Lord Krishna, Sudhama and Mahaperiyava

In the entire Bagavatham, Vamana Avataram and Kuchela Charithram are my most favorite ones. I can listen to them 1000 times, no problem. I am sure most of you know this – Sudhama is the real name – “Kuchela” is a derived name. The poverty of Sudhama shows up in his physical form, his torn clothes etc, which got this name.  In movies, this character is always portrayed like a joker, which is very wrong. Sudhama was in his highest level of atma sakshathkaram – he was  a great mahan! Please listen to Sri Anantharama Dikshitar or Nochur Sri Venkataraman’s lectures on Bhagavatam – amazing…. In my humble opinion, there can’t be any better stories to emphasis the glory of veda and to show that Baghawan is dearest to a true vaideekas. All the servants in the palace have been instructed to treat vaidheekas like emperors. While greatest emperors wait outside to meet Krishna, Sudhama is brought inside the palace with no wait at all.  Krishna and Rukmini are doing padha prakshalanam (sp?) and prokshanam after washing Sudhama’s feet when he visits Krishna’s palace. When Krishna asks Sudhama, “how are you? how is your life?”. Sudhama quickly replies “I am fully contented with your blessings”. Only others know how much his family was suffering etc. Krishna knew this too and He smiles. As the story is known to all of us, He blesses Sudhama with all wealth etc – who wants to leave His most dearest devotee to suffer? It ends nicely.

HH Pudhu Periyava very beautifully says that the phrase “Krishnam Vandhe Jagadgurum” fits Mahaperiyava very aptly. Mahaperiyava was God and Jagadguru like how Krishna is. We have read so many incidents how Periyava respects vaidheekas and helped vaidheekas and his anger erupted like a volcano when any vaidheeka was disrespected by anyone.

Tomorrow Dec 19th is Sudhama’s Day. Let us all pray Sudhama, Lord Krishna and HH Mahaperiyava, HH Pudhu Periyava and HH Bala periyava to bless us with more knowledge and vedic knowledge to progress.


Jay SreeGuruvayurappa….19th December Wednes day is “Kucheeela Dinam”. Kucheeela Dinam is observed on the first Wednesday of Malayalam month “Dhanu”. It was on this day that Sudhama forced by unbearable penury, left for Dwaraka with a handful of “Avil” to meet his beloved friend Sreekrishna…..Aval is offered to Bhagavan Krishna on this day by devotees. It is believed that offering prayers on the day will help to attain bliss and material prosperity…….Jay SreeKrishna ..All parents are requested to tell the blessed life of Sree Sudhama – “an ardent devotee of Bhagawan SreeKrishna”, to your children …..

Bhagavan SreeKrishna and Sudhama ,a poor Brahmin boy were close friends when they were studying at the ashram of Sage Sandipani. After leaving the hermitage they lose contact with each other. Krishna becomes the king of Dwaraka, while Kuchela married to Suseela and had many children ,but he remained poor. As Sudhama was an ardent devotee he earned food for his family by singing bhajans in the streets. People called him “Kuchela” (‘Kuchela’ means badly clothed )as he wore torn and ragged clothes.But Kuchela was not affected by his povertyand He continued to be as pious as ever. As requested by his wife Suseela, Kuchela decides to visit his old friend.. Lord SreeKrishna… For him it was a chance to renew their friendship than asking for assistance. He wanted to take something for Krishna that he would love. According to our scriptures, one should not go empty handed while visiting the elders, rulers, pregnant ladies, teachers or God. His wife went to neighbors and brought three handfuls of cooked rice flakes. She told her husband to take the rice flakes as gift to Sri Krishna. Sudhama remembers that beaten rice is Krishna’s favorite and decided to give this as a gift to the Lord.On the way he thinks “Will Krishna recognise me? Will he receive me, a poor brahmin? Krishna is so large hearted he will receive any brahmin, even the poorest of the poor.” So thinking he proceeds on foot a distance of maybe a hundred miles.
sudama3Krishna is sitting in his house with Rukmini when he sees Kuchela coming. He runs off to meet Kuchela. He sheds tears of joy. .. Narayana….Kuchela is invited inside and taken to the seventh floor of the palace and treated well. Bhagawan lovingly seats Kuchela on the couch and honours him by laving his feet, applying sandal paste on his feet, offering flowers at his feet, performing dhupa, deepa, etc. .. Jay Sree Karunya Sindhoo….Standing by his side, Rukmini devi the Consort of Krishna, plies the fly whisks to relieve his tedium of the long and arduous trek. Like this they talked on far into the night, holding each other by the arm, when Krishna suddenly asked “Sudama, have you not brought anything for me?.” Sudama looked abashed. Noticing this Krishna suddenly snatched the packet from under his arm and opening it exclaimed “Excellent! I like nothing better!” and grabbing a little put it into his mouth and ate it with relish! “Ha!! how sweet it is!” and he ate another handful. When he took another handful for a third time, Sri Rukmini devi who was MathaSree Lakshmi herself caught hold of his hand whispering “Enough! Enough! With two handfuls I have already made him rich beyond dreams!”Krishna stopped and Sudama did not understand what all this whispering was about. Leaving him comfortably in a krishna_sudhama_lessonsvelvet bed,Krishna retired. Sudama could not sleep for a long time thinking over the events of the day “A poor Brahmin like me ! An ill clad beggar ! I have been embraced by the lord of all wealth as if I was his own brother. Ha The magnanimity of the great!” Full of thankfulness Sudama felt that he was in heaven and slowly fell asleep. Early morning he woke up Krishna was ready in attendance. After some time it is time for kuchela to go. Bhagavan Krishna did not give any gift and neither did Kuchela ask for any .He thought” I did not ask for anything. I know why he did not give me any gift. Wealth would spoil my tapas (penance). How kind is the lord!” Thinking like this, he slowly wended his way back ,homeward. When Kuchela returns home he finds that his hut has miraculously been turned into a palace. The Lord had showered prosperity on his family even without asking for it. His wife comes out to great him with great happiness and told him that the night before, some angels had knocked at the door with very precious gifts and had requested her and the children to come out. They were “Viswakarma” the engineer architect of Indra, lord of heaven, and his men . In a few minutes they built this wonderful Palace with outhouses and orchards and lawns., rivaling those of Lord Indra in heaven. Kubera, god of wealth was also there with his vast treasures. The servants, ornaments, provisions had all materialized from the air in a trice. As she was describing all this wonder the children came trooping in dressed like princes and bright like flowers in the garden. Kuchela too changed into golden attire, though he felt a little uncomfortable. Not only Kuchela, but also his neighbors had become rich beyond their dreams. Thus Sudama the Brahmin though surrounded by luxury lived like a recluse with great restraint, remembering that all this prosperity was due to Krishna’s kindness his grace and attained the supreme grace from which there is no return
This story proves us 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); in return the Lord gave Sudama everything he needed…
Jay Bhaktha Sudhama… SreeKrishnarppanamasthu…

Categories: Upanyasam

12 replies

  1. It has always been strange for me to think that this Kuchela was very poor. In those days Brahmins were highly respected and honoured. Secondly his poverty did not stop him from begeting ‘many'(?) children. How were they all surviving, especially the ‘many’ children(some say it was 28! what a poor man!) His devotion to Krishna and Hrishna,s affection for him is understood. But this physical aspect of ‘many children’, ‘poor brahmin’, ‘going around in rags’, etc baffles me. There is something wrong in the story, it seems.

  2. Thanks Mahesh Sir … The story is well naratted in a simple way .. Will make it a point to tell the story of Sudhama to my young daugher ..
    today being Kucheelar Day we will offer aval to Lord Krishna .. like Kuchela will not ask Lord any favours .. Believe in Karma .. have learn’t
    to take life as it comes .. Kurai Ondrum Illai Govinda ..

