3rd July 2019
Cleansing of temple is cleansing hearts, minds and the consciousness
We all have the blessings of the holy name; the holy name is Lord! So, blessings of the holy name, is the Lord Himself. We should thank the Lord officially Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given this name to the world. We should be thanking Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for giving us this benediction and the acaryas in the disciplic succession officially give us the holy name. In that way the acaryas and spiritual masters are also blessing us with the holy name.
Holy name ki jai!
Harinama prabhu ki jai!
This is not a small benediction; it is a complete benediction. We cannot ask for anything better than the holy name. We have been blessed, the Lord has kindly chosen us we are selected few, a handful in fact in this world that have seen and that has been touched by the holy name of the Lord. The Lord is touching us! The soul is being touched by the name of the Lord!
ceto darpana marjanam
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said ‘When one chants his consciousness is purified.’
“bhava maha davagni nirvarpanam”
davagni is the fire of material existence. The senses have been extinguished by the holy name of the Lord.
“Shreya kairava candrika vitaranam” and then there’s shreya, ultimate benediction we receive the rays of that benediction, shower of that benediction. Shreya kairava candrika! Like that the glories of the holy name; “anandam bhudi vardanam” we derive ananda - an ocean full of ananda this is what Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself has given us, this is Harinaam mahatmya! This is the benediction of the holy name! This is shrutiphal, the benefit of hearing the holy name and we have just mentioned a few items.
Talking of marjanam, cleansing! Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to engage Himself along with His so many associates in the Gundica marjanam on this day, today (03 July). It is the actual day of Gundica Marjan in Jagannath Puri it’s cleansing of Gundica temple!
Tomorrow is Jagannath rathayatra day so the Lord will ride on His chariot and start the journey from Jagannath temple to Nilachal and then He goes to Sundaracal in Jagannath Puri that is where Gundica temple is. The Gundica temple is not used by the Lord for 51 weeks. He uses the Gundica bhavan residence for one week so the place that has not been used has to be cleansed, thoroughly cleansed to prepare for the Lord’s at Gundica temple. So, Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did this. This is of course eternal service activity that takes place in Jagannath Puri on the day before ratha yatra. So, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to personally participate in the cleansing of Gundica temple.
What a sweet pastime Gundica marjan is! It is described in the Chaitanya Caritamrita, you should not try to say a few things you should study yourself in depth in this pastime.
King Prataprudra used to provide all the brooms and buckets and water, towels for mopping. Upon the arrival of the devotees, they were received with garlands and chandan and then again there was the cleansing of Gundica Mandir. Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally used to do the cleansing of the altar where Lord Jagannath would stand or sit and other devotees cleaning the rest of the temple, floor, wall everything.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was kind of overseeing the cleansing, He was coordinating, He was a temple commander and was busy and absorbed and collecting a lot of dust and those who collected a lot of dust or dirt, the Lord used to praise them. Shabash!! Well done! Then to others He would say, hey look you haven’t collected anything. Work hard! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was inspiring the devotees, else you would be punished you would have to feed everyone ladoos and khaja because you are not collecting enough dust. You will be punished. You will have to feed khaja to the entire cleansing team. So, the cleansing of the temple was also cleansing the hearts, minds and the consciousness of the cleaning team or the cleansers. This is the ultimate benefit of cleansing the Gundica temple.
Ceto darpana marjanam was also happening by this amazing service, wonderful service of cleansing the temple. Of course, and I am sure that’s what they were doing. They were chanting also:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Atme kam mukme Ram, they were chanting and cleansing at the same time so there’s a double benefit. Cleansing by chanting which is cleansing ceto darpana, cleansing the consciousness by chanting, cleansing the consciousness by devotional service and here the service was cleansing the temple. So, you can all take part in Gundica marjan today. You might say oh! We are not in Jagannath Puri today! But wherever you are you could do some marjan today. They have invited devotees from all over Pandharpur and temple devotees would be joining and there is going to be maha Gundica Marjan in Pandharpur today. Otherwise, your home is also temple! Make your home your temple clean there.
sri vigrahadhan nana nityanana srngaratan mandir marjanado (gurvastakam verse 3)
We are meant to do this every day, you can make your home into a temple and that becomes Gundica marjan or mandir marjan and that will do ceto darpana marjan. That swacha bharat mission is also going on; clean India and part of that includes cleaning your house, angan (courtyard), this could be mundane material activity of cleaning. You are cleaning your clothes; your body is cleaning your house this that will bind you further to this world and become further conditioned. So, what is the benefit of this kind of cleaning and sweeping and swacha bharat business when you could derive the spiritual benefit of the swachata or cleansing of the Gundica marjan? This benefit is there if you transform your place into a spiritual place, or Vaikuntha by having altar at home and like that you could make your home a temple.
