There were great scholars there, and everybody knows that whatever you do, you can never speak any language the way you can speak your own mother tongue, because every other language has to be learned by effort. Only the mother tongue is spontaneous, you don’t even learn it, just…the very situation and you start speaking it. It has spontaneity.
That’s why even Germans who call their country fatherland… It is the only country which calls itself fatherland. All other countries call their land motherland. But even the Germans don’t call their language father tongue. Every language is called a mother tongue because the child starts learning from the mother, and anyway the father never has the chance to speak in the house. It is always the mother who is speaking; father is listening.
Many took the challenge. He spoke in thirty languages – a few pieces in one language, a few pieces in another language – and it was really hard; he was certainly a master artist. He was speaking each language the way only a native can speak his own mother language. All of the thirty great scholars lost. The competition continued for thirty days, and every day one person took the challenge and lost it. The man would say, “This is not my mother tongue.”
On the thirty-first day… King Bhoj had been continually saying to Kalidas, “Why don’t you accept the challenge? – because a poet knows language in a more delicate way, with all its nuances, more than anybody else.”
But Kalidas remained silent. He had been watching for thirty days, trying to find out which language the man spoke with more ease, with more spontaneity, with more joy. But he could not manage to find any difference, the man spoke all the languages in exactly the same way.
On the thirty-first day, Kalidas asked King Bhoj and all the wise people to stand outside in front of the court. There was a long row of steps and the man was coming up; as he came up to the last step, Kalidas pushed him down. And as he fell rolling down the steps, anger came up – he shouted.
And Kalidas said, “This is your mother tongue!” Because in anger you cannot remember, and the man had not been expecting this to be a challenge.
And that actually was his mother tongue. Deepest in his mind, the recording was of the mother tongue.
One of my professors used to say – he lived all over the world, teaching in different universities – that only in two situations in life have I been in difficulty in different countries, fighting or falling in love. In those times one remembers one’s mother tongue. However beautifully you express your love, it is not the same; it seems superficial. And when you are angry and fighting in somebody else’s language, you cannot have that joy.
He said, “Those are two very significant situations – fighting and loving – and mostly they are together with the same person. With the same person you are in love, with that same person you have to fight.”