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!”
This husband is the Lord himself and the four wives are the four types of devotees. The Lord will give you exactly what you ask for. If you ask only for him then he will come and reside in your heart. God is
the wish fulfilling tree, the tree that bears every conceivable kind of fruit. He will answer everyone’s request. He is omniscient. He is everywhere. He knows what you want and he will give it to you. In
fact, this whole world is really a wish-fulfilling tree. The Lord uses the world to satisfy your desires and take care of all your wants. There are very few people who understand this. Here is another small
story to illustrate this.
There was a traveller who had been walking for a long time in the hot sun. Finally he found a nice big tree and stopped there to take rest. He was very tired after his long walk in the heat and now the shade of
the tree was giving him great comfort. While sitting under the tree he got thirsty and said to himself, ‘How nice it would be if I could have a glass of cold water.’ Seemingly, out of nowhere, a tumbler of fresh
water appeared. He was sitting beneath a wish-fulfilling tree and did not know it. After drinking the water, a second thought came to his mind, ‘How nice it would be if I could have a soft pillow and a comfortable bed; then I would really be able to rest nicely.’ Immediately, a bed and a pillow came, given by the Lord himself. Now the traveller was very comfortable.
After getting the bed and the pillow, he thought, ‘How very nice and comfortable this bed and pillow are! Now if only I could have my wife here, then how perfect everything would be.’ His wife immediately
came. As soon as she appeared, he became very frightened because he was not sure, ‘Is she really my wife or is she some demon impersonating my wife?’ The very moment this thought flashed though his mind she turned into a demon. Now, fear really overwhelmed him and in terror he wondered, ‘O my! Will this demon swallow me up?’ Immediately the demon pounced on him and swallowed him whole.
The moral of this story is that when you are under a wish-fulfilling tree you must be very careful what you think. Whatever thoughts you have will surely come true. The entire world may be likened to a
wish-fulfilling tree. If you have good thoughts, you get good results, if you have bad thoughts, bad results will follow. Therefore, you should never harbour bad feelings or bad thoughts. That is why Swami
has so often said, ‘Be good, do good, see good. That is the way to God.’