Memories (#36)
Srila Prabhupada's Trees

Srila Prabhupada had to struggle very hard to build the Juhu temple. The first struggle was to get the land, the next struggle was to get the permission to build the temple, and the last struggle was to actually build the temple and install the Deities. And we had worked very hard to get the permission, but Indian permits often include many conditions. So although they give permission, the permission is not actually valid until one fulfills the conditions.

One of the conditions was that we had to have an internal access road of a certain width according to the length of the road. And it just so happened that right where the access road was supposed to go there were some palm trees. Once, when Srila Prabhupada came to Juhu after being away for some time, he noticed that one or two of the trees had been cut, and he was very concerned -- I would say upset -- and he asked, "Why did you cut down the
trees?" We thought we had the perfect answer: We had to build the temple, and to get the permission for the temple, we had to cut the trees in the way of the road. Srila Prabhupada said, "No, you go to the Municipality and tell them it's against our religion to cut down trees." So we had no choice, and we did it. And of course the Municipal officers argued.

But one thing that really struck me about how concerned Srila Prabhupada was for the trees was that the next time he came back to Juhu after a world tour, practically the first thing he said was "I was in Tehran, and I have seen they have trees in the middle of the streets. So we can also have trees in the middle of our street." In other words, it was not so strange. So on Srila Prabhupada's order, we held our ground with the Municipality, and in the end they gave us the permission to keep the tree. And even today we can see that tree that Srila Prabhupada protected, still standing there with asphalt all around it.

So I am thinking that if Srila Prabhupada has so much concern and care and even love, I would say, for a tree, then what to speak of us -- how much care and love he must have for us. And it's just because of Srila Prabhupada's care and mercy and protection that we are able to stand in Krishna consciousness -- no matter what else is around us.

All glory to Srila Prabhupada.

Hare Krishna.

Giriraj Swami
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