There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives.
He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with extravagant robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He is very proud of her beauty and always wanted to show off to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate woman, always patient and in fact is the merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always helped him out through thick and thin.
Now, the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business, as well as taking care of the household. However, there was no longer the feeling of love for her, and although she still loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day the merchant fell ill. Before long, he realized he is going to kick the bucket soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself:
“Now I have 4 wives with me. When I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!”
Thus he asked the 4th wife:
“I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No way!” replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. The merchant felt distressed.
Then he summoned his 3rd wife, “I have loved you so much in my life. Now I am dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”
“No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is so good over here – I am going to remarry when you die.” His heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked his 2nd wife:
“I have always turned to your help and you’ve been always there for me. Now I need you more than ever. Will you follow me to keep me company when I die?”
She replied – “I’m sorry dear. I cannot help you out this time. When you die, the most I could do is to send you to your grave”. He was devastated.
Then a voice called out:
“I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.”
The merchant looked up and there he saw his 1st wife. She was old and skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said:
“I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!”
Actually we all have 4 wives (or husbands) in our lives. The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and money we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die.
Our 3rd wife? Our possession, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others, likely our desired beneficiaries. The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we are alive, but the furthest they can stay with us is up to the grave.
The 1st wife, in case you haven’t been able to guess that already, is our soul, often neglected in pursuit of other things. Guess what? It is actually the only thing that follows us whenever we go. Perhaps it is a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we are on our deathbed to amend.