By Deena Bandhu Das
From 5th Chapter of Bhakti-ratnakara
Balarama, the son of Rohini performed his rasalila in Ramaghat. This place is situated quite a long distance from where Krishna had his rasalila.
Balarama was the second body of Krishna himself and the depth of his real self was like the depth of a million oceans. He came to Vraja from Dvaraka and stayed during the two months of Chaita and Vaishakh to console Sri Nanda, Yasoda and the others. He pleased his sakhas in various ways. There also Balarama gave solace to all the Krishna priyas and charmed his own dear and loving gopis by having lilas with them. At that time Krishna killed Sankhachuda. Then Krishna and Balarama both performed divine lilas with their own lovers and played Holi. Only a learned devotee can describe the beauty of these celestial activities. In Sri Krishna Caitanya Carita Murari Gupta says; “Look at Rama and Krishna who are covered with jewels and suitably dressed for spring time. In a humorous mood they performed their kelis with their own beautiful Vraja ladies. They are gracefully dancing and singing in a delightful mood with their pretty gopis.
The gopis who were not fortunate enough to associate with Krishna forgot their sorrow when Balarama performed his lila with them. How Balarama increased their enjoyemnt is beyond description.
In Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that Bhagavan Sri Balarama stayed in Vraja for two months and supplied divine enjoyment to the gopis each night. Sri Raghava continued to describe the beauty of Balarama at the time of his rasa keli. “O Srinivasa, knowing that he would perform his rasa lila with his dear lovers Balarama happily came to this place. This pleasant spot, situated near the Yamuna river, was continually filled with scented air. The flowers of the gardens were in full bloom and the sky was bright from the full moon. The humming of bumble and the sweet whistling of different birds surcharged the atmosphere. Millions of male and female peacocks danced and many deer played in the garden. As Balarama relaxed beneath a tree the guards in heaven sang the glories of Rohini Nandan whose beauty and posture could fascinate the world. The following is a song.
Glory to the valiant Rohininandana. The white conch, kunda flowers, camphor, and the silver-white mountain bow down to Balarama’s beautiful bright complexion. His curly hair, the beauty of the carefree locks of hair on his forehead, his bright tilaka stir the hearts of young maidens. His lotus eyes are restless and his eyebrows dance like black bumble bees near his bright earrings. With a short nose and a face which conquers the splendor of the moon, it seems like nectar pours from his body. His arms are decorated with bangles and jeweled necklaces adorn his strong chest. His thin waist makes the lion feel insufficient and his blue dress enhances his figure. His beautifully shaped thighs and feet fascinate the hearts of all who see him.
O Srinivasa, who can keep his composure seeing the splendor of Baladeva? It was here that Rama sat on a jeweled throne in a graceful Ramostava dress. The beauty of Baladeva conquers millions of kamadevas and every movement of his charms the Munis and Indras. The glory of his body which brightens the three worlds can win the pride of a million moons. The silky black curly hair covering his head is decorated with a jewel set crown and flowers. His lips are as red as bima fruit and his teeth sparkle like pearls. A garland of Vaijayanti dangles from his powerful neck. The reddish color of the soles of his feet defeat the sun and the brightness of his nails conquers the darkness.
I am unable to describe the beauty of Baladeva as there is no comparison to him in this world. Whoever absorbs the gracefulness of Baladeva is the most fortunate person. In the Puranas, Baladeva Dhyana is written as follows: In this place Rohininandana, Balarama, stood in a threefold bending form and blew joyfully on his horn, the sound of which moved the heart of Brahma and others. O Srinivasa, with one mouth only how can I describe the beauty of Balai’s lila? Here in this moon-lit Yamuna Upavana, Balarama engaged in lilas surrounded by millions of gopis.”
In that Upavana near the Yamuna which was flooded by bright moon light and covered with the scent of lotuses, Balarama performed his rasa lila. Then Varuni devi, sent by her father Varuna, flowed from a hole in a tree and filled the entire atmosphere with the sweet scent of wine. Baladeva breathed the scent and drank the wine with his beloved gopis in that garden. (Srimad Bhagavatam)
Raghava continued his story, after drinking the wine, Rohini Mandana engaged himself in divine love making with his gopis. Some of the gopis played with mridanga, ranika, and other instruments, while other gopis sang the glories of Balarama in beautiful songs based on beautiful tunes and beats. Lord Brahma and others were moved by the music. Sri Balarama himself became overwhelmed by the dance, the songs and music and soon the rasa mandir was filled with celestial joy. To enjoy water sports with his lovers Balarama brought the Yamuna near by pulling her with his plough and then sported in her water. After bathing Balarama changed his dress, drank honey and wine and spent the night with his associates.
In the early morning the gopis could not bear their separation from Balarama and did not want to return to their homes. Balarama consoled them in many ways and sent them to their houses. Out of fear for Balarama the Yamuna offered him prayers and folding her hands she threw herself at his feet.
When by her own quiet nature the Yamuna was flowing to the South ocean, she did not respond to the order of Balarama and thus he pulled her with his plough. In this place the Yamuna can be seen as she is. I sing the glory of this place with my devoted heart. (Stavavali/Vraja Vilas)
Sri Raghava told his followers that Rasa Sthali is famous throughout the world and devotees offer their worship as this Ramaghat Pradesh.