(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 August 2014, Krišnův dvůr, Czech Republic, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.43)
Wherever Prabhupada went, everything became transformed, everyone became transformed! I went to Matchless Gifts a few years ago, so then of course I wanted to also go to Tompkins Square Park, to visit the tree. It is really nice that the city council (of New York) has recognized that tree. I mean it really makes you feel good. There is a nice sign explaining that this is the tree where His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Founder Acarya of ISKCON, has started his movement by chanting under this tree!
Well, you know, I had the good fortune to stay many years in Vrndavan and in Vrndavan, there are many devotees who follow the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and are hugging trees. But I am a Dutchman, you know, from an ultra-Protestant country, right, where it is said, “Just act normal – that is crazy enough!” So, I get totally self-conscious about hugging trees. I think, “Now the world must think I have lost it.” So I never did it in Vrndavan but in Tompkins Square Park, I could not resist it. I hugged that tree! I actually prayed. I prayed, “Somehow or other, a small man like me has inherited a little piece of your mission.” So I prayed, “Somehow or other, please empower me to spread Krsna consciousness.” I opened my eyes and turned around and there was a boy standing under the tree. He asked, “What do I have to do to become a monk like you?”
I could understand, just by his chanting, Srila Prabhupada has transformed this tree into a desire tree. Or maybe this tree came with Prabhupada from the spiritual world (American accent) but I tell ya, that tree ain’t no ordinary tree. Wherever Prabhupada went, it is never an ordinary place. Permanently invested with transcendental power, such places can bless us all and make even people like ourselves, who are not extraordinary in any way, do extraordinary things. That is the most amazing thing with Srila Prabhupada, that he makes people like us who are really nobody special to extraordinary things. If we just remain faithful in our connection to him until the end of our days, then we will live extraordinary lives, with extraordinary results and then we will go to the spiritual world where everything is extraordinary and more and more so every day, eternally!