“While Krishna was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Krishna’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.11)
phalair apūrayad ratnaiḥ
phala-bhāṇḍam apūri ca
Friend-One: That story with Krishna and the fruit vendor is nice, isn’t it?
Friend-Two: It’s one of my favorites.
F1: There are so many aspects to it that please the heart. There’s the Supreme Lord playing in the home of Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda.
F2: God is indeed a person. When He descends to this earth, He acts in the most endearing ways.
F1: He innocently watches how the parents exchange grains for fruit. So He gives it a try Himself. But in His cute little hands, most of the grains fall.
F2: The purity is in both sides in this situation. The fruit vendor doesn’t mind that the young boy doesn’t come with much in the form of payment. She does not understand that He is God. She gives Him so much fruit because she has love for Him. Her heart is pure.
F1: Yeah, and then that makes Krishna so happy. We know that already from the Bhagavad-gita, where He says that a simple offering of fruit or water made with love and devotion is accepted by Him [Bg. 9.26]. To show us the meaning to that verse, He rewards the fruit vendor by transforming the contents of her basket into valuable jewels.
F2: Right. No one can say that Krishna stole. He did not cheat the vendor. Still, those jewels weren’t so important. The vendor would have continued to love Krishna regardless.
F1: So you have this beautiful incident, which never fails to bring a smile to my face. Yet you know the way people are. They will find something negative in everything.
F2: Yeah, they’re like crows. This world is filled with them. They can’t be blamed, since that is the nature of the material world to begin with. The souls wouldn’t fall here unless they had a competitive attitude when it comes to God.
F1: And competition with God means that they are always unhappy. They see something good happen to someone else and they get jealous. They don’t associate that person with themselves. They don’t consider that the other person must also be struggling in life.
F2: If there is good fortune for another person, it means that person is getting ahead in the race to become God, the supreme enjoyer.
F1: So along those lines, I heard quite a ridiculous comment relating to the fruit vendor story. At the same time, I could see people agreeing with this sentiment.
F2: I wonder if I’ve heard this one before.
F1: They complained that Krishna should be filling everyone’s baskets with jewels. Why did He do it only for the fruit vendor in Vrindavana?
F2: [laughing] That’s pretty good. I see what you mean, though. People will buy into this, since they think poverty indicates a lack of God’s mercy.
F1: The first thing that came to my mind is that everyone already gets what they need to survive.
F2: Exactly. The starting point is endless riches. The human society gets grains, which come due to rainfall. The rainfall is managed by the devatas, the demigods. Shri Krishna says that one who accepts the gifts of nature but does not offer anything back in sacrifice is a thief [Bg 3.12].
F1: The grains come today, even without sacrifice. Paying homage to the demigods is a way to purify yourself of false conceptions. And in fact, it is Krishna who must sanction all rewards offered by the demigods. He is identical with nature in a sense. If we appreciate the food that we have on the table, it means that we appreciate what God has done for us.
F2: There is another point to consider. If you gave everyone a basket full of jewels, that would not make them happy. One person would trade their jewels for something insignificant and then become poor as a result. Another person would collect more jewels and then parlay that into a huge fortune. Then you’re left with the same conditions: wealth and poverty. Then the same fools will complain that God has allowed people to suffer in poverty.
F1: That’s a good point. And we’re not saying that helping the poor is a bad thing. We just know that no amount of material rewards will make a person happy. By definition, it can’t, as the individual is spirit soul at the core. It is the spiritual reward of Krishna’s association that will make a person happy.
F2: And who are these people to demand that Krishna give them a basket of jewels anyway? What have they done? They are like beggars with their hands out, but meanwhile they have no appreciation for Him. They think that the relationship with Him is no different than the ones they have with others.
F1: Goswami Tulsidas makes a good comparison in this regard. He says that when the plant life is green, the animals graze on it. When it bears fruits, people approach it with an open hand. And when it dies, people use it as fuel for a fire. He says that all are friends for only as long as some personal interest is met, whereas Shri Rama meets the supreme interest [Dohavali, 52].
F2: Rama is the same Krishna, so that teaching is appropriate here as well. One of the ways to tell that Krishna is the Supreme God is to see how He treats His devotees. He doesn’t blindly give out material rewards, trying to buy their affection. He often says “no.” It is a test to see what the relationship is based on. If you want material rewards, baskets full of jewels, you can approach one of the many demigods. You’ll have to worship them properly, though. You’ll have to give the sufficient payment first. Krishna, on the other hand, will not always give you what you want, especially if what you want will hurt you in the end.
F1: And the greatest benediction is increased consciousness of Him, which is what the fruit vendor got. That is the reward she cherished most.
If millions to everyone to give,
Still some in poverty to live.
With God not the relationship right,
Getting and then taking flight.
Reward with fruit vendor jewels not,
That love for Shri Krishna she got.
By bhakti-yoga one becoming deserving,
For mercy of Krishna, which forever then preserving.
Categories: the fruit vendor