  3. Beautiful Mahesh!

  4. The True Love Of Lord Krishna Can view in many situations.When HE saw Sudhama coming to meet him with a torn umbrella made out of Palm leaf making immense noise as if like the Kilukilupai in the hands of a child,.Lord come down from the upstairs of his palace in a haste and run towards him to meet him and embraced with total love this poor friend of Bhagavan. If you try to compare the same situation of Dronacharya with the King Drupada who was his class mate,asking help to maintain his family with a cow and calf, Drupada simply disown his friendship and brutally sent him away even with out giving Dronacharya a cup of plain water. Why Drona meet him,because Drupada has promised him a lot,when i become the King of Panchala i will take care of you and i will do every thing to mitigate your poverty.,but he fail in his words and duty,not only that he simply heckle the Acharya for the poverty in front of so many persons.Here Lord Krishna not only ward off the poverty in the life of Sudhama,he blessed him a lot along with immense Bakthi. What we can understand from this lesson is,never heckle people who suffer with poverty,but you can at least do some thing to them to forget there hunger and thirsty. If you do some thing today God will give you more things to do in the future.All rich people in this world are very simple custodians only,they can handle wealth in this world,but no body can even take a paisa with them to the other world at the time of departure.All your Good and Bad doings will be consider there but not your education or ability to handle things there.So keep your heart wet to consider the difficulties of others and do all possible things to keep every one good..Krishnaya Thubyam Namaha: Hari he OM.

  5. Really an excellent one. Nineteenth is an important day. Yesterday, we mentioned about this
    in our Margazhi Month Bhajanai to all the children and to those who were assembled. Thanks a lot Sir.

    Balasubramanian NR

  6. Thank you very much sir for having reminded us abt 19th Decr. Thanks once again.

  7. Poverty is a bliss in disguise ! Prosperity ,at times, corrupts our minds and make us forget the grace of the LORD.Only in adversity and distress one remembers the LORD.It is on account of AVIDHYA. One should remember GOD all the time and pray for HIS continued Grace and blessings. Sri Kuchela, Sri Dhuruva, Sri Prahladha,Gopis,SRi Andal and so many such divine souls surrendered completely to LORD and blessed.Let me be such a soul ! Maha Periva Charanam.

  8. sir,
    Tears always flow whenever I read about Saint Sudama.
    What great souls-unaffected by worldly cravings..
    I’ve one request,
    whenever you publish some incidents/writings in Tamil,
    can you translate them in English ?
    Unluckily I and probably many more don’t understand that great language.
    We are handy-capped and miss a lot of H H teachings.
    Yesterday I read about late holiness Subalakshmi, I did pranam to them and to YOU also !
    Ashok Mehta.

  9. Thanks for sharing. It is well known that God never disappoints the true Bakthas and give all the necessary health,wealth,and prosperity according to the needs of the bakthas. True bakthi never expects anything in return.. Jai Krishna

  10. Great Post, Mahesh. Thank you.

  11. Thanks Mahesh for reminding us in time regarding 19 Dec being Sri Kuchela Day! It brings me tears whenever I hear the pravachanam related to Sri Kuchela in Srimad Bhagavatam. I would like to be Sri Krishna Sudhama in one of my many births where I would be Sri Krishna’s classmate. But then I would not like Sri Krishna to wait for so long to pull me out of penury. I would like him to help out his former classmate on his own in time. Having suffered the pangs of poverty myself I know how horrible it can be in every aspect! Thanks again!

  12. of course God knows what to give and when to give and to whom to give though his attitude towards all beings are same. So is Mahaperiava who knows everything and we need not ask him though foolishly we do ask Him – like me shouting at Him and He listening to me smilingly and then promising me (a thing which He had already decided and done) which i took it and lo when i was back after His darshan things were ready!!!!!I am a kuchela and HH is Krishna – is it!!!!Hare Krishna should i say or simply Narayana Narayana Narayana Narayana Narayana!!!!!

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