The Glories of Gopi-chandana Tilak
According to Vaishnava tradition, gopi-chandana, or the sacred soil from Dwaraka or Vrndavan, is applied on the body in twelve places while reciting mantras to Lord Vishnu. This process purifies one's body, designating it as a temple of the Lord. Besides purification, the tilak also offers the wearer protection from ghosts, evil influences, bad dreams, accidents and many other things. It keeps one's mind calm and allows one to constantly remember Lord Krishna. The sacred dust of vrndavan is said to have touched the lotus feet of Sri Krishna's exclusive devotees and is worship able even by Sri Krishna himself.
The following story from the Garga Samhita describes the wonderful glories of the sacred mud known as gopi-chandana.
(From Garga Samhita, Canto Six, Chapter Fifteen )
Text 15 yasya sravana-matrena
gopinam yatra vaso 'bhut
tena gopi-bhuvah smrtah
Simply by hearing about Gopi-bhumi, which is so named because the gopis resided there, one become free from the bondage of karma.
In Gopi-bhumi gopi-chandana was manifested from the gopis' cosmetics. A person who marks his limbs with gopi-chandana tilaka attains the result of bathing in the
punyam tasya dine dine
mudrito yah sada bhavet
A person who daily wears gopi-chandana tilaka attains the pious result of daily bathing in all sacred rivers.
vratani ca tathaiva ca
krtani tena nityam vai
sa krtartho na samsayah
A person who daily wears gopi-chandana tilaka attains the result of performing a thousand asvamedha-yajnas and a hundred rajasuya-yajnas. He attains the reusult of giving charity and following vows at all holy places. He attains the goal of life. Of this there is no doubt.
tasmad dasa-gunam punyam
Twice as sacred as the mud of the Ganga is the dust of Chitrakuta. Ten times more sacred than that is the dust of Panchavati-tirtha.
tasmac chata-gunam punyam
A hundred times more sacred is the dust of gopi-chandana. Please know that gopi-chandana is equal to the dust of Vrindavana.
yadi papa-satair yutam
tam netum na yamah sakto
yama-dutah kutah punah
Even if in the past he has committed hundreds of sins, if a person wears gopi-chandana tilaka, then Yamaraja cannot take him away. How, then, can Yamaraja's messengers touch him?
nityam karoti yah papi
sa prayati harer dhama
golokam prakrteh param
A sinner who daily wears gopi-chandana tilaka goes to Lord Krishna supreme abode, Goloka, which is beyond the world of matter.
dirghabahur iti srutah
In Sindhu-desa there was a king named Dirghabahu. He was cruel and sinful and he was addicted to visiting prostitutes.
tena vai bharate varse
krtas tena duratmana
While he was on the earth this cruel sinner murdered a hundred brahmanas and ten pregnant women.
mrigayayam tu banaughaih
saindhavam hayam aruhya
mrgayarthi gato 'bhavat
One day he mounted a sindhu horse and went hunting. With a flood of arrows he accidentally killed with a brown cow in that hunt.
mantri kruddho maha-khalam
One day, greedy to get his kingdom, with a sharp sword his angry minister killed him in the forest.
bhu-tale patitam mrtyu-
gatam viksya yamanugah
baddhva yama-purim ninyur
Seeing him fallen to the ground and dead, the Yamadutas came, bound him, and, joking as they went, took him to the city of Yamaraja.
sammukhe 'vasthitam viksya
papinam yama-rad bali
citraguptam praha turnam
ka yogya yanatasya vai
Seeing this sinner brought before him, powerful Yamaraja said to his scribe Chitragupta, "What is the proper punishment for him?"
sri-chitragupta uvaca catur-asiti-laksesu
Sri Chitragupta said: O great king, he should be thrown into eight million four hundred thousand hells for as long as the sun and the moon shine in the sky.
anena bharate varse
ksanam na su-krtam krtam
On the earth he did not perform a single pious deed. He killed ten pregnant women. He killed a brown cow.
tatha vana-mriganam ca
krtva hatyah sahasrasah
tasmad ayam maha-papi
He killed thousands of deer in the forest. He offended the demigods and the brahmanas. He is a great sinner.
Texts 32 and 33
tada yamajnaya duta
nitva tam papa-rupinam
tapta-taile maha-khale sphurad aty-ucchalat-phene
sadyah sitalatam gatah
Sri Narada said: Then, by Yamaraja's order, the Yamadutas took that sinner and threw him into a terrible, eight-thousand mile wide cauldron of bubbling boiling oil in the hell of Kumbhipaka. The moment that sinner came to it, the boiling oil, which was as hot as the great fires at the time of cosmic devastation, suddenly became cool.
tadaiva citram acakhyur
O king of Videha, as Prahlada was unhurt in the same situation, that sinner was not hurt by the boiling oil. Then the Yamadutas described that great wonder to noble-hearted Yamaraja.
Text 35 anena su-krtam bhumau
ksanavan na krtam kvacit
Yamaraja and Chitragupta carefully reviewed the sinner's case and concluded that while he was on the earth the sinner had not for a moment performed even a single pious deed.
sabhayam agatam vyasam
sampujya vidhivan nrpa
natva papraccha dharmatma
Then Vyasadeva arrived in that assembly. Bowing down before Him, and carefully worshiping Him, saintly and noble-hearted Yamaraja asked Vyasadeva the following question.
sri-yama uvaca anena papina purvam
na krtam su-krtam kvacit
kumbhipake maha-khale asya ksepanato vahnih
sadyah sitalatam gatah
iti sandehatas cetah
khidyate me na samsayah
Sri Yamaraja said: When a certain sinner, who had never performed even a single pious deed, was thrown into the terrible boiling oil of Kumbhipaka, the oil suddenly became cool. Because of this my mind is now tortured with doubts.
sri-vyasa uvaca suksma gatir maha-raja
tatha brahma-gatih prajnaih
Sri Vyasadeva said: O great king, the intelligent sages, who have studied all the scriptures, know that the ways of piety, sin, and spiritual progress are very subtle and difficult to understand.
Text 40 daiva-yogad asya punyam
praptam vai svayam arthavat
yena punyena suddho 'sau
tac chrnu tvam maha-mate
Somehow or other, by destiny, this sinner did perform a pious deed, and by that deed he became purified. O noble-hearted one, please hear the story of this.
kasyapi hastato yatra
tatraivayam mrtah papi
suddho 'bhut tat-prabhavatah
That sinner died in a place where from someone's hand some gopi-chandana from Dvaraka had accidentally fallen. Dying in gopi-chandana, that sinner became purified.
naro narayano bhavet
etasya darsanat sadyo
A person who wears gopi-chandana tilaka attains a spiritual form like that of Lord Narayana. Simply by seeing him one becomes free of the sin of killing a brahmana.
Texts 43 and 44
sri-narada uvaca iti srutva dharma-rajas
tam aniya visesatah
vimane kama-ge sthapya
vaikuntham prakrteh param presayam asa sahasa
evam te kathitam rajan
Sri Narada said: Hearing this, Yamaraja, who understands the glories of gopi-chandana, took the sinner, placed him a an airplane that goes anywhere one wishes, and sent him to Vaikuntha, which is above the worlds of matter. O king, thus I have described to you the glories of gopi-chandana.
yah srnoti narottamah
sa yati paramam dhama
One who hears this account of gopi-chandana's glories becomes exalted. He goes to the supreme abode of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.