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Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Lord Nityananda Prabhu's Appearance, morning class
Sri Ekachakra Dham, 25 February 2021, part 3
Translated from Bengali


Very soon, we are going for the parikrama. We will speak about different places—we will go to the Pandav Tala. Some place is closed now for reconstruction, but we will still go there, we can pay our obeisance there and take the darshan of the place in our heart...

If you cannot concentrate your mind, then it is a very difficult situation. The Lord has given you a mouth to speak about Him. When we wake up in the morning, we sing,

ভজিব বলিয়া এসে সংসার-ভিতরে ।
ভুলিয়া রহিলে তুমি অবিদ্যার ভরে ॥

bhajiba baliya ese samsara-bhitare
bhuliya rahile tumi avidyara bhare

"You came into this world saying, 'O Lord, I will serve You', but, having forgotten this promise, you have remained in ignorance."

When we were in our mothers' wombs, we have promised to the Lord, "I will worship You. I will speak about You with this mouth. I will look at Your Deity with these eyes. You can see that devotees decorated the temple so nicely. It takes so much time to do it—the Deities are very big here. They cleaned everything. Archan means cleaning. Do you think archan is only lighting the pancha-pradip and waving the fan, but it is not.

বিষয়ে যে প্রীতি এবে আছয়ে আমার ।
সেই মত প্রীতি হউক চরণে তোমার ॥

visaye ye priti ebe achhaye amara
sei-mata priti hauk charane tomara

"May I have the same affection and attraction to your feet that I now have for material things."

(Gitavali, 4.5, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

You can see how you make your own bed—every day you first dust and clean it nicely, then you lie down. You must treat the Lord, the Deities like that too. The archan of the Deities means to keep the Deities' room clean. Sometimes, there can be some rats' stool, some cobwebs—it must all be cleaned. There can be dust where the parampara is kept—you must wipe the dust and keep everything neat.

You think the Deities' archan is only to offer a ghee lamp, wave a yak-tail whisk, a peacock fan, etc. or bathe the Deities, but archan is more about keeping everything clean, tidy, and neat. Many think that archan is to just bathe the Deities, and if it is very difficult to bathe the Deities, then you must bathe Them in your mind, by reciting mantras. It is not only that. It is necessary to keep the room of the Deities clean.

I have heard that the Deities room here was very dirty. This is seva-aparadh. You are trying to do service but instead committing offences. You can give so many excuses, "Oh, the Deities are so tall, how can I clean Them?" but you cannot give this excuse about the guru-parampara—they are not standing high, you can always clean the place. I have got the news from the devotees how untidy and neglected the Deities' room was. Those who do puja must always keep the altar clean.

Archan-puja is a part of devotional practices: sravanam, kirtanam, archanam, etc. Do not think that you can just recite some mantras and this is archan. Do I have to see if you keep the altar room clean or not, if you keep the guru-parampara clean or not? I have told you just now—there are Nama-aparadhas, dhama-aparadhas, seva-aparadhas, Vaishnav-aparadhas. We must all be very careful that we do not make any offences. This is not only about this temple here. I go to every place and tell devotees, "Do not turn the Deities' room into a jungle." If you do not keep everything clean and neat, it will not do. Even Muslim people say, "Cleanliness is a part of faith" (pariskara prichhannata imanera anga; পরিষ্কার পরিচ্ছন্নতা ঈমানের অঙ্গ; similar to an English proverb, "cleanliness is next to godliness"). In this country, they are campaigning for clean water and sanitation (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign). It is necessary to keep everything clean. Temple must be always clean and neat.


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Sanatan-siksa: Spontaneous Loving Devotion
'Sanatan, I have described the practices of devotion guided by rules and regulations (vaidhi-bhakti) to you, now hear about the signs of devotion guided by spontaneous love and affection (raganuga-bhakti).'


Ye anila prema-dhana
'Where are my Raghunath Bhatta and Gopal Bhatta? Where is my Krishaadas Kaviraj? Where has the great dancer Sri Gauranga suddenly gone?'
যে আনিল প্রেমধন

If you practise, do service, everything, but have another desire in your heart,
any time you can fall down. You cannot get entrance.