'The only way you can come to me is through love,' says Krishna. On the occasion of Janmastami (Krishna's birthday), here is a composition sung in His praise
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Lord Krishna was called the "poorna purushottam" - the avataar of the Divine who is bound by no constraints. His life is full of stories that inspire devotion, love, nishkaam karma (desire-free action) and playfulness. On Krishna's birthday, sharing a story of his noble friendship with his childhood friend Sudama.
After their school life, Krishna went to become the King of Dwarka, with an opulent palace, whereas Sudama, who was never after material possessions, had a family and lived a very simple life. Circumstances were such that Sudama began to face poverty. However, Krishna’s name never left Sudama’s lips. Sudama’s wife told him to go to Krishna and ask him for some help. She sent him off, with a packet of puffed rice – one of Krishna’s favorites. Sudama set off to meet his long lost friend. He walked along rough paths that cut his bare feet, bruised his ankles, tore his skin. But he never winced – because he was constantly engaged in singing the glories of Krishna because at last, he was on his way to see Krishna again! When Sudama arrived at the gates of Krishna’s palace, the guards refused to let him in. But when Krishna got to know of Sudama’s arrival, Krishna ran towards the gates of his palace. “Sudama! Sudama! You have come at last!” he screamed in joy. “Did you forget me Sudama? Why did it take you so long to come visit me? Have you forgotten your old friend?” Tears filled their eyes. How could Sudama ever forget Krishna? How could Krishna ever forget Sudama?
On being welcomed into the palace, humble Sudama sat on the floor in front of the bed instead. Krishna would not have it. Krishna seated him on his bed and then sat on the floor, took Sudama’s feet and began to pour water on them to wash Sudama’s feet. Krishna’s devotees would give anything to offer obeisance to Krishna’s feet, and here he was, the Lord of all creations, washing his devotee’s feet. On seeing the wounds on Sudama’s feet, Krishna began to cry. He held on to Sudama’s feet and let the tears fall. He washed Sudama’s feet with his tears. Such was his Love for his friend
Krishna then gave Sudama new clothes to wear and he gave him food to eat. Poor Sudama, he couldn’t eat thinking about his children who were starving at home. But Krishna fed him. And for Krishna, he ate. Sudama thought of his family. He had come here for a reason. He had come here to ask Krishna to help sustain his family. But how could he ask? He is the King of Dwaraka! How can Sudama just show up after so many years and ask him to provide for his family? Sudama was embarrassed and hesitant to ask for Krishna’s help.
Sometime later when Krishna and Sudama were alone, Krishna asked Sudama what his Sudama’s wife had sent for him. “Surely she must have sent something for me, Sudama! I know my sister-in-law! She has definitely sent something, I know it!” said Krishna. Sudama acted like she hadn’t sent anything. He was embarrassed. Here he was, in front of the King of Dwaraka, with nothing but a packet of puffed rice to offer Him. How unfit for a King! What kind of a gift is this? He tried to hide the packet. But nothing remains hidden from the Lord. Krishna took it out of his hand and opened it. “Puffed rice! My favorite!” exclaimed Krishna. The queens had reappeared, and Sudama quickly grabbed the packet out of Krishna’s hand, out of embarrassment. He didn’t want the queens to see what an insignificant gift he had brought for the King of Dwarka.
Later that night, when Sudama was asleep, Krishna went by his bedside. He took the packet of rice, and he ate some. It is said that at that instant, Sudama’s home instantly turned into a beautiful palace. There was food on the tables, delicious sweets, wonderful drinks. Sudama’s family’s rags turned into robes fit for royalty!
The next morning, Sudama, being the humble man that he was, returned the new robes he had received. He then left, still feeling hesitant to ask Krishna for any help. Sudama left, apprehension taking over. He thought about how he would face his family, who were expecting him to fix everything with Krishna’s help. What would he tell his wife? That even after traveling so far, he was not able to bring even a little food for their children? Tension filled his being. Little did he know, that Krishna had already fixed his problems. The Lord was grateful to Sudama for having approached him to solve His problems. Without even asking, Krishna took care of everything. Such is the Lord’s shelter.
His words are sweet, His character is sweet, His dress (garment) is sweet, His posture is sweet,
His movements are sweet, His wandering (roaming) is sweet, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.
His song is sweet, His drinking is sweet, His eating is sweet, His sleeping is sweet,
His beautiful form is sweet, His Tilaka (mark on the forehead) is sweet, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.
His deeds (activities) are sweet, His conquest (liberating) is sweet, His thieving (stealing) is sweet, His love-sports are sweet,
His oblations (offerings) are sweet, His countenance is sweet, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.
gunja madhura mala madhura, yamuna madhura vici madhura salilam madhuram kamalam madhuram, madhur-adipater akhilam madhuram
His gunja-berry necklace is sweet, His flower garland is sweet, sweet is the Yamuna river, and sweet are her rippling waves,
Her water is sweet, and sweet are the lotus flowers also, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.
His gopis (cowherd girlfriends) are sweet, His pastimes (plays) are sweet, His union (meeting him) is sweet, His deliverance (rescue) is sweet,
His sidelong glances are sweet, His courtesy (etiquette) is sweet, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.
His gopas (cowherd boyfriends) are sweet, His cows are sweet, His cane (herding-stick) is sweet, His creation is sweet,
His victory (trampling) is sweet, His accomplishment (fruition) is sweet, Everything is completely sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.