As the Ratha Yatra is just behind the corner, today we are celebrating the cleaning of the Gundica temple. I'll post the relevant excerpt from the Caitanya Caritamrita (Madhya 12) for your inspiration. Don't forget to clean your temple rooms today!
THE CLEANING OF THE GUNDICA TEMPLE
Some of the prominent devotees like Advaita Acarya used to invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to take His meals at their homes. The Lord accepted such invitations accompanied by His devotees. In this way, 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 Gundica. Upon hearing the Lord’s request for permission 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 kirtana 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 Vai
snavas 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 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 mind.
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 done. 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 the 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 jubilation. The Lord thus chanted and danced for some time. Finally, understanding the circumstances, He stopped.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then ordered Sri Gopala, the son of Advaita Acarya, to dance. While dancing in ecstatic love, Sri Gopala fainted and fell to the ground unconscious. When Sri Gopala fainted, Advaita Acarya hastily took him upon His lap. Seeing that he was not breathing, He became very much agitated. Advaita Acarya and others began to chant the holy name of Lord Nrsimha and sprinkle water. The roaring of the chant was so great that it seemed to shake the entire universe. When the boy did not regain consciousness after some time, Advaita Acarya and the other devotees began to cry.
Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu placed His hand on the chest of Sri Gopala and said loudly, “Gopala, stand up.” As soon as Gopala heard the voice of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he immediately came to his senses. All the devotees then began to dance, chanting the holy name of Hari. This incident has been described in detail by Vrndavana dasa Thakura. Therefore I have described it only in brief.(From the BBT edition of Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, chapter 12)