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Balaram's Position in Kuruksetra Lila

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
19 July 2013


Question: We have heard that Balaram has much affection for Duryodhana but Duryodhana hates the Pandavas who are the Lord's devotees, so how can Balaram feel so much affection for him?

[His Divine Grace laughs] To answer your question I would have to tell you the whole Mahabharat story... I know this is a contradiction, and Gurudev explained it.

You must understand that the pastimes of Balaram and the Pandavs are separate lilas (pastimes). Durdhyodan, Duhsasan, and others are a part of Krishna's Dvaraka lila or Kuruksetra lila, but Balaram helps Krishna's lila during Krishna's pastimes in Vrindavan lila. You must remember that Krishna left Vrindavan and had not been there for a hundred years—His lifetime was 125 years and He spent a hundred years in Mathura, Dvaraka, and Kurusetra.

Balaram loves Krishna. When both sides, the Pandavs and Duryodhana's group, were present, Krishna asked both sides, "Whom do you want? Do you want Me alone or do you want all of My associates?" All Pandavs immediately said, "We want You alone." At that time Balaram said, "They only want You, and they are not even mentioning my name?! But Krishna is nothing without me!"

This may be so in Vrindavan lila, but in Kuruksetra lila Krishna is self-sufficient. In Vrindavan lila, although Krishna can do everything Himself, Balaram always helps Him. Only one day Balaram did not go with Him, and that day Kaliya-daman lila happened—Krishna went outside alone that day. Balaram thought, "I did not with Him, that is why this happened." His mother also chastised him, "You did not go with Krishna, that is why this problem has happened today!" But actually, this was Krishna's pastime—He wanted to show His lila to everybody because not everybody (not all Vraja-gopis, not all Vraja-sakhis) knew about Krishna's pastimes, so Krishna was floating in the water of Kaliya lake and waiting for everybody to come. Balaram called Him, "Please come out! Please wake up! Come out of the water!" but Krishna thought, "No, I have to wait for everybody to come."

So, when Krishna asked, "Do you want Me alone or do you want My associates?" and the Pandavs said, "We want You alone," Balaram became a little upset and decided at that time, "I will side with the Duryodhana's group. I will love them." But you can see that although Duryodhana's group chose all soldiers, etc. they were still defeated.

This is actually a simple matter, and it is not so important for our spiritual life.

I read Mahabharat without Gurudev's permission but when Gurudev got to know about it, he asked me, "What are you reading Mahabharat for?" I explained that I could not understand Srimad Bhagavatam completely without Mahabharat, that is why I had read it. Then he said that if it is necessary for your study of Bhagavatam, you can read it, but actually Bhagavatam is Bhagavatam and Mahabharat is Mahabharat, and in our spiritual life, in our Gaudiya Vaishnav spiritual life, not so much importance is given to Mahabharat—it is important to study Srimad Bhagavatam. This is what Gurudev said to me.

There are so many big stories in Mahabharat—it describes the fighting and so many other things—but if you read it you will see much contradiction about spiritual life...


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