A man had to do a lot of work every day. One day he was very, very tired. He was praying in his heart, “Oh God! Please give me a servant to do all my work, I feel so exhausted all day.” He was polishing an old brass lamp while praying. All of a sudden an old genie appeared before him. He said, “I am the genie of this lamp. What can I do for you? I grant you a wish.” The man was flabbergasted. He said, “What do you mean? Can I ask for anything?” The kind looking genie said, “Yes, but ask carefully. Don’t ask for anything dangerous.”
The man was tired and the servant problem was upper most in his mind, so he said, “Give me a servant, who can do all my work, so that I can relax and enjoy life.” The kind genie smiled and replied, “Are you sure, that is what you want?” The man said, “Yes, I’m very sure.” The genie tried again to make him see sense. He said, “I can surely give you a servant, but you shall have to keep him occupied always. If you are not able to keep him at work always, he shall destroy you.” The man thought of the endless chores that he had to do all day and said, “No problem. I shall keep him occupied always.”
The genie moved his hand and an ugly looking genie appeared. The old genie told the new genie to serve his master and then disappeared. The man told the genie, “Servant, go and clean my house.” In an instant the genie completed the task and said, “What next, master?” The man said, “Go and water my fields.” The genie went and was back in a jiffy. “What next, master?” The man said, “Go and feed the cattle.” The genie took only a few minutes and was back again. The man was thinking what next to tell him. The genie said, “What next, master?” The man said, “Just wait, and let me think.” The genie bared his ugly teeth and raised his claws saying, “If you don’t give me work to do, I shall eat you. Tell me quickly, I cannot sit idle.” The man stuttered, “Go and pluck the apples from the tree,” “Go and bring water from the well,” “Wash the linen,” “Make dinner,” …….
The man was panicking now. What should he do? There was no more work to be done.
The man looked at the bare teeth of the snarling genie and started running. The man ran and the genie ran after him. The man accidentally stepped on the brass lamp and his foot happened to rub it. The kind old genie appeared again. The man took shelter behind the kind genie’s back, while the ugly genie tried to grab him. The old genie said, “Calm down! Calm down! Tell me, what the matter is.” So the man told the whole story to the old genie and beseeched him to take his cruel genie back. The kind genie said, “I cannot take him back now, but I can tell you how to keep him occupied. Take a long pole and tell the genie to fix it securely into the ground. Then tell him to keep on going up the pole and then down; up and down again and again. That will keep him busy forever.” So the evil genie was ordered to do just that and he spent his entire time going up and down the pole!
This is not just a story for children. There is an evil genie in all of us. It is our mind! If we don’t keep the mind occupied in things constructive, it has a tendency to think negative thoughts, fantasize over the undesirable and the futile.
Many times we say things like, “I am going crazy thinking about this; I’m going mad; I’ve nothing to do!” This happens when the idle mind becomes an evil genie. Remember to keep your mind sufficiently occupied on a positive and productive track, always.