Srila Sridhara Pandit - Kholavecha

There was a great devotee of Lord Caitanya known as Kholävecä Çrédhara, who was a very poor man. He was doing a small business selling cups made from the leaves of plantain trees, and his income was almost nothing. Still, he was spending fifty percent of his small income on the worship of the Ganges, and with the other fifty percent he was somehow living. Lord Caitanya once revealed Himself to this confidential devotee, Kholävecä Çrédhara, and offered him any opulence he liked. But Çrédhara informed the Lord that he did not want any material opulence. He was quite happy in his present position and wanted only to gain unflinching faith and devotion unto the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya. That is the position of pure devotees. If they can be engaged twenty-four hours each day in devotional service they do not want anything else, not even the happiness of liberation or of becoming one with the Supreme. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Nectar of Devotion. Chapter 1. Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service.)
kholavechaataya khyaatah
panditah shridharo dvijah
aasid vraje haasya kaari
yo naamnaa kusumaasavah

“The cowherd boy named Kusumaasava, who joked with Lord Krishna and made Him laugh in Vrajabhumi, appeared in Lord Cgaitanta’s pastimes as the learned braahmana named Kholavecha Shridhar.” (Gaura-ganodesh-dipika 133.)
kholävecä sevakera dekha bhägya-sémä
brahmä çiva käìde yära dekhiyä mahimä
dhane jane päëòitye kåñëa nähi päi
kevala bhaktira vaça caitanya-gosäïi

“Behold the great fortune of the devotee Kholävecä. Lord Brahmä and Çiva shed tears upon seeing his greatness. One cannot attain Lord Kåñëa by any amount of wealth, followers, or learning. Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu is controlled only by pure devotion. “Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu had a very sincere devotee whose name was Kholävecä Çrédhara and whose only business was to sell pots made of the skin of banana trees. Whatever income he had, he used fifty percent for the worship of mother Ganges, and with the other fifty percent he provided for his necessities. On the whole, he was so very poor that he lived in a cottage that had a broken roof with many holes in it. He could not afford brass utensils, and therefore he drank water from an iron pot. Nevertheless, he was a great devotee of Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu. He is a typical example of how a poor man with no material possessions can become a most exalted devotee of the Lord. The conclusion is that one cannot attain shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa or Çré Caitanya Gosäïi through material opulence; that shelter is attainable only by pure devotional service. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 5:19:7 purport.)

kholä-vecä çrédhara prabhura priya-däsa
yäìhä-sane prabhu kare nitya parihäsa

“The twenty-ninth branch was Çrédhara, a trader in banana-tree bark. He was a very dear servant of the Lord. On many occasions, the Lord played jokes on him.”

Çrédhara was a poor brähmaëa who made a living by selling banana-tree bark to be made into cups. Most probably he had a banana-tree garden and collected the leaves, skin and pulp of the banana trees to sell daily in the market. He spent fifty percent of his income to worship the Ganges, and the balance he used for his subsistence. When Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu started His civil disobedience movement in defiance of the Käzé, Çrédhara danced in jubilation.The Lord used to drink water from his water jug. Çrédhara presented a squash to Çacédevé to cook before Lord Caitanya took sannyäsa. Every year he went to see Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu at Jagannätha Puré. According to Kavi-karëapüra, Çrédhara was a cowherd boy of Våndävana whose name was Kusumäsava. In his Gaura-gaëoddeça-dépikä, verse 133, it is stated:

kholä-vecätayä khyätaù
paëòitaù çrédharo dvijaù
äséd vraje häsya-karo
yo nämnä kusumäsavaù

“The cowherd boy known as Kusumäsava in kåñëa-lélä later became Kholävecä Çrédhara during Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s lélä at Navadvépa.”
Ädi 10.68

prabhu yäìra nitya laya thoòa-mocä-phala
yäìra phuöä-lauhapätre prabhu pilä jala TRANSLATION
“Every day Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu jokingly snatched fruits, flowers and pulp from Çrédhara and drank from his broken iron pot.”
“There is the story of Kholaveca Sridhara, a devotee of Lord Caitanya, who although he was a very poor man, gave half of his meager income for worshiping Mother Ganges, and by so doing, he greatly pleased the Lord. It is not so much important the quantity of books that we distribute, but that we serve Krishna as best we can, and depend on Him for the results.” (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Letter to Dharma – 22nd April1972. Tokyo