There was a saint (Rhishi) named Sandipani. His ashram was situated on the river bank of Kshipra. It was a renowned ashram, so Krishna came to study there from Mathura. There he made a friendship with one student. The student's name was Sudama. He was a poor brahmin boy from Porbundar. They parted after having completed the study. Then Krishna became the king of Dwarika. Sudama went to Parbundar, married and became a Grihastha (householder), but he never repudiated worship of the Omnipotent. He vowed never to borrow and never to store.
Such a vow is very difficult to follow. Many a time one would go without a meal. His children would cry for hunger. On seeing their children crying for hunger, Sudama's wife would shed tears. She would often make a sarcastic remark (taunt): “O dear husband, you often say that Krishna is your friend. At least you go to him once to see him.” Sudama would reply, “I would go to him but would not ask for anything from him.” His wife told, “Don't ask , but you do go there and see if he is still your friend or not.” “All right, I would go,” said Sudama and prepared to go to Dwarika.
At that time, Sudama's wife borrowed a handful of parched rice from a neighbour. She wrapped it in a bag and gave it to her husband saying, “We should never go to see anyone empty handed. Give this parched rice to your friend.” Sudama went to Dwarika from Porbundar bare footed. On the way he was hungry but he did not even touch the rice. The rice was meant for Krishna, wasn't it ? At last he reached Dwarika. He went on enquiring about Krishna's house and at last he stopped at his palace door.
Dirty, ragged dress, lean bodied - who would allow such a person indoors ? He hide himself in a corner and waited. At that time Krishna saw him. Krishna ran from his palace and embraced Sudama. He, with all love, forcibly took him to his palace. Then he seated Sudama on his royal cot and told his queen Rukshamani, “I often tell you about my friend. Here is that friend of mine, Sudama.” Rukshamani understood it. She began to fan Sudama. Sudama was stunned on seeing the pomp and splendour of Dwarika and Krishna's palace. Hence he was trying to hide that bundle of rice, but Krishna's alert eyes would not fail to mark it.
Krishna took away the bundle of rice, untied the rags and began to eat it. He went on eating and praising the rice. “Fine, very fine! What a fine thing sent by my sister -in -law.” Rukshamani also asked for it and ate it. Krishna warmly insisted on Sudama's stay with him and he detained Sudama for a longer time. At last the time for departure arrived. Sudama did not ask for anything at the time of departure and also Krishna did not give him anything. He returned to Porbundar, dirty, ragged, as he had left Porbundar before. He came to his locality but did not see his home.
There was a big building in the place of his home. He fell a-thinking, “Where is my cottage?” In the meantime his children came out running from that big building, shouting “Papa, Papa!” and clang to him. They dragged him into that building. There he saw his wife smiling, standing and laughing. Sudama wondered, “What's all this?” Sudama's wife told him, “This is the favour of your friend Krishna. He has created a palace in the place of our hut. Now we have not to worry about food, clothes and residence.” Sudama declared, “But I have asked for nothing from him.” His wife chuckled and said, “Have we to ask for anything from God? God gives us everything without asking for it.” Sudama exclaimed, “Oh God! Krishna!, you have done a miracle such as found by a farmer when he sees on awakening the field completely watered overnight.” He achieved such a splendour, comfort and wealth but there was no ebb in his devotion to God.
On the contrary, his love (worship - devotion) for God increased. Now he totally devoted himself to God, day and night.
Krishna was a prince, Sudama was a poor brahmin, yet they were fast friends.They stayed at their teachers house, served their teachers [Guru] and studied together. To study by serving one's teacher is the real study. They were getting such real education so their friendship remained unbroken.
Look at the virtues of Krishna:-
- Krishna does not forget his poor friend even after becoming a king.
- On seeing the wretched condition of his friend, Krishna does not turn his back, but on the contrary, he runs and warmly embraces Sudama.
- Krishna gladly accepts the small gift of his friend and moreover praises that gift.
- He helps Sudama without being known to his friend.
- He does not hope for the thanks of his friend, for his help rendered to Sudama. Now look at
- Sudama does not go to his friend's house because of the fear that he would unknowingly ask for something from his friend.
- He considers Krishna as a friend, not as a king.
- Sudama sticks to his vow. He does not ask for anything, nor he hopes of getting anything.
- He is neither unhappy because of poverty, nor is he happy on getting splendour.
- He has firm faith in God.