Image from Moor.
Basic Description: Balarama,
the Hindu equivalent of Bacchus in Greek and Roman mythology, is the brother
The "White One"
Iconography: Balarama is frequently pictured alongside Krishna. He is white or pale and carries a sickle.
Krishna and Balarama
share the same parents—Vasudeva and Devaki. Balarama is considered
a great warrior and a lover of wine. Vaishnavite Hindus tend to classify Balarama
as the 9th avatar of Vishnu.
the sister of the demon Kansa became pregnant. However, Kansa had previously
killed six of Devaki’s unborn children. Because this child growing inside
of Devaki happened to be Lakshman who was coming to earth to keep Krishna company,
Vishnu intervened. He transferred the embryo into Rohini’s womb, and told
Kansa that Devaki had experienced a miscarriage. Krishna
and Balarama were thus born
safely and brought up as the child of Vasudeva and Devaki.
Alongside Krishna , Balarama aided the Pandavas during the epic battle
described in the Bhagavad-Gita. When the Pandavas beat the Kauravas, their
mother, Gandhari swored that the entire Yadu race, of which Krishna and Balarama
were members, would soon be dead in the same manner. When Krishna heard
of this prophecy, he ordered the citizens of Dewarka to move to Prabhasa in
order to avoid their fate. However, on the way the people had a drunken
party, which turned into an all-out brawl. Although Balarama and Krishna
did their best to stop this, eventually they were the only two left alive. As
the two considered this, the serpent Shesha crawled out of Balarama’s mouth and slithered away, leaving Balarama’s
lifeless body behind. Krishna was subsequently killed in a hunting accident,
bringing the prophecy to life.
Other References on the Karma-to-Grace website: Is
there a savior in Hinduism?
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths
and Legends of India. Bombay, India: D. B. Taraporevala Sons &
Co. Private Ltd, 1961.
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