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Cleaning of Gundica Temple by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple

August 4, 2009 by srila-prabhupada

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed and cleansed the Gundica temple with His devotees and associates. In this way
He made the temple as cool and bright as His own heart, and thus He made the
place befitting for Lord Sri Krsna to sit.

The Gundica temple is situated two miles northeast of the Jagannatha temple. At the time of the Ratha-yatra
festival, Lord Jagannatha goes to the Gundica temple from His original temple
and stays there for one week. After one week, He returns to His original
temple. It is understood by hearsay that the wife of Indradyumna, the King who
established the Jagannatha temple, was known as Gundica.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed the Gundica temple before the Ratha-yatra took place. He then took His bath at Indradyumna Lake and partook of prasada in
the garden nearby. While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed the
temple of Gundica,
a Gaudiya Vaisnava washed the lotus feet of the Lord and drank the water. This
incident is very significant, for it awoke within the devotee ecstatic love.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed and cleansed the Gundica temple with His devotees and associates. In this way He
made the temple as cool and bright as His own heart, and thus He made the place
befitting for Lord Sri Krsna to sit.

All glories to Gauracandra! All glories to Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to the
devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to the devotees of Lord
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, headed by Srivasa Thakura! I beg their power so that I
can properly describe Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Lord passed some days in great jubilation. Then the car festival of Lord Jagannatha approached. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu first of all called for Kasi Misra, then for the superintendent of
the temple, then for Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. When these three people came
before the Lord, He begged them for permission to wash the temple known as

Upon hearing the Lord’s request for them to wash the Gundica temple, the padicha, the superintendent of the
temple, said, “My dear sir, we are all Your servants. Whatever You desire is
our duty to perform. The King gave a special order for me to do without delay
whatever Your Lordship orders. My dear Lord, washing the temple is not service
befitting You. Nonetheless, if You wish to do so, it is to be accepted as one
of Your pastimes. To wash the temple, You need many waterpots and brooms.
Therefore order me. I can immediately bring all these things to You.” As soon
as the superintendent understood the desire of the Lord, he immediately
delivered a hundred new waterpots and a hundred brooms for sweeping the temple.

The next day, early in the morning, the Lord took His personal associates with Him and, with His own hand, smeared
sandalwood pulp on their bodies. He then gave each devotee a broom with His own
hand, and taking all of them personally with Him, the Lord went to Gundica. In
this way the Lord and His associates went to cleanse the Gundica temple. At
first they cleansed the temple with the brooms.

The Lord cleansed everything inside the temple very nicely, including the ceiling. He then took up the sitting
place [
simhasana], cleansed it and again put it in its original place.
Thus the Lord and His companions cleansed and swept all the temple’s buildings,
big and small, and finally cleansed the area between the temple and the
hall. Indeed, hundreds of devotees were engaged in cleansing all around the
temple, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was personally carrying out the operation
just to instruct others.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed and cleansed the temple in great jubilation, chanting the holy name of Lord Krsna
all the time. Similarly, all the devotees were also chanting and at the same
time performing their respective duties. The entire beautiful body of the Lord
was covered with dust and dirt. In this way it became transcendentally
beautiful. At times, when cleansing the temple, the Lord shed tears, and in
some places He even cleansed with those tears. After this, the place where the
Deity’s food was kept [
bhoga-mandira] was cleansed. Then the yard was
cleansed, and then all the residential quarters, one after the other.

After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu collected all the straw, dust and grains of sand in one place, He gathered it
all in His cloth and threw it outside. Following the example of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, all the devotees, in great jubilation, began to gather straws and
dust with their own cloths and throw them outside the temple. The Lord then
told the devotees, “I can tell how much you have labored and how well you have
cleansed the temple simply by seeing all the straw and dust you have collected
outside.” Even though all the devotees collected dirt in one pile, the dirt
collected by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was much greater.

After the inside of the temple was cleansed, the Lord again allotted areas for the devotees to cleanse. The Lord
then ordered everyone to cleanse the inside of the temple very perfectly by
taking finer dust, straws and grains of sand and throwing them outside. After
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the Vaisnavas cleansed the temple for the
second time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very happy to see the cleansing work.

While the temple was being swept, about a hundred men stood ready with filled waterpots, and they simply awaited
the Lord’s order to throw the water from them. As soon as Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu called for water, all the men immediately brought the hundred
waterpots, which were completely filled, and delivered them before the Lord.

In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu first washed the main temple and then thoroughly washed the ceiling,
the walls, the floor, the sitting place [
simhasana] and everything else
within the room.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself and His devotees began to throw water onto the ceiling. When this water fell, it
washed the walls and floor. Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to wash the
sitting place of Lord Jagannatha with His own hands, and all the devotees began
to bring water to the Lord. All the devotees within the temple began to wash.
Each one had a broom in his hand, and in this way they cleansed the temple of
the Lord.

Someone brought water to pour into the hands of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and someone poured water on His lotus
feet. The water that fell from the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was
drunk by someone who hid himself. Someone else begged for that water, and
another person was giving that water in charity.

After the room was washed, the water was let out through an outlet, and it then flowed and filled the yard
outside. The Lord mopped the rooms with His own clothes, and He polished the
throne with them also. In this way all the rooms were cleansed with a hundred
waterpots. After the rooms had been cleansed, the minds of the devotees were as
clean as the rooms. When the temple was cleansed, it was purified, cool and
pleasing, just as if the Lord’s own pure mind had appeared.

Since hundreds of men were engaged in bringing water from the lake, there was no place to stand on the banks.
Consequently someone began to draw water from a well. Hundreds of devotees
brought water in the pots, and hundreds took the empty pots away to fill them
up again. With the exception of Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Svarupa
Damodara, Brahmananda Bharati and Paramananda Puri, everyone was engaged in
filling the waterpots and bringing them there. Many of the waterpots were broken
when people collided with one another, and hundreds of men had to bring new
waterpots to fill. Some people were filling the pots, and others were washing
the rooms, but everyone was engaged in chanting the holy name of Krsna and
Hari. One person begged for a waterpot by chanting the holy names “Krsna,
Krsna,” and another delivered a pot while chanting “Krsna, Krsna.” Whenever
anyone had to speak, he did so by uttering the holy name of Krsna.
Consequently, the holy name of Krsna became an indication for everyone who
wanted something.

As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was vibrating the holy name of Krsna in ecstatic love, He Himself was performing
the work of hundreds of men. It appeared as though Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were
cleansing and washing with a hundred hands. He approached every devotee just to
teach him how to work. When He saw someone doing nicely, the Lord praised him,
but if He saw that someone was not working to His satisfaction, He immediately
chastised that person, not bearing him any grudge. The Lord would say, “You
have done well. Please teach this to others so that they may act in the same
way.” As soon as they heard Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu say this, everyone became
ashamed. Thus the devotees began to work with great attention. They washed the
Jagamohana area and then the place where food was kept. All other places were
also washed. In this way the meeting place was washed, the entire yard, the
raised sitting places, the kitchen and every other room. Thus all places around
the temple were thoroughly washed within and without.

After everything was thoroughly washed, a Vaisnava from Bengal, who was very
intelligent and simple, came and poured water on the lotus feet of the Lord.
The Gaudiya Vaisnava then took that water and drank it himself. Seeing that,
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt a little unhappy and was also outwardly angry.
Although the Lord was certainly satisfied with him, He became angry externally
in order to establish the etiquette of religious principles. The Lord then
called for Svarupa Damodara and told him, “Just see the behavior of your
Bengali Vaisnava. “This person from
Bengal has
washed My feet within the temple of the Personality of Godhead. Not only that,
but he has drunk the water himself. “I now do not know what My destination is
because of this offense. Indeed, your Bengali Vaisnava has greatly implicated
Me.” At this point Svarupa Damodara Gosvami caught the Gaudiya Vaisnava by the
neck and, giving him a little push, ejected him from the Gundica Puri temple
and made him stay outside. After Svarupa Damodara Gosvami returned within the
temple, he requested Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to excuse that innocent person.

After this incident, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very much satisfied. He then asked all of the devotees to sit
down in two lines on both sides. The Lord then personally sat down in the
middle and picked up all kinds of straw, grains of sand and dirty things. While
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was picking up the straws and grains of sand, He said,
“I shall gather everyone’s collection, and I shall ask whoever has collected
less than all the others to pay a fine of sweet cakes and sweet rice.” In this
way all the quarters of the Gundica temple were completely cleansed and
cleared. All quarters were cool and spotless, like one’s cleansed and pacified

When the water from the different rooms was finally let out through the halls, it appeared as if new rivers were
rushing out to meet the waters of the ocean. Outside the gateway of the temple,
all the roads were also cleansed, and no one could tell exactly how this was

In commenting on the cleansing of the Gundica temple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the world leader, was personally giving instructions on
how one should receive Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, within
one’s cleansed and pacified heart. If one wants to see Krsna seated in his
heart, he must first cleanse the heart, as prescribed by Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu in His
Siksastaka: ceto-darpana-marjanam. In this age,
everyone’s heart is especially unclean, as confirmed in
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani. To wash away all dirty things accumulated
within the heart, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised everyone to chant the Hare
mantra. The first result will be that the heart is cleansed (ceto-darpana-marjanam).
Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17) confirms this statement:

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam

“Sri Krsna, 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 relishes His messages, which are in themselves
virtuous when properly heard and chanted.”

If a devotee at all wants to cleanse his heart, he must chant and hear the glories of the Lord, Sri Krsna (srnvatam
sva-kathah krsnah
). This is a simple process. Krsna Himself will help
cleanse the heart because He is already seated there. Krsna wants to continue
living within the heart, and the Lord wants to give directions, but one has to
keep his heart as clean as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu kept the Gundica temple.
The devotee therefore has to cleanse his heart just as the Lord cleansed the
Gundica temple. In this way one can be pacified and enriched in devotional
service. If the heart is filled with straw, grains of sand, weeds or dust (in
other words,
anyabhilasa-purna), one cannot enthrone the Supreme
Personality of Godhead there. The heart must be cleansed of all material
motives brought about through fruitive work, speculative knowledge, the mystic
system and so many other forms of so-called meditation. The heart must be
cleansed without ulterior motive. As Srila Rupa Gosvami says:
In other words, there should not be any external
motive. One should not attempt material upliftment, understanding the Supreme
by speculative knowledge, fruitive activity, severe austerity and penance, and
so on. All these activities are against the natural growth of spontaneous love
of Godhead. As soon as these are present within the heart, the heart should be
understood to be unclean and therefore unfit to serve as Krsna’s sitting place.
We cannot perceive the Lord’s presence in our hearts unless our hearts are

A material desire is explained as a desire to enjoy the material world to its fullest extent. In modern language,
this is called economic development. An inordinate desire for economic development
is considered to be like straws and grains of sand within the heart. If one is
overly engaged in material activity, the heart will always remain disturbed. As
stated by Narottama dasa Thakura:

samsara visanale, diva-nisi hiya jvale,
judaite na kainu upaya

In other words, endeavor for material opulence is against the principle of devotional service. Material
enjoyment includes activities such as great sacrifices for auspicious activity,
charity, austerity, elevation to the higher planetary system, and even living
happily within the material world.

Modernized material benefits are like the dust of material contamination. When this dust is agitated by the
whirlwind of fruitive activity, it overcomes the heart. Thus the mirror of the
heart is covered with dust. There are many desires for performing auspicious
and inauspicious activities, but people do not know how life after life they
are keeping their hearts unclean. One who cannot give up the desire for
fruitive activity is understood to be covered by the dust of material
Karmis generally think that the interaction of fruitive
activities can be counteracted by another
karma, or fruitive activity.
This is certainly a mistaken conception. If one is deluded by such a
conception, he is cheated by his own activity. Such activities have been
compared to an elephant’s bathing. An elephant may bathe very thoroughly, but
as soon as it comes out of the river, it immediately takes some sand from the
land and throws it all over its body. If one suffers due to his past fruitive
activities, he cannot counteract his suffering by performing auspicious
activities. The sufferings of human society cannot be counteracted by material
plans. The only way suffering can be mitigated is by Krsna consciousness. When
one takes to Krsna consciousness and engages himself in the devotional service
of the Lord–beginning with chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord–the
cleansing of the heart begins. When the heart is actually cleansed, one can
clearly see the Lord sitting there without any disturbance. In
(9.4.68) the Lord confirms that He sits within the heart of the pure devotee:
hrdayam mahyam sadhunam hrdayam tv aham.

Impersonal speculation, monism (merging into the existence of the Supreme), speculative knowledge, mystic yoga
and meditation are all compared to grains of sand. They simply cause irritation
to the heart. No one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by such
activities, nor do we give the Lord a chance to sit in our hearts peacefully.
Rather, the Lord is simply disturbed by them. Sometimes
yogis and jnanis
in the beginning take to the chanting of the Hare Krsna
maha-mantra as a
way to begin their various practices. But when they falsely think that they
have attained release from the bondage of material existence, they give up
chanting. They do not consider that the ultimate goal is the form of the Lord
or the name of the Lord. Such unfortunate creatures are never favored by the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, for they do not know what devotional service
is. Lord Krsna describes them in the
Bhagavad-gita in this way:

tan aham dvisatah kruran
samsaresu naradhaman
ksipamy ajasram asubhan
asurisv eva yonisu

“Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of
material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” (
Bg. 16.19)

By His practical example, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has shown us that all the grains of sand must be picked up
thoroughly and thrown outside. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also cleansed the
outside of the temple, fearing that the grains of sand would again come within.
In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that even
though one may become free from the desire for fruitive activity, sometimes the
subtle desire for fruitive activity again comes into being within the heart.
One often thinks of conducting business to improve devotional activity. But the
contamination is so strong that it may later develop into misunderstanding,
described as
kuti-nati (faultfinding) and pratisthasa (the desire
for name and fame and for high position),
jiva-himsa (envy of other
living entities),
nisiddhacara (accepting things forbidden in the sastra),
kama (desire for material gain) and puja
(hankering for popularity). The word
kuti-nati means “duplicity.” As an
example of
pratisthasa, one may attempt to imitate Srila Haridasa
Thakura by living in a solitary place. One’s real desire may be for name and
fame–in other words, one thinks that fools will accept one to be as good as
Haridasa Thakura just because one lives in a solitary place. These are all
material desires. A neophyte devotee is certain to be attacked by other
material desires as well, namely desires for women and money. In this way the
heart is again filled with dirty things and becomes harder and harder, like
that of a materialist. Gradually one desires to become a reputed devotee or an

The word jiva-himsa (envy of other living entities) actually means stopping the preaching of Krsna
consciousness. Preaching work is described as
paropakara, welfare
activity for others. Those who are ignorant of the benefits of devotional
service must be educated by preaching. If one stops preaching and simply sits
down in a solitary place, he is engaging in material activity. If one desires
to make a compromise with the Mayavadis, he is also engaged in material
activity. A devotee should never make compromises with nondevotees. By acting
as a professional
guru, mystic yogi or miracle man, one may cheat
and bluff the general public and gain fame as a wonderful mystic, but all this
is considered to be dust, straw and grains of sand within the heart. In
addition, one should follow the regulative principles and not desire illicit
sex, gambling, intoxicants or meat.

To give us practical instructions, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cleansed the temple twice. His second cleansing
was more thorough. The idea was to throw away all the stumbling blocks on the
path of devotional service. He cleansed the temple with firm conviction, as is
evident from His using His own personal garments for cleaning. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu wanted to see personally that the temple was thoroughly cleansed to
the standard of clean marble. Clean marble gives a cooling effect. Devotional
service means attaining peace from all disturbances caused by material
contamination. In other words, it is the process by which the mind is cooled.
The mind can be peaceful and thoroughly cleansed when one no longer desires
anything but devotional service.

Even though all dirty things may be cleansed away, sometimes subtle desires remain in the mind for impersonalism,
monism, success and the four principles of religious activity (
and moksa). All
these are like spots on clean cloth. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also wanted to
cleanse all these away.

By His practical activity, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu informed us how to cleanse our hearts. Once the heart is
cleansed, we should invite Lord Sri Krsna to sit down, and we should observe
the festival by distributing
prasada and chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to teach every devotee by His personal behavior.
Everyone who spreads the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepts a similar
responsibility. The Lord was personally chastising and praising individuals in
the course of the cleaning, and those who are engaged as
acaryas must
learn from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu how to train devotees by personal example.
The Lord was very much pleased with those who could cleanse the temple by
taking out undesirable things accumulated within. This is called
cleansing the heart of all unwanted things. Thus the cleansing of the
Gundica-mandira was conducted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to let us know how the
heart should be cleansed and soothed to receive Lord Sri Krsna and enable Him
to sit within the heart without disturbance.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also cleansed the Nrsimha temple inside and outside. Finally, He rested a few
minutes and then began dancing. All around Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu all the
devotees performed congregational chanting. The Lord, just like a maddened
lion, danced in the middle. As usual, when Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced, there were
perspiration, trembling, fading, tears, jubilation and roaring. Indeed, the
tears from His eyes washed His body and those before Him. In this way Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu washed the bodies of all the devotees with the tears from
His eyes. The tears poured like rains in the month of Sravana. The sky was
filled with the great and loud chanting of
sankirtana, and the earth
shook from the jumping and dancing of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu always liked the loud chanting of Svarupa Damodara. Therefore when
Svarupa Damodara sang, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced and jumped high in

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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