Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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The plowman




The plowman

Balarama, Rama the strong, carries his plow wherever he goes.

People called him Haladhara, the wielder of plow.

He could plow the land, dig a ditch, cut a canal or fashion a tunnel

All day long, all by himself, all with his plow

His canals and channels irrigated fields and quenched the thirst.

Rivers didn’t like it and said, “Don’t lead us down the garden path.

We like to go our own way and join our sisters in the sea.

That is our birthplace, that is our resort, and that is our refuge.

We like to wind down between mountains, and fall down cliffs.

We like to splash, we like to slap, and we like to run deep.

We don’t like canals running into dead-end lakes.

We don’t like dams to butt against”

The Wielder of plow paid no heed.


One day the plowman visited the god of waters, Varuna.

“Varuni, get some wine for our guest”, said he to his wife.

She went to work to make homemade honey-wine.

Varuni climbed up Ipomoea aquatica to collect nectar from the flowers.

The plowman dawdled out with his plow on his shoulder.

Drawn by fragrant flowers,

He went under the shade of Kadamba tree and looked up.

A few drops of nectar fell into his mouth

Drowning his decorum, zigzagging his once graceful gait.

He yelled; he fuddled; he never let go off his plow.

He called out to Yamuna River to come to him.

A dip in its cool waters, he thought, would cure his senses.

The river-god didn’t pay any heed to his needs.

She went her way as before.

Balarama bubbled, fumed, fulminated, fumbled and dropped the plow.

He quickly picked it up and threw it in the direction of Yamuna.

He dragged the plow, he furrowed the earth, and he drew the waters of Yamuna.

Yamuna followed him all over the country right along the furrow.

Her self-respect, she felt, was dragged in the mud.

She pleaded for mercy, “Please let me go.”

The corpus of the country showed the scars of his plow.

Once the land’s thirst abated, the plowman let her go.

Yamuna is still afraid of him.

He may have secret tunnels she may not know.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj