KRISHNA THE FRIEND
Sudama was a poor Brahmin boy who became a close friend of Krishna in sage Sandipani's hermitage. After completing their studies, Sudama and Krishna went their different ways. Krishna became the ruler of Dwarka. Sudama, on the other hand, led a humble life, reading scriptures and praying.
Because of Sudama's simple lifestyle, the family often faced difficult days with little food and clothing. Sudama's wife was very supportive, but when her children went hungry, she could bear it no longer.
Finally, one day, she told Sudama to go to his friend Krishna and seek his help.
Sudama was hesitant, but his wife insisted and he finally agreed. Just before his departure for Dwarka, Sudama came to his wife and said, “How can I go empty-handed to Dwarka?”
There was nothing that she could offer except a handful of puffed rice. Sudama tied this at the end of his robe and left for Dwarka.
When Sudama reached the palace gates, the guards stopped him. They would not believe that this poor, shabby Brahmin was a friend of their great ruler. When Sudama would not budge, they sent a message to Krishna that a poor Brahmin named Sudama had come, claiming to be his childhood friend.
The moment he heard this, a big smile spread over Krishna’s face. He left his seat and went running towards Sudama. He embraced his dear friend and seated him. Then, Krishna, the great ruler of Dwarka, washed the tired feet of his poor Brahmin friend and applied sandalwood paste on them.
They sat down for a royal meal. Suddenly, Krishna noticed a small bundle at Sudama's waist.
He happily remarked, "Ah! you have brought a present for me!"
Sudama hesitated. Seeing the riches of Dwarka, his little gift seemed ridiculous. He felt ashamed and tried to hide the little bundle.
However, Krishna snatched it from his hand. On opening it, he seemed delighted. He quickly devoured the puffed rice, and seemed most happy.
He told his friend, Sudama, the poorest of gifts given with love is dearer to me than the richest of gifts given without love.
Sudama could not ask for anything from Krishna. The next day, he bid farewell to his dear friend and left for his little hut in the village.
When he reached there, he was amazed to see a huge mansion standing in the place of his shabby hut! His wife and children, wearing new clothes, came to receive him. Sudama realised that it was all a gift from his dear friend, Krishna. The family bowed down to thank Krishna in their minds. Thereafter, Sudama and his family led a life of comfort.