32 Facts About Balarama

1.

Balarama is a Hindu god and the elder brother of Krishna.

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2.

Balarama is particularly significant in the Jagannath tradition, as one of the triad deities.

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3.

Balarama is known as Haladhara, Halayudha, Baladeva, Balabhadra and Sankarshana.

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4.

Balarama is sometimes described as incarnation of Shesha, the serpent associated with the deity Vishnu; Krishna is regarded as an incarnation of Vishnu.

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5.

Balarama is an ancient deity, a prominent one by the epics era of Indian history as evidenced by archeological and numismatic evidence.

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6.

Balarama's iconography appears with Naga, a plough and other farm artifacts such as a watering pot, possibly indicating his origins in a bucolic, agricultural culture.

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7.

The Book Three states about Krishna and him that Balarama is an avatar of Vishnu, while Krishna is the source of all avatars and existence.

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8.

Narratives of Balarama are found in Mahabharata, Harivamsha, Bhagavata Purana and other Puranas.

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9.

Balarama finds a mention in Kautilya's Arthashastra, where according to Hudson, his followers are described as "ascetic worshippers" with shaved heads or braided hair.

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10.

Balarama, as Baladewa, is an important character in the 11th-century Javanese text Kakawin Bharatayuddha, the Kakawin poem based on the Mahabharata.

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11.

Balarama was anciently a powerful local deity named Samkarshana, associated with the local cult of the Vrishni heroes in Mathura from around the 4th century BCE.

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12.

Balarama-Samkarshana is typically shown standing with a gada in his right hand and holding a plough in his left.

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13.

Vishnu intervened and when Balarama was conceived, state the Hindu legends, his embryo was transferred from Devaki's womb into the womb of Rohini, Vasudeva's first wife.

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14.

Balarama grew up with his younger brother Krishna with his foster parents, in the household of the head of cowherds Nanda and his wife Yashoda.

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15.

Balarama was named Rama, but because of his great strength, he was called Balarama, Baladeva, or Balabhadra, meaning Strong Rama.

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16.

Balarama spent his childhood as a cow herder with his brother Krishna.

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17.

Balarama killed Dhenuka, an asura sent by Kamsa, as well as Pralamba and Mushtika wrestlers sent by the king.

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18.

Balarama is the celebrated tiller, one of the embodiments of agriculture along with livestock with whom Krishna is associated with.

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19.

Balarama taught both Duryodhana of the Kauravas and Bhima of the Pandavas the art of war with a mace.

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20.

When war broke between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, Balarama carried obligations for both sides and so remained neutral.

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21.

Balarama went for a pilgrimage with his nephew Pradyumna and other Yadavas during the war, and returned on the last day, to watch the fight between his disciples.

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22.

Local people of Veraval believe about the cave near the temple place, that the white snake who came out of Balarama's mouth got into that cave and went back to Patala loka.

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23.

Balarama was the constant companion of Krishna, ever watchful, leading to the epithet "Luk Luk Dauji" in the Pustimarga tradition of Vaishnavism.

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24.

Balarama is a creative store of knowledge for the agriculturists: the knowledge that dug a water channel to bring Yamuna water to Vrindavan; that restored groves, farms and forests; that produced goods and drinks.

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25.

Balarama is depicted as light skinned, in contrast to his brother, Krishna, who is dark skinned; Krishna in Sanskrit means dark.

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26.

Balarama often wears blue garments and a garland of forest flowers.

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27.

Balarama's hair is tied in a topknot and he has earrings, bracelets and armlets; he is known for his strength, the reason for his name; Bala means strength in Sanskrit and Hindi.

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28.

Balarama is one in the triad, wherein Balarama is shown together with his brother Jagannath and sister Subhadra.

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29.

Further, Balarama's face is white, Jagannath's icon is dark, and Subhadra icon is yellow.

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30.

Evidence related to early Jainism, states Patrick Olivelle and other scholars, suggests Balarama had been a significant farmer deity in Jain tradition in parts of the Indian subcontinent such as near the Mathura region.

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31.

Balarama images have been discovered in central Indian Buddhist sites, such as with Sanchi stupas at Andher, Mehgaon and Chandna.

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32.

The Ghata Jataka, one of the Jataka Tales that form part of Buddhist scriptures, depicts Krishna as a previous birth of Buddha's disciple Sariputta and has Balarama depicted as the previous birth of one of the Buddha's disciples.

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