We shall continue our discussion of the cleansing of the heart, “The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple,” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve. I will read the verse again and then the entire purport. We have already discussed the beginning of the purport, which explains the general process of cleansing the heart. Now we shall discuss the specific types of dirt that can lodge in the heart, and how to deal with them.
We read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve, “The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple”:
ei-mata puradvara-age patha yata
sakala sodhila, taha ke varnibe kata
ei-mata—in this way; pura-dvara—of the gateway of the temple; age—in front; patha yata—as many avenues; sakala—all; sodhila—were cleansed; taha—that; ke varnibe—who can describe; kata—how much.
Outside the gateway of the temple, all the roads were also cleansed, and no one could tell exactly how this was done.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
In commenting on the cleansing of the Gundica temple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the world leader, was personally giving instructions on how one should receive Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, within one’s cleansed and pacified heart. If one wants to see Krsna seated in his heart, he must first cleanse the heart, as prescribed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka: ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc Antya 20.12]. In this age, everyone’s heart is especially unclean, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam: hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani. To wash away all dirty things accumulated within the heart, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised everyone to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. The first result will be that the heart is cleansed (ceto-darpana-marjanam). Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17) confirms this statement:
srnvatam sva-kathah krsna
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
“Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.”
If a devotee at all wants to cleanse his heart, he must chant and hear the glories of the Lord, Sri Krsna (srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah). This is a simple process. Krsna Himself will help cleanse the heart because He is already seated there. Krsna wants to continue living within the heart, and the Lord wants to give directions, but one has to keep his heart as clean as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu kept the Gundica temple. The devotee therefore has to cleanse his heart just as the Lord cleansed the Gundica temple. In this way one can be pacified and enriched in devotional service. If the heart is filled with straw, grains of sand, weeds, or dust (in other words, anyabhilasa-purna), one cannot enthrone the Supreme Personality of Godhead there. The heart must be cleansed of all material motives brought about through fruitive work, speculative knowledge, the mystic yoga system, and so many other forms of so-called meditation. The heart must be cleansed without ulterior motive. As Srila Rupa Gosvami says, anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11]. In other words, there should not be any external motive. One should not attempt material upliftment, understanding the Supreme by speculative knowledge, fruitive activity, severe austerity and penance, and so on. All these activities are against the natural growth of spontaneous love of Godhead. As soon as these are present within the heart, the heart should be understood to be unclean and therefore unfit to serve as Krsna’s sitting place. We cannot perceive the Lord’s presence in our hearts unless our hearts are cleansed.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
Srila Rupa Gosvami describes pure devotional service as being anyabhilasita-sunyam: without other desires. Other desires constitute the dirt in the heart, and cleaning the heart means cleaning out the material desires, or purifying them so they are no longer material but spiritual—to serve and please Krishna. If the heart is full of other desires, it is called anyabhilasa-purna. What Rupa Gosvami advises is anyabhilasita-sunyam; he has added the suffix ita to anyabhilasa. Anyabhilasa means “no other desire”; anyabhilasita means “no other intent”—we should have no other intent in devotional service than to please Krishna. For the sake of serving Krishna, we want to keep the body and soul together, and so taking care of the body is not outside of the definition of pure devotional service. It may so happen that under certain circumstances a devotee may pray to Krishna for the protection of the body. For example, someone may come to attack us—our life may be in danger—so we may pray to Krishna to save us. But our general motivation in devotional service is not to get protection or any other benefit for the body; it is to please Krishna. Yet in some dangerous situation, we may pray to the Lord for protection—although that is not our basic motive in engaging in devotional service. That impulse for survival does not place us outside of uttama-bhakti; it is not against the principles of uttama-bhakti.
Then Sri Rupa says, jnana-karmady-anavrtam. Our bhakti should not be covered by jnana, karma, or any other process. The suffix adi, “beginning with,” in effect means “et cetera, and others.” Jnana and karma are the main processes, but there are others that also are not part of bhakti and that may cause disturbance in the heart.
After listing sixty-four items of devotional service in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami discusses other items that one might think could have been included in the list but which he omitted, and he explains why. Two of the items are the cultivation of knowledge and the cultivation of renunciation. He explains that the actual process of bhakti—hearing and chanting about Krishna—makes the heart soft, whereas the cultivation of knowledge or renunciation, although they may be somewhat helpful in the beginning (as the Bhagavatam says), are not really part of the process of devotional service because the cultivation of knowledge or renunciation as separate items can make the heart hard, which goes against the nature of bhakti.
Of course, true knowledge and renunciation follow as a natural consequence of genuine advancement in Krishna consciousness:
janayaty asu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam
When we engage in bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Vasudeva (Krishna), the son of Vasudeva, causeless knowledge and detachment follow. But to make a separate endeavor to pursue knowledge or detachment, in an impersonal way, can make the heart hard. Still, the effort can be somewhat helpful in the beginning, because if someone is addicted to sinful activities—smoking, drinking, eating flesh, or whatever—he might have to make a special effort to give them up. But once he is able to follow the basic regulations of bhakti-yoga, then his natural progress in bhakti-yoga itself will take care of everything else, without any independent endeavor.
Someone may ask, “Well, if bhakti doesn’t take support from karma, jnana, yoga, or anything else, then how will bhakti progress?” The answer is that one’s present stage of bhakti becomes the cause of one’s advancement to subsequent stages in bhakti. Bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya: bhakti comes from bhakti. Bhava-bhakti comes from sadhana-bhakti; prema-bhakti comes from bhava-bhakti. We don’t need to add anything to bhakti to make it stronger. To the contrary, adding karma or jnana to bhakti makes it weaker. So we want unalloyed devotional service, unmixed with any other process or any desire other than to serve and please Krishna.
Now we shall proceed to some of the more specific discussions.
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