Once a great linguistic scholar came to the court of the great King Akbar.
He was very proficient in many languages in speaking, reading and writing. He was also very good in grammar of all the languages.
He challenged the court of Akbar to find out his mother tongue.
Many people in the court including Birbal were proficient in many languages and they debated with him, but they were unable to find his mother tongue as he was equally good in all languages.
Birbal then asked for one more day from Akbar to find this.
That night Birbal went to the palace where the person was sleeping and asked a servant to take a bucket full of cold water and splash on the persons face in the early morning when it was very cold.
The scholar woke up suddenly in shock and shouted at the servant and scolded him.
Birbal who was standing near the person’s room heard the shouting and returned to his palace.
The next day morning in the court, Birbal told Akbar, “Majesty, this person’s mother tongue is Gujarati.”
The scholar agreed that Gujarati is his mother tongue.
Akbar was astonished and asked Birbal how he found that. Birbal explained that, “Whatever language a person may learn, when he is in shock or when he’s in acute pain, falling or slipping he will use his mother tongue.
Though this scholar is learned in many languages, when cold water was suddenly splashed on his face, he shouted in Gujarati, his mother tongue. Nevertheless, his mastery over many languages is really commendable.”
Akbar was very pleased with Birbal’s answer and rewarded both Birbal and the scholar sufficiently.
Moral of the story:
From the above story we can see that even in life’s trying and unexpected moments, we naturally speak in our mother tongue.
Since mother tongue is the language which we learn from the beginning of our lives and because we learnt it from our childhood, we never forget it.
Also it is said that mother tongue is an indispensable instrument for the development of the intellectual, moral and physical aspects of education. It is a subject thought and by which other subjects can be tackled, understood and communicated.
Weakness in any other subject means weakness in that particular subject only, but weakness in the mother tongue means the paralysis of all thought and the power of expression.
Similar to our material mother tongue which is based on our birth, the Lord’s holy name is our spiritual mother tongue.
When we lose focus in quality chanting it means we are forgetting our spiritual mother tongue which is the basis of our spiritual life.
This will weaken all other aspects of devotional service in due course of time.
Also when we chant sincerely, in all trying and unexpected situations and at the time of death (which is the most unexpected and trying situation) we can shout in our spiritual mother tongue which is the Lord’s holy name (by His grace) and attain the Supreme destination.
In the Bhagavata purana (5.3.12) this point is brought out in the following sloka.
atha kathancit skhalana kshut patanan jrimbhana duravasthaanaadishu vivashaanaam nah
smaranaaya jvara marana dashaayaam api sakala kashmala nirasanaani tava guna krita
naamadheyaani vachana gocharaanu bhavantu
“Dear Lord, we may not be able to remember Your name, form and qualities due to stumbling, hunger, falling down, yawning or being in a miserable diseased condition at the time of death when there is a high fever. We therefore pray unto You, O Lord, for You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Please help us remember You and utter Your holy names, attributes and activities, which can dispel all the reactions of our sinful lives.”
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Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
PS: I humbly request all the devotees to please forward and share this moral / instructive stories they hear so that everyone can be benefited by hearing about Krishna and his dear devotees.