Today was Gundicha Marjana, a day when hundreds of years ago in Puri, on the East coast of India, worshippers of Lord Jagannath gathered to cleanse the Gundicha temple from top to bottom. They took a vow to speak only Krishna’s name whilst they worked – splashing water everywhere and competing to see who could sweep up the most dirt. At the end of long day of cleaning they lined up with the piles they’d collected. Whoever hadn’t collected enough was required to pay a tax in sweets and other delectable goodies. Afterwards they feasted together and cleansed their hearts by continuing to chant the names of the Lord.
At Bhaktivedanta Manor today, a big clean up was scheduled to commemorate this event. Some of us youth really wanted to get involved, so we chose the most interesting sounding task (anything involving waders, water and litter pickers is a recipe for fun!) – cleaning up the lake.
Armpit high trousers are all the rage this season.
We boated around for four hours, dredging up foul smelling plastic bags; broken deities; tennis balls; crisp packets; bottles and cans; and even a jewellery case! Our top find had to be coconuts – we pulled up about one hundred, in various states of decay.
As we worked, the water began to look more sparkly…Prahlad got the enviable task of paddling the boat of giggling girls around.
Because many visitors view the temple lake as a holy place, they seem to feel that this means it’s acceptable to throw any puja remnants or offerings into the water. As for the rubbish – I have no idea what’s going on there. Sometimes people’s attitude toward the environment is totally unfathomable.
Cleaning the dock. You missed a spot Mohini.
We had great fun though. It was the perfect day to be wading around in the (albeit stinky) water – clear, hot and sunny.By lunchtime we had pulled out six bags of rubbish, and dumped it into a more appropriate resting place – the skip.
As for the deities, we could hardly consider them rubbish. They stayed by the lake – presiding over the muddy waters…