Birthplace and Residence of Sudama brahmana, dear-most Friend of Lord Sri Krishna at Porbandar, Gujarat.
Sudama brahmana was a personal friend of Lord Sri Krishna. Both Sudama brahmana and Lord lived and studied at the ashram of their spiritual master, Sandipani Muni. Sudama brahmana was completely free of material desires. He maintained himself and his wife with whatever came of its own accord, and thus they were poverty-stricken. One day Sudama’s wife, unable to find any food to prepare for her husband, went to him and asked that he visit his friend Krishna in Dwarka and beg some charity. Sudama was reluctant, but in great humility and submission when she again and again requested, he agreed to go, reflecting that an opportunity to see the Lord was extremely auspicious. His wife begged a few handfuls of flattened rice as a gift for Sri Krishna, and Sudama set off for Dwarka.
As Sudama approached the palace of Lord Krishna’s principal wife, Rukmini-devi, the Lord saw him from a distance. Krishna immediately rose from His seat on Rukmini’s bed and embraced His friend with great joy. Then He sat Sudama down on the bed, washed his feet with His own hands and sprinkled the wash water on His head. After this He presented him with various gifts and worshiped him with incense, lamps and so on. Meanwhile, Rukmini fanned the shabbily dressed brahmana with a yaktail whisk. All of this astonished the residents of the palace. Lord Sri Krishna then took the hand of His friend, and the two of them reminisced about the things they had done together long ago, while living in the school of their spiritual master. Sudama pointed out that Krishna engages in the pastime of acquiring an education only to set an example for human society.
In the course of His loving talks with His friend Sudama, Lord Krishna said, “My dear brahmana, have you brought any gift for Me from home? I regard as very significant even the smallest offering from My loving devotee.” But the poor brahmana was ashamed to present Krishna with his meagre gift of flat rice. However, since Lord Krishna is the Supersoul dwelling in all hearts, He knew why Sudama had come to visit Him. So He grabbed the bundle of flat rice Sudama was hiding under his arms and ate a handful of it with great pleasure. Lord ate a morsel of the flat rice brought by His friend Sudama and bestowed upon him wealth greater than that of the King of heaven. He was about to eat a second morsel when Rukmini devi stopped Him.
Feeling as if he had gone back to Godhead, Sudama spent that night comfortably in Lord Krishna’s palace, and the next morning he set off for home. As he passed along the highway, he thought of how fortunate he was to have been so honored by Sri Krishna. Absorbed in this meditation, Sudama arrived at the place where his home used to be – and he was struck with great wonder. Instead of his broken-down hovel, he saw a series of opulent palaces. While he stood astonished, a group of beautiful men and women came forward to greet him with singing and music. The brahmaṇa’s wife, wonderfully adorned with celestial jewellery, came out of the palace and welcomed him with great love and reverence. Sudama entered his home together with her, thinking that this extraordinary transformation must have been due to the Supreme Lord’s mercy on him. From then on Sudama lived his life amidst lavish wealth, yet he maintained his mood of detachment and constantly chanted the glories of Lord Krishna In a short time he broke off all bonds of bodily attachment and attained to the kingdom of God.
Sudamapuri is the birthplace and residence of Sudama brahmaṇa, the childhood friend of Lord Sri Krishna. Sudamapuri is in the town of Porbandar, 104 km (2 hours) from Sri Dwarka Dhama. Porbandar is a coastal harbour city situated on the western coast of Saurashtra, Gujarat, along the Arabian Sea. In the 10th century Porbandar was known as “Pauravelakul” and thereafter renamed as “Sudamapuri”.
Located at the centre of Porbandar, Sudama brahmana’s temple is one of the exceptional temple in India which is dedicated to the great devotee of Lord Krishna. Initially there was a smaller temple in 12th and 13th century. Current Sudama Temple was constructed between 1902 to 1907. The main temple altar has the Deities of Sudama brahmana at the centre, Lord Sri Krishna at the left and Srimati Sushila Ji, the wife of Sudama brahmana on the right. Temple gives the ‘Sudama brahmaṇa’s tandul (flat rice)’ as the maha-prasad.
This temple is visited by thousands of devotees from around the world. Every evening at 7pm there is sandhya-arati. Temple is looked after by a humble pujari. Pujari recalls, often Hare Krishna devotees from around the world visit the temple. Devotees remember and recite the pastimes of Sri Sudama brahmaṇa and Lord Krishna from the Krishna book. Every day at around 11am and 5pm maha-prasadam is served at a hall behind the temple. The temple also has beautiful garden and the ancient well from which Sudama brahmaṇa used to get water. Porbandar is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi). Kirti Mandir in Porbandar is dedicated to him.
SUDAMA BRAHMANA and SRI KRISHNA IN THE FOREST DURING GURUKULA DAYS
When Sudama went to visit Lord Sri Krishna in Dwarka, Sri Krishna reminded him of some of their childhood activities. Lord Krishna said, “My dear friend, I think you remember our activities during the days when we were living as students. You may remember that once we went to collect fuel from the forest on the order of the guru’s wife. While collecting the dried wood, we entered the dense forest and by chance became lost. There was an unexpected dust storm and then clouds and lighting in the sky and the explosive sound of thunder. Then sunset came, and we were lost in the dark jungle. After this, there was severe rainfall; the whole ground was over flooded with water, and we could not trace out the way to our guru’s ashram. You may remember that heavy rainfall – it was not actually rainfall but a sort of devastation. On account of the dust storm and heavy rain, we began to feel greatly pained, and in whichever direction we turned we were bewildered. In that distressed condition, we took each other’s hand and tried to find our way out.” –Krishna Book, Chapter 80, The Meeting of Lord Krishna with Sudama Brahmana