namas te halagraha
namas te musalayudha
namas te revati-kanta
namas te 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.
All glories to Lord Balarama, the very first expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the personification of service to the Lord. “The source of the sentiment of servitude is indeed Lord Balarama. The plenary expansions who follow Him are all influenced by that ecstasy” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 6.89). As the embodiment of the sandhini potency, Lord Balaram is the very basis of everyone’s existence in both the spiritual and material worlds. All the Visnu expansions in the Vaikuntha planets, as well as the three purusas in the material realm, are all the amsas and kalas, expansions and expansions of the expansions, of Lord Baladeva.
That same Lord Balarama who relishes pastimes with Vrajendranandana Syamsundara in Sridham Vrndavana in all the various mellows of devotional service is the origin of Lord Sankarsana in the first Chatur-vyuha in Dvaraka. He further expands as Lord Sankarsana in the Vaikuntha planets. Lord Sankarsana is the source of all the Visnu expansions. His first expansion as Karanodaksayi Visnu lies in the causal ocean. From His skin pores, innumerable universe emanate. He is the source of the entire material creation. He then enters each and every universe as Garbhodaksayi Visnu, from whose navel, a lotus stem sprouts, upon which Lord Brahma is born. Furthermore, He enters each and every atom of the entire universe and is present as the Supersoul in the heart of all the jivas, residing there as their companion and as the witness to all their activities, sanctioning and thus fulfilling all their needs and desires. As Ananta , He serves as the bed post of Lord Visnu and carries all the universes upon His innumerable hoods, thus embodying servitude to the Lord. The glories of Lord Balaram are truly unfathomable, for there is no particle in the entire creation which is devoid of the presence of Lord Ananta.
Along with expanding in these various forms, Lord Balarama personally serves the Lord by taking the form of His bed, slippers, clothing and other paraphernalia. As the elder brother of the Lord, He serves in the mellows of dasya, sakhya and vatsalya and desiring to also serve in madhura-rasa, He takes the form of Srimati Ananga Manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radharani.
Because He knows nothing but service to Sri Krisna, He is known as Sevaka Bhagavan, or the personality of Godhead who is always engaged in service. As Lord Nityananda, He freely distributes pure love of Godhead to the most fallen and wretched people in this age of Kali. It is He who is the original, undivided guru-tattva, the only shelter for those desirous of advancing in Krishna consciousness. As caitya-guru, Balarama guides the jivas from within the heart, and by manifesting as the diksa and siksa-guru, He gives instructions to sincere sadhakas. Even upon deeply contemplating these subject matters, it is not possible to fully understand Lord Balarama’s glories, and one is left feeling that one is standing on the shore of the vast expanse of His glories.
The auspicious appearance day of Sri Krsna purvaja, the elder brother of Krsna, the most merciful Lord Balarama, is fast approaching and will be celebrated with great jubilation on Sravana Purnima. Remembering a drop of the ocean of His unlimited transcendental qualities, we pray to Lord Haladhara, the wielder of the plow, to glance mercifully upon us all and, with His plow, cultivate the barren land of our hearts. May Adi-guru Lord Balarama then plant the seed of bhakti in our hearts, thus bestowing the greatest benediction upon us. May Bhakta vatsala Balabhadra Prabhu nourish the creeper of devotion that sprouts from the seed of bhakti, and may Baladeva Prabhu in the form of Ananga Manjari bestow upon us the cherished goal of service to Sri Sri Radha Syamsundara, the mature fruit of this vine of devotion.
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, O elder brother of Sri Krsna.