Lord Vishnu, through his avatars, teaches us how to live. I was wondering what is the purpose of Krishna's elder brother Balarama. Also, it seems very odd from the other avatars of Vishnu, because each of the other avatars was born in a different yuga.

So what is the purpose of the Balarama avatara? And why did Vishnu decide to take two avatars in the same yuga?

  • Thanks iammilind. Since balarama is not a direct avatar of Lord Vishnu can that be counted as one of the ten avatar of Vishnu? I have heard people say that Buddha is an avatar of Lord vishnu. How much truth is in it ?
    – Tiny Rick
    Aug 17, 2015 at 10:05
  • 1
    Actually some people say and even I too believe that Vishnu's avataras are not limited to number like 10 or something. Vishnu's constantly incarnating as and when required. Look at this post: "What are the exact ten avatars of Vishnu?
    – iammilind
    Aug 17, 2015 at 10:09
  • 1
    Balarama was also involved in killing host of Rakshashas. Please read Hari Vamsa, Bhagavatham. Balaraama killed lakhs and lakhs of Asuras who supported Jarasandha and his friends. Balaraama seized Jarasandha and was about to kill him, when akashhvani and Krishna stopped him, so that Jarasandha can recoup and bring more asuras to fight thereby making it easy fir Balarama and Krishna to eliminate them.
    – user808
    Sep 18, 2015 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Keshav - I think it is in Hari Vamsa, i am not sure...Even, Madhva in Mahabharata tatparya nirnaya seem to comment on this incident saying Aksshavani stopped Balarama from slaying Jarasandha saying that he is not destined to die at his hands. Yes, some scriptures say that Krishna stopped him...
    – user808
    Sep 20, 2015 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Krishna OK, I found it: "Then the voice of the witness of the world, was heard in the sky: 'O rAma (balarAma)! O One who respect others! (jarAsaMdha) is not to be killed by you. You need not lament. Ihave foreseen his death. Hence control yourself. In a short time, the lord of magadha (jarAsaMdha) will lose his life.'" mahabharata-resources.org/harivamsa/vishnuparva/hv_2_043.html Sep 20, 2015 at 13:56

2 Answers 2



Avatar purush when they take birth, they bring their supplementary ecosystem also. In Ramayana, brother Laxmana is shown suspicious or apprehensive of schemy step mother Kaikeyi & her son Bharat. Eldest brother Lord Rama always overrides such fears and being devoted brother, Laxmana obeyed it, but always nursed grouse if he had been elder brother, he would have done this and avoided that....etc.. To that statement, Lord Rama said that opportunity would be coming in next avatar rebirth i.e. Lord Krishna' elder brother Balarama. In both cases, he had to either take orders from elder brother who had better understanding of the nature laws and rules, while in subsequent role, Lord Krishna displayed superior logic and compliance to the eternal destiny, so Balarama had no choice but to accept it. So to say Balarama is an avatar (smaller / lesser), is ok, to the extent of his relation with Lord Krishna In contrast, Balarama (Mahabharata) had more of family life, which he voluntarily forgone to serve his elder brother during the exile (Ramayana)


It is same as Krishna's purpose. To remove the burden of the world.

ekonaviṁśe viṁśatime vṛṣṇiṣu prāpya janmanī rāma-kṛṣṇāv iti bhuvo bhagavān aharad bharam

In the nineteenth and twentieth incarnations, the Lord advented Himself as Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa in the family of Vṛṣṇi [the Yadu dynasty], and by so doing He removed the burden of the world. SB 1.3.23

Vasudeva speaks to Krishna and Balarama.

yuvāṁ na naḥ sutau sākṣāt pradhāna-puruṣeśvarau bhū-bhāra-kṣatra-kṣapaṇa avatīrṇau tathāttha ha

You are not our sons but the very Lords of both material nature and its creator [Mahā-Viṣṇu]. As You Yourself have told us, You have descended to rid the earth of the rulers who are a heavy burden upon her. SB 10.85.18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .