It's wonderful to be back in Vrindavana and to be at Srila Prabhupada's home, the Krishna Balarama Mandir. A place filled with mercy. Looking at the Deities I reflect on the following:
Krishna holds a flute and Balarama a plow, together they are helping the conditioned souls to come back to Godhead especially in the form of Gaura Nitai. brajendra-nanda jei, saci-suta hoila sei, balarama hoila nita — Lord Krishna, who is the son of the King of Vraja, became the son of Saci (Lord Caitanya), and Balaram became Nitai. The transcendental brothers always work in a team, divine teamwork we could say.
Srila Prabhupada was very fond of Krishna Balarama. So much so, that he established Krishna Balaram worship on the central altar of his Vrindavana Mandir and named the temple after Them.
The question may arise, that why did Srila Prabhupada not give more attention to Sri Sri Radha Syama Sundara? After all, Vrindavana Dhama is the place of the confidential pastimes of Krishna and the Gopis. Most of the temples in Vrindavana are dedicated to the divine couple in Their different aspects such as Sri Sri Radha Madhana Mohan, Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha etc.
The temple is located in Raman Reti, the area where Krishna and Balaram used to herd Their cows and therefore a temple focused on Their worship is obvious — That could be a possible answer. But maybe there is more to that. If we understand what Krishna Balaram stands for and how They work as a team, we then come closer to a deeper meaning. Srila Goura Govinda Maharaja’s teaching on Krishna Balaram for example comes to my mind:
„Therefore Balaram has a plow in His hand and Krishna has a flute. First, cultivation is needed, karsana. Then all nasty weed-like things will be rooted out. The field should be cultivated properly with the plow of Balaram, then the field of the heart, hrdaya-ksetra, becomes fertile and the seed of the devotional creeper, bhakti-lata, may be sown. The field must not be barren. If you sow the seed on barren land it will never fructify. That is what Gopinathacharya said to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, "Why am I sowing seeds in a barren land [by trying to convince you]? I am doing useless labor, because it will never fructify." After proper cultivation by Balaram's plow, when the land is fertile, then the seed should be sown. When the seed sprouts and you develop prema-bhakti then you will be attracted by Krishna's flute. The flute represents akarsana, attraction. (..) Cultivating the land means following the rules and regulations, vaidhi-bhakti. The guru will give you some do's and some don'ts: follow the rules and regulations, chant sixteen rounds per day, etc. After proper cultivation, the unwanted weed-like things are rooted out, anartha-upasama, and the field becomes fertile. Then the guru will sow the bhakti-lata-bija. Under his guidance you will do sravanam kirtanam, you will hear krsna-katha, and then you will develop raganuga-bhakti. You will come to raga-marga-bhakti and develop prema under the guidance of that guru. Then you will see Krishna. Then you will get Krishna. Then the sweet flute singing of Krishna, which attracts everyone, will enchant you. Akarsana is the ultimate thing, but first must come karsana, cultivation. Karsana-akarsana, cultivation and enchantment, this is the Krishna-Balaram Mandir.“
Krishna always works in a team. Krishna-Balaram, cultivation and attraction. To attain Radha Krishna is not something cheap. We have to go through the path of vaidhi bhakti, the cultivation of the heart has to take place first. And Prabhupada also wanted to show the world that it is only by the mercy of Gaura Nitai, that we are able to attain Vrindavana.
Another form of team is Guru and Krishna. If we develop a strong desire, Krishna within the heart sees that desire and sends His representative in the form of Sri Guru. That Guru is Krishna's mercy and expansion of Nityananda Prabhu. Taking shelter of Nityananda therefore means, to take shelter of Sri Guru. How wonderful is Krishna with his transcendental team, who makes all possible arrangements to bring us closer to Him?
1 - Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, Issue No. 5, 2 June 2001, Gopaljiu Publications