Is Bhola Lazy?

Darkness, Ignorance, Inertia


Uncle Sanjay had a farm. My brother spent a lot of time there and would come home with all sorts of tales about things, which had happened to him during the week. He worked with Uncle from Monday to Friday and came back home at weekends. One Saturday he arrived home looking rather worried.

"What's the problem, son?" asked my father, quick to notice the frown on Anil's face. "It's Bhola," said Anil. "He's making life difficult for me. I feel I am being blamed for things which Bhola has forgotten to do, or which he has done badly."

"Tell us what happened," said Father. "I'm sure Uncle Sanjay would not blame you unjustly."

"Well, last Monday I was asked to milk the cows and put them in the outdoor pen, which I did. Later on in the day they were found wandering up the road. Uncle thought that I had not shut the gate properly, but I know I did because I remember checking it. I had not heard it click, so I clicked it hard. Then I realised it was Bhola's job to water the animals and he had come in after me and left the gate open. But he did not tell Uncle that. Then on Tuesday the same thing happened again, but I was watching and I showed Bhola how to shut the gate properly. He was thankful that I explained about how it doesn't click shut properly. But on Wednesday it happened again. I was not watching and the cows got out. This time Uncle shouted at me, so I went and shouted at Bhola. He just shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't care. He did not mind if the cows wandered off and got stolen, or bitten by snakes on the wilder ground. On Thursday I made sure that he shut the gate, then later on in the day Bhola told me that he had not fed the cattle because he could not find their food. They had had nothing to eat all day so their milk production was very poor that evening. Because I milk the cows Uncle blamed me again. I had to tell him about Bhola being too lazy to find the fodder for the cows, and I decided to tell him about the gate too, I was so fed up with him.

Uncle said, "Ah, Anil, you have always been rather impatient with Bhola. People like him need tolerance and encouragement. He is slothful, it is true, but when he does do the right thing we must acknowledge it and show appreciation. If we only ever complain to those who seem to be ruled by tamas, those who are slow or lazy or reluctant to make decisions, they will only get worse. When you return on Monday watch what he does right, and say something good about it to encourage him. Tamas is a state of mind, which comes from low expectations of oneself. If other people show you that you are indeed worthy, then your mind will begin to act in a different way. If you are told you are always lazy then you will live up to it. If on the other hand you are praised for the work you do, you will form a different opinion of yourself, and will begin to live up to that good opinion."

"Do you agree with Uncle Sanjay, Father?" asked my brother.

"I do indeed, Anil. There was a time when it was difficult to get your brother here to clean out his horse properly. One day after he had done it well, I pointed out to him how happy Raja was in his beautiful sweet smelling stall. Ramu has kept him exceptionally clean ever since. Be free with your praise and encouragement and people will respond well to it," replied my father.

Anil turned to me and noticed I was blushing, "Let's go and see if that horse of yours is smiling today," he said.