Saturday August 16

Lord Balarama’s Appearance day. Half day fast.

An auspicious day which I hope reflects upon this blog, because this is the day I have chosen to beta-test my website. I sent out invitations to visit to maybe 50 + devotees and I hope they like it. The whole site was set up for me by a young brahmacari who is now in the Chowpatti temple. He doesn’t want me to mention him by name but at least I can say a very big “Thanks!” and “Hare Krishna” to him here for all his hard work and persistence in putting it all together.

For the Lord’s glorification we had special class this morning, not a reading about His pastimes but a compilation of things I heard Srila Prabhupada say about Lord Balarama. Here’s a couple I always like:

[TD 2] May 4, 1976 — Honolulu

 Balarama is so powerful

Tamal Krishna Goswami and Dhrstadyumna Swami are here. They came in from New York with a written report to give Srila Prabhupada on their China preaching endeavors. Since the Mayapur festival, when Srila Prabhupada ordered Tamal Krishna Maharaja to begin something in China, they have been very seriously studying books like The Religious Policy and Practice in Communist China, and investigating ways and means to establish links there. Srila Prabhupada spoke with them for almost an hour following his afternoon rest. He was eager to hear how things are going in New York under Madhudvisa Swami’s leadership. Hearing their favorable report, Prabhupada complimented Madhudvisa. “Yes, he is the right person.”

Tamal Krishna mentioned that even with no advertising their new restaurant attracts fifty people a day, each paying $2.50.

Prabhupada said it would be automatically advertised. People would hear ‘Oh there is a nice ISKCON restaurant’ and come. He compared it to the Krishna-Balaram Mandir he opened in Vrndavana; he had thought that it was so far away from the center of Vrndavana town that no one would come. But it has proved very popular. “People are coming by thousands. … ” He laughed. “Balarama is so powerful, He’s bringing: ‘Come out here!'”

   Balarama is powerful 

[TD 3] July 11, 1976 – New York

There was a letter from Bhagatji, Sri Visvambhar Dayal, bringing Srila Prabhupada up to date with the Vrndavana temple affairs. Srila Prabhupada is extremely pleased he has come forward to help us. Srila Prabhupada has gradually induced him to take a more active role in the temple affairs, telling him, “So kindly help the management as Krishna Balaram is your worshipable Deity.” He spoke very encouragingly to him, revealing a glimpse of his own intimate relationship with Sri Sri Krsna and Balarama. “Kindly guide our foreign disciples to manage nicely and increasingly you will be able to please Their Lordships Krishna and Balaram. Although I’ve established Their temple, Their Lordships want me to keep outside the temple for touring.”

 Krishna and Balarama, Vrndavana 

In the evening we had a full house, about 50 devotees packed into the tiny temple room to see two short dramas and then hear me continue with my Chanting seminar.

The first play was unusual, at least I found it so. In short: Lord Balarama begs a peacock feather from Krsna, and Krsna also gives Him His flute. Kamsa sends the Kesi demon to Vrndavana to find Krsna and kill Him. Kesi sees Balarama with peacock feather and flute and thinks He is Krsna. Kesi gives Balarama an almighty kick and knocks him flat. Kesi goes off thinking he has killed Krsna in one simple kick. Balarama meets up with Krsna again and gives back the flute and feather because they are attracting too much trouble from the demons. He tells Krsna all about Kesi. Krsna goes out looking for Kesi and this time the demon is finished.

I hadn’t seen this version before but the devotees assured me it was in the writings of Srila Visvanatha Chakrovarty Thakur. I guess I had better get reading.

I spoke till 9.30 PM and then there was a delicious feast, all cooked by Vaideha prabhu, who was my contact for coming here. The prep. I liked the best was a pizza-like dish, but made in strips about 6-8″ long x 1-2″ wide rather than the usual disk shape. Very tasty. I complimented Vaideha that he was the Kurma of Macedonia. He liked that.

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