Kholavecha Sridhara was a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya; he was a very poor man. He was selling cups made from the leaves of plantain trees, and his income was very meagre. Still, he was spending fifty percent of his little income on the worship of the Ganges, and with the other fifty percent he was somehow living. Lord Chaitanya once revealed Himself to this confidential devotee and offered him any opulence he liked. But Sridhara 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 Chaitanya. 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.

– Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 1, Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service  


sridhara-pandita

kholaveca sevakera dekha bhagya-sima
brahma siva kande yara dekhiya mahima
dhane jane panditye krishna nahi pai
kevala bhaktira vasa chaitanya-gosani

“Behold the great fortune of the devotee Kholavecha. Lord Brahma and Shiva shed tears upon seeing his greatness. One cannot attain Lord Krishna by any amount of wealth, followers or learning. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is controlled only by pure devotion.” Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had a very sincere devotee whose name was Kholavecha Sridhara 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 Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 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 Krishna or Sri Chaitanya Gosani through material opulence; that shelter is attainable only by pure devotional service.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 5:19:7 purport

khola-veca sridhara prabhura priya-dasa
yanha-sane prabhu kare nitya parihasa

TRANSLATION

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

PURPORT

Sridhara was a poor brahmana 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 Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started His civil disobedience movement in defiance of the Kazi, Sridhara danced in jubilation. The Lord used to drink water from his water jug. Sridhara presented a squash to Sachidevi to cook before Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa. Every year he went to see Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri. According to Kavi-karnapura, Sridhara was a cowherd boy of Vrindavana whose name was Kusumasava. In his Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 133, it is stated:  

khola-vecataya khyatah
panditah sridharo dvijah
asid vraje hasya-karo
yo namna kusumasavah

“The cowherd boy known as Kusumasava in Krishna-lila later became Kholaveca Sridhara during Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila at Navadvipa.”

– Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 10.67

“There is the story of Kholavecha Sridhara, a devotee of Lord Chaitanya, who although 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.”

– Srila Prabhupada, Letter to Dharma, 22nd April, 1972, Tokyo