10 Feb 2014

Darshan in Salvador with Sri Swami Vishwananda

The final event of the 2-week tour of Brazil was a Darshan held once again in Salvador, with around 100 participants.

Guruji had originally said the day before that he would not give any talk during Darshan but Guruji being Guruji, he spoke for almost 1 hour!

The theme was as always, Love and Bhakti. After telling, in short, the story of Mirabai, Guruji went on to tell the story of Sudama, the childhood friend of Lord Krishna. When Sudama and Krishna were both young and at school together, they went for a trip into the forest. Their teacher's wife gave Sudama some puffed rice and said that if they became hungry on their trip then they should both share and eat the rice. At one point during the trip, Krishna climbed a mango tree to pick some mangoes. At that time Sudama felt a great hunger and so he began to eat the rice without sharing any with Krishna. Krishna even asked Sudama what he was eating at one point, since he could hear him chewing. Sudama lied, telling him it was so cold that his teeth were trembling and that is what Krishna was hearing. 

When they returned to the school, Krishna said to the teacher's wife, "I'm very hungry, do you have something for me?". She was very surprised to hear this from him and asked Sudama immediately what he had done with all the puffed rice. When Sudama revealed the truth to her, she cursed him to forever be poor for his actions in the forest. Life went on, Krishna became the king of Mathura and Sudama a poor man with a small hut, a wife and kids.

One day Sudama told his wife that Sri Krishna used to be his best friend. She then said to him, "Well if that is true then you should go to him and ask for his help! We are so poor and we could really use the help of a king". As she kept on insisting, he set off towards Mathura. Before leaving, his wife handed him a pouch of puffed rice telling him that he should offer it to Krishna. 

After a long journey to Mathura, Sudama arrived at the gates of the palace. The guards asked him what he wanted. Of course, he told them he was a friend of Krishna and wished to see him. The guards mocked him for his outrageous claims, saying, "How can someone dressed as you are possibly be a friend of the King? Hahahaha!". However, as Sudama kept on insisting, the guards finally decided to get the matter out of the way and they went and asked Lord Krishna personally. He was with 8 of his wives at the time but when he heard the name 'Sudama' he sat up and asked his guards, "What did you say?! Who is here??". The guards repeated themselves, "Sudama is here to see you Lord". Krishna immediately sprang out of his chair and rushed to the gates. Upon seeing his old friend, Krishna embraced him lovingly without saying a word. He picked up his weak, skinny friend and carried him into the palace, saying, "You have walked more than enough today my friend!". Upon entering the palace, he placed Sudama on the throne itself, much to the surprise of all present. He asked for water and a plate and began washing his feet as is customary when a guest of honour enters your house. Such was the love Krishna felt for Sudama, he didn't even need the water; he washed his feet with his own tears. Everyone witnessing this scene was in total shock. Who was this man that evoked such emotion and love from Lord Krishna? 

Having washed his feet, Krishna spotted the bag of puffed rice around Sudama's belt. Sudama had been trying to hide it as he felt ashamed to offer such a simple thing to a King that had everything. Yet Krishna insisted and so he took the bag and grabbed a big handful and ate it. With the first handful, Krishna gave Sudama all he would need to live a prosperous life, ensuring he would never be lacking anything ever again. With a second handful of rice, Krishna purified and blessed all his ancestors and all his incarnations to come. When he was about to take a third handful, his wife, Rukmini (Maha Lakshmi Herself), intervened and stopped Krishna. She said, "My Lord, if you take this third mouthful, you will gift him Vaikuntha itself! You are the only Lord of Vaikuntha and there can be no other. Sudama is still human after all.". Acknowledging her wisdom Krishna stopped and when it was time for Sudama to leave, the Lord embraced him once more and showered his love upon his dearest friend. 

Sudama was so awe-struck with everything that had transpired that he actually forgot to do what he came there to do. He had forgotten to ask Krishna for the money and food his family needed to survive. He wondered what his wife would say to him when he returned home. After a long, long walk home he spotted a huge palace around where his old hut used to be. It was as beautiful a palace as he had ever seen, so he approached a guard and asked him if he had seen a small hut nearby. Before the guard could even speak, Sudama saw his own wife and children run out of the palace door dressed in the finest clothes, rushing to him with beaming smiles. It was only at this point that Sudama understood what Krishna had done for him. He thanked the Lord from the depths of his heart and he went on to live a very righteous and spiritual life. This shows us what the Lord will do for us when we hold him dearest in our hearts, no matter what happens in life, no matter the hardships we must sometimes endure. He had not even asked the Lord for anything but yet he had received much more than he could even think to ask for.