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From   Bhaagvat Puraan, 10/u18

Sudaamaa, also known as Kuchelaa mostly in Southern India), is a well-known character of Krishn's life. Krishn's life account cannot be completed without mentioning about him. Sudaamaa was a poor Braahman boy. He was the best friend of Krishn from the times of His Gurukul. They used to study in the same Gurukul of Saandeepan Muni. Sudaamaa was very fond of food. It is believed that he was Naarad born as a poor man to enjoy some pastimes with Krishn. He was the son of Maatukaa and Rochanaa Devee. His wife's name was Susheelaa.

Sudaamaa and Krishn in Gurukul
One day Guru Jee sent Krishn and Sudaamaa to bring twigs from forest. When they started for forest, Guru Maataa (Guru's wife) gave them some puffed rice to eat there which Sudaamaa took from her hands and off they went to forest. On the way he asked Krishn - "I heard that you used to play flute in Gokul?" "Yes, I used to, to gather my cows and calves through that." Sudaamaa said - "Will you play it for me too?" Krishn said - "No, One should not look back. This causes mind going astray." Sudaamaa got silent. They gathered twigs in the forest. They were about to come back that heavy rain started. Both had to take shelter on a tree. Accidentally both were on separate trees.

Rains were heavy and continuous. Lots of time passed, but rain was not stopping, so they could not go home. Sudaamaa got hungry. He thought about Krishn also, but how to take that rice to Him. If he went there, it will be wet, so after some time he started eating it. And slowly he ate it all. After all rain stopped, both climbed down the trees. Krishn said - "Sudaamaa, I am very hungry, you have my rice, where is it?" Sudaamaa said - "Krishn, I was also very hungry, so I ate it all." Krishn said - "Don't worry, doesn't matter who ate it. Your hunger was more intense than mine so you ate it. Now let us go home. Guru Jee must be waiting for us." So they went home.

There Sudaamaa said to Guru Jee - "Guru Jee, I have committed a mistake." "What?" Sudaamaa said - "Yesterday Guru Maataa gave us some puffed rice for both of us, but I ate it all." Guru Jee said - "Sudaamaa, You have committed not a mistake but a blunder. You yourself have written poverty in your fate. By committing this blunder wherever you are now standing, even my blessings cannot go there. Since you have accepted your mistake, I will pray for you."

When Krishn finished His education, He started to go to Mathuraa. Sudaamaa heard this and came to see Him. Crying he said - "Krishn, After you reach Mathuraa, you will be a King. Won't you forget me? I cannot think living separate from you." Krishn said - "Oh no, I won't forget you. Who told you that the basis of friendship is social equality? This wealth is kept only in heart and heart can be of anybody, poor or rich, it is the same. Never talk again about your low levelness. Neither you are poor, nor I am a Prince. You are my Sudaamaa and I am your Krishn. And I am not going anywhere, I am always with you. Sudaamaa, This friendship is the best relationship in the world."

Sudaamaa got happy to hear this, he said - "I will surely come to Mathuraa to see you once." Krishn said - "Well, We will have to meet at least once" "Why?" Krishn said - "Because you have to pay my loan of puffed rice. I have to take that from you. So we will meet at least once, but you don't come to Mathuraa." "Why?" Krishn said - "Because I will not be there. But you don't worry, we will surely meet once." Sudaamaa got silent at this.

Sudaamaa's Wife Sends Sudaamaa to Meet Krishn
Krishn had already left Gurukul, after some time Sudaamaa also left it. In the course of time he got married to Susheelaa and had children. He was a true Braahman. He never took anything more than his need, still he never got enough to bring up his family. He was so poor that he came to be known as "Kuchelaa" (a poor man). Thus several years passed in this poverty but he never moved from his Dharm. His wife always used to complain about their poverty. She knew that Krishn was the best friend of her husband. Sometimes she used to remind him about Krishn but Sudaamaa always used to ignore it. And they continued to live like that for many years.

In the meantime Krishn became the King of Dwaarakaa and used to live there with His 16,108 wives. He used to give alms everyday in morning, He used to respect Braahman very much and used to give them whatever they needed.

So one day Sudaamaa's wife reminded him again about Krishn that now Krishn was the King of Dwaarakaa and used to respect Braahman very much and give them whatever they needed. So why doesn't he go there, meet him and ask something for himself. Sudaamaa understood a little. In fact he always remembered Krishn - his best friend. This time when his wife reminded him, he longed to see Him, so he agreed to go to see Him.

His wife Susheelaa got extremely happy to hear this. She immediately went to her kitchen to find something there but her kitchen was empty. But she didn't leave the hope. She rushed to her neighbor and requested her to give her something as her husband was first time going to see his friend in many years. She brought some puffed rice and said - "Sister, I have only this in my house. You take it and give it to your husband." Sudaamaa's wife came back hastily and tied that rice well in a clean cloth and gave it to Sudaamaa saying - "Will you go empty-handed to see your friend? Take this for Him." And she handed over that rice to Sudaamaa. Sudaamaa also got ready to go and started his journey.

All the way to Dwaarakaa he thought about Krishn and the days passed with Him. He just forgot as why he was going to see Him. He was just thinking about Him only. How he will see Him, whether Krishn will recognize him or not, how glorious He will be looking in a King's attire, how he will feel when he will see Him first time after so long time, etc etc.

Sudaamaa in Dwaarakaa
At last he arrived in Dwaarakaa Nagaree. He got lost in the beauty and glory of that city in which Naaraayan was living. It was His own city. Well, looking here and there he proceeded. He saw many similar large houses there. He decided that Krishn's palace must be the best and the largest one, so he started looking for such a palace. But all were so similar that he couldn't decide which one could be Krishn's palace.

