There was a rich merchant who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the most and took great care of her and gave her the best. He also loved the third wife and always wanted to show her off to his friends. However, the merchant was always in fear that she might run away with some other man. He loved his second wife too. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he
always turned to his second wife and she would always help him out. The merchant's first wife was a very loyal partner and maintained his wealthy and business and took care of the household. The merchant did not love the first wife though she loved him deeply. One day, the merchant fell ill. He knew that he was going to die soon. He told himself,"I have four wives with me. But when I die,I will be alone." Thus, he asked the fourth wife,"Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep my company?""No way!" she replied and walked away without another word. The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant's heart. The sad merchant
then asked the third wife, "Will you follow me and keep my company?""No! replied the third wife. "Life is so good over here! I am going to remarry when you die!"
The merchant's heart sank and turned cold. He then asked the second wife,"When I die, will you follow me and keep my company?" "I am sorry, I can't help you out this time!" replied the second wife."At the most, I can only send you to your grave." The answer came like a bolt of thunder. Then a voice called out: "I will leave with you. I will follow you, no matter where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from mal nutrition. Greatly grieved, he said, I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!."
Actually, we all have four wives in our lives.
a) The fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.
b) Our third wife? Our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they go to the others.
c) The second wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we are alive, the furtherest they can stay us is up to the grave.
d) The first wife is our soul, neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and pleasure. It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it's a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we are on our deathbed to lament.