sammārjayan kṣālanataḥ sa gauraḥ
sva-citta-vac chītalam ujjvalaṁ ca
‘Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu washed and cleansed the Guṇḍicā temple with His devotees and associates. In this way, He made it as cool and bright as His own heart, and thus He made the temple a befitting place for Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to sit.’ (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 12.1)
Importance of Cleansing our Hearts
We should always meditate on how utterly necessary it is to take seriously the process of cleansing our hearts. We protect the throne of the Lord within our heart from any dirt by following the four regulative principles, avoiding the offenses to the holy name (and especially the offenses towards Vaishnavas), hearing the glories of the Lord as revealed by the great acharyas, serving the Lord, chanting the holy names of the Lord attentively and carefully, every single day, remembering the Lord. Srila Prabhupada put the greatest emphasis on following the four regulatory principles, chanting every single day and serving the mission of Lord Caitanya in cooperation. All of these processes gradually help to clean our hearts
Below you can read more about the pastime itself!
The narration in the 12th chapter of the Madhya Lila of ‘Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita’ explains how Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in His mood of service to Lord Jagannātha, was always thinking of how to please Him. Lord Caitanya, knowing that Lord Jagannātha, Balarama and Subhadra were coming to reside for nine days in Sri Guṇḍicā temple, wanted that they would be received in the most pleasant atmosphere. As Lord Caitanya said, Ratha yatra symbolises inviting Sri Krsna back home, to our own hearts. But before we can truly invite him, our hearts must be a completely clean and pure place for him to reside.
Lord Caitanya requested His associates, Kashi Mishra, the Superintendent of the temple, to bring brooms and waterpots to wash the Guṇḍicā temple. All the devotees were eager to participate and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu with His own hand, smeared sandalwood pulp on their bodies and gave them a broom. Then they all went there together, where they began to clean the Guṇḍicā temple. The Lord and His devotees cleansed and swept all the temple’s buildings, big and small, and cleaned the area between the temple and the kīrtana hall. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with so much enthusiasm washed and cleansed the temple in great jubilation by chanting the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa all the time. It appeared that he had a hundred arms. Along with Him all the devotees were also chanting and at the same time performing their respective duties. 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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was much greater.
The entire beautiful body of the Lord was covered with dust and dirt and in this way it became transcendentally beautiful. He had all the devotees collect dust, sand, dirt, and whatever particles may have been there on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling then Lord Caitanya, with his own cloth, picked up piles of dust and threw them outside. Similarly, His devotees did the same. At times, His eyes were crying in so much in ecstasy, that he was cleaning the temple with His tears. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, ‘Now, let us sweep the temple again, searching for finer particles of sand and dust and straw.’ After the temple was utterly clean, the devotees were standing with a hundred waterpots of water, waiting for the order. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave the signal, they all started throwing the water on the ceiling, on the walls, on the altar, in the kitchen and on the flours, everywhere. Devotees were bringing more and more waterpots from the sacred Lake Indradyumna sarovar, passing the waterpots back and forth. Sometimes the waterpots were colliding with each other and breaking. They had to bring more new waterpots. There was so much congestion on the way to the Indradyumna sarovar. Devotees were going to whatever wells or bodies of water they could find to get more and more water and they were throwing and throwing it everywhere. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was rubbing, shining, and cleansing every part of the temple with his own cloth that He was wearing. In this way, the meeting place, the entire yard, the raised sitting places, the kitchen and Jagamohana area, the place where food was kept, and all other rooms were also washed with a hundred water pots. After the rooms had been cleansed, the minds of the devotees were as clean as the rooms. It was purified, cool, and pleasing, just as if the Lord’s own pure mind had appeared.
If Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw them not working to their full extent, he would chastise them by saying, ‘You have done well. Please teach this to others so that they may act in the same way.’ And everyone understood what the Lord meant. Becoming ashamed, everyone would be eager to clean in the best way possible.
So many pastimes took place in Guṇḍicā temple. Devotees would put water secretly on Lord Caitanya’s feet and drink it. Then another devotee would say, ‘Please give me charity.’ And he would be given that water for drinking, and another person would come to him and say, ‘Please give me charity’ and he would also be given remnants of water of the charanamrita.
Another time a Bengali Vaishnava, right in Lord Caitanya’s own presence, poured water on Lord Caitanya’s feet while Lord Caitanya was cleaning the altar of Lord Jagannath. He began to drink it. Lord Caitanya turned to Swarup Damodar Goswami, externally angry and said, ‘Just see, what offense your Bengali Vaisnava has caused me to make. Taking my foot wash on Lord Jagannath’s altar!’ So, Swarup Damodar Goswami, on Lord Caitanya’s command, took him by the neck and pushed him out of the templebut he came back and appealed to Lord Caitanya to forgive the Bengali Vaishnava.
They let the water out of the temple and it was like a great deluge of water coming out into the gardens. Mahaprabhu with His own cloth shined that temple until it sparkled. They did the same thing and cleaned the temple of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva. After cleaning the temple Lord Caitanya sang the prayers of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the devotees performed congregational chanting. The Lord, just like a maddened lion, danced in the middle in ecstatic love and exhibited so many symptoms of devotion, there was perspiration, trembling, fading, tears, jubilation, and roaring. Indeed, the tears from His eyes washed His body and the bodies of those before Him as His tears poured like the rains in the month of Śrāvaṇa. The sky was filled with the great and loud chanting of saṅkīrtana, and the earth shook from the jumping and dancing of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He always liked the loud chanting of Svarūpa Dāmodara such that when Svarūpa Dāmodara sang, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced and jumped high in jubilation.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu turned to Advaita Acharya’s son Gopal and ordered him to dance. Gopal started dancing and within a minute he fell to the ground unconscious. There was not a single symptom of life to be seen in his body. Devotees tried, by all means, to wake him up and His father, Advait Acharya, began to cry. All the devotees gathered around chanting the holy names of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva very loudly, still, Gopal did not awaken. Devotees thought that he might be dead. So they chanted the holy name as loud as they possibly could into his ears. Lord Caitanya gracefully approached the lying body of Gopal and told him, ‘Gopal stand up.’ Gopal stood up. Upon seeing this great wonder, the devotees danced in transcendental ecstasy, jubilantly chanting Krsna’s holy name.
After taking their lunch, all the Vaiṣṇavas stood up and chanted the holy name of Hari, and the resounding noise filled all the upper and lower planetary systems. After this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered flower garlands and sandalwood pulp to all His devoted personal associates.