Why did Balaramji favor Duryodhana?
Transcribed by: Argha Maji
Question: Why did Balaramji favor Duryodhana?
Answer: It is because Krishna enjoys rasa in different ways with different people. So just like Krishna is God, but Mother Yasoda sometimes chastises Krishna, she ties Krishna, threatens him. Why does she do that? Because that’s the way Krishna rejoices in maternal rasa with her. She is in that relationship. So Krishna enjoys a fraternal rasa with Balaramji. Although Balaram is at one level non-different from Krishna but he is also his own person. And when Krishna wants to do something and Balaramji opposes that, then there is an adventurousness and excitement in resourcefulness for Krishna in making that happen. So for example when Arjuna and Subhadra, they wanted to marry each other and Krishna supported their marriage but Balaram opposed that marriage and then through that what happened Krishna gets an opportunity to reciprocate rasa. See, rasa is a very deep concept and rasa just doesnt mean emotion , it doesn’t just mean flavor. It refers to sweetness that comes from relationship. And relationships are of various kinds. So even in having somebody oppose, for eg there are two people and those two people just constantly agree with each other. OK there may be a very peaceful relationship but there will not be very stimulating relationship. Now if they are two people are at opposition, then there is a discussion and both their understanding goes deeper and then when there is opposition , there are differences , that also adds spice to the relationship. Of course , spice is not the only thing needed in relationship. If there are only differences, then that can lead to conflicts but differences in themselves also bring joy and variety to a relationship.
So, Balaramji reciprocates with Krishna in a particular way in which the two are very close to each other. They are almost one and different but they have very significant differences. And at such times, Krishna takes a particular position and Balaramji takes opposite position just so that Krishna can have the rasa of negotiating and innovating and finding a way out. Just like he arranged for in one sense, the clandestine meeting between Arjuna and Subhadra, he asked Arjuna to impersonate as a mendicant and then he will be taken to the house and then Duryodhana was the proposed groom which Balaram had in mind. Tàhen when Arjuna went away with Subhadra , Balaram was furious. He said how dare Arjuna has abducted our sister and then Krishna told him that it wasn’t really an abduction. He didn’t abduct her , she wanted that. Do you really want our sister to marry to someone whom she doesn’t want to marry. Before the whole thing happened Krishna asked Subhadra also about the proposal. Mahabharata describes that her face curled in distaste. She had no attraction towards Duryodhana. So then Krishna expertly arranged for the marriage.
So with respect to Duryodhana on that particular case, Balaramji favored him so that Krishna would enjoy the rasa of somebody opposing him and Krishna expertly countered that opposition . And eventually Krishna explained his position and Balaramji accepted it. Same way with respect to Duryodhana he went to Balaramji and he asked for guidance and training, and Balaramji trained him in his fight. And then Krishna and his devotees when they have something to do , they also need someone to oppose. And the opposition also becomes a rasa. So, Balaramji serves Krishna on certain occasions by acting in opposite ways so as to spice their relationship. So that’s why Balrama is in favour of Duryodhana in certain occasions.
Did Balarama not have positive feelings towards Duryodhana himself, directly?
Yes definitely. See its not that when the lord’s associates , they are having some higher purpose that does not mean that there is no immediate contextual purpose also. There are multiple levels at which things are happening, its not that Duryodhana was simply a tool for Balaram to have some rasa with Krishna. That is true at one level, but yes, see when we say Balaramji liked Duryodhana , now Duryodhana , when we talk about there is difference between qualities and skills. Qualities are more within the core of a person, skills are external. So, Duryodhana had a skill of fighting and had the eagerness to learn more. So that eagerness pleased Balaramji, and that’s why Balaram taught him more.
So virtues don’t refer to skills. Somebody is very expert at calculations in maths. Is that a virtue. No it’s a maths skill which is there, its useful no doubt. Somebody is very accurate in hitting targets. So is that a virtue, no, its a skill. So, he definitely had a skill and because he was a good student , Balaram became pleased with him and imparted the lessons fully to him.
So he had the skill of mace fighting and had the diligence and eagerness to learn more and that endeared him to Balaramji. So he made him proficient in mace fighting. Their relationship from the rasa point of view was centred at giving a contrary rasa to Krishna. From immediate point of view , relationship was centered on teacher-student dialectic based on mace fighting.