Balarama's Pastimes with the Demons

BY: SUN STAFF - 11.9 2023

Krsna and Balarama Fighting Demons

Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.

"So here Krsna Caitanya and Nityananda, Their identification is Lord Krsna and Balarama. Now, in the Krsna incarnation, these two brothers were engaged as cowherd boys and friends of the gopis, sons of mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja. That is actual life in Vrndavana. Krsna and Balarama, They are village cowherds boy. That is the early age history of Krsna-Balarama. And Their another business, when They went to Mathura They killed Kamsa and the wrestlers, and then again, when They went to Dvaraka, They had to fight with so many demons. But Their childhood life, up to sixteenth year, They were in Vrndavana, happy life, simply love. That is paritranaya sadhunam.

Sadhus, devotees, they are always anxious to see Krsna, Balarama and Their associates. They are always very much aggrieved on account of separation. To give them rejuvenation of life, Krsna-Balarama play Their childhood days in Vrndavana. And out of Vrndavana, beginning from Mathura up to Dvaraka and other places, the business was vinasaya ca duskrtam: killing. So They have got two businesses, one for pacifying the devotees, and the other is to kill the demons. Of course, Krsna and Balarama, They are Absolute Truth. There is no difference between killing and loving. They... Absolute. Those who were killed, you know, they were also delivered from this material bondage." (Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Caitanya-caritamrta, 03-26-75, Mayapur)

"Every day, Krsna and Balarama used to go in the forest and some asura would come to disturb Them, to kill Them, and Krsna will finish them. And the friends will come at home and narrate the story to their mothers, "Mother, Krsna is so wonderful. Such a big demon came and He killed immediately in this way and that way." That is Krsna."

Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 09-28-72, Los Angeles

"Thus Krsna has no work to perform. As the Supreme personality of Godhead, He simply engages in enjoying Himself with the gopis (cowherd girls) and His consort Radharani. Krsna, as Krsna, does not really engage in killing demons. When Krsna kills demons, He is known as Vasudeva Krsna, not the original Krsna. When Krsna expands Himself, He first expands as Balarama, then Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vasudeva. As Vasudeva, He acts in Mathura and Dvaraka, but as Krsna, in His original feature, He remains in Vrndavana. This may seem to be confusing; even one of the greatest fiction writers in Bengal misunderstood and thought that Krsna of Vrndavana, Krsna of Dvaraka, and Krsna of Mathura were three different persons. But this is not difficult to understand if we know the nature of Krsna's expansions. Krsna is the same, and He is the one without a second, but He can expand Himself in billions and trillions of forms. This is all for the purpose of His enjoyment."

Elevation to Krsna Consciousness, Chapter 5



Balarama slays the Demon Balvala


"...the brahmanas of Naimisaranya advised Baladeva to atone for the death of Romaharsana. After killing a demon named Balvala, Baladeva traveled and bathed in holy places until He at last came to the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, where Bhima and Duryodhana were fighting. Then He returned to Dvaraka and went again to Naimisaranya, where He instructed the rsis. Then He left with His wife Revati.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10th Canto Summary

"The brahmanas could understand the purpose of the Lord, and thus, they suggested that He atone for His actions in a manner which would be beneficial to them. They said, "Our dear Lord, there is a demon of the name Balvala. He is the son of Ilvala, but he is a very powerful demon, and he visits this sacred place of sacrifice every fortnight on the full moon and moonless days and creates a great disturbance to the discharge of our duties in the sacrifice. O descendant of the Dasarha family, we all request You to kill this demon. We think that if You kindly kill him, that will be Your atonement on our behalf. The demon occasionally comes here and profusely throws upon us contaminated, impure things like pus, blood, stool, urine and wine, and he pollutes this sacred place by showering such filth upon us. After killing Balvala, You may continue touring all the sacred places of pilgrimage for twelve months, and in that way You will be completely freed from all contamination. That is our prescription."

Krsna Book, Chapter 78

"Lord Balarama prepared Himself to meet the demon Balvala. At the time when the demon usually attacked the sacred place, there appeared a great hailstorm, the whole sky became covered with dust, and the atmosphere became surcharged with a filthy smell. Just after this, the mischievous demon Balvala began to shower torrents of stool and urine and other impure substances on the arena of sacrifice. After this onslaught, the demon himself appeared with a great trident in his hand. He was a gigantic person, and his black body was like a huge mass of carbon. His hair, his beard and his mustache appeared reddish, like copper, and because of his great beard and mustache, his mouth appeared to be very dangerous and fierce. As soon as He saw the demon, Lord Balarama prepared to attack him. He first began to consider how He could smash the great demon to pieces. Lord Balarama called for His plow and club, and they immediately appeared before Him. The demon Balvala was flying in the sky, and at the first opportunity Lord Balarama dragged him down with His plow and angrily smashed the demon's head with His club. By Balarama's striking, the forehead of the demon became fractured. There was a profuse flow of blood from his forehead, and he began to scream loudly. In this way the demon, who had been such a great disturbance to the pious brahmanas, fell to the ground. His falling was like a great mountain with a red oxide peak being struck by a thunderbolt and smashed to the ground.

The inhabitants of Naimisaranya, learned sages and brahmanas, became most pleased by seeing this, and they offered their respectful prayers to Lord Balarama. They offered their heartfelt blessings upon the Lord, and all agreed that Lord Balarama's attempt to do anything would never be a failure. The sages and brahmanas then performed a ceremonial bathing of Lord Balarama, just as King Indra is bathed by the demigods when he is victorious over the demons. The brahmanas and sages honored Lord Balarama by presenting Him first-class new clothing and ornaments and the lotus flower garland of victory, the reservoir of all beauty, which was was never to be dried up, being in everlasting existence.

Krsna Book, Chapter 79


The Demon Dhenukasura

Balarama Kills Dhenukasura


"While Krsna was thus engaged in exhibiting His internal potency along with His supermost fortunate friends, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends Sridama, Subala and Stoka Krsna began to address Krsna and Balarama with great love and affection thus: "Dear Balarama, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Krsna, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Talavana. This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some are falling down, and some of them are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenukasura, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear Krsna and Balarama, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who assume the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than You, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are sleeping there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from that place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the trees or on the ground. Dear Krsna, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balarama, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don't You smell it from here?"

When Balarama and Krsna were thus petitioned by Their smiling, intimate friends, They were inclined to please them, and They began to proceed towards the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Talavana, Balarama began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground. Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenukasura, who was living there in the form of an ass, approached with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees began to move as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared first before Balarama and kicked His chest with his hind legs. At first, Balarama did not say anything, but the demon with great anger began to kick Him again more vehemently. This time Balarama immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and, wheeling him around, threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balarama, the demon lost his life. Balarama threw the demon into the biggest palm tree about, and the demon's body was so heavy that the palm tree fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane had passed through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balarama is the Personality of Godhead known as Ananta Sesa Naga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. The whole cosmic manifestation is maintained by Him exactly as two threads hold the weaving of a cloth.

After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukasura immediately assembled and attacked Balarama and Krsna with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Krsna and Balarama began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on Krsna and Balarama and beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.

A few days after the killing of Dhenukasura, people began to come into the Talavana forest to collect the fruits, and animals began to return without fear to feed on the nice grasses grown there. Just by chanting or hearing these transcendental activities and pastimes of the brothers Krsna and Balarama, one can amass pious activities."

Krsna Book, Chapter 15

 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from various texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.