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I often find it fascinating how principles of ...

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Compiled by Mahavishnu Das .

Yogesvara: I often find it fascinating how principles of memory migrate over into the things that challenge us in Krishna consciousness. In a sense, those of us in the first generation who knew Srila Prabhupada are inheritors of memory. We are compelled by that privilege to recount these memories and these stories.

Once in London we were on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada in New Hyde Park when he asked for one of his disciples to go get some twigs. In India, when the Neem twigs were available, Prabhupada would use them as toothbrushes since they have medicinal qualities. In London there weren’t too many Neem trees around so his disciple went over and broke a twig off from a Willow tree. Then he reached up and broke a second twig off and was about to reach up and break a third twig when Prabhupada stopped him and said, “Don’t disturb more than necessary.” He didn’t want to disturb that tree. That got me thinking. “What is he seeing that I’m not seeing there?” Later I went to him and asked, “Prabhupada, what do you see when you look at a tree?”

He was always very patient. I would ask him the most outrageous things and he was always very patient. Then I generalized my question, because I thought my first question was making him uncomfortable. So I rephrased my question to ask, “What does a pure devotee see when he looks at a tree?” Prabhupada said, “What you see is the body of the tree, and there’s a soul that is residing in the body of that tree.” Then he thought for a minute and then said, “But then again the soul is never alone, ‘Isvara sarvabhutanam’. In the heart of the soul there’s Krishna.” So looking at that tree, he would see not just the soul but also Krishna within the heart of that soul. That’s my Prabhupada. He didn’t want to disturb that tree more than necessary.

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