(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 10 August 2014, Nove Sady, Czech Republic, Balarama Purnima Lecture)

Simply put, the chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra is our main interest. In the Holy Name, there are 3 words – Hare, Krsna and Rama. In this, we can see that Hare is representing Srimati Radharani, Rama is representing Lord Balarama and Krsna is representing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Himself. Besides Krsna, we can see that Srimati Radharani and Lord Balarama are our main focus. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur explains that for those who are liberated and in the madhurya rasa, they focus on Srimati Radharani and all others focus on Balarama, including those who are not liberated or are experiencing the other rasas. Therefore, for us, Balarama is our way to access Krsna.

Balarama is never putting himself in the foreground. He is the older brother, so he is always putting himself in the background and He lets Krsna be in the foreground. There are many pastimes where Krsna and Balarama are together, like when they go to the school of Sandipani Muni together, and in this school, there is a special story of Krsna where he gets lost in the forest with Sudama, however there are not that many stories of just Balarama in the Krsna book. Most stories are of Krsna and Balarama together. This is because Balarama’s real interest is only in serving Krsna. He is teaching us to always speak about Krsna, always remembering Krsna, always serving Krsna. So in this way, Balarama Purnima becomes a significant day to remember Krsna and His pastimes, as that is what is always on Balarama’s mind.

Balarama often takes on a strong mood as the elder brother of Krsna, where He is trying to protect Krsna. There are of course some pastimes like when Balarama put on a peacock feather similar to Krsna, and that happened to be the day that Kesi was looking for Krsna. Now Kesi did not know what Krsna looked like, but he knew that Krsna always wore a peacock feather. So Balarama got badly beaten up that day, so He decided to never wear a peacock feather again (laughter). But other than such unique pastimes, Balarama typically assumed the role of the big brother. For instance, we have the pastime of where Arjuna disguised as a sanyasi to get closer to Subhadra as the two of them were drawn to each other. Eventually, Arjuna took off his sanyasi clothing and took Subhadra with him on a chariot. However, when Balarama found this out, He was getting very serious and He wanted to fight with Arjuna. So Krsna carefully entered in the middle, without making Balarama angry, and tried to calm down the situation. And this is how it was, Balarama was very protective and authoritative as the bigger brother, and Krsna would try to pacify Balarama as His younger brother. But in the end, Their position is that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Balarama is His foremost servant.

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