Tulabharam challenge: When Satyabhama was about to lose Krishna

Satyabhama is a devoted wife of Krishna. But she is very demanding. She has a feeling that she rules Krishna’s heart and Krishna loves her more than other queens. Once when Narada Muni was in Dwarka he went to meet Satyabhama and during the conversation, he told her that it is Rukmini who actually occupies Krishna’s heart and not she.

Satyabhama could not tolerate this and she challenged Narada to prove it.

Narada through his tricky words lured Satyabhama for a Tulabharam challenge.

The condition was that if she fails in the challenge she will have to give Krishna in charity to Narada. This would make Krishna slave of Narada. And if she wins then it would be proven that she is the only one who rules Krishna’s heart and Krishna loves her the most.  

Satyabhama accepted the challenge because she believed that her wealth will easily outweigh Krishna on the balance (tula). The message soon spread in the palace and the other queens opposed it but Krishna like a submissive husband meekly surrendered to this challenge. A big-scale was arranged and everyone assembled to see this pastime.

Satyabhama put Krishna on one of the scales of balance and with supreme confidence, she started putting her wealth on the other scale. This was an opportunity for her to prove to the entire world that Krishna may have thousands of wives, millions of devotees but still Krishna loves her the most and her love for Krishna is the best.  

But to her dismay, the scale on which Krishna was sitting was not moving up even by an inch.  She was constantly thinking if her wealth does not outweigh Krishna then she will have to lose him. The thought sent shivers down her spine. She summoned all the valuables from the treasury including gold, diamonds, emerald and put it on the scale but still, it appeared to be insufficient. 

She was now desperate not to lose Krishna so she requested all the queens for their wealth except Rukmini because of obvious reasons.  The other queens of Krishna also feared that if Krishna is sold as a slave to Narada then Krishna will have to leave Dwarka and they will have to live without him forever.

So they all put together their prized possessions on the scale hoping that scale stuffed with the wealth of entire creation will outweigh Krishna. But still, the scale on which Krishna sat did not budge even by an inch. Satyabhama was in deep shock.

Now there was only one person in the entire creation left with whom she had to plead. Putting all her pride aside she pleaded Rukmini for help. Rukmini was ever there to help her. She did not bring her wealth to put on the scale.

Instead, she took a Tulasi leaf, prayed to Krishna and put it on the scale.

The scale became so heavy that it immediately came down lifting up the scale on which Krishna sat. In fact, even when all the wealth was removed and only the leaf was on the scale still it outweighed Krishna.  

The pastime shows that a humble offering to Krishna done with love is far superior to the wealth of the entire creation.

In Brahma Samhita 5.29, Lord Brahma says, “lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ/ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi”-  I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord who is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs.  Krishna has all the riches.  All the wealth which anyone possesses in the entire cosmic manifestation comes from Krishna, Lakshmipati, only.  

So how can we purchase Krishna with our material possessions?

Krishna is the proprietor of this entire creation. 

Krishna declares in Bhagavad Gita 10.8, “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.”

Krishna has craving only for our love and so if we offer anything to him with love he just grabs it and enjoys the offering.  

This is why when Duryodhana invited Krishna to his palace for a meal then Krishna refused it.  Duryodhana wanted to win Krishna with the arrogant display of wealth. So Krishna did not even consider accepting his offering. Instead he went to the house of Vidura even without an invitation because the selfless love of Vidura and his wife pulled Krishna to their humble house.  

Vidura’s wife was so overwhelmed by seeing Krishna in his house that instead of removing the banana peel and offering the banana, she began offering him banana peels and Krishna was happily enjoying it.

Krishna gives a message to us in Gita 9.26 what actually he accepts “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.”

So the underlining principle is love. When Lord Rama was performing his pastime on this earthly planet then he enjoyed the half-eaten berry of Sabari as it was filled with her love and devotion.  Everything belongs to Krishna so what can we give to Krishna.

So does it mean that we have nothing to offer or we should offer only simple things to Krishna like a leaf, or a flower or water? Definitely not.

“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me. B.G. 9.27.”  

So whatever we have should be offered to Krishna but it should be done with love and not with arrogance. Just because we are rich and offering valuable gifts to Krishna does not guarantee that he will accept it.  Also just because we are poor and we are offering something simple does not guarantee that he will accept it.  He will accept our gift only if it is filled with love, devotion, and humility.

So those of us who want to express our devotion to Krishna should constantly keep a watch on our consciousness. If our consciousness is contaminated with pride and arrogance then we will always fail to please Krishna.

If we want Krishna’s affection then we should make rigorous efforts to cleanse our hearts by chanting the holy names of the lord and fill it with lots of love and devotion.  And then like mother Rukmini we would also be able to win Krishna with our selfless love.

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