(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 28 December 2012, Cape Town, South Africa, Srila Prabhupada Evening)
One picture that I like very much is that famous picture of Prabhupada in Tompkins Square Park, under the tree. It is black and white, and Prabhupada is sitting there in a majestic way, under that well known tree and different people are assembled around him.
Last year, I was there in Tompkins Square Park and I went to that tree. When I was there, under the tree, then immediately out of nowhere, one boy appeared and said, “What should I do to? Become a monk like you?”
And I was thinking that Prabhupada had transform that tree in to desire tree!
Where ever Prabhupada went, he created such places, such tirthas, because a great and powerful devotee is actually purifying the places where he goes. Such places, they become invested with transcendental energy. I often think of that at one point Prabhupada said, that whoever pays a ticket for myself and a ticket for my secretary and puts thousand dollars in my book fund, that is where I will go!
So Hridayananda Maharaja immediately took Prabhupada upon it and it was Gainsville, Florida in the states and in the middle of nowhere, but Prabhupada went there. Now, just outside of Gainsville, the biggest community in entire Iskcon has come about, known as Alachua. Not surprising in a way, because where ever Prabhupada went, he transformed those places simply by his presence.
So that tree in Tompkins Square Park has a great symbolic meaning to our movement because it is there where Prabhupada started public kirtan. This public sankirtan spread from there to all over the world. It is kind of the beginning of the public harinam sankirtan. The city council of New York has put a sign under that tree as “Hare Krsna tree”. Sometimes we see garlands hanging on the tree as different devotees in New York spontaneously worship that place.