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Balarama with plow
Death of Balarama

Balarama ( Sanskrit बलराम , also Baladeva in Jainism ) is the older brother of the god Krishna according to Hindu mythology .


Balarama was the seventh son of Vasudeva and his wife Devaki; she was the (half) sister of the tyrannical Kamsa , the illegally ruling and demonic king of Mathura , who had received the prophecy that the eighth son of his (half) sister would kill him. Kamsa then had their first six sons murdered; the embryo of the seventh son was transferred from Devaki to Rohini, Vasudeva's first wife, keeping Balarama alive. Later, his younger brother Krishna escaped Kamsa's stalking by handing him over to a cowherd family who were already foster parents of Balarama. The two boys grew up; Balarama killed several demons sent by Kamsa, but it was left to Krishna to kill his (half) uncle in his palace in Mathura.

Balarama later married Revati, the daughter of the king of Kusasthali, who is equated with the holy city of Dwarka . He was very strong and at times worked as a farmer; his attribute is a plow . Before the battle of Kurukshetra , he taught the two opponents Duryodhana and Bhima in weapons technology, but neither he nor his brother fought themselves. After the battle Krishna disappeared; his brother Balarama fell into a deep depression and died. The soul left his body in the form of a serpent and returned to the primeval ocean, where it united with the world serpent shesha .


The stories of Balarama and Krishna are almost inextricably linked and so both are often venerated together: This is particularly clear in the East Indian Jagannath cult, where they are venerated as Trimurti together with their sister Shubhadra .


  • Anneliese and Peter Keilhauer: The Imagery of Hinduism. The Indian world of gods and their symbolism. DuMont, Cologne 1983, pp. 98ff, ISBN 3-7701-1347-0 .
  • Lavanya Vemsani: Hindu and Jain Mythology of Balarāma. Change and Continuity in an Early Indian Cult. Edwin Mellen Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7734-5723-2 .

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