So he asked someone about His palace. Seeing him new and a poor Braahman he directed him to Krishn's palace. Sudaamaa came to the gate of the palace and was about to enter the palace that gatekeepers stopped him seeing him in torn clothes and shoes and asked - "Who are you and what is your purpose to come here?" Sudaamaa said - "My name is Sudaamaa. I am Krishn's friend, and I have come to see Him."

Gatekeepers laughed heartily disbelieving him and tried to push him away, but Sudaamaa was not ready to go back from here without seeing Krishn. So he insisted - "At least go inside, and let Him know once that His childhood friend Sudaamaa has come to see Him." Then one gatekeeper got kind to him and went inside the palace to inform Krishn. He said - "A very poor Braahman is standing at the gate clad in torn clothes and shoes, taking a long stick in his hand, wishes to see you, tells that you are his childhood friend and tells his name as Sudaamaa."

At that time Krishn was sitting with Rukminee Jee. Hearing the name of Sudaamaa, He rushed towards the gate barefooted, embraced Sudaamaa as he was, brought him inside and made him sit near Him on the same bed where He was sitting. All gatekeeper got astonished to see this scene because they had never seen Krishn behaving like this for anybody else. Who was this poor man who made Him behave like this? When Krishn made Sudaamaa st on His own bed and washed his feet Himself, Sudaamaa said to Krishn -

वयमिह परितुष्टा वल्कलैस्त्वं दुकूलैः  सम इह परितोषो निर्विशेषो विषेशः।
स तु भवतु दरिद्रो यस्य तृष्णा विशाला  मनसि च परितुष्टे कोऽर्थवान् को दरिद्रः॥
vayamiha paritushtaā valkalaistwavam dukūlai,  sama iha paritosho nirvishesho visheshah |
sa tu bhavatu daridro yasya trishnaa vishaalaa,  manasi cha paritushte ko’rthavaan ko daridrah ||
“O King! I am wearing clothes made of tree bark, while you are wearing fine silk clothes;
But both of us are happy and our contentment is the same — because no contentment is better than another!
Poor is the man who’s desires are big; There is no difference between the poor and rich, once the heart is content.”

Krishn asked Rukminee Jee to bring water to wash his feet. Rukminee Jee brought water to wash his feet. Bhagavaan Krishn Himself washed Sudaamaa's feet, wiped his feet with His own Peetaambar (a long yellow strip of cloth which He wears on His shoulders), and worshipped him Himself. Then He asked his welfare, about his life and they talked a lot about their past times.

Rukminee Jee was also surprised to see this behavior of Krishn, as She had never seen Him behaving like this. Seeing Krishn's love for him, She also started shaking fan on Sudaamaa, the dirty and poorly dressed Braahman whose veins were visible, to comfort. They all wondered silently, "What pious deeds this unclean, condemned and lowly mendicant has performed to receive such a reverence by the God of Gods ! Seating this bagger on Mahaalakshmee's bed, Krishn left aside Bhagavatee Lakshmee to keep him in His embrace." When they were talking, Krishn noticed that Sudaamaa was feeling uncomfortable and hesitating for something. He guessed it and asked - "My Bhaabhee must have given you something to give me, where is that, give it to me." Sudaamaa was hesitant to say anything, he moved backward a bit, but Krishn snatched away the puffed rice tied in a bit dirty cloth and hidden in Sudaamaa's armpit, saying - "What is this you are hiding from me? Oh! this is the puffed rice she has sent to me, and why were you not giving it to me?"

Saying this He took one handful rice from that and ate it saying "Oh! this is the sweetest rice I have ever eaten." Sudaamaa was embarrassed to see all this and wished he could hide himself somewhere where Krishn cannot see him but couldn't find such a place. Krishn took another handful rice and ate it saying "You hid it from me, you did not do good to me. This is so tasty." And then He took out third handful rice and as He was about to eat it, Rukminee Jee held His hand saying - "Will you give everything to him? Or keep something for yourself too?"

Then Krishn fed food Sudaamaa with His own hands. Sudaamaa stayed there overnight. Krishn made him sleep on His own bed and served him well. In the morning Sudaamaa got ready to come back to his own place. Krishn bade him farewell crying and saying - "Convey my regards to Bhaabhee and love to your children." Both got very sentimental, but Sudaamaa was very happy to see his friend after such a long time and that He recognized him as a friend and behaved very well.

Sudaamaa is Back
So he left Dwaarakaa with a mxed feelng of sadness of leavng his friend and the feeling of happiness that even after meeting Him after so many years hhis friend had not forgotten him; and started his journey back to his home. He was so happy that he didn't feel any tiredness during his journey. Actually he completely forgot his purpose also to go there. But as his home was nearing he remembered his family and then he remembered that his wife sent him to ask for something from his friend. And he was coming empty-handed. Now what will he say to her because he just forgot it in the happiness of meeting Him and this also didn't look nice if he asked Him for something. He would have died with shame if he asked something from Him. Well, he will tell her something, but he was thankful to his wife as she gave him a chance to see his old friend. He was just happy.

Thinking like this he came to his house, but what is this? He couldn't see his house. He saw a big palace standing there. Many people were going in and coming out from its gate. He looked around to find some other identification of his location but he couldn't see any, but the road to his place was the same. The then his wife saw him from her upper room. She came down to welcome her husband. Sudaamaa couldn't recognize his wife at the first sight, then slowly he recognized her. She took him inside the palace and told him everything that how his hut was converted to this palace overnight.

Sudaamaa got very happy to see this, he thanked Krishn for all this He gave it to him without asking for it. But in spite of getting all this, it is said that he did not live in that palace for long. He found that those riches were disturbing the way of his simple life, so soon he left the palace and used to live in a hut, with his same ideology and got pleasure in it.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 03/29/13