Krṣṇa will not appear in an impure heart. Even materialists will not stay in a dirty area. Cleaning is necessary. Mahāprabhu gave a good chance for cleaning the heart on the day of Guṇḍīcā-mārjana.

Throughout the year we perform sādhana. We try to do guru-sevā, hari-sevā, dhāma-sevā, and chant harināma, but at the present stage, we are not pure. We are contaminated and small minded. Guṇḍīcā-mārjana is a special day—a special chance to become clean.

Kṛṣṇa is coming the following day. This fact is on the mind of the Vrajavāsīs on the day of Guṇḍīcā-mārjana. Śrīmatī Rādhikā knows how to make the kuñjas prepared for Kṛṣṇa’s arrival. She instructs Her followers how to serve. On this day, Mahāprabhu calls everyone and tells them that He will teach the special service of cleaning Vraja’s kuñjas.

This program, which is personally conducted by Mahāprabhu Himself, has a secret meaning and is very powerful. If a person attends this festival of cleaning even a little bit, great inspiration will come to him. But many people do not wish to perform this service. They do not clean their hearts. Thus, they lose all enthusiasm for executing bhakti.

Westerners lament, “I don’t have qualification to clean these inner kuñjas.” But they should not be disturbed about this. Cleaning the street and entrances is also important. If Kṛṣṇa sees that everything is clean, even the entrance to the temple, then He will be very happy. He will say, “Everything has been done so nicely.”

To clean the Guṇḍīcā Temple is to clean the heart. Only very fortunate people come to Kṣetra-maṇḍala and learn to prepare themselves for entering Vraja-maṇḍala. Kṣetra means field. Kṣetra-maṇḍala is that place where many beautiful fruits and flowers can grow and then be offered to Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-maṇḍala.

When the Vraja-devīs were preparing to bring Kṛṣṇa to Vṛndāvana, they sent news ahead and all the Vrajavāsīs began cleaning Vraja Bhūmi. The Vraja-devīs cleaned the forest groves, kuñjas, and kuṭīras in preparation for Kṛṣṇa’s arrival.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara, “Take permission from the temple authorities and the King. We will clean the Guṇḍīcā Temple.”

While cleaning the Guṇḍīcā Temple, Mahāprabhu said, “This temple is like your heart, if it is clean, then you can carry Jagannātha there.”

Taking a broom, Mahāprabhu first swept away all dust, stones, and sand. First He cleaned all the large pieces of dirt and then the small ones.

He and the devotees then brought water from Indradyumna-sarovara, forming long lines and passing clay pots one by one in a long chain. Everyone was chanting the names of Hari. There were many cries of, “Jaya Jagannātha!” and “Jaya Śrī Kṛṣṇa!”

After washing the temple from top to bottom, Mahāprabhu dried everything with His uttarīya, upper cloth.

The Vraja-devīs have this service tendency. On this day Mahāprabhu gives everyone the chance to have this mood of the gopīs. Without this service tendency, no one has qualification for vraja-sevā. Only Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs have this right. Mahāprabhu gives this active mood, by conducting Guṇḍīcā Mandira mārjana.

Cleaning a temple is not everything, we must clean our hearts.
The body is also a temple, but simply cleaning its exterior will not do.

Mahāprabhu cleaned while singing harināma. As He did so, a gauḍīya-bhakta came and took the caraṇāmṛta from His feet. Mahāprabhu turned to Svarūpa Dāmodara and said, “Just see the behavior of your Gauḍīyas. They have no etiquette!”

Svarūpa Dāmodara brought the devotee out of the temple. Why was Mahāprabhu disturbed by this? The sādhaka that is still full of anarthas does not come for service, but for personal prestige. This devotee made a show of coming in front of everyone and taking Mahāprabhu’s caraṇāmṛta, thinking, “All will say, ‘Oh, you are a very great and humble Vaiṣṇava. You are taking Mahāprabhu’s caraṇāmṛta.”

Mahāprabhu does not give His blessings to actors. He says,
“First clean your heart and give all your time for service of Kṛṣṇa. If you use all time for your own service, then when will you serve Kṛṣṇa?”

First one must surrender himself, ātmā-samarpana, then his actions are called service. Without this, one’s performance of any activity is like a show or drama. If there is no anurāga—no love and affection—then one’s actions are only work.

A company worker does his job and gets paid. Then he returns to where he has love—his family. Many perform bhakti as if it is their job. They have no genuine love and affection for God. Their affection is directed elsewhere, to something or someone of this material world. But if you have love for God, then you will spend your every moment in activity for His sake.

