The story of Balarama is complex, and varied. Balarama appears as a popular deity since 600 B.C.E. in archaeological sources, and texts such as the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. My book, Balarama in Hindu and Jain Mythology, examines the stories of Balarama from four Hindu puranas and four Jain puranas offering a comparitive analysis of the historical evolution of this deity in India.
Depicted with a plow and a pestle, as in the picture above, Balarama is closely linked to agriculture, resources, and protection of food resources.