Sudama (सुदामा) was a childhood friend of
Krishnafrom Mathura, the story of whose visit to Dwarakato meet Krishna, is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana[ [http://prabhupadavani.org/Bhagavatam/SB_index_I.html "The Brahmana Sudama Visits Lord Krsna in Dvaraka", SB10.80, & SB10.81] Srimad-Bhagavatam.] .
Sudama was from a poor
Brahminfamily, while Krishnawas from the royal family. But this difference in social status did not come in the way of their friendship. They lost contact over the years and while Krishna became a military leader and King of great repute at Dwaraka, while Sudama stayed as a humble, and somewhat impoverished Brahmin living in a village [ [http://www.krsnabook.com/ch81.html Eighty-first chapter of Krsna, "The Brahmana Sudama Benedicted by Lord Krsna"] www.krsnabook.com., Bhaktivedanta.] .
Some time later when Sudama was going through some bad times, not even having enough money to feed his children, his wife reminded him of his friendship with Krishna.
Though initially reluctant to go to his friend for help, Sudama finally agrees to go. He leaves with nothing but some puffed rice tied in a cloth as a present. He remembers that puffed rice ("powa"/"
poha" in Hindi) is Krishna's favorite and decided to give this as a gift to the Lord.
Krishna is greatly pleased to see his old friend. He treats him royally and with much love. Overwhelmed by all this Sudama forgets to ask for what he actually came to ask. But the Lord realises what His friend needs, and the lord's consort
Rukminiincarnation of Lakshmi, gifts him with his desires. On his return journey, Sudama ponders his circumstances and is thankful for the great friend he has in Lord Krishna. When Sudama finally returns to his home, he finds a palatial mansion instead of the hut he had left. He also finds his family dressed in extremely nice garb and waiting for him. He lives an austere life after that, always thankful to the Lord.
This story is told to illustrate that the Lord does not differentiate between people based on their finances and that he will reward devotion always. Another moral taught by this story is to never expect anything free in life; God will provide for your good deeds. Another moral is not to trade bhakti for anything in return. Sudama did not ask Krishna for anything. Despite being poor Sudama had given Krishna everything he had (poha) hence in return the Lord gave Sudama everything he needed.
Additionally, the story of Sudama and Krishna contrasts the difference between how Krishna treated Sudama and how
Drupadatreated Drona. Drona spent his youth in poverty, but studied religion and military arts together with the then prince of Panchala, Drupada. Drupada and Drona had became close friends as students and Drupada, in his childish playfullness, promised to give Drona half his kingdom on ascending the throne of Panchala. The two students later parted their ways. Drona later married and had a son. For the sake of his wife and son, Drona desired freedom from poverty. Remembering the promise given by Drupada, he decided to approach him to ask for help. However, drunk with power, King Drupada refused to even recognise Drona and humiliated him by calling him an inferior person. By contrast, Krishna never forgot His friend and treated Sudama with utmost respect. By His example, Krishna is teaching us about how to treat one another.
Did Sudama himself lead an autere life after returning from Krishna ? It is said that Sudama continued to lead the life of a hermit while his family enjoyed the generous gifts of wealth from Krishna.
Krishna Sudama in media
* Shri Krishna Sudama (1920)
* Bhakta Sudama (1927)
* Krishna Sudama (1933)
* Krishna Sudama (1936)
* Krishna Sudama (1945)
* Krishna Sudama (1957)
* Krishna Sudama (1976) [ [http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=Sudama&x=9&y=10 Sudama at IMDB] ]
This story is also the inspiration for the 2007 Malayalam film
Kadha Parayumbol, 2008 Tamil film Kuselanand 2008 Telugu film Kucheludu.
* [http://moralstories.wordpress.com/2006/05/14/be-happy-with-what-you-have/ The story of Sudama] .
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.