Balarama (बलराम), also known as Baladeva, Balabhadra and Halayudha, is the elder brother of Lord Krishna in Dwaper Yug.
Balarama was a son of Yadava king Vasudev. The evil king Kansa, the brother of Devaki, was intent upon killing the children of his sister because of a prediction that he would die at the hands of her eighth son.
Vishnu then impregnated the belly of the goddess Devaki with two strands of hair, one black, one white. To ensure their safety, their essence was transferred before birth to Rohini, who also desired a child. At birth, Krishna had a darker complexion, while Balarama was born fair. The other name of Balarama is also Sankarshana, meaning a spirit transferred between two wombs.
He was named Rama, but because of his great strength he was called Balarama, Baladeva or Balabhadra, meaning "Strong Rama". He was born under Shravana nakshatra on Shraavana Purnima, or Raksha Bandhan.
He is often depicted with a drinking cup, pitcher, axe, shield and sword. Balarama may have originated in Vedic times as a deity of agriculture and fertility. In Jainism he is known as Baladeva.
Balarama spent his childhood as a cow herder with his brother Krishna. He killed Dhenukasura, an asura sent by Kansa, as well as Pralambasura and Mushtika wrestlers sent by the king. After the evil king died, Balarama and Krishna went to the ashrama of sage Sandipani's at Ujjayini for study. He later married Revati, the daughter of King Kakudmi.
Balarama taught both Duryodhana of the Kauravas and Bhima of the Pandavas the art of fighting with a mace. When war broke between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, Balarama cared for both sides, and so remained neutral. When the mighty Bhima defeated the more skilled Duryodhana by striking him in the groin with his mace, Balarama threatened to kill Bhima. This was prevented when Krishna reminded Balarama of the vow of Bhima—to kill Duryodhana by crushing the thigh he had exposed to Bhima's wife Draupadi.