Balarama Is Hercules, Megasthenes

All of us are aware of Megasthenes of Chandragupta period.

The Greek geographer and explorer Megasthenes arrived at the court of the Indian emperor Chandragupta Maurya at Pataliputra (modern Patna). He was sent as an ambassador by Seleucus Nicator of the Seleucid dynasty, with whom Chandragupta Maurya had entered into a treaty and matrimonial alliance. During his stay in India, Megasthenes compiled the book Indica – a commentary on the geography, social traditions, and religious customs of India.

Balarama,brother of Lord Krishna.gif
Balarama,Balarama with four hands, holding the club, plough, conch and sword, with a serpent coiled on his head. Illustration by Sourindo Mohun Tagore, 1880. Source: Wikimedia Commons. – See more at:


Herakles crowned with a laurel wreath, wearing the lion-skin and holding a club and a bow, c. 460–450 BC. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Marie-Lan Nguyen –

Indica, the book by Megasthanes is not available now.

Later Greek Historians ,Arrian and Diodorus Siculus refer to his works.


Arrian (c.86 AD – 160 AD) writes on Hercules and Balarama.( Arrian’s Book is also named as Indica)


“The Hercules who penetrated so far, the Indians tell us, was a native of their country. He is particularly worshipped by the Suraseni (Shurasena), who have two great cities, Methora (Mathura) and Cleisoborus (Surapura), and the navigable river Jobares (Yamuna), passes through their territories. This Hercules, as Megasthenes asserts, and the Indians themselves assure us, uses the same habit with the Theban Hercules. Many male children, but only one daughter was born to him in India, for he married many women. The daughter’s name was Pandaea, and the land where she was born, and over which Heracles placed her as ruler, was named Pandaea after her.”

One may note that Balarama was of white complexion unlike Krishna who was black.


Diodorus Siculus (c.50 BC) on Balarama and Hercules in his Book ‘Bibliotheca Historica.’


“Hercules was born amongst the Indians, and like the Greeks, they furnish him with a club and lion’s hide. In strength he excelled all men, and cleared the sea and land of monsters and wild beasts. He had many sons, but only one daughter. He built Palibothra (Pataliputra i.e. Patna) and divided his kingdom amongst his sons. ”


There is some light needed here as regards Pandea, the daughter of Balarama whom he placed as a ruler in Madurai.

I posted an article, based on the evidence in Tamil Epic Silappadikaram and Puranas that Krishna married a Pandyan Princess, had a daughter Pandea and she was a Princess of Pandya Kingdom in Madurai.

Lord Krishna is recorded to have gifted 100 Yadava Families as Dowry for His daughter’s marriage and they were charged with the task of supplying Milk and Curds to Krishna’s Daughter nad hr heirs at Madurai.

Now this reference by Megasthanes followers refers Pandea as he daughter of Balarama.

I shall  do a little more research and update on this.

* There are some scholas who subscribe to the view that Krishna wa Hercules.


Other references.

Roman philosopher Cicero (106 BC-43BC) had mentioned that, “the Indian Hercules is denominated Belus”, and he used the term Hercules Belus to refer to him. Captain Francis Wilford wrote in the Asiatic Researches (1799) that this Belus was none other than Balarama, the brother of Krishna:


“The Indian Hercules, according to Cicero, was called Belus. He is the same with Bala, the brother of Crishna, and both are conjointly worshipped at Mutra; Indeed, they are considered as one Avatara or incarnation of Vishnu. Bala is represented as a stout man, with a club in his hand. He is also called Bala-Roma… As Bala sprung from Vishnu, or Heri, he is certainly Heri-cula, Heri-culus, and Hercules. Diodorus Siculus says that the posterity of Hercules reigned for many centuries in Palibothra (Patna), but that they did nothing worthy of being recorded”- Captain Francis Wilford wrote in the Asiatic Researches,1799.


““How invaluable such remnants of ancient race of Harikula! How refreshing to the mind yet to discover, amidst the ruins on the Yamuna, Hercules (Baldeva, god of strength) retaining his club and lion’s hide, standing on his pedestal at Baldeo, and yet worshipped by Suraseni! This was the name (Baldeo) given to a large tract of country round Mathura, or rather round Surpura, the ancient capital founded by Surasena, the grandfather of the Indian brother-deities, Krishna and Baldeva, Apollo and Hercules. The title would apply to either; though Baldeva has the attributes of ‘god of strength’. Both are lords (es) of the race (kula) of Hari (Hari-kula-es), of which the Greeks might have made the compound Hercules. Might not a colony after the Great War have migrated westward?” -James Tod in his Book  ‘Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829)’


Balarama’s Plough and Hercules.

Balarama is associated with Plough.

A popular name of Hercules in Romanian legends is “Iorgovan”, a name which corresponds to the Greek form Georgos, meaning “the one who ploughs”.On an Imperial medallion issued by the Roman emperor Commodus, the emperor is shown dressed as Hercules, ploughing out the “original furrow” of Rome (in order to establish a sacred area for the foundation of the city) with two oxen. In one hand he holds the mace, and in the other he is guiding the plough.


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