entered the river’s water with His female companions.
Lord Balarama Slays Dvivida Gorilla
Lord Balarama saw the ape’s rude behavior and thought of the disruptions he had created in the surrounding kingdoms. Thus the Lord angrily took up His club and His plow weapon, having decided to put His enemy to death.
Mighty Dvivida also came forward to do battle. Uprooting a sala tree with one hand, he rushed toward Balarama and struck Him on the head with the tree trunk.
But Lord Sankarshana remained as motionless as a mountain and simply grabbed the log as it fell upon His head. He then struck Dvivida with His club, named Sunanda.
Struck on the skull by the Lord’s club, Dvivida became brilliantly decorated by the outpour of blood, like a mountain beautified by red oxide. Ignoring the wound, Dvivida uprooted another tree, stripped it of leaves by brute force and struck the Lord again. Now enraged, Lord Balarama shattered the tree into hundreds of pieces, upon which Dvivida grabbed yet another tree and furiously hit the Lord again. This tree, too, the Lord smashed into hundreds of pieces.
Thus fighting the Lord, who again and again demolished the trees He was attacked with, Dvivida kept on uprooting trees from all sides until the forest was left treeless.
The angry ape then released a rain of stones upon Lord Balarama, but the wielder of the club easily pulverized them all.
Dvivida, the most powerful of apes, now clenched his fists at the end of his palm-tree-sized arms, came before Lord Balarama and beat his fists against the Lord’s body.
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.
When he fell, O tiger among the Kurus, Raivataka Mountain shook, along with its cliffs and trees, like a wind-tossed boat at sea.
In the heavens the demigods, perfect mystics and great sages cried out, “Victory to You! Obeisances to You! Excellent! Well done!” and showered flowers upon the Lord.
Having thus killed Dvivida, who had disturbed the whole world, the Supreme Lord returned to His capital as the people along the way chanted His glories.
The Killing of Dhenuka, the Ass Demon
Lord Balarāma entered the Tāla forest first. Then with His two arms He began forcefully shaking the trees with the power of a maddened elephant, causing the tāla fruits to fall to the ground.
Hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the ass demon Dhenuka ran forward to attack, making the earth and trees tremble.
The powerful demon rushed up to Lord Baladeva and sharply struck the Lord’s chest with the hooves of his hind legs. Then Dhenuka began to run about, braying loudly.
Moving again toward Lord Balarāma, O King, the furious ass situated himself with his back toward the Lord. Then, screaming in rage, the demon hurled his two hind legs at Him.
Lord Balarāma seized Dhenuka by his hooves, whirled him about with one hand and threw him into the top of a palm tree. The violent wheeling motion killed the demon.
Lord Balarama Slays the Demon Pralamba
Lord Balarama Slays the Demon Pralamba
As the great demon carried Balarama, the Lord became as heavy as massive Mount Sumeru, and Pralamba had to slow down. He then resumed his actual form — an effulgent body that was covered with golden ornaments and that resembled a cloud flashing with lightning and carrying the moon.
When Lord Balarama, who carries the plow weapon, saw the gigantic body of the demon as he moved swiftly in the sky — with his blazing eyes, fiery hair, terrible teeth reaching toward his scowling brows, and an amazing effulgence generated by his armlets, crown and earrings — the Lord seemed to become a little frightened.
Remembering the actual situation, the fearless Balarama understood that the demon was triying to kidnap Him and take Him away from His companions. The Lord then became furious and struck the demon’s head with His hard fist, just as Indra, the king of the demigods, strikes a mountain with his thunderbolt weapon.
Thus smashed by Balarama’s fist, Pralamba’s head immediately cracked open. The demon vomited blood from his mouth and lost all consciousness, and then with a great noise he fell lifeless on the ground, like a mountain devastated by Indra.
Balaram Pranam Mantra
namaste halagraha namaste musalayudha
namaste revati-kanta namaste bhakta-vatsala
Obeisances to You, O holder of the plow! Obeisances to You, O wielder of the mace! Obeisances to You, O darling of Revati! Obeisances to You, Who are very kind to Your devotees!
namaste balinam srestha namaste dharani-dhara
pralambara namas te tu ehi mam krsna-purvaja
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Balarama, the best of the strong and the support of the earth. Obeisances unto You, O enemy of Pralamba! Please deliver me, O elder brother of Krsna!
Sri Garga-samhita: 8.13.4
hala-muṣala-visalam kama-palam samide
“I praise the fulfiller of desires, Sri Balaram. He carries a grand plow and club. He wears a shining, spotless crown, tinkling bells, and jeweled ornaments. His handsome lotus face is ornamented with earrings. Curling locks decorate His cheeks. His complexion resembles a beautiful snow-capped mountain, and is adorned with garments the colour of dark-blue clouds.”