Children, it is the habit of Indians to imitate Western culture for anything and everything. In the Olympics of imitating, we may take the gold. However, we do not show the same enthusiasm when it comes to imbibing Westerners’ good habits and qualities.
One thing in specific that comes to mind is Westerners’ zealousness and sincerity when it comes to work. Laziness is almost absent in them. They have a timetable for all 24 hours of the day. They will practice punctuality in everything. Without discriminating between small or big things, they will do any job wholeheartedly. Even a millionaire’s son will try to stand on his own two feet once he turns 18. By washing dishes in restaurants at night or other such jobs, they will go for higher studies. This is their way.
In Japan, if a husband doesn’t work at least 12 hours a day, his wife will yell at him. If he arrives home even a bit earlier than usual, the wife will ask, “Why did you come home from work so early?” But in India, it’s doubtful anyone works even eight hours a day. After subtracting time for lunch breaks, naps, tea breaks and chatting, where is the time for real work? The reason for the successful growth of Western countries is their hard work and sense of responsibility.
Once a tourist took a vacation to the afterworld. There, he saw a hotel and an American standing in front of it. The tourist asked, “Why are you standing here?” The American answered, “I’m trying to see if I can get a job here.” The tourist continued walking. Then he saw a Japanese man standing along the way. “What are you doing?” the tourist asked him. The Japanese man answered, “I’m trying to start a business.” The tourist continued walking. Then he saw an Indian man leaning on a pillar. “Why are you standing here?” he asked. The Indian man said, “Just like that.”
Not all Indians are lazy. But we are wasting an enormous amount of our time. We must recognise this. We must cultivate self-discipline, enthusiasm and a good work ethic. If we faithfully concentrate, we can definitely achieve this. A few years back when there was a great flood in Kerala, how enthusiastically and with how much self-sacrifice we worked together to try to save others. This shows that when needed, we also have the ability to work with awareness. We must awaken the courage to work hard. We must make this an essential part of our life.
(The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian)