Oppressed by millions of Deityas (Asuras) in the guise of arrogant kings, Mother EARTH sought BRAHMA as her refuge. Brahma accompanied by Lord Shiva and other celestials went to the abode of Lord Vishnu. There he began to pray with concentrated mind. At a stage he was in the state of deep trance. At that time he heard a voice in the sky the source of which was invisible. The Creator, while still in that state heard, "Hear from me, O! Gods, the word of the Supreme person. Then set at once. The infliction of Mother Earth had already been known among the Yadus. Lord Vishnu himself will be born in the house of Vasudeva. All the celestial women will be born as Gopis. The thousand headed Ananta (Aadisesha), the cosmic Serpent will precede Him as His elder brother. The rest, the Lord will take care, Himself". Hearing these words all returned to their abode.
Once Lord Naraayana said to AdiSesha, "Ananta during my Rama incarnation you were born as my younger brother Lakshmana and served me devotedly. I am pleased with it. In another incarnation I will be born as your younger brother and would like to serve you - even adore you".
In the meanwhile what happened was, those rakshasas who died at the hands of Rama during his war with Ravana, were born in Dwapara Yuga as Kshatrias, became extraordinarily powerful due to excessive prosperity, became uncontrollable, atrocious and ruthless necessitating the intervention of the Lord. Sriman Naaraayana now desired Ananta to be born as the son of Vasudeva as His elder brother so that he may be helpful to him in HIS work during his incarnation as Krishna subsequently.
Accordingly, Aadisesha or Ananta took the incarnation as Balarama. Balarama was conceived by Devaki. This was her seventh pregnancy. We must remember that the Lord proposed to be born as Krishna as Devaki's eighth son. If Devaki should deliver a child it would certainly be put to death by Kamsa. Then what would happen to Ananta's incarnation as Balarama? It has become incumbment on the Lord to save the seventh child of Devaki. The foetus grew in Devaki's womb for six months. Then Maha Vishnu directed HIS Yoga maaya, a part of His Creative Energy as follows:
"Proceed to Gokulam where resides on of the wives of Vasudeva named Rohini. At present there exists in Devaki's womb My own part manifestation known by the name SESHA or ANANTA. Taking it out, place it in the womb of Rohini. Then I shall assume the rule of a son of Devaki with all my divine potencies. As I am born of Devaki as her eight son, you too shall be born of Yasoda as her daughter and be of help to me in my LEELA (activities). Then you will permanently stay in this world, propitiated by people. They will call you by different names like DURGA, BHADRAKAALI, VAISHNAVI, VIJAYA, CHANDIKA, MAAYAA, NARAYANI and so on".
It was duly done. As the embryo in the womb of Devaki was transferred to that of Rohini by Yoga Maaya, the people of Mathura walled aloud saying "Ah I the embryo in Devaki's womb has perished".
So the seventh child saved and the seventh pregnancy also was counted.
The Lord was now free to manifest HIMSELF as the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva.
In course of time Rohini brought forth a beautiful plumby fair male child who was named Balaram otherwise also called Baladeva and Balabhadra - meaning the mighty one - and also SANKARASHNA and Halayudha - that is one whose weapon is the PLOUGH (Perhaps it was the intention of the Lord to suggest to the world that agriculture is vital for the advancement of any nation or kingdom).
After sometime Krishna was born to Devaki and was transported clandestinely to Gokulam the very next moment of His birth. There Yasoda has given birth to a female baby which was duly brought over to Mathura.
At Gokulam the brothers grew grew up together - performed superhuman feats together creating great impact on the cowherds of Gokulam.
The demon Dhenuka who came in the form of a very huge ass was killed by Balarama and another Pralamba who came as one of the cowherd boys and tried to carry away Balarama was just strangled to death by him. At Mathura Balarama played his part well by aiding Krishna kill the mighty elephant KUVALAYAPIDA - while he himself killed MUSHTICA the mighty wrestler of Kamsa's court. At the same time Krishna killed Kamsa in that very amphitheatre in the presence o Balarama. Then things moved fast.
Balaram along with Krishna was invested with the sacred thread. Then they began the life of celibacy (Brahmacharya) for which they both underwent schooling (residential) called GURUKULAVASA under GURU SANDIPINI OF UJJAIN who was famous for his knowledge in Vedas as well as military arts and above all discipline. Balarama and his brother learnt the FOUR VEDAS perfectly.
They also learnt DHANURVEDA, the science of archery including the mantras (incantations) for the use of ASTRAS (missiles) - DHARMA SASTRAS (codes of conduct and righteousness) and the various systems of PHILOSOPHY including the science of POLITICS. The two brothers being most intelligent learnt everything in a single lesson (on a single utterance by the preceptor). So they were classified under EKASANTHAGRAHIS.
It is said that brothers Balarama and Krishna were able to master everything in just SIXTY FOUR days and nights. Thereafter both the brothers became busy each in his own way. Balaram married REVATHI, the daughter of King RAIVATHA of the far of Saurashtra.
At a stage the Yadavas of Mathura had to vacate the city for fear of Jarasandha and settle down at DWARAKA in the west coast. Revathi and her father were of great help in founding the new settlement to the great relief of Balarama and Krishna.
Balarama did not enter the politics of the Arya world like his brother Krishna. But when a demand came he did not lag behind. We must accept Balaram was of easy going nature.
Once King Rukmi and Balarama were playing at a game of dice. Rukmi played a fraudulent game. Balarama could not tolerate this and so killed Rukmi.
Again SAMBA son of Krishna fell in love with LAXMANAI the daughter of Duryodhana. Duryodhana did not like it. When Samba was in Hastinapura with the connivance of Laxmanai herself Duryodhana imprisoned him. Balarama having come to know of it, demanded his release saying that as a kshatria Samba had not committed any crime. Duryodhana refused flatly to send back Samba. Balarama coolly put his terrible Plough Share under the ramparts of Hastinapura and dragged them towards the Ganges. Terrified at this Duryodhana quietly released Samba and his daughter too.
In the mighty Kurukshetra war Balarama refused to take sides and went away on a pilgrimage.
He returned from his trip to the holy places exactly on the day when the duel between Bhima and Duryodhana was going on. While witnessing the fight Balarama found Bhima playing a foul game contrary to the rules of the game, the rules of which he himself had taught both of them. Krishna intervened and convinced Balarama that Bhima had to do so out of necessity.
Ninety-nine per cent of the task of the incarnation of the Yadava Brothers was over after the great Kurukshetra war. One per cent remained still. The brothers saw clearly the deterioration in the moral standard of their clan in DWARAKA. Dwaraka became very prosperous. Krishna once said to Guru Sandipini that too much prosperity was not good. It has become true. The Yadavas in general became highly conceited. They forgot the norms of conduct on should observe in one's daily life. They showed little or no respect to religious rituals. They began to treat elders and venerable people with scant courtesy. Above all they took to drinking and became addicts to it.
Some sages came to Dwaraka at that time. Some young yadavas wanted to play a trick on them. So they dressed up a young man as a pregnant lady and conducting him to the sages asked them as to what could she would give birth to. The sages understood the mischief by their intuition and said "The man-woman will deliver and iron club and that would be the cause for the extinction of the whole clan except Balarama and Krishna." Then they went their way.
As was predicted by the sages the next day an iron club emerged out of the body of the young man. Out of fear the Yadavas cut the iron rod into small pieces and spread them scattering over a vast area on the sandy shores of Prabhasa. In course of time they grew into trees with very strong iron like stems.
Krishna saw how the manner of living of the Yadavas was growing from bad to worse. He wanted to give them a change of place with some religious touch. So he announced once fine morning that a grand festival propitiating the Gods would be celebrated on the sea shore near Prabhasa. He wanted all the Yadavas to move to the place.
During the festival the Yadavas drank to excess. In that drunken state an insulting word of someone become the cause for a terrible and senseless internecine fight among themselves. They pulled out the trees that had grown nearby in their drunken fury and with their stems beat each other and killed each other. After some time no one was alive.
Krishna came and saw the vast seashore strewn with the corpses of these men of his clan. This happened exactly thirty six years after Kurukshetra war, of course according to the decrees of Destiny.
He thought of his brother Balarama and he was able to spot him out lying flat on the sands at a distance. As he was looking on, Krishna saw a huge thousand headed serpent issuing out of his brother's mouth and disappearing in the horizon.
Thus Balarama left his mortal coil just before Krishna so as to keep HIS COSMIC BED OF ANANTA ready when the LORD arrived to HIS domain.