(Tribhuvanatha Prabhu wearing chadar and Pd holding Arabic Gita, 1978)
guhyam akhyati prcchati
bhunkte bhojayate caiva
"Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasada and offering prasada are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another." (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 4)
Tribhuvanatha Prabhu taught me the true meaning of Godbrotherly love. It's been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: the givers and the takers. Tribhuvanatha was definitely a giver. In fact, he gave me everything.
When Srila Prabhupada left his body on November 14, 1977, the entire movement was devastated and it seemed like the end of the world. It was almost inconceivable that we could carry on without Srila Prabhupada's personal presence to guide us, encourage us and correct us, because we all felt like lost children without him, our dear spiritual father and preceptor. Thankfully, at that time, Tribhuvanatha Prabhu appeared in my life and convinced me to accompany him on a dangerous but special mission for Srila Prabhupada -- distributing Prabhupada's books in the Middle East. Thus, Tribhuvanatha gave me the gift of service in separation to Srila Prabhupada, which turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I could ever possibly receive. We stayed there for almost five years together, and although very trying at times, it turned out to be one of the best periods of my life, all thanks to Tribhuvanatha Prabhu and his enlivening association.
Later on, we separated, but always kept in touch through letters and telexes over the years. One letter particularly stands out, which I'd like to humbly share with our readers. Please remember that Tribhuvanatha Prabhu encouraged everyone in Krishna Consciousness, so I know that what he wrote to me wasn't unique, but it will always remain special to me because of our lifelong friendship and Godbrotherly love.
"I was in bliss to get your letter! I heard you have phoned here but I was out. I am sorry. The truth is I have also been trying to get in touch with you. I wrote but the letters came back -- Incorrect Address -- I phoned that number many times but there is only an answering machine on. I even sent a letter with a devotee but it came back also.
Anyway this letter is a real rush as someone is going into town and they are in a hurry, so it's short. Your sentiments in your last letter were very much appreciated by me and the feeling is mutual. I have also felt that you are my only real friend that I can honestly say that I have had in Krishna Consciousness. I have also felt that your attachment to Srila Prabhupada is very deep, and I get great pleasure out of your association. I also have to repay you for the offences that I have committed to you (while in Cairo). I am a rascal No. 1 but somehow Srila Prabhupada has saved us. His pink Lotus Feet are our only shelter is right -- everything else is a bubble in the Sea.
I beg you to come over to Ireland for a break! We have so much going on here. The mood is like Vrindavan, peacocks, rivers and nice devotees. The deities of Sri Sri Radha Govinda dev! are wonderful. I have a cottage here for you to stay and later we can go to India together! (with a stop off in Dubai)
With regards to your good self, I have always said that even if I saw you in the most abominable condition, you are always "saintly." You are always my "Guru," my guide to Srila Prabhupada!
Anyway, I must get your association soon -- we have lots of preaching here and we can go again to the Middle East, but we will plan it better this time and use Ireland as a base! Let's team up again! Even old Mahakratu is here (from Dubai days!). I am ready when you are. Allah Akbar!
Please ring, you can reverse charges! Send me a telephone no. so I can ring. I must go. Please contact me!
Tribhuvanatha was very kind and I know that he had hundreds (if not thousands) of friends who he liked more than me. But still, he was always so generous in his words and encouragement. It was his nature to love everyone. In the 25 years I knew him, I never heard a word of criticism from his lips for anyone (but himself). Always the perfect Vaisnava gentleman, he made no distinction as to whom he would show his mercy, favor or friendship. He only cared about the spirit soul and always tried to humbly connect (or reconnect) them with Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. I consider it nothing less than absolute causeless mercy that I was blessed with his association in this lifetime. All glories to Sriman Tribhuvanatha Prabhu, the epitome of Godbrotherly love and kindness.