According to the Vedic regulative principles, one has to be celibate before entering a holy place of pilgrimage. Generally people are very much addicted to sense gratification, and unless they have sex at night, they cannot sleep. The regulative principles therefore enjoin that before a common man goes to a holy place of pilgrimage, he should observe complete celibacy. As soon as one enters a holy place, he must observe fasting for the day, and after shaving his head clean, he must take a bath in a river or ocean near the holy place. These methods are adopted to neutralize the effects of sinful activities. Visiting a holy place of pilgrimage means neutralizing the reactions of a sinful life. Those who go to holy places of pilgrimage actually unload the reactions of their sinful lives, and consequently holy places are overloaded with sinful activities left there by visitors.
When a saintly person or pure devotee visits such a holy place, he absorbs the sinful effects left by the common men and again purifies the holy place. Tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni (SB 1.13.10). Therefore a common man’s visit to a holy place and an exalted saintly person’s visit there are different. The common man leaves his sins in the holy place, and a saintly person or devotee cleanses these sins simply by his presence. The devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu were not common men, and they could not be subjected to the rules and regulations governing the visiting of holy places. Rather, they exhibited their spontaneous love for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Immediately upon arrival at the holy place, they went to see Lord Caitanya, and by His order they took mahā-prasādam without following the regulations governing holy places.