Children

FRIEND in need

Though the days at Guru Sandipani’s ashram were long over, the two friends never for a moment forgot each other.

This is the story of Krishna and his childhood friend Sudama. After he killed the evil Kamsa, Krishna was restored to his royal family and sent to Guru Sandipani’s ashram for his schooling. Here he made friends with a student called Sudama.

The two boys were inseparable and did everything together. But once their schooling was over, they had to go their separate ways. Krishna married Rukmini and ruled over Dwaraka, while Sudama lived a simple life with his wife.

Though Sudama was poor, it did not bother him. He was much loved by his family and neighbours. But, when his children were born, his wife found it difficult to manage food and clothes for them all. One day, unable to bear the crying of her hungry kids, she reminded Sudama of his friendship with Krishna. “Can you not ask him for help?” she asked.

A chance to meet again

Initially, Sudama was perturbed. He had never thought of approaching Krishna to ask for money. But the thought of meeting his old friend was tempting. Finally he decided that he would go to Dwaraka but “I will not ask for anything.” His wife said happily, “It will be enough if you go. He will understand.”

As Sudama was making his preparations to leave for Dwaraka, both he and his wife had the same thought: What gift could he take for Krishna? As they looked around their empty house, his wife had a brainwave. Sudama had often told her about Krishna’s fondness for poha (aval or beaten rice flakes). She ran to her neighbour’s house and borrowed a handful of poha and wrapped it up in a piece of cloth torn from her sari. With that little bundle, Sudama set off on the long journey to meet his friend.

As he walked along, Sudama remembered various incidents from the time at the Sandipani ashram. When he reached Dwaraka, he was awestruck at the magnificence around him. At the palace, no one stopped him from entering, and he wandered from room to room. When Krishna saw Sudama walk in, he jumped up and hugged him. As they sat talking, Sudama began to feel ashamed of the gift he had bought. “How can I give this measly handful to the man who has everything?” he thought. Krishna, who was aware of Sudama’s thoughts, pounced on the bundle. “Poha,” he exclaimed delightedly. “You remembered my favourite!”

Sudama stayed with Krishna for a few days before beginning the journey back home. On the way back, he wondered what his wife would think of his empty- handed return. “But he showed me so much love that it was enough for me,” he decided. When he reached his village, he was shocked to see a huge mansion in the place of his hut. “What happened to my family in my absence?” he thought. A well-dressed lady and children came running out to greet him and Sudama recognised his wife and children. “For that one handful of poha, you gave me all this, Krishna,” he thought in gratitude.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 11:54:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/friend-in-need/article19093591.ece

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