On this day, Mahāprabhu gives a special chance to all devotees.
With His own hand, He cleaned the Guṇḍīcā Temple and by doing so, He taught us how to serve.

When, at the time of cleaning, Mahāprabhu saw that someone was lazy He would tease him. “You are such a great servant!” He would say, “You should teach everyone.”

Some devotees work while people are watching them and when people stop watching them, they rest. To them Mahāprabhu said, “Now you must give a feast for everyone. If you please the devotees, then the same energy and taste that they have for service will manifest in you.”

Some brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs work morning to evening, but if you tell a brand new boy to do something, he will not wish to do it. Mahāprabhu said, “They have no sukṛti. If they make a feast for all the devotees then they will get service tendency.”

If you do not clean your heart, then you cannot understand the mood of the Vraja-devīs. How can you think to pull Jagannātha’s chariot and bring Him with you if you have impure desires? You will not carry Jagannātha within your mind, but some mundane actress, actor, or animal. Then you will be unable to get to Vṛndāvana. If the heart is clean, then very easily we can carry Jagannātha in our hearts and go to Vṛndāvana.

Śrīla Gurudeva spoke on this pastime of Guṇḍīcā Mandira mārjana many times. He always instructed us how to follow these festival days with the right mood. He used to go to Guṇḍīcā-mandira with great ācāryas like Pūjyapāda Santa Gosvāmī  Mahārāja, Śrīla Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and others. They sat outside the temple and performed śravaṇa and kīrtana. Together, they would drown in the bliss of service.

Nowadays, most people come to the temple for rest, nice accommodations, and good food. They think, “Here there is nice weather and everything is easy. There is no need to wash the pots or clean the temple. We will do only a little bhajana and kīrtana and live a comfortable life.” Then, when the time comes for service, they run. This is not bhajana.

On this day, Mahāprabhu gave all the bhaktas garlands and applied sandalwood paste on their foreheads. He then gave everyone a broom and a clay pot. They all went and did the service of cleaning the Guṇḍīcā Temple, inside and out. Now, even after repeated humble requests, no one comes for service. They have no taste or energy. They have an intoxicating habit of sense indulgence that has been with them for millions of lives. How can this bad attitude change? The opportunity is given by the Guru-varga when they engage us in celebrating these special occasions.

In Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Vraja-maṇḍala, and Gauḍa-maṇḍala, the emphasis is on the love of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs. If we remember them, our lives will be successful.

Time keeps running, and waits for no one. That day we use our full time and energy for the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is a good day. When we begin to follow Her footsteps all auspiciousness becomes ours.

Some people try to follow bhakti by forced endeavor and for selfish reasons. The outcome of this will not be sweetness, but roughness. Babies don’t do austerity, but their parents always protect them.

Hiraṇyakaśipu saw Prahlāda as his enemy. In this world, the body, mind, and senses always desire enjoyment and if we help them, they will be our friends. But if we don’t help them they will be our enemies. They disturb us when we try to engage in devotional service and spiritual life. Mundane people serve God for material happiness. When they receive sense enjoyment, name, fame, and prestige, they think that this is the blessings of God in return for their bhakti. But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, and all the followers coming in their line do not hanker for material health, wealth, or prestige.

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī came by foot to Śrī Vṛndāvana and Jagannātha Purī. When he arrived, his body was rotten and pus was using from the many sores in his flesh. Despite all of this, he never worried about taking care of his body or going for treatment. Mahāprabhu did not order him to go to the doctor.

Sanātana Gosvāmī spent every moment of his day absorbed in spiritual service and could not be distracted by his body no matter how serious its condition was. He had no worry.

One day, Mahāprabhu came and embraced Sanātana Gosvāmī. Everyone present was disturbed when Mahāprabhu’s golden body touched Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s bleeding diseased one. This became a daily routine, and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī became very sad and thought it would be best to give up his life under the wheels of Jagannātha’s chariot during Ratha-yātrā. He could not bear the fact that the Lord was touching his bleeding body, which he considered completely impure.

Jagadānanda Paṇḍa said to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, “Mahāprabhu daily embraces you. This is not right. After the Ratha-yātrā, quickly return to Śrī Vṛndāvana.” But he had already decided to leave his body under the wheels of Jagannātha’s chariot. The next time Mahāprabhu saw Sanātana Gosvāmī, He said, “Do you think this body is your property? Will God be pleased if you commit suicide? If God could be pleased by Me giving up My body, then I would certainly give up millions of bodies in an instant.”

