All posts in Stories of Balarama in Mahabharata

Story of marriage of Balarama & Revati’s Daughter in Mahabharata causes tussle between Abhimanyu & Laxman Kumara (Duryodhana’s Son)

Vatsala (Sashirekha), the daughter of Balarama is betrothed to the Pandava prince Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu is the son of (Balarama and Krishna’s sister) Subhadra and (Krishna’s close friend) the Pandava prince Arjuna. So initially the marriage of Vatsala is to be performed with Abhimanyu but when Abhimanyu’s father Arjuna goes into exile Balarama’s wife Revati says that Arjuna has no kingdom left and a prince without a kingdom may well be a commoner. Balarama thinks about it and feels that his wife is right and that he is supposed to think about the welfare of his daughter breaks off the marriage with Abhimanyu. Balarama arranges it instead with Duryodhana’s son Laxman. When Abhimanyu comes to know about and is annoyed. Abhimanyu asks his maternal uncle- Balarama’s brother and Arjuna’s ally, Krishna to intervene. Krishna says he cannot do so but he should ask help from his first cousin Ghatotkacha – the half demon son of Arjuna’s brother Bhima who lives in Varnavat. Abhimanyu sets out to Varnavat and meets his cousin brother and tells him why he seeks his help. Ghatotkacha is furious at Balarama because he wants to keep an alliance with the very people who were the cause of the Pandavas’ misery. Meanwhile, the marriage preparations take place at Balarama’s house. Ghatotkacha hatches a plan to get Vatsala and Abhimanyu married. Ghatotkacha goes disguised as Vatsala to the marriage ceremony. He frightens the hell out of Laxman who promptly faints. Laxman vows never to marry. The real Vatsala has been transported by Ghatotkacha to Varnavat where Abhimanyu awaits. The couple’s marriage is celebrated. When Duryodhana learns that Abhimanyu has married Vatsala, he is infuriated and thus his anger toward the Pandavas is further fuelled.

Story of Revati & Balarama’s Marriage and their end in Mahabharata

Kakudmi and Revati found Balarama and proposed the marriage. Because she was from an earlier yuga, Revati was far taller and larger than her husband-to-be, but Balarama, tapped his plough (his characteristic weapon) on her head or shoulder and she shrunk to the normal height of people in Balarama’s age. The marriage was then duly celebrated. Revati bore her husband two sons, Nisatha and Ulmuka. Both her sons Nisatha and Ulmuka were killed in the Yadu fratricidal war after which Balarama also ended his earthly incarnation in meditation by the sea.[4] At his funeral ceremony, Revati ascended onto his funeral pyre and was immolated with him.

Story of Kakudmi finding suitable match for his daughter Revati and 27 Chatur-Yugas

Revati was the only daughter of King Kakudmi, a powerful monarch who ruled Kusasthali, a prosperous and advanced kingdom under the sea, and who also controlled large tracts of land, including Anarta kingdom. Feeling that no human could prove to be good enough to marry his lovely and talented daughter, Kakudmi took Revati with him to Brahmaloka (abode of Brahma) to ask the God’s advice about finding a suitable husband for Revati. When they arrived, Brahma was listening to a musical performance by the Gandharvas, so they waited patiently until the performance was finished. Then, Kakudmi bowed humbly, made his request and presented his shortlist of candidates. Brahma laughed loudly and explained that time runs differently on different planes of existence and that during the short time they had waited in Brahmaloka to see him, 27 chatur-yugas had passed on Earth and all the candidates had died long ago. Brahma added that Kakudmi was now alone as his friends, ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies and treasures had now vanished from Earth and he should soon bestow his daughter to a husband as Kali yuga was near. King Kakudmi was overcome with astonishment and alarm at this news. However, Brahma comforted him and added that god Vishnu, the Preserver, was currently on Earth in the forms of Krishna and Balarama and he recommended Balarama as a worthy husband for Revati. Kakudmi and Revati then returned to earth, which they regarded as having left only just a short while ago. They were shocked by the changes that had taken place. Not only had the landscape and environment changed, but over the intervening 27 chatur-yugas, in the cycles of human spiritual and cultural evolution, mankind was at a lower level of development than in their own time. The Bhagavata Purana describes that they found the race of men had become “dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect.”

Story of previous birth of Revati (Balarama’s wife) as Jyotishmati

The Garga Samhita narrates the previous birth of Revati as Jyotishmati, the daughter of King Chakshush Manu, who ruled over the Earth. The king performed a special fire sacrifice, out of which a divine lady was born to him as his daughter, Jyotishmati. Upon asked by her father, she said, she would like to marry the mightiest of all. The god Indra (lord of clouds and rain) informed the king that the wind Vayu was powerful than him. Vayu directed Manu to Parvat (the mountain), who said the earth-god Bhumandal was more powerful than him. Ultimately, the earth said that Shesha, the serpent who carries the earth and the worlds on his hoods, is the most powerful; Balarama would be Shesha’s most powerful form. Jyotishmati went to Vindhya mountains and performed tapas (austerities) to marry Balarama. Numerous deities tried to dissuade her and win her over as wife, however she cursed all of them. In counter-curse, Indra cursed Jyotishmati that she would not have sons. Finally, Brahma pleased with her penance blessed her that she would marry Balarama, but warned that he would be born 27 yugas (eons) later. An enraged Jyotishmati threatened to curse Brahma too. He pacified her by giving her another boon that she would be born as Revati, daughter of King Kakudmi, whose actions would lead to the 27 eons passing in a jiffy.

Story when Krishna & Balarama rescued son of Sandipani Muni

While staying as students at the residence of Sandipani Muni, the two brothers—Krishna and Balarama— and their friend, Sudama, mastered every single lesson, although only having been instructed in each once. Upon the rapid completion of their studies, they persuaded their teacher to ask for the preceptor’s daksina (his fee for providing instruction) of his own choosing. Sandipani asked for the restoration of his child, who had disappeared in the ocean at Prabhasa (on the Western Coast Gujarat state of India, close to Somnath temple). The two brothers traveled to Prabhasa and found that the son had been snatched away by a being named Sankhasura. He lived under the waters in the shape of a conch. Not finding the son within the conch, Sri Krishna and Balarama took the conch and went to Yama (who is also likely associated with Bootes), and blew the conch. Yama worshiped both of them saying, ‘O Visnu (One Who Pervades the Universe), disguised as a human being by way of Lila (play), what can we do for you both?’ Krishna replied: ‘Impelled by My command, O great ruler, fetch my guru’s son, who was brought here as a result of his own karma.’ Being brought back to life, they returned Sandipani’s son. It was thus in the process of rescuing his guru’s disciple from the clutches of Death-personified (Yama) that Sri Krishna acquired his famous conch, Panca-Jana, from Sankhasura.

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