Chapter 5 - Cleanliness
Cleanliness is one of the four pillars of spiritual life (the
other three are mercy, austerity and truthfulness)
The best way of purifying oneself is the pure chanting of
Srila Prabhupada commented on this topic as follows:
1) (Lecture 1976). "If we don't lead a brahminical life,
we are not allowed to call ourselves brahmanas. You may be the
son of a respected high court judge, but if you don't have the
required qualification, you cannot call yourself a judge...there
has to be an institution for training and educating brahmanas.
Everyone should be classified according to his education and
2) "Sri vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-sringara-tan mandira
marjanadau. Marjanadau means cleansing. The spiritual master
along with his disciples is always engaged in cleansing the temple
of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. If the cleanliness is neglected, it
is a sure sign of laziness. If one is lazy, one doesn't keep
his environment clean. "First let me sleep." This is
the mode of ignorance, tama-guna. We have to overcome raja-guna
and tama-guna. Satvam visuddham vasudeva sabditam.
The heart has to be pure if we want to receive Krishna and
allow Him to reside there pleasantly."
3) (Letter 1971). "In India it is custom that the kitchen
is not even in the same building where the living rooms are because
living rooms are contaminated. After cooking all the pots are
thrown away. This is not possible in your country. Therefore
you have to keep the utmost cleanliness. Krsna does not require
opulent offerings. He appreciates the sincere endeavor. A clean
kitchen is more important than an opulent offering. If the kitchen
is neat and clean, then the offering will be good. If the offering
is a so called "opulent offering" but the kitchen is
not clean, Krsna will not like it."
4) (1971 to Rishi Kumar): "Krsna consciousness means
to have a clean bead bag."
5) In the early days of the movement, Srila Prabhupada instructed
the devotees to clean their plates and the cooking pots right
after honoring prasadam. When one of the leaders saw that the
devotees were not following his order, he asked Srila Prabhupada
which method he should use to get the devotees to the point of
following. "The order of the spiritual master should be
sufficient,"replied Srila Prabhupada.
6) In Dallas and Edinburgh the devotees complained that there
were rats in the temple. So they asked Srila Prabhupada, whether
they were allowed to kill them. Srila Prabhupada's answer was:
"No, you should be killed because you took the vow of cleanliness
but did not keep it!"
7) Srila Prabhupada once wrote to one devotee in London: "Each
room should be clean as a mirror, otherwise you invite the rats..."
8) Once, when Srila Prabhupada was on a morning walk in Hawaii,
he passed by the prasadam room. Seeing him, the devotees were
in so much ecstasy, that they dropped everything and ran after
Prabhupada. His Divine Grace led everyone on the compound and
then returned to the temple room. Soon later, Guru Kripa complained
to Prabhupada about the left over prasadam and the unclean prasadam
room and also mentioned how he had difficulties to bring the
devotees to the point of cleaning. Srila Prabhupada: "If
a devotee doesn't clean, he can go home again and live with his
9) "When you are clean, you are in the spiritual world,
Vaikuntha. When you are dirty, you are in the material world."
10) SB 4.2.14-15: "Those who do not regularly bathe are
supposed to be in association with ghosts and crazy creatures."