Mahāprabhu said, “O Jagadānanda! You are a young boy. Why are you advising your senior?” Mahāprabhu strongly chastised Jagadānanda. Seeing this, Sanātana Gosvāmī said to Mahāprabhu, “My Lord, You have no love for me, but You have so much love for Jagadānanda Paṇḍa.
To him You give chastisement, and to me, You give respect.”

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī saw this respect as very bitter. “This means that I am not Yours,” He said. “You don’t really like me.”

Why would Mahāprabhu embrace Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī? Sanātana Gosvāmī would run when he saw Mahāprabhu approaching him, but Mahāprabhu ran after him to embrace him. Mahāprabhu saw that Sanātana Gosvāmī had no relation with his body. He was always busy in devotional service. Before, he was the chief minister of a king, but he had no attachment for this material position and left it completely. If anyone has the desire to serve God and develop a loving relation with Him, then he will not follow his material body and mind.

God can do as He likes. He can kill us or protect us. This is His right. Offering service to Him with the desire for results is simply hard work. It is karma. God is not our servant.

“If God serves me, then He is fit to be God.” This is the Western disease. “God give me bread and butter, otherwise you are a great cheater!” This is not the philosophy of the Vaiṣṇavas. A baby cries when hungry, or when an insect bites him. Then his parents care for him. But this is not the process of bhakti or bhajana.

Yaśodā Mātā and the Vrajavāsīs never think about themselves. They serve Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day and never wait for personal gratification. Kṛṣṇa even left them, and appeared to reject Vraja-maṇḍala for a hundred years, but they never said, “Kṛṣṇa is at fault.” From the moment of Kṛṣṇa’s birth, so many demons came, but the Vrajavāsīs never said, “Oh, so many problems came due to Kṛṣṇa’s presence here. From the time this dark boy came, so many disturbances occurred! If He left Vraja, we would have no problems.” They never complained like this.

The Vrajavāsīs never think of anything but Kṛṣṇa and His happiness. How many people desire to serve God?

Kṛṣṇa said, “I am indebted to the Vrajavāsīs. I can never repay them. They have no desire to accept anything from Me. They serve Me continuously without any condition. Their love and affection is so sweet. There is nothing mixed with their love. It is only to satisfy Me.”

Kṛṣṇa waited for a hundred years in Dvārakā, but He only suffered there. Why? That kind of pure love that is present with the Vrajavāsīs was unavailable. The queens of Dvārakā each had ten sons and one daughter, and along with their grandchildren and relatives the Yadu dynasty was a total of fifty-six crores. They were very happy with Kṛṣṇa as their servant. But they didn’t have one-pointed love for Kṛṣṇa.

After many years, on the day of a solar eclipse, Kṛṣṇa brought the Yadus to Kurukṣetra. He said, “This solar eclipse is very inauspicious. If we come together at a holy place and take the shelter of sādhus, then this inauspiciousness will become auspicious. All the rishis and brāhmaṇas will accompany us to Brahmā-kuṇḍa at Kurukṣetra and start a yajña.”

Kṛṣṇa invited all the kings and also sent news to the Vrajavāsīs, requesting them to come. Kṛṣṇa thought, “The Vrajavāsīs are the greatest sādhus. They will give shelter to everyone. If anyone completely surrenders to them, then they will be freed from material existence, what to speak of the onslaught of Rahu and Ketu.”

If one has no guardian, then Rahu, Ketu, and other demons cover him in darkness and cause him so much suffering. At such inauspicious times, if one does not take the shelter of the Vrajavāsīs, Śrī Guru, or a bona fide guardian, he will be destroyed.

The Vrajavāsīs came to Kurukṣetra. When Kṛṣṇa saw Yaśodā Mātā, He immediately ran to her lap. He was over one-hundred years old, but drank her breast milk like a baby. Yaśodā Mātā cried loudly and covered Kṛṣṇa under her cloth, bathing Him in her tears.

Padmā, the mother of Kaṁsa and wife of Ugrasena, came there and said, “Oh! The cow herders have come. Did they really help Kṛṣṇa? When we were suffering, they took care of Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva, this is true. But they didn’t take care of Them properly. In the early morning they would send Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva to the forest to take care of the cows. They did not give them proper food. Kṛṣṇa was starving in Vraja. He used to steal some butter from the Vrajavāsīs’ houses out of desperation, but as a punishment for this, Yaśodā bound Him to a grinding mortar! They didn’t even give Him any shoes or an umbrella to use while tending the cows in the forest. They kept Him like an animal without any sympathy. Day and night they made Him work like a common servant. Kṛṣṇa became black and skinny because of malnourishment. He was suffering the whole time He was in Vraja! Alas! We were unable to help Him due to our unfortunate situation.”

Padmā continued, “Let us take help of a good accountant and judge how much money the Vrajavāsīs spent on Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva and how much is due for the work the two of Them performed in ten years. Daily, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva went for cow grazing. We must figure out how much money they are owed and how much the food and board cost. If there is anything short on their side, we will let it go; and if there is anything owed by us, we will give double the amount. We must now settle everything.”

Now devotees are in the party of Padmā. They always complain to Śrī Guru, Vaiṣṇavas, and God Himself. What do they complain about? They complain about bodily matters and things that are hampering their sense enjoyment. Everyone has this mentality. If our material desires are fulfilled, then we think, “Yes, this Vaiṣṇava is bona fide,” or, “God is so merciful.” People wait for guru to welcome them and the Vaiṣṇavas to serve them, thinking, “I am a great devotee.”

Is this called bhakti? This is the very reason that Kṛṣṇa suffered in Dvārakā. Padmā and her party were there.

Kṛṣṇa met with the Vrajavāsīs at Kurukṣetra. They said, “O Kṛṣṇa, if you like Vṛndāvana, then come.”

“How can I come? The Dvārakāvāsīs are great dacoits. It is as if I am a tree, from which they are always ready to steal all the fruits and flowers.”

People come to the dhāma and garden of Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, but do they come for service? No. They come to steal everything by force. They come to kill the gardener and beat the authority, saying, “Everything here is my property.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “These 560 million Dvārakāvāsīs are always disturbing Me. They have taken My hands, eyes, legs, and everything. I served and served, and gave them everything I had. Now I am only like a tree trunk remaining, and they are also trying to scratch and enjoy that!”

If a father has ten or twenty children, then he will understand how they drink his blood. There is a kind of spider that lays 100 eggs at one time. When they hatch the babies come out very hungry. First they eat the egg casing, then the mother’s heart! We are very big business men, coming with tilaka, mālā, and dhotī, but we are only coming to steal from God. We want to take all the milk without feeding the cow and our mentality is that when that cow is old, we send her to the butchers. We have no desire for God’s service, only our own service.

Check your heart! “How much am I serving God and how much am I serving myself and engaging others in my service?” Consider this.

People make a show of being servants of God, but internally they are praying, “O God, give me a nice house. Give me a nice bed and shower.”

Did Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī have these desires? Did they ask God for a temple and all facilities for sense enjoyment? They arranged everything for God’s service, but did not reside there.

In Kurukṣetra, Kṛṣṇa showed the super-excellent position of the Vrajavāsīs. Kṛṣṇa said to them, “I am dry in Dvārakā, like a stump of wood. Please take Me to Vṛndāvana and give Me the nourishing water of your pure love. I cannot tolerate this distress anymore. They have stolen everything from Me. Only My heart is left. So please take what is left of Me to Vṛndāvana.”

The Vraja-devīs understood Kṛṣṇa’s pain. “Come with us now,” they said.

“How? There are so many obstacles?”

Vasudeva, Devakī, Satyaki, Uddhava, and Kṛṣṇa’s queens were crying, “Don’t go. Stay and take care of us.”

Ugrasena Mahārāja said, “Take us to Dvārakā first, and then you can go to Vraja.”

Hearing this, Nanda Bābā said, “No, we will stay here until you give us Kṛṣṇa. He is rightfully ours.”

But the Dvārakāvāsīs would not agree. They are selfish. The Vrajavāsīs are not selfish. They gave Kṛṣṇa to the Dvārakāvāsīs for 100 years.
But today they were very strong because they knew that Kṛṣṇa was not happy in Dvārakā. The Dvārakāvāsīs’ love is not pure. The Vrajavāsīs didn’t want Kṛṣṇa for their own selfishness, if Kṛṣṇa was happy in Dvārakā, they would be pleased for Him to stay there. But because they knew His sadness, they vowed to take Him back to Vraja-bhumi.

Kṛṣṇa said, “I am going.”

The Yadus said, “Dear residents of Vraja, you may take Kṛṣṇa, but let Him first return to Dvārakā for a short while. From there we will soon send Him to you.”

Kṛṣṇa went back to Dvārakā from Kurukṣetra, but there He saw that the Yadus could not change and that their bringing Him there was simply more of their politics. “They want to catch and hold Me and keep Me as their servant,” He thought to Himself.

Soon after this, Kṛṣṇa arranged for the Dvārakāvāsīs to be cursed by the Ṛṣis. He brought them to Prabhāsa for a fire-sacrifice. There they drank rice wine and quarreled amongst themselves. A huge fight ensued, in which all the men in the Yadu Dynasty killed each other with canes that had been infused with the strength of the Ṛṣis’ curse.

