Devotees participation in Gundica Cleaning
Resident and congregation devotees, temple management and a few visitors came together to enthusiastically participate in the Gundica Marjana festival which was observed on 23 June 2009.
While the pujaris cleaned the main altar, several other devotees scrubbed clean Prabhupada’s Vyasasana, the marble pillars, courtyard, stairways, floor and the parikrama path. Many department members also cleaned their respective offices.
The observance of Gundica-marjana, the washing and cleansing of the Gundica temple, takes place on the day before Rath yatra, in preparation for the arrival of the Lord.
The history of Gundica cleaning goes back to thousands of years, to a previous age, when Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally cleaned the Gundica temple to set an example. The temple of Lord Jagannath in Nilacala represents Dwarka (or sometimes Kuruksetra) and the Gundica temple in Sundarcala represents Vrindavan. Lord Jagannath’s Rath yatra is a process which represents the residents of Vrindavan meeting Krishna at Kuruksetra and bringing His back to Vrindavan after a long separation.
Lord Jagannath, along with His brother Baladeva and sister Subhadra reside in the Gundica temple for eight days after the Rath yatra and thereafter return to Jagannath temple in Nilachal (Puri).
In preparation for the Lord’s arrival at the Gundica temple, Lord Caitanya guided his associates to clean the temple. Lord Caitanya personally gathered piles of dust, straw and sand and instructed the devotees by His personal example. He collected so much debris from the temple that His pile was larger than all theirs put together. He cleaned the temple a second time and thereafter thoroughly washed the temple and the sitting place of Lord Jagannath.
Srila Prabhupada has commented that if you clean the temple, you clean your heart; if you polish the deity’s paraphernalia, you polish your heart. And the activity of cleansing the Gundica temple is taken as not only a process for cleaning a temple complex, but also as a metaphor for how we should go about cleaning our own hearts. The temple was cleansed to make it a fit place for the Lord to reside. Similarly, each of us has to clean his or her heart to make it a fit place for the Lord. Of course, the Lord always resides in the hearts of the living entities (isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati), but we want our hearts to be worthy places for Him to stay and enjoy His pastimes.
The pastime of Gundica marjana is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve, “The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple”:
For pictures of Gundica Marjana kindly click here: