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Lord Krishna & Sudama Brahman

Sudama Brahman was a very good friend of Lord Krishna's. He was elevated in spiritual knowledge and desired no material advancement. He knew that the amount of happiness and the amount of sorrow are predestined for everyone. Therefore, he did not strive all day to gain riches and wealth. He didn't care for them. So externally he appeared very poor, he had no beautiful clothes, nothing opulent to give to his wife. Their condition was so poor that they were not even able to eat right. Sudama Brahman's wife did not care about her own material comfort or discomfort, but she was concerned about her husband's comfort. He was a pious brahman. Usually they are rich and have many material possessions to show for it.

She was so concerned that she spoke to her husband about it, telling him, "I know you and Lord Krishna used to be good friends. You are also His devotee; you are totally surrender to Him. He has riches and is very wealthy, if he hears that His old friend has not enough to get by, He will of course understand and provide at least that bare necessities of life."

She would again and again ask him to go to his old friend, Krishna. But Sudama thought that there was no need to ask Krishna for material advancement, but he did see it as a good chance to visit his good friend, even if he wouldn't ask for anything material.

Finally he decided to go, but he needed something to offer Him since He was such a good friend and that was customary. They had so little that his wife had to gather a handful of chipped rice from a few of the surrounded neighbors, she tied it in a small handkerchief, gave it to her husband and sent him on his way to see Krishna. While he was traveling, he had no other thought than Krishna in his mind. And then he arrived.

When he did, Krishna spotted His old friend, Sudama Brahman coming up the road to visit Him. When he entered the palace, Krishna immediately embraced him. He sat him down on a comfortable bed and personally offered him fruits and refreshments; He washed his feet and burned incense in honor of His good friend's arrival. After this beautiful welcome Krishna said to him, "It is a great fortune that you have come here."

So he and Krishna talked for a very long time about their childhood pastimes and school days together. Finally Krishna asked Sudama Brahman, "What nice offering have you brought from your home?" It was always a custom to give you host a gift. But Krishna knew that His friend was ashamed of the very unworthy offering of a handful of chipped rice, even though it was all he had.

Krishna saw the handkerchief of chipped rice hanging off of Sudama's shoulder, and snatched it. "What is this?" Krishna asked happily. "My dear friend, you have brought this wonderfully tasty chipped rice! I assume this quantity will not only feed Me, but will feed the entire world!" Krishna was not considering what the offering was, but was praising the pure love and devotion of the offerer. Sudama Brahman offered everything he had because he wanted to express to Krishna the extent of his love.

He spent that night at Krishna' palace and the next morning he started home. All the way he was engulfed in thought of Krishna. Usually an ordinary man who is poor will pray to the Lord for riches, but when he receives these riches, he forget about his relationship with the Lord. So because of Sudama's fear of this happening to him, he chose not to ask anything of Krishna. He did not want to become rich and forget about the Lord

So finally he reached his shack . . . or where his shack used to be. In its place were immense palaces full of beautiful stone and jewels. The palaces had elegant parks with ponds full of blooming lotus flowers.

"Whose place is this" He thought, "who lives here?" As he was thinking this a group of very well decorated people serenaded by heavenly music came out to welcome him. When his wife hear of her husband's return, she came running out of the palace. As she saw him her eyes filled with tears of joy and she could not speak because her voice was so choked up.

They entered this most beautiful palace and he saw that it was fit for the kingdom of heave. As he saw more and more of it he thought, "I have been poor for my entire life, the only reason for this sudden opulence must the causeless mercy of my friend, Lord Krishna. I simply offered a handful of chipped rice and in return He has given me the opulence of heaven!" But I pray to have the friendship of Lord Krishna and to serve Him life after life. My only desire is to remain surrendered."

Sudama Brahman gave only a morsel of chipped rice to the Lord, but because it was offered in love, Krishna, who is self-sustaining and needs nothing, accepted it joyously. Not only that, but the gift if returned by Krishna on million fold. Sudama Brahman realized that Krishna is unconquerable, but He agrees to be conquered by His devotee's love. He realized that this was Krishna's mercy and he lived the rest of his life always thinking of Krishna. By association with the Supreme Person, such as this, whatever material desire were left in his heart were washed away. What more could be asked by one poor man bearing only a handful of chipped rice?