Srimad Bhagavatam 10-81-29-36 - Not Compromising our Vedic Culture (download mp3)
by Dwarkadhish Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
asanani ca haimani
vitanani dyumanti ca
vilokya brahmanas tatra
tarkayam asa nirvyagrah
In Sudama’s home were beds as soft and white as the foam of milk, with bedsteads made of ivory and ornamented with gold. There were also couches with golden legs, as well as royal camara fans, golden thrones, soft cushions and gleaming canopies hung with strings of pearls. Upon the walls of sparkling crystal glass, inlaid with precious emeralds, shone jeweled lamps, and the women in the palace were all adorned with precious gems. As he viewed this luxurious opulence of all varieties, the brahmana calmly reasoned to himself about his unexpected prosperity.
nunam bataitan mama durbhagasya
sasvad daridrasya samrddhi-hetuh
maha-vibhuter avalokato ’nyo
[Sudama thought:] I have always been poor. Certainly the only possible way that such an unfortunate person as myself could become suddenly rich is that Lord Krsna, the supremely opulent chief of the Yadu dynasty, has glanced upon Me.
nanv abruvano disate samaksam
yacisnave bhury api bhuri-bhojah
parjanya-vat tat svayam iksamano
dasarhakanam rsabhah sakha me
After all, my friend Krsna, the most exalted of the Dasarhas and the enjoyer of unlimited wealth, noticed that I secretly intended to beg from Him. Thus even though He said nothing about it when I stood before Him, He actually bestowed upon me the most abundant riches. In this way He acted just like a merciful rain cloud.
Sri Krsna is bhuri-bhoja, the unlimited enjoyer. He did not tell Sudama how He was going to fulfill his unspoken request because, according to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti, He was thinking at the time, “My dear friend has given Me these grains of rice, which are greater than all the treasures I own. Even though in his own house he had no such gift to bring Me, he took the trouble of begging it from a neighbor. Therefore it is only proper that I give him something more valuable than all My possessions. But nothing is equal to or greater than what I possess, so all I can do is give him such meager things as the treasures of Indra, Brahma and other demigods.” Embarrassed at being unable to properly reciprocate His devotee’s offering, Lord Krsna bestowed His favor on the brahmana silently. The Lord acted just like a magnanimous rain cloud which provides the necessities of life for everyone near and far but feels ashamed that its rain is too insignificant a gift to give in return for the abundant offerings that farmers make to it. Out of shame the cloud may wait until nighttime, when the farmers are asleep, before watering their fields.
The chiefs of the Dasarha clan, with whom Lord Krsna is identified in this verse, were especially renowned for their generosity.
kiñcit karoty urv api yat sva-dattam
suhrt-krtam phalgv api bhuri-kari
pratyagrahit priti-yuto mahatma
The Lord considers even His greatest benedictions to be insignificant, while He magnifies even a small service rendered to Him by His well-wishing devotee. Thus with pleasure the Supreme Soul accepted a single palmful of the flat rice I brought Him.
tasyaiva me sauhrda-sakhya-maitri-
dasyam punar janmani janmani syat
The Lord is the supremely compassionate reservoir of all transcendental qualities. Life after life may I serve Him with love, friendship and sympathy, and may I cultivate such firm attachment for Him by the precious association of His devotees.
As explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti, sauhrdam here signifies affection toward Him who is so compassionate to His devotees, sakhyam is affinity manifested in the desire to live in His company, maitri is the attitude of intimate comradeship, and dasyam is the urge to do service.