32. On Being Multilingual
(Wednesday evening, December 6, 1972)
Now, some of you have decided you donít want to study German, Sanskrit, Japanese, or English, but are content with studying only Chinese. [ed note: Many talented young people were resident at the monastery or actively supporting the monastery during this period. The Master recruited them to teach these language classes. It was a rare event to be able to study so many languages simultaneously from such good teachers.] Thatís a worthless decision and you are making a big mistake.
In the future, when you find yourself in situations where those languages are needed, youíll be sorry. Suppose I go to Germany and need a German translator; if you donít know German, you wonít be able to translate for me. You will be brought to you knees then; youíll have to just join the audience. Suppose I go to Japan or France where my talks must be translated into Japanese or French. If you donít master those languages now, youíll have to yield to others then. Those who know how to translate into foreign languages will be the outstanding ones. Those with wisdom and knowledge will have senior status in the group. Those lacking wisdom and knowledge will be relegated to the rear.
Timely Teachings page 305