Many devotees stay at ISKCON temples brahmacaris and sanyasis. The grihastas could also stay in the temple and make your house into a temple and do the cleaning of that temple. You could do this Gundica marjan service everyday and everyday there will be ceto darpana marjanam; cleansing of the consciousness and the heart. That will revive your love for the Lord. So be smart like that Caitanya-caritāmṛta says, “Krsna yei bhaje se bade catura.” So do not follow the example of so-called mundane leaders follow the example of the supreme leader Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the acaryas in the line of Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and derive the spiritual benefit of the cleansing you have to do, spiritual activity.
While the cleansing was on and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was cleaning the altar one catur, one smart devotee started pouring water on the Lotus feet of Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was pouring water with one hand and collecting the water from Mahaprabhu’s feet with the other hand. He began to drink the caranamrta from Mahaprabhu’s Lotus feet while hiding and then others found out. Please, please give us caranamrta also. So, when Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu noticed what was going on, instead of washing the feet of Sri Jagannath they are washing My feet; this is an offense how can you do this? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Swarup Damodhar to chastise that person who is doing this offensive activity here. Although Sri Krsna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was happy within, He was externally displaying anger and making a point that I am just a devotee. You cannot wash a devotee’s feet on Lord’s altar like that, that pastime also took place.
Today is also the day in Jagannath Puri called netra utsav which means feast for the eyes for almost two weeks the Lord was not well and was taking bed rest and all the doors were closed. No visitors! They all were deprived of Lord Jagannath’s darshan for such a long, long time. So, they were all eager and anxious to have darshan of Jagannath again. They were counting days and hours as to when would that moment come, we could see Jagannath again. So that day is today, Lord Jagannath is ready for darshan now and has recovered. Devotees then come in big numbers to take darshan of Lord Jagannath and drink the beauty of Lord Jagannath’s form to their hearts content.
I also had gone to Jagannath Puri on this day in 1977. I was there for the first time ever. I had arrived at Jagannath Puri to take His darsana. But what resulted on that day was that I ended up not getting darshan of Lord Jagannath. I was a sanyasi and travelling with several devotees and we had entered Singha dwara and then the pandas had come to stop me and others as they knew we were ISKCON people and they didn’t like ISKCON in those days. When they stopped me, I asked why can I not have darshan of Lord Jagannath? I must take, I want to take, I have to take darshan. But they said no, no you can’t take darshan! Why not? You are not born Hindu; you are born Christian and this American ISKCON has converted you. So now you have become Hindu but you are born Christian. So, like that they were arguing and not listening and that was, going on in the courtyard of Jagannath temple on this day in 1977.
So, there was a big tug of war going on and pushing and pulling. The pandas were determined and they were not going to let us go inside to have darshan of Lord Jagannath unfortunately that was their stand. Finally, the well-built pandas picked us up and we thin lean swamis and brahmacaris from ISKCON were lifted us and put outside Singha Dwara. Haribol! So, what to do? There we were!
So, then we were making sure that everyone was there in our group. We were doing a head count to see if everyone was present. We took note that we did lose someone, one devotee my god brother and of course in those days we only had god brothers and god sisters. So, one god brother from New York, Riksharaj was also part of our party, when we looked around, he was nowhere to be found! So, we were wondering where is Riksharaj? After a few minutes we saw Riksharaj coming from the temple. He was a born Christian and he had enjoyed Netra Utsava, he had a feast for his eyes and he came running to us saying Maharaj carana Tulasi for you. [Laughs]
I had darshan and the pujaris gave us tulasi from the Lotus feet and we were amazed by this kind of lila with Jagannath. He gave darshan to a born Christian but did not give darshan to a born Hindu.
We were battling with the pandas and Riksharaj, my god brother from New York had a complexion not like a western American but that of an Indian kind of complexion. So, when we were fighting or battling, he decided not to take part in the battle and took a diversion and he went inside the temple. Knowing that there was no one guarding the other gates and all were battling with us he went into the temple and had a nice darshan. But then we took his darshan. He had taken darshan of Jagannath and we took his darshan and tulasi from the Lord’s lotus feet.
jai Jagannath swami ki jai!
‘’jagannatha swami nayana patha gami bhavatume’’
When would that day come in which ever direction we see, we see Jagannath. We take darshan of Jagannath everywhere.
So, let’s keep chanting and hearing as this the outcome of that activity. Hearing and chanting is also smaranam and darsanam of Jagannath.