Become a zero to become a hero

22 December 2021, Amritapuri Ashram

This particular incident took place on the auspicious day of ‘Kuchela Dinam’, or Kuchela Day. This is the day that celebrates the reunion between Krishna and his childhood friend, Sudama.

Sudama, a character in the Bhagavata Purana, was Shri Krishna’s closest friend growing up. As they grew older, life took over and each had their path to pursue. Sudama’s family was often in poverty. He was given a nickname due to his lowly status, Kuchela, one with dirty clothes, one who has nothing.

One day, Sudama’s wife pushed Sudama to talk to his old-time friend and now the king of Dwaraka, Sri Krishna. With borrowed Aval, puffed rice, to offer to Sri Krishna, Sudama made his way to see his old friend.

Sri Krishna became so overjoyed to see his childhood friend. He washed Sudama’s feet and welcomed him into the palace, feeding him, and treating him like a king.
Sri Krishna took two handfull of pufed rice from Sudama’s cloth packet and ate it.

Content and happy with his reunion with Sri Krishna, Sudama returned home the next day completely forgetting to ask for the financial help he had initially set out for. As he approached his house, he found that his small hut had turned into a big mansion! His wife and children, who were all wearing very nice clothes and ornaments, welcomed him to the new house.

Sudama offered something so simple to Krishna, he was graced with so much in return. The endless cycle of love that transpired between them has served as an immortal example of true devotion and friendship.


Kochu Unni, a 3-year-old boy who lives in the ashram, had in his hands Aval (puffed rice) wrapped in a cloth, to offer to Amma. At the end of bhajans, Amma called him to the stage and delightfully took his offering. She told the little one that Sudama’s offering was symbolic of surrendering his ego to Sri Krishna.

Amma then had him repeat: “If you become a Kuchela (one who has nothing), you can become a Kubera (one who is wealthy).” She followed this with, “If you become a zero, you become a hero.”
“The devotee is a servant of the Lord and the Lord is a servant of the devotee. There is only pure love between them.”

Amma made Kochu Unni repeat this four times. Before concluding, Amma asked him a final question.
“To get this pure love, what do we need?”.
Without missing a beat, Kochu Unni responded, “Bodham! Awareness!”