Whatever you want, God givesThis story shows that whatever you want, God gives. If you want material things, God gives them to you. If you want spiritual things, God gives them to you. In this story, Lord Sri Krishna represents God in a human form.
When he was of a tender age, Krishna had a very close friend named Sudhama. Sudhama was very pure and very poor. He and Krishna used to study together, along with a few other students, under the spiritual guidance of a Guru named Sandipani.
For Lord Krishna, this spiritual figure was like a kindergarten teacher. When you are a little kid, you go to kindergarten. The kindergarten teacher perhaps knows only how to teach you kindergarten subjects. Then you spend years in the library and become the ocean of wisdom. You get your Master's degree and PhD But your kindergarten teacher remains at the kindergarten level. In the same way, Lord Krishna eventually went far beyond his teacher; there was no comparison between the two.
When Sudhama came to realise who his friend and playmate was, he became an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. He used to spend his days singing spiritual songs in the street, especially bhajans. He composed them in his own way and they were all dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Eventually, Lord Krishna became the King of Dwaraka, but Sudhama remained very poor. He depended entirely on others' generosity for his livelihood. With the money he collected, first he used to offer something to Lord Krishna, to God. Then he used to buy food for his children. If there was any money left over, he would buy food for his wife and himself.
When his children got older, it became extremely difficult to meet the family's living expenses. One day his wife, Kalyani, said to him, "You know that you and Krishna were very close friends. Do you not think you could ask him for some material wealth?"
The husband said, "When you ask someone for money or for any kind of material wealth, friendship disappears."
The wife said, "No, no, no! Your friendship will not come to an end."
Finally her husband agreed. He said, "I will go to him to see how he is doing. Now that he has become King of Dwaraka, I hope he still remembers me. Even if he doesn't remember me, inwardly I know he is King of the world. I will go for his affection, love and blessings."
His wife was very happy and excited that her husband was going to see Lord Krishna. She felt that her husband would not even have to tell Krishna about their poverty. As soon as Krishna saw her husband, Krishna would know everything about him and give him material wealth. Then they would become rich overnight.
As Sudhama was leaving for Krishna's palace, his wife did not forget to give him a small quantity of puffed rice that she herself had prepared. It was a gift for his dearest Friend, Lord Krishna.
When Krishna saw his old friend from a distance, the King literally ran towards him and embraced him. Krishna showed him such affection, saying, "Sudhama, my childhood friend, you have come! Where can I get another friend like you?"
Krishna's wife Rukmini fed Sudhama because he was a very special guest. Then the two friends enjoyed a siesta. After the siesta, Krishna asked him, "By the way, are you married?"
Sudhama replied, "Yes, I am married, and I have a few children."
"How is your wife? Is she nice to you?" Krishna asked.
"She is very, very devoted to me," Sudhama answered.
Krishna said, "If you have a wife, then I am sure you have brought me something from her. She wouldn't have allowed you to come to see your friend without giving you something."
His friend said, "Yes, but I am embarrassed to give it to you because you are the King."
Krishna said, "No, you have to give it to me. I have to get from you what your wife has sent me."
Very fearfully, Sudhama gave Krishna the small portion of puffed rice that his wife had given him. Krishna was so delighted. He said, "This is most delicious!" and he ate to his heart's content.
Then Krishna asked, "Do you have any news for me?"
"Oh no, I have no news," answered Sudhama. "Everything is all right with me. Only I have come here to see you and receive from you your love and blessings. I have not come here for anything material."
Krishna asked, "You don't need anything?"
"No," his friend answered.
"What about your children?" the King asked.
"Oh no," said Sudhama. "They don't need anything. God is everywhere. He will take care of them, so I don't need anything. You have given me such compassion, affection and blessingful love. I don't need anything more."
So the friend went home very happy and pleased that Krishna had showered upon him such blessings and affection. But when he arrived at his village, he discovered that his little hut had been replaced by a big beautiful mansion. It was like a palace, with lots of servants. His wife, Kalyani, was also transfigured. She was dressed like a queen and she was so happy.
Sudhama asked, "How did this all happen?"
"You do not know?" his wife asked. "When you went to see Krishna, all of a sudden our little hut was transformed into a palace."
Sudhama started shedding tears of gratitude, saying, "Lord Krishna, you fulfil everybody's desires. My wife needed material wealth; you have fulfilled her desire. I needed spiritual wealth — your affection, love and blessings; you also fulfilled my desire."