Today is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the elder brother of our beautiful beloved Lord Krishna. Balam means divine power, strength, potency, vitality. Rama means very satisfying, enchanting. The One who is the embodiment of all divine power, divine potency with enchanting beauty is called Balarama. In other words Balarama is the sum total, the personification of divine energy and enchanting beauty. Rama is not just beauty, it means enchantingly beautiful, one who enchants heart. Same qualities are also found in Krishna, because Balarama is non other than His expansion. Being the extended Self of Krishna, His second Self, Balarama posses the same qualities, but in a different way.
We also call Lord Balarama as Baladeva. Balam and Deva – both aspects are unified in Baladeva. So Balam means the divine power, energy, strength and Deva means Godly. The One, who is the representation of Godly strength, divine power is called Baladeva. The root of word Deva also means self-effulgent, enlightment, illumination. In this way Baladeva means enchantingly beautiful, self-effulgent Lord of all divine power.
Just by the meanings of His holy names we can understand what tattva He is, what is His divine nature. There is so much glory to speak about Him. In one way Balarama serves His beloved Lord Krishna as the elder brother with elder brotherly affection. But apart from this, He is also engaged in serving Him by manifesting Himself as bedding, throne, dhama, utensils, musical instruments and other paraphernalia through which Radha Krishna are being worshipped. Same Balarama serves Divine Couple as a younger sister of Srimati Radharani- Srimati Ananga Manjari. In this way we find that Baladeva-tattva has multifarious manifestations, multiple divine aspects through which He (She) is unendingly engaged in the service of Divine Couple in unlimited ways.
Baladeva is also called Sankarshana. We know that this name Sankarshana was given to Balarama because He was specially attracted by Yogamaya Devi from the womb of Mother Devaki into the womb of Rohini Devi in a mystical way. Karshanam means attracted, samyak-rupena-karshitam.*
In deeper aspects of the meaning, Sankarshana is closely related with name Krishna. Krishna means all-attractive, karshati iti Krishna, source of all divine attractions, the unlimited origin of all infinite blissful attraction. And the same attractiveness, karshnam, we find in Krishna. So, this Krishna’s quality of attractiveness manifested in the form of Balarama. That’s why He is called Sankarshana. He can also mercifully attract the hearts of all with the ecstatic love for Krishna, hence He is called Sankarshana. The nature of glorification of Lord Balarama is simply infinite…
* Also translated as: He is the embodiment, source of all the Divine attraction that leads us to God. He is attractive by nature. One who sees Him, can never turn his sight away from Him.
Edited by Rasakrishna das