All glories to Lord Balaram, the son of Rohini devi and the elder brother of Shyamsundar. Being the source of great joy for all the brajavasis, he is known as Rama and being unsurpassed in strength, he is known as Baladev. He is the very first expansion of Sri Krishna and the source of Sankarshan, the three purusha avatars, and Ananta shesha. The best of Sri Govinda’s servants, Sri Balaram, serves him in various ways by becoming his bed, his shoes, his umbrella and so forth. He also serves the Lord in all the various rasas, or devotional mellows. As Balaram himself he serves in sakhya, vatsalya and dasya rasa, and as Ananga manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radhika, he serves in Madhurya rasa. Indeed without the mercy of Balaram, we cannot hope to attain the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, for Sri Balaram is Adi Guru, the spiritual master of all the vaishnavas. Therefore, the mercy of Baladev is imperative to make progress in Bhakti. When taking darshan of Lord Baladev, one may offer the following prayers in his glorification:
namaste halagraha namaste musalayudha namaste revati-kanta namaste bhakta-vatsala
Obeisances to You, O holder of the plow. Obeisances to You, O wielder of the mace. Obeisances to You, O darling of Revati. Obeisances to You, O kind benefactor of Your devotees.
namas te dharani-dhara
namas te balanam srestha
pralambare namas te ‘stu
ehi mam krsna-purvaja
Obeisances to You, O upholder of the earth. Obeisances to You, O best of the strong. Obeisances to You, O enemy of Pralamba. Please come to me, older brother of Krsna.