Kṛṣṇa left that place and disappeared to Vraja. Arjuna tried to take care of Kṛṣṇa’s queens, but he was proven powerless at the hands of cowherd boys. They beat Arjuna and stole the queens.

How can you please Kṛṣṇa? Mental speculators do not know the answer to this question. If you follow the Vrajavāsīs and especially
the Vraja-devīs, then Kṛṣṇa will be happy.

The Dvārakāvāsīs met with the Vrajavāsīs at Kurukṣetra, but instead of accepting their guidance, they only complained. We come to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, but are always complaining. Complaints and insults are in our many emails, which we offer to Śrī Guru as our presentations. Is this our duty? Is this our bhajana?

Try to understand the nature of the Vrajavāsīs. The Vrajavāsīs were never disturbed. They said to Kṛṣṇa, “We will carry You on the chariot of our hearts.”

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained the glories of this festival of chariots, and our Guru-varga follows this most seriously.

Know that Vasudeva took the daughter of Nanda Bābā from Gokula. Even if Kṛṣṇa was Vasudeva’s son, what right did he have to take Kṛṣṇa back from the Vrajavāsīs? If someone trades his son for a daughter, then what right would he have to take back his son without returning
the daughter?

The Dvārakāvāsīs acquired Kṛṣṇa, taking Him from the Vrajavāsīs. When there is a very green and healthy tree full of fruits and flowers, people come to see its beauty and become attached to its services.
First they take all the flowers and fruits, then they take the leaves and cut their branches. They do not give water or anything to the tree.
They will take from the tree until it is like a stump of dry and withered wood and then they will use that for fuel.

In Vraja, Kṛṣṇa was showered with the water of the Vrajavāsī’s heartfelt love. He was nourished in Vraja. Then Akrūra came and brought Kṛṣṇa to Mathurā. From Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa went to Dvārakā, and after 100 years away from Vraja, Kṛṣṇa said, “They don’t love Me here.
They beg love and service from Me and that is all. They steal from Me, but they don’t give Me anything. They took everything from Me—
My arms, eyelids, feet, nose, ears, and everything. Now I am a limbless torso. If I stay any longer, they will take what remains of Me! They will make me into nirviseṣa-brahma.”

For instance, a selfish child drinks the blood of his mother in the form of her milk. Soon he grows up and neglects her. When his parents get old, he puts them in an ‘old folk’s home’ just like a sinful person takes care of a cow as long as it gives milk and then sells her to a butcher when she is old. In this way, some people try to enjoy guru and Bhagavān.

When the Vraja-devīs understood that Kṛṣṇa desired to return to Vraja, they made a vow to fulfill His desire. They said, “As long as He did not want to come back, we did not do anything. But now that we see His desire is to come, we will certainly bring Him back.”

The Mathurāvāsīs are very clever. They sent Kṛṣṇa far away to Sandīpanī-muni’s āśrama when He came to Mathurā. They thought Kṛṣṇa would feel some similarity to Vraja, grazing His guru’s cows and having young friends. They hoped that by this He would gradually forget Vraja.

“We are simple cowherders,” Nanda Bābā said. “We have tolerated much, but now Kṛṣṇa wants to come, therefore, we will take Him.”

Ugrasena, Satyaki, Vasudeva, Devakī, Kṛṣṇa’s queens, their children and their grandchildren were all present there and making a loud demonstration. They pleaded that Kṛṣṇa come to Dvārakā for only a short time before He returns to Vṛndāvana.

“Bābā,” Kṛṣṇa said to Nanda Bābā. “I will take them to Dvārakā, and then quickly come back.”

Nanda Bābā said, “Then we will take You from here in our hearts.”

anyera hridaya—māna, mora māna—vṛndāvana,
‘mane’ ‘vane’ eka kari’ jani

tahan tomāra pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya,
tabe tomāra pūrṇa kripa maṇi

Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 13.137

For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vṛndāvana, I consider My mind and Vṛndāvana to be one. My mind is already Vṛndāvana, and since You like Vṛndāvana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.

Mahāprabhu spoke this verse in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.

The Vrajavāsīs say, “Other people’s minds are jungles full of dangerous animals, but our minds are only Vṛndāvana. O Kṛṣṇa, please come with us.”

When the news Kṛṣṇa was coming arrived in Vraja, the Vrajavāsīs began to clean and prepare in great joy. Mahāprabhu taught this process of cleaning the heart and making it into a chariot to carry Lord Jagannātha.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from a Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )

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