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Gundicha-marjana (cleaning of Gundicha temple)

Today is super excellent and auspicious as on this day the gundicha-marjana lila, cleaning the temple of Gundicha, occurs. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifested this lila the day before Ratha-yatra when Lord Jagannatha goes from the Jagannatha temple to Gundicha temple.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu changed the mood a little bit, but the same tradition still takes place, where once a year Lord Jagannatha comes out of His temple and goes to Gundicha temple. The internal meaning here is that Krishna is going from Kurukshetra to Vrindavana, and this is the mood of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

When at Gundicha temple, Lord Jagannatha stays there for nine days. After His sojourn, He returns from Gundicha Temple back to Jagannatha temple. And for most of the year, the Gundicha temple remains completely closed. For this reason, the temple is full of dust.

This is why Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, very humbly told Kashi Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and the temple attendant, “I have to clean the temple with My own hands.” According to this desire of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, King Prataparudra and his associates arranged for the cleaning of the temple of Gundicha.

They prepared the clay pots, brooms and cloths needed to clean this holy tirtha. Then on the day before Ratha-yatra, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called all of His devotees. First, the Lord offered vandana to the Vaishnavas by offering garlands around their necks, called Vaishnava-puja. The Lord then placed sandalwood on the foreheads of all the Vaishnavas.

Afterwards, Sriman Mahaprabhu proceeded to Gundicha temple while chanting the holy names. Then Lord Chaitanya Himself first cleaned the temple while absorbed in the same preparation mood of Srimati Radhika.

When Krishna left from Vrindavana to Mathura, the gopis felt pangs of separation from Him, especially Srimati Radhika. She was hankering so much to meet with Krishna and feeling deep separation from Him. And when Srimati Radhika heard that Krishna was coming from Mathura to Vrindavana, She called Her sakhis and they also cleaned the temple of Gundicha. This is the inner heart of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. For this reason, sometimes devotees perform the dance lila and sing this song:

tomra kunjo sajao go aaj amar pranonath ashite pare

[“You decorate the grove. You decorate the grove. Today My Prananatha may come.”]

The meaning is, “My beloved Krishna, perhaps He will come, so you have to clean this temple. And this temple should be neat and clean like your heart, hridaya-mandira.”

So now, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cleaned the temple of Gundicha, not once, not twice, but three times. He swept and took out all of the dust and some stone chips and placed them very far from there. So in this way, Mahaprabhu Himself repeatedly cleaned the temple and also asked all of the devotees to clean from top to bottom. All of the walls, the ceiling, everything there was cleaned properly.

Sriman Mahaprabhu also cleaned an area called Jagamohana, where Jagannatha sits on the altar. The Lord cleaned the temple with water from Narendra-sarovara and, after throwing out all the dirty water, He then dried the temple with a dry cloth. Even if there is a small mark, just a line, Lord Chaitanya Himself thoroughly cleaned it with His own uttariya (sannyasa cloth).

Now, the temple was completely neat and clean, like a beautiful spotless crystal. And in this way, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching us how to clean. Some devotees did not clean properly, so Mahaprabhu would give a very sweet chastisement to them:

tumi bhāla kariyācha, śikhāha anyere ei-mata bhāla karma seho yena kare

Chaitanya-critamrita (Madhya-lila 12.117)

[The Lord would say, “You have done well. Please teach this to others so that they may act in the same way.”]

“Oh, you are doing very nice service and you should please teach others.” In this way Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with very sweet words, chastised them. Afterwards, devotees would realise their own faults and begin to more enthusiastically clean the temple.

Thus, what is the purport, the significance, of this gundicha-marjana-lila? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada in his anubhashya very clearly explained that in this lila, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching us, how, although we are wandering in the same cycle of repeated birth and death, some very extremely fortunate living entities will come to our Krishna Consciousness. Then, they will being to perform bhajana and sadhana and follow all the rules and regulations of vaidhi-bhakti:

guru-pādāśrayas tasmāt kṛṣṇa-dīkṣādi-śikṣaṇam viśrambheṇa guroḥ sevā sādhu-vartmānuvartanam

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.74)

[[1] Accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, [2] becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him, [3] obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion, and [4] following in the footsteps of great ācāryas [teachers] under the direction of the spiritual master.]

In this way, a sadhaka undergoes this process in order to clean his hridaya-mandira, the temple of his heart. Because the Lord will sit in your heart only when it is neat and clean, like a crystal. Otherwise, the Lord will not take seat. Even if we have a little karma-vasana, desire to enjoy the material sense gratification, we cannot achieve our perfected goal. As stated in this shloka composed by Srila Rupa Govamipada in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:

bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat

piśācī hṛdi vartate

tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra

katham abhyudayo bhavet

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.22)

[The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.]

Bhakti-devi will not manifest in one’s heart if there is any desire for bhukti or mukti. Bhukti means enjoying sense gratification, like attaining heavenly planets in order to enjoy sense gratification with the subtle body. Or mukti, the desire to merge in Brahma. For this reason, in this verse, Rupa Gosvamipada very clearly teaches:

bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat

piśācī hṛdi vartate

tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra

katham abhyudayo bhavet

And in this way, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching us how we, again and again, need to clean our hearts. But, how? With water. Perhaps a question may arise: how do we clean our hearts with water? This is called krishna-katha-shravanam. Our shastras explain the prominent nine limbs of bhakti. The first limb is called adau hari-katha shravanam, meaning that in the beginning you have to listen to hari-katha:

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi

vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17)

[Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.]

By regularly hearing hari-katha and by the daily chanting of a fixed number of rounds of the holy names, our hearts will slowly become neat and clean. This process is also very clearly explained by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the first shloka of His Shikshashtaka:

ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 20.12)

[Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Krishna expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.]

In this Kali-yuga there is no any other process to clean our heart, only nama-sankirtana:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 6.242)

[In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.]

Therefore, we can begin to clean our hearts by chanting the holy names and by listening to hari-katha, bhagavat-katha from the lotus lips of sadhu, Guru, Vaishnava everyday and by serving them. And thus, through nama-sankirtana,hari-seva, guru-seva and vaishnava-seva, our hearts will become neat and clean. Then, Krishna will sit in our hridaya-mandira, the temple of our heart.

Gaura Premanande! Hari Hari bol!

Date: 17June 2020 Location: Zoom


Transcriber: Chandrika dasi (UK) Editor: Chandrika dasi (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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