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The Story of the wealthy Man and his four Wives

There is a little story which illustrates the four types of devotion that have been discussed here. Once, a wealthy man who had four wives had to go abroad for some important work. He spent a few months in a foreign country. Before he returned home, he wrote a letter to each of his wives. In the letter he mentioned that he would be coming home in a few weeks, and if there was anything they wanted from that particular country, they could send a list and he would be glad to bring back the various things to them.

His first wife was an unhappy lady; she was suffering from many ailments. She sent the husband a list of medicines, explaining that her health was not good and that she would like to have a number of foreign medicines which would help her feel better. His second wife had a great many desires. She wrote, 'Dear husband, please bring me some fine jewels, some silk saris and all the latest fashionable articles that are available there.' He received her letter and arranged to procure those items for her.

The third wife had a strong spiritual inclination. She wrote to the husband asking for any good books that were available in that country, books which dealt with the lives of great saints, depicting their life experiences. She was always looking for good spiritual books that would inspire her in her own spiritual aspirations, and so she asked her husband to see if he could find such books and bring them back for her. His fourth and favorite wife wrote, 'Dearest one, I do not need anything for myself. I will be very happy when I know that you have come back home, safe and sound.'

When he returned home he brought with him whatever they had asked for. The first wife got the latest medicines and tonics from abroad. The second wife got beautiful jewels and exquisitely textured silk saris. To the third wife the husband brought the finest copies of the scriptures and other holy books. And then he went to stay with the fourth wife, who had written, 'Please come home safely; I want nothing else.' She only wanted him. The other three wives became jealous of the favorite one since the husband had gone to stay with her. They sent messages asking, "After such a long time without seeing us you have not even once come to our houses to visit us. What is the reason for this?" The husband replied, "I have given each of you exactly what you asked for. One of you asked for medicines; I brought them. One of you asked for the latest jewels; I brought them. One of you asked for sacred books; I brought them. One of you wanted only me, so now she has me!"