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about balaraamar avathaaram

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (
Date: Sat Jun 03 1995 - 20:50:17 PDT

I was looking at the prapatti mailing list archives (while
running some FEM simulations on the background:-) and came
upon the discussion related to whether balarama avathaaram
is mentioned anywhere in prabandham. I also read the quote
from thiru mangai aazhvaar, provided by Dileepan.

paripaadal kadavuL vaazhththu (invocation) begins with an
address to balaraaman. It is only after this that krishna
is mentioned! This is the only work that I know of where
balaraaman is given precedence over krishna. Well, not
exactly. Immediately in the next paragraph, while praising
krishna, the author (whose name is not known) says:

"you are younger by birth to balarama
 yet you are superior to him by your qualities"

A bit strange to compare these two though. Many northern
traditions very conveniently leave out balaraaman from the
10 avathars and rather include buddhaa! No offense meant
to buddhaa but this just doesn't seem right! If I am not
mistaken gaudiya vaishnavas also do not count buddhaa as
one of the avatars. The vedic revivalism mainly targetted
the buddhists and jains and not a single puraana (well, at
least the saatvik ones) talks about buddha as an avatar of
vishnu. I wonder how this idea came into being though in
the north.


Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cornell University