“The brahmana thought that there was no need to ask any material benefit from Lord Shri Krishna, but he was induced by the repeated requests of his wife. Moreover, he thought, ‘If I go there I shall be able to see the Lord personally. That will be a great opportunity, even if I don’t ask any material benefit from Him.’” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 25)
Friend1: One of the more endearing stories from Krishna’s time in Dvaraka is the meeting with Sudama Vipra.
Friend2: The brahmana who was Krishna’s friend since childhood. Goes to show you that there are no status distinctions with the Supreme Lord. He remembers every person and their time with Him. Anything favorable gets highlighted. The bad gets forgotten.
Friend1: Really? If I have previously professed my hatred for God, He will not mind? He will not hold that against me?
Friend2: Think about it. If Krishna were that petty, He would have justification for punishing every single person in the material world. Who hasn’t forgotten Him on occasion? It is said that the fall to the material world is due to the emergence of a challenging spirit. A split second, a moment in ignorance, can cause a shift in residence.
Friend1: I think it is kind of nice how Sudama didn’t ask anything from Krishna. Though he was poor and his friend now the king of Dvaraka, the brahmana simply couldn’t bring himself to ask for financial help.
Friend2: That was the original purpose of the visit. It’s sad but that’s how friendship works most of the time. People want something. They call you after a long time because they need help or a favor. You may not see them for a while after that.
Friend1: The trigger here was the wife. She nudged Sudama along since she thought that Krishna might be able to help their situation.
Friend2: As a family they were not too concerned with wealth. Take whatever comes your way. No need to over-endeavor.
Friend1: That is more difficult to follow than it sounds.
Friend2: For sure. Who isn’t afraid of destitution? If I am out of a job for a few months it seems like the world will end. How will I pay for stuff? If I can’t produce sufficient money to exchange for goods and services, I might be out on the streets after a while.
Friend1: Here is my question. Sudama had to be under a lot of pressure. As a brahmana he simply wanted to continue in worship. He didn’t want to worry about money. Then he’s got his wife nagging. Though she’s asking nicely, the request essentially violates the husband’s natural spirit of renunciation.
Friend2: More so the dedicated focus in bhakti. A devotee is not in it for the wealth, though they know the object of worship is wealth personified. Krishna is the husband of the goddess of fortune, after all.
Friend1: Who was there in the palace as Rukmini Devi.
Friend2: Financial pressure is a part of life. What can you do?
Friend1: Why didn’t Sudama just take sannyasa? Be free from the wife. No more having to listen to her complaining. Relieve the pressure. Beg from door to door. As a qualified brahmana, people would have been more than generous.
Friend2: Just give up, essentially? Pack it in?
Friend1: It wouldn’t be his problem anymore.
Friend2: Well, for starters sannyasa should not be accepted irresponsibly. It’s not an easy way out of difficulty at home. If the official renounced order of life is more conducive to spiritual growth, then it is certainly auspicious. At the same time, you could say that the insistence from Sudama’s wife was actually beneficial for everyone.
Friend1: But think of the pressure that put on the husband.
Friend2: But think of the outcome. Because of her Sudama went to visit Krishna in Dvaraka. He had a wonderful meeting with his old friend. Krishna treated him so nicely, like he were the most important guest in the world. As a token gesture, something not very important, Sudama and family were immediately blessed with opulence.
Friend1: Yes, the wife became happy.
Friend2: She gets the credit for the entire exchange. Her association should be considered auspicious, something that only increased the devotion to Krishna in her husband.
From subtle pressure applying,
That on Shri Krishna relying.
For financial situation to address,
That the goddess of fortune to bless.
Better that sannyasa not taken,
And wife and family forsaken.
Since to auspicious result led,
Meeting with dear friend instead.