(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 12 November 2018, Talavana, India, Kartik Parikrama Lecture)
Lord Balarama carries a plough, used to prepare the ground for planting. Balarama is actually the one who prepares the heart. Krsna is the instructor, the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita, and He plants transcendental knowledge within the heart. “Bala” means strength and Balarama is the giver of spiritual strength. He has that strength because He is serving Krsna in unlimited ways: as His personal paraphernalia, His bed, His shoes and even the instruments we use in kirtana. Even the kartalas should never be put on the ground because it is Balarama. He also becomes the purusa avatars: Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. Balarama assumes all these roles and is actually the origin of Them. Srimati Radharani is the hladini sakti, which is the pleasure potency of Krsna. But Balarama is the basic energy of the spiritual world or the sandhini sakti – the existence potency. So in this way, everything is resting on Balarama.
We are trying to find spiritual strength. We are trying to get more resolve. We pray to Balarama knowing that we need His support. We need strength, and we get it from mercy, because we do not have strength on our own. We simply lack that deeper strength. But Balarama can give it to us! So the question is, how do we get it from Him? What can we do to get that spiritual strength? Well, that is simple. Balarama is the one who is fully absorbed in serving Krsna. Naturally, if we want something from someone and we ask them for it, that someone may or may not give it to us. It is better to first help that someone in what they are doing, and then after a while they feel so indebted that we can ask, “Could you please give me something?” Now, how can that someone say no? This principle applies with Balarama. If we assist Balarama by helping with what is dear to Him – devotional service to Krsna – then we can pray to Him for mercy, and He will give us that strength.
Srila Prabhupada gave us Sri Sri Krsna Balarama in Vrndavana, partially because the area where our temple was built is Ramana-reti, the place where Krsna and Balarama would come with Their cows and rest. But Prabhupada also gave us Krsna and Balarama because we need spiritual strength so very much. So, we pray to Lord Balarama as He prepares the heart and gives spiritual strength, which ultimately means happiness in spiritual life.