In 2016 and 2017, His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami took us to Rama-ghata, where Lord Balarama performed various pastimes with his gopis, including his rasa dance near the banyan tree where we gathered. Check out Maharaja’s full kirtans and lectures, along with a few photos, during Parikrama 2016 and Parikrama 2017.
Lord Balarama is known as the first servant because He is always serving Krsna in so many ways. We read in the Krsna book how Balarama is always in support of Krsna. He becomes anything that is required for Krsna’s comfort, even His bed. All the paraphernalia used by the Lord and those in the glorification of the Lord is Balarama, which is why not even the kartals are placed directly on the ground. Before Krsna appears in the womb of Devaki, Balarama first goes there Himself to prepare everything for Krsna’s appearance. So He went to Devaki’s womb first and then got transferred to Rohini’s womb. So wherever Krsna goes, Balarama first makes the arrangements. And in this way, Balarama manifests Himself in various ways to serve the Lord.
We are here to meditate on Balarama. When Balarama returned to Vrndavana to pacify the residents, He came here and performed various pastimes with his gopis (which were different to Krsna’s gopis). We see Balarama with his plough, and we reflect that He ploughs the field, meaning that He prepares the field. Once the field is prepared, then we can sow the seeds and so on. So Balarama prepares us by engaging in devotional service and it is through that service, we can become ready to receive transcendental knowledge. So Balarama is showing us by example how to serve Krsna.
Balarama is helping Krsna in performing His mission in this material world as well. Krsna, when He comes here, has a deep mission. Whilst He performs pleasure pastimes here, He comes here out of concern and separation for the living entities that are in need. Whilst the majority of the living entities are in the spiritual world (about 90%), the rest of the stubborn conditioned souls (about 10%) are left here. We are trying to squeeze some material enjoyment here in separation from Krsna. Everyone likes to enjoy! Enjoy as much as you like! We are not a movement that is against enjoyment. We are all for it! But we are the movement which abstains from enjoyment through sinful activities. The culture of enjoyment is very much within this movement – how to eat nicely, how to drink nicely, how to dress nicely, how to have festivals nicely and so on. There is certainly a lot of enjoyment, but we are trying to experience positive (emphasis added) enjoyment, although there is some austerity here and there in this world. But we gladly take that austerity too as that increases the value of our positive enjoyment! Such austerity helps us with sense control. So Balarama gives us this spiritual strength, symbolically in the heart but also in practice.
The full kirtan and lecture at Rama-ghata from Parikrama 2016 can be found using the following link: https://www.kksblog.com/2016/12/vrindavan-braj-parikrama-2016-recordings/